Luckily, I was in New York City for work on Day 2 of Packing. I was probably much more productive and much less stressed than I would have been had I stayed home.
- At 9:30 a.m., Kenny sent an email entitled “Breakfast” which featured a picture of a clearly disgruntled Grace eating her daily waffle out of a Tupperware container using Kenny’s cake fork from the night before. Oh, and the waffle was cooked in the oven under the broiler because our toaster is gone. She was drinking milk out of a Dixie bathroom cup. No cups. At least we had the sustenance! Also, I think this makeshift solution seals the deal – Kenny should definitely be MacGyver for Halloween.
- I only received one text from Kenny asking me about which outside toys to take with us. His vote was none; my vote was all. We split the difference and only left behind what they’ve outgrown or are likely to have outgrown by the end of Portland’s ‘rainy season’. (Hint to the aunts and uncles who are expecting – the left behinds are still the backyard. You know, as part of the home staging?!?)
- I only sent one text to Kenny reminding him to take pictures of Day 2. That prompted a panicked text back.
Kenny: Where is it?
Bridget: In the brown leather bag in front of my nightstand.
Kenny: Silent. I knew he was freakin’ out because the nightstand was gone. And so was the bag.
Kenny – 8 minutes later:
Bridget – lesson learned. Safe zones are no joke!
- This relocation is uncovering fascinating things for me. Did you know that there are companies that prepare TVs and large glass items for transport? Like guys – different guys than the packer guys – showed up to build wood frames / boxes to house our TVs and my glass desk top for the move. Fancy! Of course, had I stopped to think about it, this makes total sense, but still fascinating that this is a business.
Before heading home, the girls from work took me out to a wonderful dinner at Locando Verde (Robert DeNiro is a partner – aside from it being in Tribeca, this makes it 1000x fancier than my usual eateries.) I strolled in at Midnight to a near empty home and was delighted that our beds were not yet packed. These packers are good – I would much rather forgo my plates and cups in lieu of my bed!
So, the packers came today.
We were under the impression that they were here to ‘inventory’.
We were dead wrong.
They were here to well, pack…as their titles clearly state.
I feel like we were pretty prepared, but not really fully prepared. It’s one of those things that takes forever to get here, then happens all at once and you’re sitting there the day after like ‘Wait. It’s over?’. That’s how is will be. I can tell.
We gave them a tour, told them what was going and what was not. What was ready and what was not. But that didn’t prevent a few funnies:
- Kenny had a bag of winter clothes from storage sitting in the living room. He was hoping to pull out a few pairs of pants and some sweatshirts. He went upstairs to take a phone call and came back down five minutes later. Gone! Off to Oregon. Looks like we’ll be doing a lot of Kenny laundry in corporate housing.
- I had packed the house phone away for the Open House we had this past weekend. I forgot to put it back out. And now, looks like I won’t have any phone calls until we hook it up in Oregon. Gone!
- Me planning dinner for tonight only to discover at 4 p.m. that all my plates and utensils and pots and pans and colanders and spices and napkins and …you get the picture. Gone! Plan B – out to dinner. Kenny ordered dessert to go – and had to ask for a plastic fork to bring home so he could eat it. As a side note, we came home to discover that our wonderful friends had dropped off a meal for us to enjoy during the craziness of the next few days. (Sniff, we will miss them!)
- Couch – gone. Chair – gone. Dining room table and chairs – gone.
- Beds – Save!
- Me sending Kenny a panicked text (yes, we were in the same house) to grab the checkbook and blank checks and put them in the ‘safe zone’ so we could bring them with us. (Yes, I said ‘safe zone’. That’s the “do not touch” zone for the movers.) Save!
On the upside:
- The kids were delighted. Their toys are back from storage…if only for a day. It was literally like Christmas morning here when they came home from school. I could hear their squeals of delight all the way up in my office on the third floor. “Look, Gav! CeeCee is back!”; “DAD! Can I play my Trio blocks? I can? YAY!”; “Yes, Grace! Daddy brought our PLAY DOH back from storage!” (That immediately got hidden. It’s certainly not an activity that screams hey, play with me while you are packing up your life for a cross-country journey. We’ll stick with crayons. For now.)
- The movers were *quite* impressed by Kenny’s sneaker collection. They took pictures of the ‘wall of sneakers’ and texted it to their friends. I am not sure whether to laugh or cry. On a related note, I now know the one mover also collects sneakers, has 47 pairs and that Kenny “put him to shame”. His words, not mine.
