Saturday, September 03, 2005

Zen and the Art of Unpacking

Unpacking is only a slightly stranger task than packing. As you pack, you have moments of "Hey! I remember when Betsy gave me that pink fuzzy elephant-shaped paperweight! Those were the days!" followed by moments of " Honey, are you SURE you need the shadow-box sclupture with the false teeth and random mechanical parts!" and those are always followed by the "Good LORD! WHY do I have all this CRAP?!" moments. Usually I find that I have more of the latter than the former- especially the closer I get to Moving Day.

While unpacking, the moments are more like "WHY THE H*LL DID I MOVE THIS?!" down from the shelf, into the box, labeled carefully, down the stairs, into the van, out of the van, up the new stairs and onto the new shelf- to be finally unpacked and thrown into the garbage! For example: the little sheath containing five Ritz crackers held closed by a clothespin to keep them from going stale, or the coffee can full of pens that no longer work because they've been sitting in a coffee can for the last three years- no exaggeration, or the bag full of little scraps of fabric (TRASH) from some long-unfinished sewing project, or the ziploc baggie full of orphaned keys and picture mounting hardware. I pulled all these things out of a box today and threw them in the trash. Alone, they seem small and harmless, but together they are nearing a full kitchen trash bag.

Normally I pride myself in my ability to get rid of the things which aren't worth moving (a talent honed by moving at least every one and a quarter years on average for the last ten years). I don't understand how I still have those moments of defeat knowing that I lugged a trash-bag's worth of completely usless and worthless odds and ends all over God's green earth just to chuck them into the trash in a different area of the city/country/world. Does anyone REALLY make art out of the orphaned keys and screws and picture hanging hardware? What about somebody making a quilt out of the scraps of fabric two inches square or less which are left over from a productive day of sewing? And if anyone does those things, are the results really pretty enough for yet another person to BUY? Somehow I doubt it. I have seen the pictures of that house decorated on the outside and inside with "trash" and y'know what? It looks like they glued and nailed trash all over the walls- what a frickin' surprise!

Now, being an Ar-TEEST myself, far be it from me to tell you that your flower-shaped wall-hangings made of old discarded doorknobs is not "art", but c'mon, it's not exactly like people who aren't related to you are approaching you asking to hire you to create a sculpture for their home!

But I digress- Unpacking has it's positive moments too. Like the moment when you see the empty box on the floor, knowing that all your precious ceramic corn-cobs are safe in a cabinet in the bottom, back corner of your basement, right beside the 29-year-old potty chair you're saving for your future grandchildren (I wish that one was hypothetical!!!). That's a good moment. And I'm betting an even better moment is when you finally get to unload that potty chair on your innocent, unsuspecting "next generation." I'll have to keep that potty chair and see how good it feels to give it to my grandkid about 22-25 years from now! Oh, and I will definitely be watching for the disguised look of complete horror that my son-in-law gives me when I say "Here, this belonged to Sam's Father, and now it's for little Joey to learn to pee and poop on! See? You can even fold the back of the seat down and it's a step-stool!!!!!!!"

the I.O.


Blogger soulless said...

Ok, sweetie, you said:

'WHY THE H*LL DID I MOVE THIS?!' down from the shelf, into the box, labeled carefully, down the stairs, into the van, out of the van, up the new stairs and onto the new shelf- to be finally unpacked and thrown into the garbage!'

Just for the record, I would like to tell the world that I.O. did a wonderful job getting things off the shelf and into a carefully labeled box. And currently, she is also doing a wonderful job getting things from those carefully labeled boxes and back onto shelves that magically appeared in the new home.

By the way, we have ceramic corn cobs?? 'WHY THE H*LL DID [she make me] MOVE THIS?!'


P.S.--I know your mind will immediately go to the cement lima bean. That's a precious relic of happy times, so lay off. =P

9/04/2005 1:57 AM  
Blogger The Witty One said...

Yeah, that's why, for our last two moves, I've made sure that a) I was good and pregnant, or b) hubby's contract included moving fees. MOVERS ROCK -- and hats off to y'all at Gulliver's Movers in the DC area while I'm at it. There's nothing that makes you feel like an adult the way having your stuff moved for you does. I think you're not allowed to shop at Ikea anymore after that. It's store policy.

As for Junk We Moved, how about a depiction of our family in brazil nuts and peanuts glued to a piece of bark? Yeah, it's here. And I feel really bad because the movers packed the utensil holder from our dishwasher. (Sorry to our tenants.) The worst, however, was finding the carefully bubble-wrapped, FULLY-LOADED DIAPER GENIE. Yup, and that in a shipment that took 10 weeks to get here by cargo ship. Couldn't have been cool, either: my candlesticks all warped.

Yet, in a fortunate testimony to said product, it did not smell at all. As for the contents, thank God for my dear sweet cleaning lady. All's well that ends well.

9/04/2005 8:23 PM  
Blogger soulless said...

Dear god. I hope you tipped big after that cleaning. Gah.


9/05/2005 11:21 PM  

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