MOVING.

My belongings looked strange all mushed together and out of their environment.

Moving is hard. Harder than I remembered. After days, weeks, and months of shifting my stuff from shelves to boxes, from room to room, from my Kansas house to my storage unit in Colorado, to my car, to my new house with final stops to the bins at Goodwill, I certainly understand the physical impact of moving, but it’s the emotional impact that I didn’t anticipate.  I feel like my center of gravity has shifted and everything in its wake has been realigned in a way that feels both exciting and terrifying at the same time. I welcome the reset, while at the same time, am still surprised that there was such a big reset to begin with.  I’m not sure what I was thinking on that one. With the exception of short stints in Alaska and New York and a legit, get a new driver’s license move to Arizona for a year, I’ve been in the Kansas City area since I was 6.  How could a move away NOT cause a bit of unsettling?  But again, totally unexpected.  

Goodbyes to a house I loved so dearly were easier than anticipated, perhaps because it was the longest damn goodbye ever.  I left my house in early July and bunked with my sister and brother-in-law for the following 6 weeks while my belongings, tucked tightly into a small PODS trailer, made there way to Colorado ahead of me.  There were so many goodbyes during that time frame that I started losing focus on what my end game was in the first place. Goodbyes to a lot of my stuff (that would be sold in an estate sale) to my yard, to the gardens I tended to and added to throughout my stay, to my lovely neighborhood that I still could lose myself in on long walks, to the very walls that embraced me for the past 10 years and most of all, to my dearest of friends and my ever supportive family. I don’t like goodbyes – to things, to places or most of all, to people. The ever-growing to do list became my distraction to what was really happening, which didn’t really sink in until 3 hours into my drive west. After a tearful goodbye to my sister, I slipped into my overloaded car and made my usual stop 3 hours later at the gas station with the Starbucks in Salina. While fueling up, the reality of what I was in the process of doing hit me hard with tears that flowed off and on until close to the Colorado border. While my emotions were jumping back and forth from excitement and anticipation to fear and sadness, my mind continued to reel me back with the practicalities of the situation. “Where will the turquoise legged table go? Did I remember the box from Robin’s basement? Exactly WHAT is in that storage unit in Boulder and what in the world am I going to do with the furniture that doesn’t fit?” That jumble of emotions will be my forever memory of the gas station with the Starbucks off of I-70 West that I know so well. Pumping and crying.

My move technically began the day I started taking down the family photos that hung from floor to ceiling in the hallway of my house. These were the same photos that took an entire weekend to hang because my free form method of hanging pictures ends up with several holes behind each picture before it looks right. It’s not that big of deal unless your walls are plaster, which mine were, leaving a crumbling mess behind each hung photo, something I only remember thinking would be a quite a project to contend with if I ever moved, which of course, was no concern at the time.   Martha Stewart would have been ashamed.  The disassembling of the nest I had been feathering for the past 10 years, became my focus and distraction as I stood in rooms of stuff that needed to be sorted, sold or packed and pock marked walls that would eventually needed to be tended to with spackle and sandpaper.

Moving gave me prospective on a long list of things, but initially it was my stuff that became the focus and the surprising realization that it’s not the big, expensive pieces of furniture that have been hauled from house to house that really mattered, but rather, the miscellaneous collection of keepsakes tucked away in boxes that have seen better days.  That realization helped when things didn’t go as planned, which began with my movers. My confidence in the two men’s abilities waned when I saw them both strap on the back apparatus to move one box each of books, the same boxes that I would then move to the room  I told them to put it in the first place, sans the helper strap and the huffing and puffing.

When the “head” mover, (I’m guessing he was the “head” guy as he was the one who schooled me on tipping before they even began), asked me where the “big, heavy dresser” went and I told him, “the basement,” and his reaction was, “Seriously? Down those stairs???”, I realized I had Gomer and Goober in charge of moving all of my worldly possessions and that’s when I started moving boxes myself. I was paying by the hour and the clock was ticking fast. Plus, fueled by irritation and anger, I became a whole lot stronger. Now normally one would think that my “interfering” by trying to help with the unloading process would have brought on resistance by the movers and reactions that would perhaps push them to work a little harder and a little faster. That didn’t happen. In fact, my movers weren’t fazed one bit because they were on one of several “much needed water breaks,” which I would later learn when I got a bit closer to them, was actually a booze break. Workers don’t do as well when they are drunk, or at least well on their way.  So there was that…

