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Archive for the ‘Moving’ Category

OK, so the packing continues. Our library has become our own version of the Augean Stables, and I’ll pause a moment for you to read Wikipedia if you don’t remember your Greek mythology.

When we started:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, so there is some progress.  But we’ve been working every day, and still not one room is down to floor level.  We have a garage full of rummage for our upcoming sale, a full pod, and 100 or so boxes piled in the living room.  And the library STILL ISN’T DONE.  I’m convinced that some sort of supernatural power is at work, entering our home each evening and scattering books and various household crap in its wake. 

Did I mention that I hate moving?  This is why.  I hate when my house looks like a disaster area, and I’m spending all day every day working on it–so it looks worse.   The more shelves we delve into, the more erupts from their depths.  So if you wonder why my blog posts have decreased to a trickle, now you know.

 One final glimpse into the void, my bedroom:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve never felt so sorry for Hercules.

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As the sun set gently over the mountain to the west, I looked out over the tranquil vista. Gathered with my family, my husband relaxing in his chair, my children playing around our campsite, our Labor Day weekend was perfect. There we were, experiencing the togetherness that camping in the great outdoors brings.

 

If only our next-door neighbor’s house wasn’t blocking the view.

 

So we don’t camp. I mean, we never have. Flash is definately a “if it doesn’t have room service and cable it’s not a vacation” kind of  guy. I camped as a kid, but you know, I’ve been happy to go with the flow for 20 years or so. But as scripture says, “See, I’m making all things new.” This is new. We are about to spend a month driving cross-country.  We’ll only have what we can take in our van, and camping is on the agenda. So, trying to be practical, I insisted that we practice.

Our view of Ken's house

The good news is, everything worked. The tent, purchased over 10 years ago on a whim and never out of the box before, was great. The air mattress stayed inflated. Of course, we did run an extension cord from the house, but the new battery powered inflater/charger thingy was working. The camp chairs–complete with umbrellas–were a hit. iPods, iPads and various electronica were all pre-charged. Geek family goes camping. It only took us an hour and a couple of verbal ripostes to get the tent itself set up. Our housemate Vivian, an experienced SCA camper, supervised and managed to not help us too much, even when we couldn’t quite get the tent stakes into the cement-hard earth. Taking pity on our bruised fingers she said, “You don’t really have to stake down the rain fly unless it rains.”

Our new camping stove was great. We got it out of the box, checked out all the necessary kitchen items I had packed carefully in the bin, and then drove to pick up McDonald’s for dinner. Who has energy to cook after all that tent stuff? But on our trip we won’t have excess funds for that much eating out, so some cooking is going to have to occur. I’ll remember to buy fuel before then. It’s on my list.

Backyard camping at it's best.

 

Ahem. Three am and the drumming of the drops woke me up. As the only adult in our family capable of functioning when suddenly awoken, I staggered around in the dark with a flashlight in my teeth and staked the rain fly, only getting somewhat drenched in the process. The good news was that the rain made the ground a lot softer… the stakes slipped right in, when I could see them to hit them.

All in all, it was a good experience. The rooster next door only started crowing about 4am, and I was too exhausted from my rain-soaked excursion to care. The boys were up with the sun, and Flash and I dozed late on our air mattress. Practice makes perfect. With that in mind, we still haven’t taken the tent down. Kinesis and Entropy have slept our there on their own two nights running. Flash and I however, are happily ensconced in our king sized bed with laptops, my 37th level worgen on WoW, and blessed blessed silence.  Our move is in less than a month now.  Maybe they’ll sleep out there every night?

I knew I’d like camping.

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You may be familiar with this term.  If not, you are most likely familiar with the process.  Productive avoidance is completing a pleasant task that you want to do, instead of a task that is far more urgent, but not enjoyable.   I had a coworker once who, when pricing a paint job, spent days playing with his computer paint program and printing out examples of what the church building would look like in different colors. This was back in the days when that was a real time-sink… not simple clicking, you had to manually draw each pixel.  Of course, for true productive avoidance,  it’s important that you make it absolutely clear to everyone around you that what you are working on is not only necessary, but absolutely critical.  

So, for example, this morning I was washing dishes.  My kitchen window overlooks my front porch, and there, like a vision in the morning light, he stood–the FedEx guy.  Under his arm were two tiny boxes.  All the way from China.  And as I looked at him standing there I thought about all the books that need to be packed, kids clothes that need to be sorted for fit, bathrooms that really need to be cleaned, and I knew that none of that would happen.  At least not today.  Today was iPad 2 day. 

I immediately called Flash at work (it’s his day off from being a SAHD on Wednesdays), to let him know of the arrival.  Entropy was as excited as I was, and we sat and took turns carefully opening the carton, removing the white Apple box, tearing the plastic wrap, and then slowly sliding it open.  Remember when Charlie is looking for the Golden Ticket?  It was like that, with significantly more squeals of joy.  I then got busy synching, downloading, and finding new apps.  Would the same things from my iPhone still be usable, or should I even bother with them?  In preparation for this moment, I had already jailbroken my iPhone, and it was set up to be its own wi-fi hotspot. So when we are out and about, I can still surf the web charge-free on my wi-fi only iPad. It’s so exciting! 

