To Move And Move Again: An Occupant’s Lament
To Move and Move Again is so James Bond. I wish I had it as easy as he does. Every time he goes to work, there’s a darn good chance he won’t come home again. Therefore, he has never felt the need to shop in any of those exotic locales while on a work assignment. He has sex instead. Smart man.
Me, I shopped when I traveled. I brought home baskets from Africa, rugs from Turkey and India, jewelry from everywhere, stuff from Harrods. It was heaven. Until thirty or forty years later when you’re sick and tired of looking at all the things you’ve gathered in a lifetime, but are too lame and cowardly to get rid of them.
I have shed possessions at every move, something we did recently, in November, 2021. I’m just getting around now to writing about it. I donated at least eight boxes of books, and boxes and boxes of clothing and miscellaneous items. Still, STILL, we did not have enough room in the truck, trailer, two cars, and an RV to bring everything. We had to leave the piano, which no one ever played, but I wanted it to find a good home. I have no idea if it did. My stacked washer and dryer got left behind. There were tools and miscellaneous items left behind in the back yard, or given away to neighbors.
More than two months after moving, I’m still sorting things and have three boxes ready for donation. How is this possible? I’ll tell you. Basic biology, that’s how. It all gets jumbled together in corners, and one thing leads to another when the old hand beater gets a load of a pair of slippers and they commence to start a new family of junk, right there in the corner. Well, he’s a hand beater. Sexy stuff. As are old slippers.
Everyone Is Moving and It Causes Bad Weather
At the time we moved, there was not a single 26 foot truck in the entire state. We rented a 24 foot truck, and then decided we’d better rent an eight foot trailer, too.
Much of the stuff was Don’s. Some was from the business he closed in 2019, and some had been around for a long time. It seems you never get a chance to go through all the stuff you own, or inherit, or have had unloaded on you by family and friends for “storage”. My books and records had sat in a closet for 12 years because there was no room for them. There’s no room for them in the new house, either, so I continue sorting books for donation. The records mostly found good homes, but I kept a few for the turntable.
We were finally loaded (I wish) and pulled out of the driveway in Vegas before midnight on the 18th of November, the year of our Lord, 2021, 30 days after close of escrow. (Someday, I’ll have to look up where The Year of Our Lord phrase came from.) I mention the time and date, because, as usual, we screwed up and signed an addendum virtually allowing the thieving buyer to keep $2200 in rent for the second month, and now I hafta to sue her in small claims court.
The house we bought seemed a godsend at the time, and what do I know? It probably still is. Never look a gift house in the mouth. We’d driven up to Alturas when escrow closed in Vegas to take a look around. There seemed to be several houses available. There weren’t when we got here. When we stopped to ask directions from a city worker, he told us his cousin had a house he wanted to unload–er, sell– and to meet him later.
We wanted to rent the house from him on a month to month, but his story was universal and terribly, terribly sad. He said he needed to sell it right away for cash, or his no good family would move into it and he’d never get them out and they’d never pay him rent. He’s a Mexican man, sold his house in LA, and moved up to Modoc, but it just shows that families are pretty much the same in every culture.
We paid him cash (this was accomplished when we were here in October just after the Vegas house closed). Escrow here was started in the little parking lot next door to the bank. The title lady scooted over to open proceedings, and Victor, the former owner, scooted over on his lunch hour to make sure he’d get cash for the house. The sooner the better, as far as he was concerned.
It took almost all we had, but on the upside, we have no mortgage. What we have is an old house, built in 1910. If I can prove that Little Lord Fauntleroy stopped here for the night on his ride south to give warning that he was wearing purple velvet dungarees, maybe we could register it on the National Historical Register. I’m not sure what that honor conveys. Bragging rights? A spread in Architectural Digest?
“This month, we’ve included a marvelous photo shoot of this somewhat shopworn historical house in Modoc County, California. In the doorway stands the new owner, who incidentally, is almost as old as her house. She claims she’s on a first name basis with the ghost of Little Lord Fauntleroy. Her rural neighbors are not amused.”