Fortunately, and much to my surprise, nothing was broken, but there was loss, and sadly, I can’t blame it on drunk movers but have to claim the blame myself.  In my organizational haste and with clothing flying from one box to another, I took a box of all of my sweaters to Goodwill, latest count 15.  I realized this when I was organizing my closet and only had one sweaters to put away.  I’m still not sure how it escaped the Goodwill box but it did and it quickly became my favorite and my only sweater. Naturally, I immediately went to Goodwill and explained my dilemma, only to learn that the Goodwill where I made my deposit was a distribution center and that my beloved sweaters were already en-route to another center.  My daughter told me it was just stuff and to calm down until she learned that my vintage Ralph Lauren blanket sweater was in the Goodwill haul, then things got serious and very sad.  But lesson learned, it was just stuff.  Unfortunately, a lot of good stuff, both new and cherished old,  but still, just stuff.  I can’t say that I haven’t been back to that Goodwill “just to check,” a few more times.  OK 6 more.  And nothing.  Again, just stuff.

My nest is almost feathered now and I’m no longer waking up in the middle of the night wondering where the heck I am and why don’t I hear my sump pump running?  Some of the changes I’m not sure will ever stop taking my breath away, my view from my bedroom window of the Flatirons, for one.  And then there’s the incredible benefit  of so much time with my 2 year-old grandson and his brand new baby sister. Grandma (or Laudie as I’m called) is on deck and ready to play.

Everything feels different, smells different, sounds different and looks different and I know that patience is in order as moving is a long process that continues long after the boxes are unpacked. I left a large tribe behind and am not used to the feeling of walking into an exercise class, a store or a restaurant and not seeing one person I know. A couple weeks after I moved in, I was in the local hardware store and heard someone call out my name. This was an exciting first. I turned around to see the electrician who had been working in my house. I later told him that it was my first moment of feeling connected and that his shout out meant far more than he probably realized. I think he understood. Those small gifts are larger than I ever imagined.

It feels like I’m walking in new shoes that don’t quite feel right as they’ve not been broken in,  but boy are they cute and who doesn’t like that feeling of of first day new shoes?    With time, the shoes will break in and feel more and more like they really DO belong to me and are indeed on the right feet.  Time and patience. In the meantime, I’m simply working on finding my center,  626 miles west from where it used to be.

It’s funny what ended up bringing on the tears… the day my things were moved into the pod for a month of storage before moving to CO, I went to the store and bought donuts for the workers and stopped by the Starbucks counter to get a coffee. I saw the KC cups, which I always see, but that day I felt like I needed to buy one. And that made me cry.


Back to where I was born and began my life… full circle.

24 Replies to “MOVING.”

  1. Beautiful Laurie. You are brave and strong and always seem to know where you need to be. 626 is my lucky number so I think those mikes west have brought you to a lucky, happy spot.
    Where is it you have landed in CO? I have always wondered what area you visit. I may leave So Cal some day and am looking around. CO is awesome.
    My best to you!
    Connie

    1. Thanks, Connie! I’m so glad I landed on your lucky number! I’m in Boulder, just a few blocks from downtown so can walk for most oof my errands. I appreciate your kind words. You’re welcome any time!

    1. Thanks so much, Janet. Moving make one vulnerable, that’s for sure! I never thought I’d be starting over at 64, but am feeling very good about the adventure now!

  2. Kansas City will miss you Laurie! So excited for you though. Congrats on the new granddaughter ! Very happy news. Sorry I didn’t get to see you before you left town, but hopefully our paths will cross again one day, maybe in CO! Enjoy all the new experiences and cherish the old ones. Ellie

  3. “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.”
    -Marilyn Monroe

    Laurie, it sounds like your new home is just right for you (and cute too ). Best of luck!

  4. Lordy Laudie I love the way you write and express yourself. I know exactly how you feel! Oh the world of down sizing and PODS, and the silliest things that HIT you so unexpectedly.
    We recently traveled 1800 miles to visit Jonathan and his first home, and the joy we felt when we saw the things he kept made us so happy to know there were pieces of our family still in Kansas. (Olathe no less!) Soon the world will be spinning on greased grooves. After all you have grandbabies to love and enjoy!

