About a month ago, I devised a brilliant plan - we would ship the children off to the East Coast (4,000 miles away!) so that Bruce and I could have uninterrupted time to sift through about 15 years worth of living and purge, organize, pack, prepare for our 1-2 year hiatus. Fourteen days seemed like plenty of time to get the job done. Yeah, right.
On day 8 of 14 kid-free days, it is clear that I underestimated how much time it would indeed take to sort through, throw away, give away, sell, recycle . . . all of our stuff. It is amazing how much has accumulated. Last week I discovered a box of journals and photos that was packed in 1998, when I moved up here. Inside contained stuff 30 years old! Letters, half-completed scrapbooks, treasures that only a 16-year-old can understand. It took an hour or more just to read through all of it (because, of course, one must read through it when one rediscovers such a fascinating archeological find), only to carefully re-pack it and carry it out to the shed for storage, so that one day our children can open up that box and discover all sorts of fascinating things about their mother. Two hours down the tube and nothing to show for it. UGH!
I used to be a wiz at moving. At least that's what I remember. Born in LaGrange, IL, my family moved twice before I was one, then four more times before I was seven: Atlanta, GA where my sister was born; Columbia MD to the groovy intentional community with the amazing kindergarten teacher and the climber in the woods behind everyone's houses; Morris Plains NJ where there was a pool that I walked to with honeysuckle growing along the fence, sand in the shallow end and a slide in the deep end; and finally West Hartford, CT. That is when the traveling stopped for a while. The streets were windy and paved, the trees enormous, and I discovered all a child and young adult needed to learn until I left for college at 18.
Once in college, the wanderlust that I inherited from my dad returned. I went to Boston for school, and every weekend or break my girlfriends and I were road-tripping someplace new - Niagara Falls, Florida, Maine. After leaving campus, I rented three apartments in four years and finally moved to Madison, NJ. I had the moving thing down. I remember my moving boxes that I used every time - for books, for the top junk drawer in my dresser, my box for dishes, cd's, records, clothes. I broke them down carefully and kept them all in the basement of wherever I lived, ready to go at a moments' notice. In Madison I got married and divorced and then moved onto a sailboat in Jersey City, NJ. Then, long story short, I came to Alaska. Got married, had kids, and here I am 13 years later, in the same house in the same town for the past 12 years.
And stuck. I had the yard sales, there is a dumpster in the driveway, a storage unit in the yard, and today I have hit a wall. I am overwhelmed. My mom tells me that when she was moving all the time back in the day, it was always a business move. Movers came in and packed and took it all away to the next house. And we lived in one place for a year or two, so how much could they accumulate in such a short time?
Not so here, where Bruce and I continue to travel and wander on the weekends and holidays, and thus never in 12 years have we done the typical spring cleaning purge. So, here I sit surrounded by hundreds of cd's (what to do with those???), too many books, dishes, toys, clothes, half-finished projects.
And I write on my blog. People have been looking for an update. Asking me to write more, to chronicle this part of our adventure. Usually writing lifts me out of my stuckness. Let's hope it works today.
This morning I found my copy (which was my dad's copy) of The Little Engine That Could. I Think I Can I Think I Can I Think I Can. I must be reaching the top of the hill, the hardest part before the downhill ride.