June 05, 2013

Gathering Moss

When I was a kid, my family moved houses exactly once. I was 4, and I only remember the important bits: wrapping my plastic doll dishes in newspaper just like my grandmother wrapped the dishes in the kitchen and dancing like a crazy 4-year old around the For Sale sign in the front yard. I "moved" again, for the first time, when I went off to college.

From then on, I moved a lot, assuming you count every time in and out of a dorm room a "move". Once a year, sometimes twice. Halfway out of student housing post graduation, then all the way out a few months later into a First Apartment, shared with a friend until she left to get married. This is where Ian enters the story.

Less than a year later, we moved our stuff into a joint storage unit (co-habitating stuff!) and moved ourselves to Germany. When we returned to the States nine months later, we continued with this somewhat indecisive lifestyle, moving on average every 18 months. Sometimes only across town, sometimes much farther.

Maybe other people do "moving" differently, but we've always packed and schlepped our own boxes. Up and down stairs, on and off of trucks, in and out of storage units. It never consciously made me reflect on the wisdom of a purchase, but it did mean that most of the stuff we owned was gone through and handled reasonably (or unreasonably, depending on your perspective and how sore your back feels) frequently. Some things never got unboxed, just labeled "nostalgia" and pushed into a closet. We weren't as rolling as some stones, but it was possible to put all our stuff in a 10x15 storage unit.

We've been in the same house now going on 7 years. Some of those "nostalgia" boxes are still stuffed in a closet. We've added all sorts of things that we might not have during our more mobile period: a dehydrator, a sun oven, grow lights, more bookcases, an actual couch, a bread maker, a weed whacker, bicycles, a chest freezer, a ladder, more books, more toys, more games. Moving now is a frightening prospect. Fortunately it's not really on the horizon. Why do I think about it? Because moving was the general method of going through things, letting go of the things we were done with and making sure everything got dusted or washed as appropriate. Turns out I'm not a regular duster.

I went on a Spring Cleaning binge this year. Curtains were washed. Tops of doorways were vacuumed. Closets were gone through. I shredded boxes of ancient paperwork. I took a full car load (including a vacuum cleaner I've not used since 1999) to Goodwill and a box of dead electronics to RePC. We got the carpets cleaned. Caitlyn passed several armloads of stuff to her cousin down the street.

There's a lot I didn't do. I meant to wash the windows and the couch covers and the front of the kitchen cabinetry. I meant to find someone who would help us out with some home maintenance (replace some moldings, fill some cracked grout, etc). I meant to actually make progress on repainting our walls. The kitchen and dining room need paint rather desperately and the stairways look like a small child has dragged her hands along the walls for years. Thinking of painting makes my brain short out, though. How do you pick a good color? And everything has to be moved away from the walls or out of the room for days. It smells funny. Painting has always been the one home maintenance thing I figured I could reasonably DIY, but these days whenever I think about it, I have to sit down until I think of something else.

Looks like we've gathered some moss in our stationary, more rooted years. I'm trying to keep it regularly trimmed so at least we are tidy in our mossiness. And maybe next year I'll make it a bit further on my list. Maybe the moss will get painted. Someday.

1 comment:

  1. Paint, I know. A realtor friend says you should do it every 5 years. We did it ourselves once. We weren't very good at it, made some pretty good messes and ended up with sore backs and stiff necks as well as freshly painted walls and we were in our early 20's at the time! Now we call in the professionals, but certainly not every 5 years! You have my sympathy.