Thursday, January 17, 2013

The move

I've been a gypsy since I was 22 - I've moved 13 times in 25 years. Most of the times, it's been for work, but sometimes, not: I moved to Austin, Texas to find the me I lost (and I did!). You would think I would be really good at moving. I'm not. As I posted on Facebook, I start off carefully packing each box, making sure each item inside is protected, making sure each box is not too heavy, and packing things together that will be unpacked and placed together; but midway through, I start just throwing things in boxes and hoping for the best.

As I blogged about earlier, we bought a house in December, and are now living in Forest Grove, Oregon. We had started moving a car full of things every weekend since just after Christmas, and were feeling really optimistic about how much we'd moved and unpacked in four weeks time. But the Friday before our big, main move on Saturday, both of our offices were largely unpacked, and we both ran out of boxes. At around 8 in the evening, Stefan at last relented and said that, indeed, we needed help moving - my weak knees and slow-as-molasses-in-January ways just weren't going to be enough. We agreed that I would start calling at 7 in the morning the next day, trying to find movers.

That night, I slept 4 hours. 4. I need 7 just to be functional. I rarely have insomnia - I worship sleep, and do everything I can to have a really decent night. When I don't get enough sleep, it leads to tears, poor-decision-making and panic attacks the next day - I'm so not exaggerating. At university, I pulled some all-nighters, true, but that was 25 years ago - my middle-aged brain just can't handle that anymore.

At 7 a.m., we got up and I was on Yelp almost immediately, looking for movers. My first call was to VOZ Workers' Rights Education Fund - I really wanted to be supportive of people who really want to work, but the web site said one thing about when they were open, the Facebook page said another, and none of my calls were returned. I called four other places recommended (for the most part) on Yelp; two called back and were quite gracious but were fully booked - both said they could do it on Sunday. Then I called College Student Movers. Kyle said they were booked all day, but could be at our place in Canby by 3 to help load - but they'd only have time to load, not unload. I said YES!

A friend of Stefan's from work came to help load, and was AMAZING. I posted to my public Facebook account lamenting our need for movers, hoping for a recommendation, and my neighbor showed up - his daughter had been reading over her mom's shoulder on Facebook and said, "Oh, Mom, we HAVE to help her!" I went and got muffins and biscuits for munchies for our crew, blocked off the kitchen for Albi, and found little items for the kids next door to take out (they were DIEING to help).

By noon, I'd realized that we were going to be packed up and on the road by 2, and therefore would need the guys to help us UNPACK instead. Since they are based in Hillsboro, which is near Forest Grove, I was pretty sure this news would go over well. And it did - a text message and phone call and we were all set.

I loaded up what I could in the car, put Albi's bed in the very back of the Honda Fit, and then it was time to get Albi in. I was worried - she hadn't been in the car in many, many months. She's always loved to ride in the car, but in the last few months, her joints have become very sensitive - no more deep tissue massages like she used to love, as they hurt her now. I'm sure she's got more aches and pains than even me. I walked her out to the car, picked her up, and she tried to bite me. Good thing she's blind and couldn't see! I felt miserable for hurting her and started to tear up. As I drove off, I could see her in the rearview mirror, ears back, looking angry, and listening to figure out what in the hell was going on. I wondered if I was going to have to pull over to the side of the road. But within a couple of miles, she was doing the circle-before-I-lay-down dance, and she stayed reclined for the hour-long trip to our new home.

Once we got to Forest Grove, the movers were already helping Stefan unload. I left Albi in the car - she was laying down on her bed, seeming to be relatively content. And I left her there for an hour while I directed the movers to the proper rooms and made coffee.

I left my cell phone in the car, and during the move, Stefan was texting me , asking me to bring him coffee, and wondering why I was ignoring him. Sorry, honey!

One of the moving guys, Nobel (pronounced Noble), said he always wanted a German Shepard, so I picked him to help me get Albi out of the car. At first, I thought we'd try a ramp for her to walk down, but there was no board long enough that would give her any easy walk down. So I decided we'd just pick up the entire bed, with her on it, and lay it down in the drive way. Well, we could have walked Ms. Queen of Sheba into the house for all she cared. We laid her down on the drive way, and she just laid there, listening, wondering what in the heck was going on, but not making any effort to move - she was perfectly content on her bed. Sorry I didn't get a photo - I had no idea where my camera was. Eventually, I got her up to walk and I brought her and the bed into my office. I closed the door, and an hour later, when I checked on her, she was laying on her bed, just listening. Geesh what a good dog.

We had everything inside the house by 6 p.m. I tipped the movers big time - they so earned it - and then we heated up some leftover chinese food and talked about how hard this whole process has been. Because it's been HARD. I got the Internet working, Stefan put our bed together, and I realized for the first time how huge our bedroom is now and managed to do a little dance in celebration (plenty of room to put up Stefan's German closet without making the room feel crowded - I wasn't expecting SO much room!).

We spent about an hour on the Internet each, I took Albi out for one more pee, and we crashed at around 10.

Unfortunately, Albi was wired from all the new smells and surroundings, and got up more than a few times in the night. Finally, I got out of bed, took the pillow and covers with me, and slept in the floor with her. It was the only way she'd sleep. And I was so tired from the day, and from having only 4 hours sleep before, I slept soundly on the floor.

We still have stuff in Canby, even after going there again on Sunday and loading up a car full of stuff. We have paid rent through January, so there's no immediate deadline to get it all out, but it's frustrating to keep having to go back there. We have a growing list of repairs HERE that we'd really like to focus on.

My downfall, in terms of stuff, is books and papers. Once I started working from home, I had to create space for an entire career's worth of such. And I use a lot of the materials regularly - it's amazing what I can find in my little library that I can't find online. But I long to spend a week doing nothing but scanning things so I can throw the paper versions away. I've committed myself to getting rid of at least two full boxes of books and old software - I hope to do so through a combination of eBay, a garage sale, and a donation to Goodwill (there are SO many Goodwill outlets in Oregon - what's up with that?).

I'll try to scale back my non-work-related library, but the last time I did that, in 2000 in Austin, I deeply regretted it, as I love to re-read books, and I ended up hunting down some of those books in used books stores and re-buying them. I don't want to make that mistake again.

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