    1. Oh thank you,Nancie! What a nice compliment! Moving sure brings out the vulnerable side! You know this journey well and yes, it is the silliest things that HIT!

  5. Laudie, no wonder you made the move! so did you sell you condo? Love Boulder but then havent been there since the 80’s!! Mork from Ork! Somewhere I have the pic of the house since we drove by it! Best wishes making new memories and holes in the walls, I always have one of those walls myself!!

    1. Thanks, Shauna! Actually I walk by the Mork from Ork house almost daily as it’s only a block away! I did sell the condo. Living in 2 places as 1 person was tough. One house suits me better! Good luck on that wall if you ever move…!

  6. Laurie, Wish you well with your next chapter of your life. Can not imagine what you are going thru. Your grand children’s little smiles will do your heart so much good. Take care , snowing here tonight. Yuk

  7. Laurie, I hear your voice when I read your words. It makes my heart happy that you are boldly forging a new life in a new place. Know that we are cheering you on in KC ❤️

  8. Laurie, I loved this story and could so relate to it! Being married to a preacher, we have moved 19 times. However, the hardest move was when my mom sold our house on Lee St in Olathe after my dad died. I cried all the way from SD to Olathe to help her pack, cried all the way to Council Grove KS (where she moved to be near my baby sister) and then cried all the way back to SD. Given the number of moves we had made, that house had stayed our “home base”. It really shook me when we pulled away with the U-Haul. After we retired, we moved from SD (where we had lived for most of 40 years) to IN to be near one of our daughters and be midway between the other two. I remember the first time I was in a restaurant and one of our neighbors called me by name. It’s a challenge meeting people in a new community, but we are getting there. Best wishes to you and treasure your times with your grands!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story and the positive ending! I can’t imagine 19 moves! You must be a pro at packing! I appreciate the well wishes…

  9. Oh Laurie, your words always make me smile. And these brought such happiness thinking of your new chapter in life you are beginning. I love that for you. I love your adventures and your love of life and all that it brings. I am happy for the time and memories you are making with your kiddos. What adventures you will share with them. That time will be priceless. Know that you will always have a home here no matter where you are. Big hugs my friend. Love ya. ❤️

    1. Thank you, Teresa. Your support always means the world to me. I know I’m in the right place being close to the kids and grandkids… these are indeed special times.Welcome mat is always out. Hugs right back. XO

  10. Ok…. so I thought u had moved, hmmmmm, Mayb a year ago? To be closer to those kids & grands. But nowz the finale. I moved to Block Island 20 yrs ago with my adult kids & house on the mainland. Then finally sold it 2-3 yrs later when I knew I was staying. Did the Block Island shuffle for 10 yrs., summer housing/winter housing. Then it happened! An apt became available… YEAR ROUND. Got some things outta storage and a U-Haul on the ferry and had several friends help move me up there. My name was on a list for an apt complex for 9 yrs. & that became avail 2 yrs afta the initial apt. So downsized again. I’ve nested & love it & go to see my kids & grands often!! I love Boulder. Stayed at the Boulderado once. Their Christmas tree is the bomb!!! Cozy up darlin’. Peace mimi

    1. Thanks, Mimi. The move has been a process and I made the final push late August (I did a remodel). You are a brave woman with a beautiful spirit. I’ll check out that Christmas tree… the Boulderado is walking distance from my house! Hope our paths will cross again some day. XO

  11. Laurie, your change of course as you set sail on new waters is filled with upcoming memories yet to be made. It’s not easy to uproot oneself, but I think life really is a series of readjusting our sails. Forge on as I have no doubt in time, these waters will calm down, but I’m sure at the same time with your adventurous spirit, you’ll enjoy the ride!

  12. I loved reading this. Moving indeed poses an entire realm of emotions. I am thrilled for you and this new chapter in your life❤️
    Ps…..
    Make certain the shoes have leather soles😎😂

    1. I always think of Jane when I buy shoes… most do have leather soles! You and your Mom taught me well! Thanks, Cath. Your support has always meant the world to me…

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