You know what garages are like. You keep things there. Things like weird old stuff, old car parts, empty computer boxes, chainsaws, corpses….
Okay. Probably not corpses. Except mouse corpses, which weird out younger son.
We still haven’t found a place to move to. We have found places we might/could but only if we have to. and we’re giving it till the fourth of July for the perfect house to come up before we settle for one of those.
But it’s time to get the h*ll out of Colorado — and good Lord, it hurts to write that. I’ve left a place I loved beyond and beside reason before. It’s not good — and we know it. It’s time to get this house ready to sell.
So far we’ve been going through the areas where things were so piled we couldn’t get into them, partly to clear storage space to put things in them while — emergency plan 5 — we move our essentials to a rental and look for a place to buy from there. (As you guys probably still remember, we’re BAD at buying real-estate, mostly because we’re Odd and live in the houses Oddly, so they have to fit OUR purposes. Strangely, this is fairly normal for writers, who tend to buy bizarre houses. (If I could find one of those poured cement diners, in the shape of turkeys or apples or Shrimp, I’d buy it in a heart beat, if it were weather-tight and cheap, at least. Alas, no one has offered one for sale.))
Anyway…. The garage mostly contains empty boxes, parts for cars we no longer own, tools to fix cars we no longer own. Tools for me to do house remodeling (Younger son: Mom, do you really need forty hammers? And no, they’re not specialized. The movers in the last two moves packed them and– Okay, later.) LOTS of copies of my books, a few of which are water-damaged beyond repair. (Younger son had a good idea for those. Because the last book sale was a mess due to the need to keep track of who ordered what, and different postage and such. So he said we should sell “boxes from Sarah’s Garage”: like three signed books — if you have them, you can use them for gifts — and a signed con program, cover flat or piece of art. And put them at a price about the same as the cover price of the books, including postage. Flat fee.) Look, I don’t do that many cons. Administering a sale is time-expensive and I’d rather be writing, and younger son has more important things to do, also, so– And how many boxes do I have/ Well, enough to take up a 5×5 storage unit. which we’re not going to rent just so we can continue dragging boxes around the country.
So– Sometime in the next month there will be “Boxes from Sarah’s garage.” And we won’t include a mouse corpse. Unless your cats REALLY want them. (We have a 400 acre natural preserve behind us (around that size anyway) so mice are a given.)
But meanwhile, after son, in an heroic effort, had dug and dug and dug, and filled the back of my car with donation stuff….
We found at the very back (near the mouse hole) a stack of oh, probably five by ten boxes, which were apparently stashed in there by our movers, when we weren’t looking.
Here, I’ll interject that I hate moving. I’d done it precisely once by the time I got married, from grandma’s house to mom and dad’s new house (now 52 years old.) We moved in an ox cart (it was about a mile, and the ox cart was a loan from the farmer) and well, that was it.
Mom and dad haven’t moved either.
However in the eighties, and with Dan in computers, it became obvious we were going to move a lot. Before we had kids we moved every two to three years. Then we moved to Colorado when older son was 1, and we’ve moved four times since. That is, if you compress the last move into “one time” which it kind of was, but not.
Because we got it in our deranged minds to buy THIS house which was on a short sale, it took us six months to buy this house.
Since we were renting while getting the other house ready for sale, we ran out of lease waiting for this one to come through and we moved to another interim apartment before moving here. In the meantime, Older Son moved away to school and–
Well, all in all we had five more or less complete moves in a year, which is kind of nightmare scenario for me, since my own particularly “neuro ATYPICAL thing” is that I hate having my cheese moved. I will endure the most bizarre arrangements, just so long as I can keep my daily routine intact. When the routine is in flux, I get grumpy and depressed and out of sorts.
By the time we moved into this house, almost exactly 5 years ago (the short end of the time we expected to stay here, but we didn’t expect the state and the country to go howling insane, honest) I was not only grumpy, but also very ill with a combination of ill-treated thyroid, and sleep apnea. The combination is bad for me, let’s say.
We had once before had things packed for us. Well, once and a half.
When we moved from South Carolina, we packed as much as we could, to save time/money, but we had a week’s notice that Dan was getting the job and, oh, yah, must start in two weeks. So we didn’t sleep for a week, but we still had the movers finishing up packing the kitchen and the bedroom. (Which is why I got to experience Dave Barry’s “They packed a coffee cup with the coffee still in it.” Yep, they did. They also packed the contents of the bedroom TRASHCAN which is why 6 years later, unpacking the last box, we stared in horror at a USED fossilized (more or less) infant diaper….)
Then we had people pack everything in Manitou Springs, when we moved to Colorado Springs. This was needed because it was early-years of Dan’s career, relatively speaking, so he worked 19 hour days, and I had two school children full time, plus a nascent writing career (three books a year, that year.)
So we had someone come and pack, and because they were packing and transporting in increments, I had to go to the new house and leave them to pack.
NEVER do that. NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER.
