A Very Moving Day

August 4, 2005|Posted in: Uncategorized

I just finished moving from a house to an apartment just three blocks away, because it seemed like a good idea at one time. I think moving is like having a baby: you think it won’t be so bad, then you endure this god-awful day, then forget about it completely while you enjoy your new digs – until the next time you move, and realize how ghastly it is all over again.

You can’t just move your stuff, you know. You have to cull through your junk so you don’t have to transport everything. You have to give it away, throw it away or have a yard sale. I did all of the above; first I gave away the extra furniture, then I sorted all the clothes in the house and planned to donate the outgrown ones. We followed this up with an all-day yard sale in which everything sold for 25 cents.

But in the process of sorting clothes, what did I find? My clothes, mixed in with the kids’ castoffs. My clothes, in the donations bags. My good jeans, that were missing for about for six months, were in that bag. And my tank top, a birthday gift, was in there, torn and held together with a safety pin. Friends, this is the work of a Teenaged Daughter. She gets my clothes in her pile of laundry, tries them on, they don’t fit or suit her style, and she puts them in the donation bag. Or she tries them on and they rip – hey, just use a safety pin, what the heck. Hello! My clothes!

I could go on at length about the trials or packing items for a move just a few blocks away – it is just as bad as moving 3,000 miles away. I could mention the epic of the Piano that Needed a Home, but suffice it to say my piano now lives, albeit temporarily, in Annie and Stuart’s garage. I could regale you with the tale of the refrigerator that had to be moved down seven steps but up 30. As in some Greek myth, the appliance grew in weight and girth with each step, threatening to crush the mere mortals who wished only to help it to its new home.

But the best part of moving, and by “best” I mean the insanely aggravating part, is how everything you need is always at the other house. Want a screwdriver? It’s at the other house. Need a hammer? The other house. Step-ladder? Ha! We also left some things at Mr. Unhusband’s house, which left us in the Bermuda Triangle of “Where is Everything?” The fact that I hadn’t labeled anything, but merely borrowed moving boxes from my neighbors, didn’t help. The boxes, labeled “Judy’s Office” or “Jordan’s Room,” added to our joy, as we have neither Judy nor Jordan in our household.

Then there’s always that first morning in the new place, when you have to get ready for work and all you can find are your yoga pants and flip-flops. Digging through boxes for such necessary things as, oh, underwear, for example – quite a treat when you have neither coffee nor a coffeemaker anywhere in sight. I had no comb and there is maybe one electrical outlet in the whole apartment, so blow drying was out of the question. I finally coifed my hair with a nail brush, as it was the only semi-suitable beauty item I could find.

My daughter, bless her, took three days to find her toothbrush. I’m still looking for my checkbook, and hope to pay my bills some day soon. If I could just find a pen.

Advice to Aspiring Writers: Don’t move. Stay right where you are. You’ll adapt.

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.

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