 And what about a cover?  I hadn’t ordered one, so as soon as Flash came home early from work we hit the Best Buy.  I ended up with a green smart cover, and a really cool clear cover for the back from Belkin.  It’s awesome, works together with the smart cover and solves the problem of the exposed metal on the back.   I can be hard on electronics (*cough* killed 4 Kindles *cough*), so I wanted something tough but that would leave the engraving on the back visible.

Geekery, check.  Technology, check.  But whence the moving?

Well, you might remember that the entire plan behind obtaining these iPads is to allow us to cut deep swathes through our library, cruelly casting many volumes into the rummage pile.   So setting up my iPad, accessing my Kindle books, and all the rest is truly a move oriented task.  It’s on the master to do list.   Thus, this was an absolutely important activity for me to complete, and the fact that no actual boxes were filled today is not a measure of my diligence.  Really.  It’s not just fun.  Seriously.  And I’m not just writing this quickly so that I can get back to computer nerd heaven.  What I am working on is not only necessary, but absolutely critical.

Ain’t it the truth?

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“Quot libros, quam breve tempus.”

We’ve been officially packing for a couple of weeks now, and we are still working on the books.  In fact, we are only about halfway done sorting and packing just the library.

Time for a story:  Years ago in the days B.C. (Before Children), Flash and I moved into a tiny apartment as caretakers of an historic adobe.  We crammed ourselves into the miniscule one bedroom, which of course meant that a significant portion of the bedroom, living room, and kitchen were filled with books.  The previous caretaker dropped by to give us a set of keys.  As he stepped into the living room, he looked around wonderingly and said, “So, who’s the egghead?” 

We both are.  If by egghead he meant “reader”.  After two decades of marriage, the only difference is that we’ve expanded into a much larger house, and acquired Entropy and Kinesis and all of their books as well.

This is the library, halfway packed:

At least, this is one wall of the library.  Then there are the other three walls, and the four shelves in the boys’ room.  And the three in the downstairs hall.  And the schoolroom books–five full bays.  And the books in our bedroom.  Flash only has two, but I have four.  And all of them chock-full of wonderful, beautiful books.  Books that contain stories we love, information we reference, glorious pictures and the wonderful scent of ink on the page.  Heavy, heavy books.   Books that take up space.  Lots and lots of space.

I remember reading Farenheit 451 as a child and trying to figure out what book I would commit to memory in case of post-apocalyptic fascist state takeover.  At the time I was going to be Alice in Wonderland, now I’d probably be a pretty good Pride and Predjudice, but I aspire to be Moby Dick.  If you haven’t read Farenheit 451, now’s your chance to do so. 

Our reservations have been made, and we are indeed going to limit our household goods to 5 storage pods, so most of the books are going to have to go.  In preparation for the move, we’ve ordered iPads for Flash and I, and Kinesis and Entropy will be getting Kindles, particularly for school books.   We spent the day as we have others, picking up armloads of books and trying to decide if they are keepers or going to be sold in our upcoming garage sale. 

The criteria are fairly complex. I’ve had a Kindle for a couple of years in an effort to keep our book purchasing to a minimum, but you can see how that’s worked out.  Even after several moves and prior cullings, we are still inundated with books.  So, if it’s available on Kindle, we’re getting rid of it.  Unless it has really awesome illustrations.  Or is signed.  Or has deep memories associated with it.  Or… OK, no, we’re getting rid of it anyhow.  So we now officially have around 25 boxes of books to keep, and twice that many to jettison.  

Somehow it feels like a sort of betrayal on our part.  Like selling good friends, just because they’ve gotten old and unwieldy.  So many of my childhood memories are tied up with the printed page.  I grew up running from the goblins with Bilbo, being bosom friends with Anne, philosophizing with the Red Queen, solving mysteries with Hercules, sailing the seas of Narnia, and basically consuming stories at an astounding rate.  Now seeing them go is difficult.  Even painful.

Yet I keep telling myself that it is the words I love, not the paper.  The printing press is merely one technology to share information, and though my Kindle may not smell of ink, I can be just as lost in the story.  Circumstances are forcing our transformation, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.  Having an entire library that I can carry in my purse is pretty awesome.  I’m still not ready to give up my notebooks and fountain pen for Evernote on my iPhone, but who knows… perhaps some day.  Or maybe not.

Just for fun, here’s Flash’s side of the bed. 

Stick around, and one day I’ll post about the 50,000 or so comic books in the garage and how many of the 5 moving pods they will fill.  Sigh.  He really is a great guy.

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This is it. That moment before an impending move when it seems like the chaos will overwhelm us. We are drowning in a sea of boxes. Flash brings them home every week from the comic store.

The problem is, we have too much stuff. Mostly books. Games. Graphic novels. Video games and toys. And books. There is not a room in our home which is not abloom with literature.

However, we can only store so much. So most of the books, most of the shelves, are going. Everyone will get Kindles (mine is already two years old) and we will join the digital age. Now, don’t get me wrong, we’ll still have books. Hundreds of books. Enough books to educate a slew of children and ourselves. But fewer. Far fewer.

For now, the boxes loom in the hallway reminding us that time is counting down each day. We now have less than two months to go, and our new life must be ready for her first voyage. It sounds like a lot, but feels overwhelmingly immediate. I start to question my madness…

This morning this was the view from our house. The sun was coming over the mountains in the East, and I knew I would miss some parts of this place, this life. We’ve been in So Cal for 20 years. My entire adult life. Feeling melancholy tonight.

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