A moving tale: who are your real, true friends?


If you ask me why I moved to a new house, I will look you straight in the eye and say, “I’m downsizing.” The truth is I cannot figure out how to use my stove. It’s a new-fangled thing that drives me to dig into the peanut butter jar with a tablespoon and throw out the pot roast.

Two months before your moving date, people will chirp that they’ll be happy to help you move. But two weeks before you do move, they go curiously radio silent. They will have scheduled a knee or hip replacement or have planned a 50th wedding anniversary trip to Paris. Or maybe a cataract operation.

And speaking of cataracts, if you need to have your eyes repaired, do it before you start preparing your house for showings. “Mom, it’s dusty over there.”

“Where? Where’s the dust? There isn’t any dust.”

“How can you not see any dust (or cat hair or Schuyler’s popsicle stick near the couch from last summer).

A few random tips: I was determined not to let my back go into spasms because of using huge, 1970s TV set boxes. Wine boxes by the dozen are available at Trader Joe’s. Of course using smallish boxes involves making multiple trips into the new house. But at least 10 liquor-sized boxes, filled with the flotsam and jetsam of my life— which I ferried every day for a week before moving day—fit into my car for the two-mile drive to my new place. Very satisfying. And yes, exhausting.

Of course movers could have handled it, but I was determined to get the truckers out of my old house and into the new fast because I told the estimator it would not take eight hours. Comcast, which I like to call Bombast, was arriving at 3 p.m. and I wanted to make sure the TVs, my computer and telephones were settled in correctly. (They were there until 9 p.m.) Besides, movers use a ridiculous amount of paper. I wrap my wine glasses in soft socks.

A day before the move, it seemed that all of Ponte Vedra Beach had come down with stomach flu. The nasty you-are-flattened, sick-for-a-week kind. When talking to a friend who had, let’s just be delicate and say, been sick, I hung up and felt queasy for 24 hours, but nothing erupted. Sadly my peppermint tea had made the voyage to the new place. But then, I thought, maybe there is no flu at all. Maybe everybody’s just saying they’re sick because they do not want to help me move!

Tips, continued: Do not get so excited about the whole move that you leave your cell phone in a hardware store. I did. Luckily, when I called my cell phone several hours later, a voice answered and told me I could come and get it in the office.

Do not pack all your bath towels. You will want to shower on the morning of your big moving day. Drying yourself with paper towels and a hair dryer is tedious.

Do not flatten all those boxes with your hands when you’re done with them. I am still nursing my fingers from ripping them up without using a box cutter, the kind that gets you thrown off a plane. Spring for a $3.99 box cutter. You just bought a house, for heaven’s sake, you can buy a measly box cutter.

Good luck to you if you move, but better not call me. I’ll be down with the flu.