Tomorrow, I am traveling for work. Kenny is, as I type, writing notes down on what can stay, what can go and when he should text me to weigh in. He’s so good. (ha!)
My lists…Oh, how I love lists. (This part of the preparation makes me feel like we’re playing a real-life modern version of the Oregon Trail. We will not, however, have to hunt our own food. Or travel in covered wagons. Although if there’s a tour like that once we get there, I’d consider it. It is, however, *kind* of fun to figure out how everything will get from Philadelphia to Portland. And stripping your life down into ‘must haves’ vs. ‘nice to haves’. Very telling!) Here are the lists I am currently maintaining:
Pack for the airplane: list of stuff we will carry on the plane or put in our suitcases (i.e. how we will live until our shipped stuff arrives – see next point)
Sub-list includes: Things for our carry on bags.
Pack for shipping to ourselves: list of stuff we will ship to ourselves because we will need it in the limbo between corporate housing and buying a house (like my printer for work, for e.g.). Also, all extra clothes will be shipped. I think we should start an over / under pool on how many of our shipped boxes actually make it to us.
Things to do before we leave: this is dumb stuff like “wash the coffee pot on Wednesday morning, so it can be packed by the packers”; and important stuff like “get the car serviced and detailed before Saturday”; “get our medical records”; etc.
Things to do once we get there: this is stuff like “get a PO Box”. So far, that’s it. That’s the whole list. There’s not much else we can do until we buy a house.
Many people – friends, relatives, colleagues – have commented about how calm I am about moving across the country. It’s mostly true. I am a big believer in “everything will work itself out – so why worry?” I will say, however, that my mind is very active. At any given point, I have about five different thought streams going.
Depending on the time of day, something like this is going on inside my head:
Early morning – “How many hours until I can flop back in bed?”; “How many meetings do I have? Ugh. Six!? How is that possible? I am going to have to work late to get actual work done.”; “Hmmmm. What’s Grace wearing to school today? Huh. There’s less than two weeks until Halloween – better squeeze in another wear of the Halloween shirt.”; “I need coffee. It might be a two-cup morning.”
Mid-day – pretty much all work with some random ridiculous moving questions popping into my consciousness at any given moment. “Did I send that org announcement draft back to my boss? Yes. Did I submit – OH NO! Are we going to have to hire someone to cut our lawn once we move until the house sells?” Things like that.
Late day – Lots of work stuff, coupled with some home stuff. “What am I going to make for dinner? What’s left in the pantry? OK – how about Chicken Parm. Wait. I don’t have chicken. Or sauce. Or ingredients to make sauce. All I really have for that meal is the pasta and veggie side. Pantry surprise is not working out as planned.”; “Wait, what’s today? Thursday. Nuts. Gavin will have Pre-K homework tonight.”
So, not *quite* calm, but good to hear I am not visibly freakin’ out.
File under things we didn’t think about.
I was filling out the paperwork for daycare, you know…standard stuff that should have been a breeze to complete. (Well, other than the questions evaluating my childrens’ psychological state of mind – like ‘how does your child express their emotions? what does he / she do when they are angry?’ Uh… They’re pre-schoolers. Depends on what’s happening. They are deliriously happy one minute and throwin’ fits the next. They’re usually pretty shy in public, so teacher, you should be in the clear! Another favorite was describing their daily toilet habits. Really. I had to write down that one urinates and has a bowel movement five times daily and the other is more regular with four pees and one bowel movement … usually in the early afternoon. Yes. Yes. For real. I really had to write that. In pen. So someone could read it. And do something about it. I understand why I have to answer these things, but it still tickles me.)
OK, tangent over – back to the post!
Three problems I encountered:
1) We don’t have an address to put down. Corporate housing!
2) We don’t have a home phone number. You need to put home phone number, work phone number, mobile phone number.
3) We don’t have an emergency contact in the area … and one is required.
The last one is especially tricky considering the only person I know in Oregon is our realtor. And I have met him twice. He’s nice…but I don’t think we’re close enough that I can say ‘hey buddy, can you be our ‘in case of emergency’ contact for the kids?’ Although, we haven’t yet purchased a house, so maybe this could be a carrot? “Be our emergency contact and we’ll buy a house?” Probably not.
Hopefully, Kenny makes a whole lot of friends on campus really fast! Of course, we’ll put their grandparents down, but we need someone to bridge the gap since it would take them AT LEAST 8 hours to be on the ground in Oregon. Weeeeeee! This is getting good.