Friday, August 20, 2010

Adapt, Improvise, Overcome

My body feels like it has been thrown off a cliff – a cliff with sharp pointy rocks at the bottom. I have been popping Ibuprophan pills like they were M&Ms.

As with most home remodeling and other projects I choose to take on, my visualization of how relatively easy a project is going to be, versus how arduous the project actually turns out, are woefully out of sync. Add to this list the ease at which I thought our move to our new house would go down. I confess that, strictly for survival purposes, getting my spa moved and operational was of the highest priority.

I notice now that moving to a new home involves a remarkable amount of bending over. I didn’t recognize that this would be as much of an issue as the last time I moved… which was 19 years ago. Back then my 40 year old body was clearly up for the challenge.

However moving 19 years of accumulated crap seems to be the least of my problems – it’s FINDING the damn needed items after moving that is causing us the most grief. Nancy had the great idea of marking the outside of the boxes with their contents. All well and good except that she would empty, then re-use, each of the boxes on successive trips. As a result, the boxes rarely contain what is written on the outside. We have created a perpetual state of confusion. We can’t find our stuff!

The other day, after emerging from the shower, my hair brush was no place to be found. I ended up attempting to comb my hair with a back-scratcher. My coiffure didn’t look too hot, though I must admit it did seem to provide some relief for my scalp itch. “Adapt, improvise, overcome” as they say in the Army. Nancy has suffered equally; after her vain attempt to locate the iron, I suggested she place the clothing items needing pressing between two pieces of cardboard then run over it with the car. Apparently my solutions are much “too creative” for her sensibilities.

Nancy did come up with a winning strategy though: maintain garbage service at both our old and new houses while we execute our move. This has been remarkably effective in streamlining our operation. Stuff which we have held on to for a couple of decades because we “might” have a use for it has not survived the gauntlet of TWO garbage cans. I call that progress. Although Nancy has retained veto power over the trash; she frequently retrieves stuff out of the can which I, clearly errantly, have discarded.

Still, it seems as though items spontaneously regenerate in the closets and from under the bed each time we remove and box them. The situation is much like those trick birthday candles, perpetually relighting each time they are blown out. No matter how much stuff we move, there seems to be another box full somewhere in the house.

We finally contacted a professional mover; they were totally delighted when they came to assess all they would be moving: a sofa, queen size bed, and a few odd chairs. This is the remaining stuff that is either too bulky or too heavy for a couple of 61 year olds to attempt to wrangle. The art work, on the other hand, will be carefully ported in individual car trips by Nancy. With these special items she trusts NO ONE!

Our idea in this move was that this would be yet another “transitional” move until we find our true “dream house”, a Mid-Century Mondern. But as groupings of skeletomuscular parts of my anatomy I didn’t even know I had torture me from my sleep at night, I find I could easily justify this house being my final “dream home”; resolving comfortably to be ported, feet-first, to my next and final place of repose.


Gorilla Bananas said...

It sounds like a great opportunity to get rid of a lot of unnecessary possessions. I'm not talking about the spa, of course, which I assume is some kind of Jacuzzi.

Elisabeth said...

After thirty years in the same house I dread our next move. I think of it occasionally and shudder. Not yet, I say. Not yet.

Good on you for tackling one such move.

May it be your last, as you say bar the actual last over which you will have no control.

DJan said...

I also notice this was posted in the middle of the night, which means you were still up when you should have been sleeping, young man! Getting old has its drawbacks as well as its perks. I also notice on the comments you left on my blog that you talk like a real skydiver! How long has it been?

Robert the Skeptic said...

Bananas Some call it a Spa, some call it a Jacuzzi, I call it heaven on earth for aching muscles; no longer a luxury but a necessity.

Elisabeth Our moves previous to this one were hurried affairs conducted over a weekend with no time to sort and organize. As a result we are now picking through three decades of accumulated stuff which I REFUSE to move if it can instead be recycled or discarded.

DJan I took up the sport in my mid-40's and participated for about 4 years. I gave it up because it consumed my weekends (my wife did not participate), the local DZ closed requiring long drives to the two alternatives, and finally I lost the passion after overcoming my fear of heights. Still, as you know, the sport changes one in profound ways and the experience has served me well over the years.

Oh, no I don't blog in the wee hours of the morning, I set blogger to "auto post" at designated times.

TechnoBabe said...

Hi Robert, I read Charlie's post about the documentary on Jerry Andrus. I have a question and maybe you have the answer. Netflix has a documentary on Jerry Andrus but it is not the same name that Charlie shows in his post. Am I right in thinking that the documentary in Netflix is not the documentary you were involved in and is the only way to view your documentary to be to buy it?

Robert the Skeptic said...

TechnoBabe We haven't negotiated a distribution deal yet so my documentary is not on Netflix yet. The one on Netflix was done several years prior to mine. I am working on having mine on Netflix in the near future.

Rain said...

I dread our next move as we have lived here since 1977 and it's a farm with soooooooo much room to put 'stuff'. We twice rented those big dumpsters, filled them and it's still obviously two dumpsters away from really clearing anywhere near what needs to go.

KleinsteMotte said...

Well we know what living with nothing is like thanks to that darn fire. We also know what sorting boxes is like . Recently we got a delivery of 350 of them. They contain the stuff cleaned and saved. So far we've gone through 80. We are just getting rid of what we've decided to abandon since we've done without. The rest will be boxed and wait for the house to be rebuilt. When? We are working on it. Hope you feel less sore soon!

