I recently calculated that I’ve moved as many times as the Duggars have had kids, so as I announce my 20th move, I expect the news to be received with similar responses. Surprise, Surprise! Not again! Are you ever going to stop? Have you thought of names? I don’t actually get that last question since one doesn’t name a move, but where 19 or 20 trips to the delivery room could make one a childbirth expert without medical school, I’m an expert at short and long distance relocation. I don’t even need a to-do list.
I’m trying to use this moving opportunity to get rid of things that have outlasted their usefulness. For this move, I donated five shopping bags full of books to the local library for their on-going sale. I had to face facts that even if I read and re-read all of my books and never obtained another book for the rest of my life, I might never get through them all. Once I admitted to myself that I’m never going to read that dust-collecting treatise on the post-war rise of the American suburbs, I was able to place it in the giveaway pile. Once I started culling the collection, I discovered I could live without many more books.
I used to say there’s not a house too big for me, and as freeing as getting rid of a few things can be, the gentle hoarder in me abhors the term “downsizing” and still dreams of living in something the size of an English country house. I can envision roaming around vast rooms filled with all those things I’ve refused to give up over the decades, and I know there will be future parties requiring me to hang onto dozens of wine glasses, water goblets and enough champagne glasses to host Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
Aside from the library, there are shelves of cookbooks to consider. I’ve given away over 20 this past year, but over 100 remain. Even at a generous calculation of life expectancy, I have about 54,000 meals left to eat. Since other hands will prepare a lot of those, and my breakfasts are fairly similar each day, I have about 6,000 meals to cook before the Grim Reaper comes knocking. I have way more recipes than I’ll ever need even if I cooked something new each day. I’ve stopped obtaining cookbooks, but a move to a new region requires new gardening information. Since the library was packed, I’ve acquired six new books on the subject! I may need a support group.
During my last move, I gave a number of things away, and I promptly forgot I had ever had them. That’s usually the case, but there have been a few times when I wondered what I’d done with a particular item like that glass mixing bowl set I used for 28 years. I assumed it must have been packed in a box in the garage, or maybe it was resting in a dark corner of a lower cabinet. As I loaded some dishes into the back of a young friend’s car the other day, she commented that she had really enjoyed those mixing bowls. Well, good for me that I’d actually gotten rid of something. I checked a hardware store, and the company still makes them. I may get a new set once we’re settled.
While packing up, I wondered if I could do with less. I convinced myself that it was possible once we were down to two mugs, two plates, one glass and a set of flatware per person. I can handle the temporary inconvenience because I know that wonderful feeling of unpacking your things in a new place. It’s like a reunion with good friends you haven’t thought about in a while. “Oh! I’ve missed you! Welcome to our new home!”
This is to be the final move. I’m positive the Duggars said something similar after the 10th pregnancy, and they started believing it after the 16th, but I’m determined not to move after this. Even if this new house turns out to be a drafty, waterlogged mess poised on the precipice of a sinkhole, I’m going to leave everything behind and lock the door.
© 2015 by Patrick Brown
Visit my author page at http://www.amazon.com/Patrick-Brown/e/B005F0CYH2/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1419885131&sr=8-1 to learn about my books “Moral Ambiguity” and “Tossed Off the Edge.”