Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Moving Out

Tubs of evidence (Rubbermaid Roughneck 14 gall...

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The week finally came – the week I move out of my mother’s place where I was able to stay through grad school and out to my own place. I’d anticipated this happening much earlier, but due to some medical expenses, it had to wait a little longer.

I found a great condo for rent in North Seattle. My commute will be less than a third of what it currently is, especially in the evening. I will be closer to where most of my friends live and may actually be able to have a social life.

Over the weekend, I moved the majority of my stuff to my new place. My uncle, mom, and I loaded up a 14 foot U-Haul truck at my storage unit/mom’s place. We drove it the 15 miles down I-5 and two friends met us to help unload. My friends often comment on my numerous plastic tubs that I use to move. Each year, I buy a few, so I’m now up to over thirty of them. They are super easy to carry and pack and they stack together when empty. It’s pretty funny when you see them packed all together in stacks of three or four.

Using a handtruck and a  small pushcart, we managed to move everything in fairly quickly. We basically dumped and left. I spent a couple hours after work each day this week starting to set my new place up. I plan on taking Toby down on Saturday so he can get used to the place.

While I hate the actual move, there is something fun about setting up everything just the way you want it. Over the past couple of years, I slowly replaced everything I’d gotten rid of when I moved across country, so now I’m opening all of those boxes. It’s like Christmas all over again.

So, I’ll leave you with a little Billy Joel and his Movin’ Out song…

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Everything is Changing

Autumn

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There have been and continue to be many changes in my world this month. Some are good, some are not, and some are really inconsequential in the long run.

Good:

  1. I am moving. In less than a week I will pick up my keys and move into my new apartment in North Seattle. This will cut my commute by two-thirds in the morning and at least three-quarters in the afternoon. In addition, I will actually be able to fit in all my belongings again. I miss my stuff.
  2. New school year. I know I’ve talked about this before, but it’s really a different year. I celebrated me one year anniversary with Seattle Public Schools this week and it’s amazing what a better place I am in. In addition to being elected to our Building Leadership Team, I have a student teacher and my colleagues often come to me for advice, which is a new position for me.
  3. Fall! Like Amanda, I love fall and everything that goes with it. Well, except those pesky allergies to decaying leaves. At least that’s not so bad in the Evergreen State!

Bad:

  1. Stress. My job is a bit more stressful this year because I have more classes to teach. Last year I taught three different subjects. This year I have five and the additional prep time is both causing a lot more work and cutting into the time and can work on the piles of paperwork that goes along with being a special education teacher. Hopefully, this will get better once I get through October and my first three IEPs.
  2.  Weight. I’ve stopped losing weight. I’m not gaining it either, so that’s a plus. However, with my schedule right now, I’m barely getting exercise time in and my diet is a bit wonky. I’m hoping that’ll even out once the move is done.

Inconsequential:

  1. Facebook’s new layout. Yes it’s annoying. Yes it’s confusing. If you don’t like it, go to Google+ Not on Google+? Click here for your very own invite. I’m tired of my feed having nothing but complaints in it for the first week of a new layout.
  2. Netflix/Quickster. I’ve been a devout Netflix fan since 2005. I do admit that their recent change to two services – one for DVDs and one for streaming – has me questioning if I really need both. But, in the long run, not an issue of earth-shattering proportions.
  3. My birthday. I’m entering my mid-30s this weekend and it’s a little odd. But, not really a big deal.

Change, overall, is good. I get bored easily, so I know I’m glad that things change constantly. It’s just important, sometimes, to put it all in perspective.

It’s time for another Our View From Here book club. This time, we’ll be reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Check it out next week when we discuss what we thought of the book and feel free to comment on our posts about what you thought about it!

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What I Missed Along the Way

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Like many of my blog-mates, I have few regrets. I, too, realize that my life wouldn’t be what it is if I hadn’t made the choice that I did.  Mainly, the regrets I have are things that I choice not to do. Often coming from a place of fear, I wonder what would have happened, what would have been different if I had stepped up and chosen the other option.

Just before I turned 16, my family moved across the country. Now, being a minor, I didn’t have a whole lot of say in this decision. I always wondered though, what would have happened if I would have stayed? I had a boyfriend who I was head over heels in love with. Would we have stayed together? I had close friends that I’d been with for years. I honestly wonder what I would have ended up doing with my life, since the opportunities that were presented to me in Pennsylvania directly led to my chosen career. I don’t know if I count that as a regret, but it was a definite divergence in the road and I occasionally mourn the life I left behind.