Marylinn Kelly said...

Multiple use of items at hand - surely signs of a capacity for abstract thought. Pressing clothes by automobile would not have occurred to me but I'd say it has potential. Having moved in increments once, I have to say that method seems to drag on forever...well, it did in our case. To hold on to your sense of humor throughout is a good sign.

Wow, that was awkward said...

Just remember the mantra. When in doubt, throw it out.

secret agent woman said...

Every time I move, I get rid of as much stuff as I possibly can. I am never sorry I did.

Culture Served Raw said...

yes i agree with the above mantra! But after reading this I dread moving out now, I can see myself in the exact situation. Nevertheless, funny post and great writing!

The Idiot Speaketh said...

Combing your hair with a back scratcher huh? Your a caveman dude! A freakin caveman! (I've done it too.....)

Robert the Skeptic said...

Rain My former in-laws parents moved from a farm in Tillamook. They solved the accumulated stuff problem by putting it all in a huge pile and setting it on fire.

KleinstMotte It must be sad to go through the things reclaimed from your fire and have to decide to keep or discard what survived that ordeal. The things that survived will likely always remind you of your loss.

Marylinn Abstract thought describes me quite well. Putting my thoughts into practical application is what gives most people (particularly my wife) apprehension.

Awkward Yes, I do that... then my wife recovers it from the trash can. I have actually WAITED until I hear the garbage truck down the street then secreted items into the trash at the last moment. But she busted me doing that one time. Ouch!

SecretAgent I try, but it seems after holding onto something for what seems like decades, MOMENTS after it's gone, I find I needed it for something. That is called "negative reinforcement".

RawCulture Yes, moving should be dreaded. It is stressful and arduous, but often it is the best way to rid oneself of some of the useless crap we so easily accumulate.

Idiot I can't say I looked much more civilized after improvising with the back-scratcher. Although I am not sure an actual comb would have been much of an improvement.

GutsyWriter said...

So what is the place you both really want? Is it not the one you're moving to?
If I had my way, it would be 3 months on a Caribbean island to write, and 9 months in Florida for convenience.

The Mother said...

We were never meant to stand on two feet and live into our 80s. The back reminds us of that, regularly and with gusto, starting around 45.

Hubby's been down all weekend. Idiot felt "great" this afternoon, so he went out and rebuilt the mower. Did I mention he is an idiot?

Now he's flat on his keester again. Idiot.

Orhan Kahn said...

On the plus side at least you still have hair to comb.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Gutsy We have decided that our dream home would be a Mid-Century Modern, those flat roofed big picture window homes you often seen in places like Palm Springs mostly built in the 1950's. I grew up in a home like that as a kid. Love 'em.

Dr. Mom I have herd that we are still evolving and not completely ready for sustained upright bipedal locomotion. But our gender seems to have "tool use" coded in our DNA, so not surprising we would go out and rebuild the mower or hack down trees around the cave. We can't NOT do it.

Orhan Yes, I should be grateful that I still have hair, thinning and silvery as it is. Damn near the consistency of down in some ways.

Nance said...

I make it a practice, when I visit a blog I love, to pick one icon from amongst the blogger's Followers to visit and read. Sometimes I hit paydirt, and, while it's not the most complimentary way to say it, this piece is paydirt. I thank Jerry at Gently Said.

Two pieces of co-experience: We contemplate a final move to downsize, but we don't expect to find a dream-downsizer; who the heck entertains dreams of a final proof of incapacity? After more than a dozen Air Force moves, I know the drill and I know I ain't ready for it at this age.

Secondly, the Mid-Century Modern images made me blue. We had to give up a beautiful apartment in a perfectly renovated MCM building across the street from Balboa Park in San Diego...thanks to this hateful recession. With our tails between our legs, we slunk back home to the no-personality house on the East Coast that we've lived in for twenty years. Gave all the modern furnishings to our daughter in CA.

Recession sucks, but your humor helps.

Charlie said...

Nowadays, I have trouble moving around in cyberspace—never mind anything physical.

Funny, but I never pictured you as a collector of "stuff"—I've pretty much thought of you as a guy with his stuff together.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Nancy San Diego has some lovely MCMs, of course Palm Springs is the epicenter for that era of architecture. Sorry you had to leave yours.

Don't judge my blog by one entry, my writing can reflect a rather dour mood at times.

Charlie Your assessment of ME is spot on - however, I am married to one who is loathe to discard anything of "value".

A hundred years ago, on the Old Oregon Trail, thousands of pilgrims tosses their cherished possession on the side of the trail to lighten their loads. Nancy's ancestors were the ones following behind... loading all that cool stuff into the Conestoga wagons - hell, they were only going as far as Utah anyway.

The Mother said...

One of my grad student friends used to swear that the gene for common sense was on the X chromosome--and you needed two copies for full expression.

I think I have empirical proof that she was right.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Dr. Mom I was skeptical of your hypothesis... but then I asked my wife and she assured me you are correct.

secret agent woman said...

But the item you've finally gotten rid of, do you need it, or just wish you had it? And how many things have you gotten rid of that you don't need or even want? It's a matter of percentages and the benefits outweigh the losses when you rid yourself of clutter.