The day after the truck and trailer were unloaded and returned to their rightful corporate owners, I came home from Reno after dropping our two friends and sending them back to Vegas in a new Mustang. (It was just a rental, and I don’t think they had near the fun in it that I expected two men to have.) Once home, I plopped into bed, and there I stayed–interrupted only by a painful two hour interlude to get the kitchen in order because I couldn’t stand it–for two weeks. Except on the fourth day when I went to the local hospital to see if medical personnel could help me. They told me instead that I had the Plague and to go home.
What? Go home? I have the Plague and you’re sending me home with nothing? No antibiotics (I know, it’s a virus, so why did the friend who gave me the Plague get antibiotics and felt better immediately?) At the end of the following week, when I wasn’t getting any better, Don sent me to the hospital in an ambulance.
The fire department had told him the only way for me to be admitted to the hospital was to call 911. That’s what we did, while Don threatened to sue every doctor and nurse if they didn’t take care of me.
Ain’t that a kick in the pants? The one and only time I had to call 911 for myself was when I broke an ankle at the local pool 20 years ago. I consider a bone sticking out of my ankle a true emergency.
But it’s different nowadays. Hospitals no longer treat sick people. They are merely fronts for chop shops. If you look in their parking lots, you will see for yourself. People coming and going in brand new cars. They get in, start them up, drive them down to Mexico to sell, and then they bring back fun drugs on the return trip.
I was in the hospital for two weeks with pneumonia. Had they taken care of me when I first came in, I might not have gotten so sick. I was in a room all to myself, and every few hours people dressed in haz mat suits would come in and inject me with drugs. Finally, they had nothing left to give me and just brought me a zinc and magnesium tablet in a little cup. For this, they charged Medicare $2000 a day.
They also brought me meals three times a day and I thought that was keen. I could have had that done at home for a lot less money, but the die were cast and this was my lot. It was pretty good food, too. I found out recently that the entire interlude cost Medicare a measly 68k, or thereabouts. Saudis spend that in one night at the Plaza in New York. That’s what I told that bureaucrat who called. (No bureaucrat called.)
Don and Brandon would drive by in the parking lot outside my window and we’d sit there and wave at each other. They sent me all kinds of goodies via the nurses. Those bums tried to keep my goodies away from me! Gave me all kinds of lectures on sodium and bread, while including bread in every meal. Every single meal. The funniest part was me having perfect blood pressure every time they took it.
When I was finally released–on Don’s birthday–it was another two weeks before I could get out of bed for more than five minutes.
That’s pretty much the story of our move, except that I haven’t won the small claims suit yet, and we are now looking for a house in New Mexico. Not sure when we’ll move again, but the MOTH doesn’t want to spend another winter here. Why he doesn’t like watching Caveman TV, I don’t know. That’s what we call the fire in the wood stove, which heats the place pretty well, considering. Considering we don’t have central heat or air.
It’s fun watching my son go out back with a moving dolly and load it up with two days worth of logs for the fire. He brings it in through the alcove–an outside room attached to the kitchen–up two stairs, and then through the kitchen door to the living room where he unloads it. A winter’s worth of wood was delivered before we got here, but it’s not quite enough to cover the heat. Fortunately, winter appears to be fairly short here.
Brandon and the MOTH both look like manly pioneers bringing in that wood. Pioneers with pedicures. We’re three hours north of Reno, which is where we drive for big shopping trips and some appointments. I had my hair done there in January after months of neglect. Nothing like getting your hair done when you need it the most. This week we went down again and all three of us had pedicures.
The house also has a touchy plumbing system that’s romantically involved with the people’s next door. No one told us this about old houses, but they have old plumbing, too. It cost our neighbor a few dollars for a plumbing emergency. We didn’t mind her problems so much, because when there is only one electrical outlet in an entire room, you know you’re in a time loop.
The dining room and part of the living room are still haphazardly stacked with packing containers. A month ago, it looked like a chaotic storage unit. There was no rhyme or reason to how the guys unloaded everything.
I’d get up, look at it all, realize that there’s no place to put anything–no closets or cabinets–and I’d go away again. The big detached garage is WAY back in the backyard. It is a large lot, almost a quarter acre, with a big, old tree shading the back.
Every day, I do a little bit here, a little bit there. Usually, just enough for me to say, “Oh, look! I found the… (fill in the blank)!” We get really excited when we see our stuff unpacked. It’s like Christmas, clear into February, so far.