My only major regret is my lack of love life. I’ve had a few opportunities that, or a variety of reasons, I did not explore. I’ve also never made it a priority in my life, choosing rather to focus on my career or education. Yet, when I see a happy couple walking hand-in-hand, I think, “that could have been me.”  Even worse, when I see my friends with their young ones, I really start thinking about what I am missing. I never thought that I wanted to be a mom, but there is an urge there that I can’t deny. If it never happens, then I’ll be fine, but I can’t say that I never wanted a child of my own.

Wow, this was a sad week.  Next week will be better, I promise!!

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Itchy feet

For my family, change was a way of life. I’m a Navy brat.  I was born in Alaska, and moved to Georgia before my second birthday.  I’d like to think that adjustment was difficult, but I don’t remember it, so it couldn’t have been too traumatic.  During Elementary School, it was hard always being the new kid.  Every time I had settled in and found a group of friends, we picked up and moved.  In the next ten years, we moved four more times, finally ending up in New Hampshire.   Then, we moved to four houses in the same town within four years.  Then, stayed in one place, in one house for fifteen years so far (my parents still live there).  Even though the moving was hard, the not moving proved to be an even bigger adjustment.

After college, I repeated the pattern: New Hampshire, Boston, New York, Boston….I haven’t stayed in one place too long.  When my feet start to itch, I pack up and move to a new city or a new apartment.

A new house only eases the urge to move slightly.  I’m not looking for a perfect place (though my most recent apartment gets the closest), I’m trying to assuage my boredom, my feeling that it’s just….time.

So I guess the adjustment for me isn’t to a new place, it’s to NOT being in a new place.  In a new place, I can explore; it feels like a great adventure.  In an old place, I feel like I’m missing out on someplace different.  Of course, as I’m beginning to discover, there are benefits to the familiar.

I’m just having a hard time adjusting to liking that, too.

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Pack It Up, Pack It In

Moving Cupcakes

Image by clevercupcakes via Flickr

Okay, now I have Jump Around stuck in my head and I hope you do too.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have done plenty of moving in my lifetime.  Some have been miserable experiences (okay, most of them) and some have been rather successful.  I have discovered, however, that the most important part of the process is packing.  It’s the first thing you do and the last thing you figure out if you did well.  How many times have you thought you packed something well, only to find pieces of it at the bottom of a box? So, I’ve decided to share some of my tips that I have learned in my adventures (some the hard way.)

  • Invest in good containers. My preference is the Rubbermaid Roughneck 18 gallon bins. These durable, easy to carry bins can hold quite a bit of stuff. Each year, I buy a few. At this point, I have well over twenty of these containers. They stack together well and protect your belongings inside.  One recommendation: put the heavy stuff at the bottom and pack lighter stuff toward the top.  It is very easy to overpack these, so take care to balance each one.
  • Books are the only thing that work in cardboard boxes.  I worked in a bookstore for two years and our receiving manager gave me about 10 decent sized book boxes.  These were perfect for packing up my library – sturdy enough to hold my books, but not too big that I couldn’t carry them.  Ask around at local book stores – we regularly gave ours away to patrons who asked.  It was that or recycling them.
  • Soft stuff like bed linens and pillows go great in plastic trash bags.  Tie them shut and then toss on the top of everything else once the truck is loaded.
  • Wardrobe boxes are great for moving clothing on hangers, but they are also really useful for moving odd sized objects – ironing boards, brooms, golf/beach umbrellas, and other weird shaped objects that aren’t box-able.
  • If you can afford it, hire professional movers, but make sure you budget about 10-15% more than they quote you.  When I moved across country, they gave me an estimate based on some information I gave them. It was a little low (I kinda thought it would be) and I ended up paying about $400 more than the estimate.  Also, make sure you tip the movers who pick up your stuff – they are the ones that will make sure your stuff gets where it needs to go safely.
  • If you are doing it by yourself, make sure you have a monkey.  This is a person who is not afraid to climb across furniture and haul boxes up to the small little spots. Inevitably, unless you want to make multiple trips, you will probably need every inch you can get.  I was always the monkey – I’m small and strong and was able to fit into spaces most people couldn’t while hauling heavy boxes.  A tip though – if you are moving in the heat of August, remember that the rough of the moving truck is metal and it is inadvisable to place the palm of your hand on the underside of that rough. I did so once and had a slightly burnt palm to show for it.
  • Beer, soda, pizza, and/or ice cream is the least you can offer your non-professional crew. Actually, I even bought my professional crew a couple of sodas when they were unloading my truck on one of the hottest days of the summer. They were quite appreciative.

Well, that’s all I’ve got.  Within the next two months, I will be undertaking this process yet again. We’ll see how well I did with my packing three years ago when I open up those Rubbermaid containers and other boxes!

