Sunday, October 23, 2005

On The Road Again

After three years in Camden Country Mouse and I move 8 miles down the road to Rockland (where I work) this week. The packing has been escalating for the past 10 days to the point we are at today; walls denuded of art, a minimum of CDs to assist with packing, shelves and shelves of books tessellated into a bewildering assortment of boxes, and the contents of the pantry staring back at us through the translucent walls of various rubbermaid tubs. I still have to tackle clothes (I have a hard enough time dressing myself in the morning, nevermind holding out a weeks worth of rig from the suitcases and bags), electronics (World Series and email will dominate until we hand back the keys), and the collection of empty yogurt tubs used for occasional leftovers (as soon as I pack them I'm going to need them).

To do: find out the actual street number of the new house, let friends and family know, transfer utilities (can we keep our cable modem if we move a mere 8 miles, or do the arcane rules of public utilities come into play?), marvel at the growing pile of once important stuff that is heading to theGoodwill charity shop tomorrow morning.

I know for many people moving brings unbearable stress, but for me it is part of my natural state. My family moved all the time when I was a kid. Not grifting a landlord with a moonlit flit alas- nothing as glamorous as that, but because dad was in the air force and Her Majesty needed him urgently to flip from one end of England to another (or sometimes from street to street on the same base). I don't have an exact count but I've lived in upwards of 25 houses in my 32 years. Ask a member of my immediate family the date of an important family or world event and before the date an address will tumble out- "Parseval Strasse, 1982, Falklands War", or "Nan and Graddad's 50th, Wessex Avenue, 1987". Indeed, my mother has long navigated through her life and memories with the assistance of a collection of photos of front doors, each one instantly recognisable as the portal to both a house and a period in time.

This time next week I suspect I'll be listening to "This American Life" on Maine Public Radio again, but in a different house, as we unpack boxes and adapt our belongings to new and unfamiliar shaped spaces. This thought makes me irrationally, inanely happy. Such an odd but comforting life I have lead to date.


Mondale said...

My family has only moved once in my life(Rothbury rd to Chapel Lane in 1977) and apart from the student years which dont really count I have been much the stabler.
However, you will recall that during my university days I worked for the fine old gentleman of Norfolk removals "Hadley and Ottaway". I saw your 'Pickfords' van and suddenly remembered all the inoffensive names we used to give other removals firms "Pick arse", another Watton based firm was known simply as "Anus".
As for "H&O" we used to sing a little song as we cruised down the highways and byways. It went a bit like this "On the side, we're coming through,the H&O boys drive in blue". There's a book in there somewhere. By which I mean that 'I could one day write a book about removals' , not 'there is a book in that pile of crap what I dropped by the van'.

weasel said...

My family used to use Pickfords but then I vaguely remember some hoo haa about furniture damaged in storage and so Abels took over. So polite, those Abels men, and they always wore ties. I don't think dad considered Hadley and Ottaway; I think perhaps because they saw fit to employ you during your college years :)

I can attest that Mondale did learn much about removals though: he knows a heck of a lot about removable bannisters and balustrades.

I've often wondered about the career trajectory of removal men; I envision a few years on local runs/in-country trips and then elevation to the London to Nairobi type jobs. Like an airline pilot, but with heavy lifting.

mactechwitch said...

Moving is a healthy phenomenon, I believe.
It forces one to cut the crap and get along with change. You are a better man for all your moves, Weasel.
(or you my be a total schizophrenic)

weasel said...

Maureen, it helps that Country Mouse is so mellow about moving too. Conversations this week are along the lines of "Shall we pack another box? You'd rather watch a movie? OK".

jamie said...

i'm with you. i've at about 25 dwellings in 30 years myself, including 5 apartments in my 6 years in NYC. i don't know what a settled life would be like.

weasel said...

It must be a quality we rangas have in common globally, Jamie.

See you at the marathon party on the 6th! My guide Mondale is in charge of getting us there.