A Life in Boxes

As I sit here with my feet propped up on a makeshift ottoman (it’s a moving box) with my glass of water set on a makeshift side table (it’s also a box), I realize my life has been swallowed by boxes.

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Our HHG (household goods) arrived about two weeks ago.  Of course they did because that’s when Ben was away for a three week training course.  The day our shipment arrived went, ehh, alright.  Average on the smooth-o-meter.  Our lead mover man was one of those loud, over-active types who swears he’s here for all your needs.  “Anything you need, Mrs. Martin.  We are here for YOU, Mrs. Martin.” But by the end of the day he was calling me sweetheart and rushing me through my final checklist because he wanted to beat the traffic.  When he noticed me making a list of boxes that I hadn’t been able to check off as actually coming into my house, he asked me what I wanted him to do about it.  When “Go find them” was my response, the sweethearts promptly ended.  Still, his team worked hard, as evidenced by the mountains of boxes they brought into my new home.

They were everywhere.  They were in every room.  They are still clogging up the basement and taking up two of the three spaces in our garage.  Hallways, bathrooms, nowhere is safe.  I spend an hour cutting my way through a pile then turn around to find another than I swear wasn’t there a second ago.  It’s like the stacks are regenerating.  And the paper.  Oh, the paper.  Forests worth of paper.  Everything is wrapped in reams of paper, except my daughter’s snow globe collection, which was barely wrapped at all, yet still survived the transatlantic trip.

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 I was so worried about my penny, box top, plastic marble and rock, but they made it, neatly wrapped together in several large sheets of paper. Thank you, Navy packers!

Do you have any idea how physically demanding it is to unwrap an entire home’s contents by oneself?  (Yes, that sentence deserves a “oneself”.)  The sore muscles from moving furniture that was placed in the wrong room or the stacks of boxes that are blocking the bathroom door.  The sliced fingers from repeated carelessness with the box cutter.  The bruises from trying to carry a box out of a room, catching the edge of the doorway, then bouncing back into the room, clipping the dining room table with your hip.  The broken fingernails! (Woe. Is. Me.)

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And then the frustration begins.  I mean, haven’t I been doing this for weeks?  Shouldn’t I be done by now?  Shouldn’t everything be in its place, not in a teetering pile next to the couch?  Why does that rug look so tiny in the living room?  Why is that room empty while that room is too small for the furniture that belongs in it?  What do you mean you have a book report due and there’s a science fair next week?  Can’t you see I have unpacking to do?

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So, wish me luck.  When I reached this frustration level on our last move, I quit.  Stacks of paintings stayed in stacks.  Basement boxes were never opened.  Huge expanses of walls stayed empty.

But I don’t want to give up this time, so I’ll keep at it.  Just, please excuse my cracked fingernails and bruises for a while.  And if you decide to come visit anytime in the next six months, you may have a dishpack box for a nightstand.

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