Word to your moms….

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The best decision I’ve ever made

I move a lot.  In the past ten years I’ve moved nine times.  No, seriously, I’ve just counted and I’m as astonished as you are.  These weren’t just cross-town moves.  Seven of nine moves took me to another state or cross country. 

Every time, it’s the same  fever dream of anxiety, heavy lifting and yelling.  In most of these moves (save one) my family has been the backbone of the moving effort (which explains the yelling).  Friends help out, lending me their arms and backs in exchange for beer and pizza.  But every time, I feel like it’s an unending torture and I hate it. 

Also, for some reason known only to meteorologists, I always move on either the hottest, or the coldest, day of the year. 

I have acquired something of a moving expertise, however.  I’ve inherited my father’s calibrated eye so I can easily determine whether something will fit in a small space.  I’m a great packer, and I usually emerge on the other end of the move with all of my belongings intact.  And I’m a pretty good weeder-out of things I no longer need.  (A separate and very funny story has two of my best friends in a deathrace for the give-away box of books and dvds from one of my more recent moves)

But, I finally got fed up with all the bullshit hassle that a move entails.  So, for my most recent move, cross-town from Somerville to Brighton, I broke down and hired movers. 

Let me tell you, that was the BEST $300 I ever spent. 

In typical fashion, the day of my move saw a 20 degree increase in temperatures.  I had asked my dad and my sister to help with the final push and they showed up early, before the moving team arrived.  My dad looked at me and said, “What do you need me to do?”

I wish I had a picture of the look on his face when I handed him the keys to my new place and said, “Can you go over and be there to let the movers in? Thanks.” Shock and awe and absolutely zero lifting.  He was bowled over.  He hastened out the door before I could change my mind.

The moving team arrived and they took 25 minutes to load the truck and were underway while my sister and I finished cleaning and throwing out the remaining detritus.  About another 25 minutes later, we were all in the new place, the movers were finishing up and I signed the bill and sent them on their way. 

It was all over by 11 am and worth every penny.

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Movin’ and Shakin’

Empty moving truck!!!

Image by blmurch via Flickr

So, I’m moving again. I don’t quite yet know where, but I’m looking at moving in the direction of work, hopefully drastically shortening my commute and if I’m lucky, finding a place within walking/biking distance of my school.

I’m no stranger to moving. In my life, I have moved into 17 different homes, which is an average of a little over 2 years in each place. Some places I’ve been in as short as three months (summer sublets) or even 8 weeks (temporary place while waiting for our real house to be finished). The longest I’ve ever been in one place was between the ages of about 4 and nearly 10. I started school there, as did my sister. About six weeks before I turned ten, my family moved about 18 miles south.  Three years later, we moved again, three miles east. We were in the same district – I, being in junior high, went to the same school, but my sister had to change schools. Again.

The next move was the big one – western Washington to Central Pennsylvania. I was just shy of 16 (we often moved in the summer, my birthday is in early fall). That was a huge culture shock, but in many ways, ended up being a great experience for me. I lived in 9 different places in 9 years, but only one of them for more than a year. A good chunk of that time was college, though, and while I was spared the craziness of dorm life, I lived in a number of houses, townhouses, and sublets.

The first time I got to choose where I was going to live was when I went to grad school in NYC. I got an apartment with a friend in Jersey City, opting a larger apartment with a lower rent rather than being right in the city. The commute was quite easy, so it really was a fantastic set up. I only moved because I got a job in the Bronx and my roommate got a position in Brooklyn. The commute was killer – two and a half hours on a good day. I spent a year in upper Manhattan (the musical “In the Heights” always had a special place in my heart after my time up there) and almost a year in the Bronx, a five minute walk from my school.

Three and a half years ago, I decided to leave  New York and head west again. I had family out here and the struggle of trying to live by myself on a teacher’s salary in the most expensive city in the country was too much. My mom let me move in, rent free, until I got a job and was back up on my feet.  For three and a half years, all of my stuff has been in storage. I have what I need for day to day, but the rest of it has been residing in boxes. Anything new that I got for my home has been stuffed away in plastic Rubbermaid containers, awaiting my new place. I’ve even joked that the day I move some place else is going to be like Christmas because I will spend most of the time unwrapping all my new things. I have a full 8 piece set of Fiestaware that has never been touched. I want my stuff back.

So now, it’s just a matter of finding the right place. I tried for this great little house with a yard for my dog, but I wasn’t quick enough. I’m scouring the neighborhoods, looking for that right place that my pup and I can call home. Hopefully, within the next month or so, I will be able to say I have found my Home Sweet Home.

 

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