Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why does moving suck

If there exists an award for the overstatement and over-analyzing of the obvious, then please, members of the esteemed selection committee, I would like to nominate myself. Seriously... a post on why moving sucks, surely as ground breaking as "Why root canals are unpleasant" or "Why child birth might sting a little" (which is apparently only because of the expectation of pain that society instills in women which triggers fear and anxiety therefore causing pain as a reflection of the fear according to a recent theory to which i do not subscribe on child birth... oh PUH-LEASE! can't we just say it hurts because one is pushing a HEAD out of her wohoo and leave it at that???).

But yes, moving sucks. Need I write 500 words about why? Well, I am finding, mid-move, that it is actually the subtler aspects of moving that come and slap one in the face. Yes, there are the obvious things. The chaos. The mess. The expense. The feeling of being uprooted. The unfamiliarity. Not knowing how to even turn on the lights or the heat in one's new place. Being overly friendly with a new neighbour and realizing 2 minutes into the conversation, after hearing about her divorce, search for the right man, eagerness to have children (and do I happen to know how old a woman can be and still conceive?), the negative energy in her old 'hood, failed career as an accountant, re-discovering herself as an artist, that perhaps friendly reserve would have been the better strategy. The long hours cleaning. The long hours unpacking. Not knowing where anything is and worse, once it is found, where it actually belongs. The treadmill dis-assembled sadly waiting for the technician to come. Moving while 8.5 months pregnant, working full-time, in FEBRUARY... it all sucks. And I have to take a moment to acknowledge the fact that we had some amazing help in this endeavor. Family and friends taking on la cocotte so we could unpack etc. We even had a family member drive in from a distant city this week-end to cocotte sit so we can continue our efforts so... I have no right to complain; we are very fortunate... but it all still sucks.

As I said, it's the subtle things. It's the act of packing one's life away in boxes and realizing with each cupboard emptied how many dreams and goals one had that never came to fruition. The small things... the knitting project never completed, not only was the project itself forgotten but it has been so long that I have actually forgotten how to knit. The vegetarian cookbook from the month where I realized I was no longer ethically comfortable with eating meat and had to make a change... and then didn't. A few elegant pieces of clothing and some make-up from the period where I decided I really needed to put more effort into personal grooming... and then didn't. Learning a new programming language - fail. Growing my own vegetables - fail (though to be fair until 10 days ago I did live on the fourth floor in a downtown condo). Learning Italian so we could live abroad for a year - okay that one I did, Auguri! But all of these projects, admittedly not terribly important, begun so earnestly, cast aside and completely forgotten. It is painful to have them trotted out one by one from the bookshelves, cupboards and drawers... each one whispering fail fail fail.

Then the endless decisions of unpacking. Every item needing to be categorized, prioritized and ultimately placed. Each of the thousand items removed from boxes triggering a decision. I am a slow thinker and generally dislike making decisions. To the point that when the movers were moving things into our new place and repeatedly asking "Where does this go?", I found myself repeatedly thinking"You should really ask someone who lives here!" (when I wasn't thinking "hmmm,  not sure... what IS that??") but honestly I was mostly wishing they wouldn't ask me and just decide and then I could use their judgement to "decide" where things should go. I hate decisions. Exhibit A: our new spice drawer - it's configured such that while there is ample room for all of our spices, only a few spices can be easily reached. Therefore unpacking the spices necessitated a string of decisions - do I use cloves or carraway seed more often (both tied at "almost never"). Which of these three containers of cayenne pepper should I consolidate the others into? It sounds ridiculous (because it is) but each decision was seemingly endless.

We splurged and paid people to pack for us (not sure if this counts as splurging when both partners are working full-time, one is 8 months pregnant and there is a toddler in the picture, may just count as survival regardless definitely in the category of Best Money Ever Spent). 3 packers arrived at our place the day before the move at 8 am and essentially stormed the castle. As I watched them I realized that perhaps the most important service they were providing was emotional distance from the objects being packed. There was no pausing over every item wondering where did I get it? Should I keep it? When did I last use it? What is it used for anyway? In the box it went... running shoes, opened bags of lentils, chipped dishes and garbage alike were packed with equal un-hesitation. At first I tried to stay ahead of them and go through closets and drawers throwing things away (which clearly I should have been doing in the weeks before the move) but it was like trying to stay ahead of a tsunami. Every time I turned around another closet had been emptied. At one point I panicked wondering where la cocotte might be and was ready to start tearing open their boxes until I remembered she had been dropped at daycare.

Then there are the ghosts. I have been back to our old apartment since we moved out and it was actually physically painful walking and seeing it laid bare, filled with ghosts... the ghost of me visiting hubby there on our early dates, the ghosts of us packing up our lives on two separate occasions to move to foreign countries... once for my career, once for his, the ghost of us bringing home la cocotte and, of course, the ghost of la cocotte... growing and learning and loving and screaming and laughing... hard. Hard to leave the first home we brought her to.

Finally, I think with every move a couple makes, there is inevitably going to be one member of the couple who is move eager to make it than the other. In this case that would be the member of this couple who is almost nine months pregnant and wanting to nest a little before hatching another. I am, despite the evidence in the paragraphs above, much happier to make this move than hubby and so there is guilt... guilt that he is leaving the first home he ever purchased that he adored... guilt that he only finds our new place acceptable, rather than loving it.


  1. I know how you feel... I just moved 2 weeks ago (although I'm not pregnant). I have 3 children; 2 of which are teenagers and weren't keen on moving. My oldest seemed to adjust but he just got suspended from school for 2 days (he's NEVER gotten into trouble!) and I can't help but wonder if it's because I've uprooted him :(. Either way, our new home already feels like home and I hope and pray they will adjust sooner rather than later...

  2. I hate change. I bought my parents' house, which eliminated all decisions as to where to put things.

  3. We moved this summer and I was not excited about it. Change is tough, but change when you are at the end of your pregnancy is really tough. Hope you get settled soon!

  4. My parents had lived in our old apartment for 20 years and then a few years ago they moved to a new town, 50miles away. My mom says that she still feel butterflies in her stomach when they go by the old place.

    Good luck with the move!

  5. he he... we'll be moving soon too, and like you, why not doing it when about to give birth, or when just back from hospital ? :-) As I said in a post some time ago, we found out I was pregnant a few days after making our offer on the house. Typical (we had µonly been looking for a house for over two years, after all!).

    Unlike you, I am much more stressed about the logistics of it than the "soft issues" surrounding moving home. Myabe that's because 1. we're not having somebody pack for us (I wish!) and I am still trying to figure out how to deal with boxes being about to burst, 2. finding a place with a garden for kids to play in was a project we both had, and we love our current flat but always knew it would only be ours for a few years, 3. I have been moving not only houses but cities my whole life so I guess am used to it... Still, I can understand how you can have mixed feelings about it all.

    Anyway, I hope you're settling in ok, and think of this new place as the home of your soon to be new family of four... isn't that exciting? :-)

    Best of luck for these last few pregnant days (unless something happened since your last post and you're not pregnant anymore!).