Move It

Farewell, old house!

I love to relocate. I moved a lot as a kid, and after I’ve lived somewhere three years, I start to wonder what’s next. We moved around because of my dad’s job, and my husband doesn’t have the same kind of job, so moving around isn’t as necessary (once we moved to El Paso so he could start this job). So when I ask my husband when we’re going to move, he looks at me like I’m insane. Move for what? My job is here!

When we moved here, we had a three year old and a one year old, so we needed space for them to play under supervision while I maintained the household. Now, we have three kids, 4, 6, and 8, and they need to go play somewhere Mommy is not. The days of dueling televisions are over.

Luckily, to get a floorplan that worked for us we only had to look two blocks away, meaning the kids would remain in the same school boundary and our lives wouldn’t change much at all.

If you’ve never moved with three children, it’s a real treat. In order to get our old house looking nice for showings, we needed to pack up some excess (mostly toys) and put it in storage. When I have a to-do list as long as I had when we were moving, I am all business. Get out of the way while Mommy handles everything. However, this all occurred over summer break, so the kids were home when Mommy needed to handle her business.

My daughter can become distraught when we’re packing for a trip and she notices her favorite shirt being placed into a suitcase out of her immediate line of sight. Imagine, if you will, packing up three boxes of toys and stuffies owned by a four year old girl who can’t bear the thought of not having everything she’s ever owned within arm’s reach. Mary had bins of stuffies in her closet, and my mother, who is a former realtor, told me closet floors should be empty before any photos are taken of the home. Okay, no problem, I’ll just rent a storage unit, box it all up, and we’re good to go.

Not so. I had to bring all the kids to the storage place to apply for a unit, during which time my 6 year old disassembled the one bench in the lobby, rendering it kindling by the time we had the keys. I took the kids to the unit so they could see it, and then we unloaded the car into the cement room. Mary saw a bin of stuffies getting stacked into the unit (rookie mistake using clear plastic bins) and cried all the way home. Unfortunately, there was still much more to pack.

We had a goodbye ceremony for every item, including farewell kisses and good-night wishes, all while reminding ourselves that our toys were not going away for good, they were going on a vacation to the storage unit. Bon Voyage!

Though the kids were not asked to pack a single item, they had many complaints about the process. Why couldn’t we go to the zoo? or go to Target and look at toys? Because, Darling, we just found out the new house will be ready in ten days after a year without any timelines or updates and we have to sell our house immediately, and also, if you bring another toy into this house my brain will leak out of my ears.

Kids have no understanding of the work parents do, in any area of their lives, but trying to explain why after a year of dithering and dawdling our new house would be finished in a matter of days was very difficult, because I also did not understand how that could happen. But alas, there we were.

Though the tidying and squirreling away of excess items was painful for the kids, we had multiple offers after one day on the market, so it seemed like a worthwhile endeavor. To me, not to the kids, who asked if we could go back and get all their toys now that the house was under contract, when the entire house now needed to be packed from top to bottom.

I like to move to a new place, but I seem to have blocked out the trauma of the actual process of moving, because it was an immense clusterfuck and I was honestly surprised how chaotic and ridiculous every step ended up being. Humans are flawed, and the more humans you involve, the more flaws there will be. There are fewer doctors involved in an organ transplant than there are people involved in the sale of one house and purchase of another. Flaws abounded.

Moving is an introvert’s nightmare, and the older I get the more I realize I do not care for most human interaction. Before you move, there’s lots of going out into the world and meeting with people, and letting strangers stomp all over your pristine home to see if they like it enough to buy it, and then when you move in there are constantly people in your space. (Sidenote: listing your home is an OCD person’s worst nightmare, also. You have to keep your home absolutely spotless before someone takes photos of it to post publicly, and then strangers will come to your house to check that it’s actually as clean as it looks on the internet. I’d rather my mother came over with a white glove to check for dust than have strangers assessing the tidiness of my home.)

Oh, the thing we said we’d fix before you moved in? We didn’t fix it, so we will come by Tuesday or maybe Wednesday from 8 to 4 to fix it. And the new problem you’re having, we will fix that a separate time, and it will involve a shitload of sawdust and paint splatters that are your problem. And hey, you’re about to discover we did a bunch of shit wrong and some shit we just straight up didn’t do, and it will prolong this getting-settled purgatory you’re living in currently. Welcome to your new home!

Y’all, this is too much human interaction for me. Not to mention having to answer calls I would normally send straight to voicemail from numbers I don’t recognize because maybe it’s some stranger who is supposed to do something for the house, but no, it’s always a recording asking about my car warranty or someone yelling at me in Spanish. And now the door-to-door vultures are showing up, hawking water softeners and security systems and solar panels and whatever else a new homeowner totally needs from a stranger on their doorstep. The first rule of selling things to me is to never, ever, come to my door. If I decide I do in fact need a water softener, I will go out of my way to find a company that did not approach me unsolicited.

Can’t we just leave people alone? Especially people who just moved and are still trying to find their kitchen towels? I can’t just wander into the kitchen braless in my pajamas and eat a pickle straight from the jar when there strangers here patching a hole they made in my ceiling on a separate day, and of course they will have to come back tomorrow to paint the patch, and then the next day to see how it looks. Maybe, when you’re demanding a buyer take ownership of a new house, it should be totally finished before they move in. Just a thought.

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