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Archive for March, 2012

The last winter storm of the season blew rain through San Diego County today, making for a very wet, very windy St. Patrick’s Day.  I’ll have to don green and raise a Guinness with friends at the local pub another year, as I’ve only 4 days left to finish packing before the moving truck is here to be loaded, and still have a ways to go.  The end of this labor is very near.

So it’s St. Packing Day for me, and I’ll wait to celebrate until the last box is nestled inside the big trailer and the doors are closed and locked, ready for the storage yard.  A 28-foot trailer will be delivered out at the curb on Wednesday and picked up the following Monday, giving us five days to cram all the belongings I’ve collected over the years into what I hope will be enough space.  Never having moved by commercial truck before, and being an official stuff-monger, I’m a little worried that it won’t all fit.  I guess we’ll see.

Anything that doesn’t fit will have to go with me in the little U-haul trailer I plan to pull behind my Toyota pickup when I finally drive out to the Farm.  That will hold things like my tools and home office stuff, hazmat items that can’t be shipped commercially, things I’ll need right away, things I’ll need here at the house to finish up the landscaping projects – these things will go directly with me to Kentucky.  There should be room for odds and ends.

I started packing bit-by-bit over a year ago in anticipation of this move.  Needing to make room in the hallways to paint and replace baseboards, I rented a little storage space last Spring and started moving books and boxes into it a few at a time.  I boxed up half my fabric stash to make room in a spare bedroom closet for Bear’s model train stuff, and then stored all my hanging clothes to make room in my closet for dresser drawer modules, enabling the rearrangement of the master bedroom into a Bear Cave.

Since the 2nd of March I have been packing full-time; emptying cabinets, dragging boxes out of attics, wrapping things and fitting them into the right size boxes, over and over again.  My thumb tips are cracked and sore from handling all the paper and cardboard, and the dogs spook at the ripping noise the tape rolls make as boxes are assembled and taped up.  The flurry of activity has them on edge.  We’re deep into it, I tell them.  This is how we get to the Farm.

Some days I rue the packrat in me.  Conventional wisdom advocates thinning out stored belongings before a move, donating or throwing away items that can be purchased at your new location.  Well, I don’t want to have to buy a lot of stuff, ever again.  So I grit my teeth and lovingly, carefully, wrap each cider bottle and canning jar in bubble wrap and then a sheet of newspaper, nestle all sorts of useful objects together in boxes and label them for the future, knowing they’ll stay stacked on tall shelves out in the shop building until a need for them arises.

It’s a fine line between having too much stuff, and skillfully conserving resources on hand.  I supposed it is good to have to move it all every twenty years or so, just to force yourself to take an inventory and dispose of what no longer has any value.  I have donated a dozen boxes  of clothing and miscellany to Goodwill, given away California gardening books, and thrown out some things that just disintegrated with age.  But most of what I am packing (and will have to unpack on the other end) is useful, and cherished, and will save me from expending limited funds at some point, so I consider it worth the effort.

Bear will have more than a bed and a TV left, in case you’re wondering.  Mostly I am taking the excess, the dust catchers, and leaving a clean, streamlined, efficient and liveable space.  Just right, in my opinion, for a busy bachelor not much good at keeping things tidy.  And all sorts of room to stack his own collected stuff, which will be another bridge to cross when it’s time for him to join me in Kentucky.

But for now, I pack, and pack, and pack.

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The arrival of March is a welcome transition for me:  my renovation labors at the condo are officially done.

Although there is much work left there to do, I told Bear I could only work through February, since my household goods packup is scheduled for the third week in March and I have many more boxes to pack, many more cupboards to empty, plus the garage and the two attics as well.  As with everything I’ve turned my hand to these days, the process is taking much longer than I ever would have imagined, and I cannot afford to run myself short now that the moving truck is actually scheduled.  And, I think five months of labor at a project I didn’t need or ask for is quite enough.

Luckily, we’ve been able to enlist the help of our retired neighbor, Les, who enjoys having a painting project away from the house to do and can use some extra cash, so the work will go on.  Though it isn’t finished by a long shot, I’m sorry to say, and Bear will need to start investing weekend time or it’ll be summer before the place is rentable.

I worked up a project list last night of what still needs to be done, and it’s a pretty long list.  The kitchen painting, cupboard repair and upgrades haven’t even been started, the decks are still filthy and full of items destined for the landfill; the laundry room still needs cleaned out and painted, and there’s still a lot of trim work to do.  All the interior doors need sanded and painted and rehung.  Ceiling fans need to be purchased and installed.  The downstairs half-bath needs painted.  Window treatments need to be decided on and installation arranged.  And that’s just the big stuff – there’s a hundred little things too.  I could have worked another two months over there but I have other stuff to do now.

This past week I really put a press on and got all the downstairs baseboards installed and painted, and a goodly amount of the downstairs trim sanded and painted as well.  We had pulled the old baseboards off before painting the walls, as they were terribly beat up and really needed to be replaced.  I taught myself how to install baseboards last Spring on the hallways here at our own house, and was pleased to find the skills had not perished.  With the aid of Les’ trusty miter saw, it only took me two days to cut, nail up, and paint both livingroom, dining room, and one wall in the kitchen.

I think they came out real nice.

The difficult part was all the work on my knees, and the getting up and down over and over again to make adjustment cuts.  (Rule #1 cutting baseboard:  cut less off than you measure for and make kerf-wide cuts until the joint is perfect.  You can always shave a little more off but you can’t put wood back on.)  You see those fifty-dollar knee pads?  I had to buy those last year after my baseboard install project caused my knees to have sharp, shooting pains any time I knelt down.  With the knee pads that pain isn’t a problem, but the old hips and lower back complained mightily, as did my wrists and hands.  I  am glad to be done.

Now I must shift gears and finish the packing up of all the stuff that will go with me to Kentucky, in order to empty out the house and yard and simplify upkeep for the Bachelor Bear, who will stay on for a time at his job here in San Diego.  Moving truck arrives out front on Wednesday the 21st; they will be back to pick it up and take it to the storage lot the following Monday.  Five days to get it loaded – sounds like plenty of time, and it will be, if I have everything boxed and staged and ready to go. 

Ready, set, pack!

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