Monday, August 15, 2005

Little boxes...

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
Little boxes, little boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.
--Malvina Reynolds
We spent all weekend packing. Having lived in the same house for the past 18-years, I haven't had a great deal of experience packing boxes. Oh, I've moved lots of people and moved boxes, but this packing thing truly sucks. Because we've hired movers to move us (we swore we would after the monster truck experience moving Tess out of her house and into the one we are moving out of now). And movers have lots of rules about packing and stuff they will move and won't move.

First rule, they will only move things in a box. And they are particular about the boxes. Books and heavy items need to go into smaller boxes or the movers will treat them with distain and not pick them up. Plus all boxes must be packed to the top with no space on top so that the boxes can be stacked without collapsing. And the movers won't move computers, musical instruments or food items.

I have lots of books and miscellaneous collections of things such as liquor decantors shaped like Elvis (I had a few weak moments on eBay). I have lots of computer equipment and I have lots of musical instruments (seven or so guitars and a banjo, to be unexact). So, pretty much the only things the movers will move of mine are the books and my liquor decantors shaped like Elvis.

I learned that packing books and Elvis-shaped liquor decantors is an artform, not unlike that of preparing a mummy for burial. I mean, it is a very similar process. You wrap the Elvis-shaped liquor decantors in swaths of bubble wrap and surround them with books (ironically many of them about Elvis). Then you seal them carefully, say a few prayers and hope the King will be reborn in my new house with all of his body parts intact.

There is another art if packing for moving: not packing the essentials to get you through a couple of nights before you leave. As we packed all of our kitchen gear I made sure I left out survival tools including a corkscrew, pizza cutter and a couple of wine glasses. Those years as a cub scout have paid off.

In the process of boxing up all of the stuff in the house that hadn't been hauled to Value Village or the dump, I was still struck with how much crap I still have. Taking one last pass through my attic, I discover a few boxes I'd missed in the initial purge of possessions. Imagine my relief when I discovered my troll doll collection, Godzilla action figure and rubber chicken stashed away in a cardboard box. Then there was my soda pop bottle collection socked away when I realized that cans and plastic were making the old heavy pop bottles obsolete. I also found my dad's personalized bowling ball in lime green bag and an old ammo box with 30-year old 16-gauge shotgun shells for his old double-barreled shotgun. And low and behold, in a box of old Christmas ornaments, I found the reindeer antlers I'd bought for my old cat Cuervo (so named because the first thing he'd done when I'd brought him home as a kitten was throw up and leap over the pile of vomit...this reminded me of a similar experience I'd had with tequila). Cuervo has long since gone to the happy mouse hunting grounds in the sky, but the antlers remain to torment my current cats with.

The shock of packing things lead to the rediscovery of some treasures I'd all forgotten about. So I neatly repacked the boxes of crap in newer boxes and sealed them carefully to be reopened years from now in my new house.

I'm sure there is a moral here somewhere, but I'm too busy trying to get the cats to wear the reindeer antlers to think of it.

Tomorrow the movers come and soon my little house will be empty (except for the food, computers and guitars). I've been too wrapped up in getting married, selling and buying houses and cleaning and packing to think much about the emotional impact of leaving a place I'd lived in for so long. Having to pay to have a new furnance put in before the new owners would finalize the deal has greatly reduced any feelings of nostalgia I have for the place, but I imagine I will soon be hit with pangs of sweet sorrow.

But at least I can have a big screen tv in the new house. I'm easy.



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