We were fortunate in the fact that they were really bad at identifying what was actually worth money, but I lost some tools and weirder stuff. (This was the move in which the weaponized umbrella left my life.)
It was however even weirder in the non criminal “What the hell” portion of it.
You see, they had given us an estimate for boxes that I thought was way too high, but they assured us that if the boxes came in under that count, they would — of course — only charge for what they used.
I was somewhat weirded out the boxes were the exact right amount, and I thought “they padded”. But I thought they padded by doing things like extra cushioning on dishes.
Oh, that would be rational and make sense, which is something I’ve found movers just.don’t.do.
The china was left half-wrapped, so we could lose irreplaceable parts of our tea sets, of COURSE.
No, in the boxes towards the end of it, what I found was that they had done things like fill entire, large boxes, with ONE SHOE and a lot of padding.
Though perhaps my favorite… You know those plastic lids you buy for cat food cans? The ones you use to cover the can, if you’re only feeding the cat half the contents (a violation of feline rights, but what can I say)? Yeah. Three of those in a large box. And a lot of paper. And the box was marked and delivered to… Master Bedroom.
So, we didn’t want to have movers PACK again, but I was very ill, and most of all very tired for two of those moves in a year. I was also dealing with stuff in my professional life that was taking ALL my attention and creating a shitton of stress.
So, husband convinced me to go with a packing service. This wasn’t part of the moving, but separate, and it has good reviews.
I knew there was trouble, when the lady doing the packing had a “hole” in a box and went looking for things the right size and shape to fill it. Sure. it saves boxes and money, but having kitchen cups in the middle of my office stuff is going to cost me time and aggravation on unpacking. I told her not to do that, but by then it was already too late (I’d been working instead of watching her.)
Then the movers did their thing. And you know movers, right? Regardless of what is marked on the actual box, if you turn your back for fifteen seconds, it will get put in the room or place nearest the truck.
Over the years, as we rearranged the garage, I’d found kitchen appliances, and — mostly, because they’re heaviest — boxes of books marked “library” (which is in the basement.) In fact, the library boxes were amiably distributed all over the house, as though they had no idea what a library was. (It has built-in floor to ceilin– Never mind.)
But we’d never made it to the most distant corner of the garage, partly because we THOUGHT those were all boxes younger son had abandoned with us when he moved. And because over time things that we were using to fix and improve the house (pallets of flooring, for ex) got in the way.
So, son has been making HEROIC efforts and clearing it up. There is still an entire array of shelves for Dan to go through, but yesterday I had fifteen minutes, so I went through and said, let me see anything that’s mine, and let’s see what’s in your boxes and if we can donate some.
…. The boxes clearly marked — by the movers — with son’s name…. well, no wonder he felt he had everything he needed and could leave them behind….
They contain my stuff, Dan’s stuff, some of older son’s stuff. Oh, and cat care stuff. What they don’t actually contain is any of younger son’s stuff.
Though one contained probably my entire “cleaning closet” and the mice had got into that, and… well, I hate to throw away swiffer pads and a hundred rubber gloves, but I’ll be d*mned if I’m going to try to use them with mouse poo and pee on them.
However, the two boxes that — so far, the day is young and we haven’t got to the storage room in the basement yet — take the absolute cake.
One of them says office supplies, and as far as I can tell, having opened it and looked in, it contains a table top water fountain, curlers, some projects in clay the kids did in kindergarten, and a proofread manuscript (which to be fair, is “office” broadly speaking.)
But the one I opened this morning was marked “Younger Son’s Room.”
Inside were… A Rex Stout novel I was re-reading at the time of the move. A portion of my silverware drawer, that I assumed had been stolen (including one thing with sentimental value and no particular value otherwise, but it looks good.) My good table cloths, including the Christmas ones, and the antique, embroidered and lace one that I normally use for Easter and hadn’t been able to find since the move (DUH) though I have all the (12) napkins. Stuff from my art room (art paper, mostly) and a package of printing paper. Some broken pastel crayons. …. Clothes pegs? AND the content of my card box where I kept story ideas, and which arrived empty. There’s a rubber band around the cards, so this was intentionally packed that way. (The box was in another box, natch. I gave up the cards for lost years ago. I glanced through them this morning. This is the Short-story-ideas file, so I might use a bunch.)
AND the entire contents of the “reservoir” of the pencil sharpener (which was not in this box and was unpacked in the first batch) evenly distributed to a one inch depth over the bottom of the box.
Honestly, I don’t even know what to make of that, or why she thought that should be packed. Or, if the pencil sharpener container fell out, why she didn’t just shake that into a trash bag. I mean, it’s jaw-droppingly insane, okay?
Onward towards our destination. I’m going to finish those boxes today, and hopefully start in on the library. And Bowl of Red is getting finished. And Rhodes will be on preorder soon.
And I promise not to send anyone any chain saws or corpses. Though at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if I find some of those in some boxes in the garage!