When people–like the paramedics, for instance–came over, I could see it in their faces as they maneuvered their way around rubber tubs and miscellaneous items–like blenders–that have no business being in the living room: “Are these people like those hoarders on television?”
I tell people we just moved in (that worked better when we actually DID just move in), and have not been well enough to unpack. They look relieved. Otherwise, they’d probably have to report us to some state agency, and some flunkie would come over and take custody of the dogs. If they can find them.
11 thoughts on “To Move And Move Again: An Occupant’s Lament”
Total fun, one of your best. I say that every time. Your headings are priceless: “Everyone is moving, and it causes bad weather.”
This is a weird place to put this, but no matter. I recently saw Stephen Colbert answer a question about humor and his personal life. Your story is an application, I think. https://twitter.com/colbertlateshow/status/1489470018957942784?s=21
That was interesting! If he wasn’t prepared at all, he certainly does a great job of articulating his beliefs off the cuff. But as a host, he should be able to do that. Cavett was great at it, I think. I thought Colbert was Jewish. I guess because most successful, funny people are. Haha! Or USED to be. I stand complimented, and I never tire of hearing how good you think my stuff is. Thank you!
Been watching the Reacher series on Prime. The character is very close to the one presented in the novel series. He is retired military, early 40’s, owns the clothes on his back and a toothbrush. Has his pension sent to Western Union, he sees the country via bus, going wherever interests him, stays in cheap motels, buys new clothes when current ones get dirty, shopping in thrift stores and Army/Navy stores (cheaper than washing them).
A couple more moves, you’ll be down to that.
You promise? Have you read the books? I’ll have to give one a try. I’ve seen the movies with Tom Cruise. We have Prime, too, but can’t watch it, yet. We have to upgrade our Roku to see it because of the 5G thing. Ridiculous. Can you imagine when they will force you to buy a new car, instead of just a phone or a television? Uh-huh.
I can only hope you’re right, but we still buy other things we seem to “need.” For instance, I have a stick, upright, cordless vacuum coming soon. There are approximately zero outlets in the house and it’s so hard to get around, I can’t use the Rainbow. So, I’m getting an inexpensive stick vacuum. But that’s another “thing”.
Well good grief. You’re not allowed to have that much fun without getting permission! And weeks in bed doing nothing.
Really though, so glad you made it through all that. Moving is never fun but that was way over the usual allowance.
Stuff just happens and accumulates. When we moved here I spent a month clearing out and donating/throwing away. We got here and I spent another month doing more of the same. And there are boxes in the garage we haven’t opened in the last 25 years. (Whatever might be in them I’m pretty sure we don’t need.)
Do take care of yourself. It’ll take a while to get back to “normal. And a while finding another house. But keep waving.
Mary, I am so glad we’re not the only one who paid to move stuff we don’t want! Haha! I look at those migrant tribes who can pack in ten minutes and wonder how they survive without ashtrays and a junk drawer full of odds and ends.
I feel very normal now, whatever that is, but just about the same as before we left. I miss the pool a lot, but am ready to take up bike riding instead. I had the excuse of too much traffic in Vegas, but I don’t have that here. And the temp is going up to the 60s. Unless I drive to Klamath Falls, there’s no pool until summer.
You have got to open those boxes and tell me what’s in them. I’d never last that long without looking because I’ve never stayed that long in one house. I thought 12 years was pretty good!
Once upon a time I always traveled light, back in the days when Dad was in the Navy. The Navy paid to move just so much, so toys and clothes got paired down all the time. But since then, not enough sorting through and way too much keeping cause we might need it.
Oh well, when the weather warms a bit around here I’m back into the garage to tackle some more. So just leave it until my heirs eventually bring in a bulldozer.
Hahahaha! I always think of the kids when I see these properties piled with old vehicles, boats, and RVs. You can imagine what else is piled up inside the house and garage. For a real thrill, take a look around realtor .com some time. You can see real life hoarders in some of these houses. They are scrapers, usually. Person probably lived there for years and never fixed or cleaned anything. I can relate as I have gotten older, too, but Lordy. I have to wonder how some of it got piled that high.
That settles it. We’re never moving. It would take us 10 years to go through all our stuff.
Right? And who has that kind of time? How are you, Mike? Seems like YEARS since I have seen you.
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