Monthly Archives: April 2009

The Value of Good Planning

Good planning saves the day.

Yes, a big move just plain stinks. However, being fully human, I take some small solace in the fact that things could be worse. If I had not started the wheels in motion weeks ago, the current situation would be much worse.

For instance, I made all the arrangements with our demolition contractor weeks ago. Rather than having to plan the house teardown during the current panic period, the advance work is done. I also called the electric company and made arrangements to have the meter and service head taken off the house two weeks ago. Not to say these things are finished. But, rather than having to start from scratch, it’s just a call to ask where we’re at, or ask why something hasn’t been done. Putting out small fires rather than battling a major blaze.

And compartmentalizing helps. For instance, when communicating with the church office about what music to play on Sunday, they usually send some song suggestions. This week, I decided not to have an opinion, and just emailed back and said “those three are fine.” Done. Now I can ignore it. Yesterday, the giant plants arrived for the production of Little Shop of Horrors I am working on at school. The day turned into staying at school until 6pm, but I helped the kids learn how to operate the plants and ran through the score with the band. Done. Now I can ignore it.

100_04231And perhaps, way down deep, hidden under layers of panic, there is a very soft pleasant feeling. Sort of. The track of the Relocation Rollercoaster has been laid in the form of strong planning. Nowadays, we just ride the rollercoaster. Sure,¬† there are major bumps and steep drops along the way, the thing moves way too fast, and it’s just plain scary. But, we know the track is solid and we’ll be able to step off at the other end.

And there are a few joys amidst the chaos. My high school students are an absolute pleasure. I leave you today with a quick pic I snapped at rehearsal of Seymour getting reading to be chomped by the man-eating plant, Audrey II. Live, it’s just about the coolest thing you ever saw.



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The Truth is in the List

I never used to believe those lists you see from the mental health experts. You know the ones. Those things that list a major move among the most stressful experiences in life. I mean, it’s an adventure right? Out with the old and in with the new. How could moving be ranked only slightly lower than a death?

Okay, now … I get it. Seriously. The FDA should put out a warning about this. There should be PSAs on television – “Moving drives (howevermany) people stark-raving-mad per year. Don’t be a statistic. Call 1-888-move-safe.” Or perhaps U-Haul could provide After Move Hospice Care.

Yeah, I joke about it, but I have seriously boarded the moving-stress boat. However, I think I have uncovered part of the reason it can be so rough.

Life does not stop and get out of your way just because you are moving.

There are still the pressures of work. The phone still rings. People still ask favors. And in between times, you spend days wishing the gentleman at Town Hall possessed the skill to pick up the damn phone and return a call. You maybe take a few minutes to try to remember where you put your screwdriver because you packed it without thinking you might need it. And in the quieter moments, you ruminate on new jobs (a task which rates #18 on the Stress Meter all by itself).

And the sad fact slowly sinks in – There is no way to “sit back and enjoy it.” Even with the best wishes of friends, your own best intentions, and the smartest planning, it’s simply not possible. It’s one of those times during which you feel like sending a memo – “I don’t want to hear from anyone.” And in fact, I might just do that. We’ll see.

Recently, I’ve discovered a related meta-conundrum.

I wish I could find a way to respond to people who ask for dumb, lazy¬† favors. Someone who is fully aware of this move emailed me today to ask if I would look something up on the internet for them. Something really complicated that they knew would be hard to find … Because, I am “so much better at that sort of thing.” Another person who is aware of what is going on asked me if I could come over and look at a home repair thing for them.

Wish there were a standard response. I feel like saying, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize you were so thoughtless. I thought I mentioned that I am packing up my entire life, trashing half my possessions, finding a new job, tearing a house down, and still working each day … I’m a little busy. Maybe you could do it yourself?There lies the conundrum … You can’t say anything like that. You can’t make a big ugly deal out of what you have on your plate right now. “Oh, poor me, I need help. I need to be left alone.” Because then, I feel, you’re one of them. You’re making an assumption that you’re worse off than someone else.

Anyhow. I might eventually go with that memo idea. For the time being, two gin-and-tonics should do the trick.


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Back on the Wheel


You know those little gerbil wheels? That’s how I’m feeling. It’s a good thing though. We’re back in New York, and straight back into the crazy – had to jump right back into work and I’m going to need to get back on the packing train this evening. We had a wonderful time with our friends at Hidden Haven, and honestly, it was nice to get away from things here for a few days.

100_0225The big surprise? We didn’t bring the jeep back. Don’t panic – it’s fine. I drove it around up and down the rutted roads four-wheeling the whole weekend. Wild Bill wants to do a few more things with it to put it in great shape, so our friends offered their van. We’ll switch the van for the jeep at a later date. Also, this plan gives Wild Bill an open window, and there’s no rush. I sure had fun diggin’ holes and running the thing around all weekend though!

I’m working on a production of Little Shop of Horrors (you know … the musical about the man eating plant), and the plants are arriving today. So I’m off to be there when they arrive. And then rehearsal. And then back home for more packing. And I need to play through another score this week – a play I wrote the music to is going to Philadelphia in the Fall, and we have a rehearsal this month. All good stuff though! You have a great day too!


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Lonely House

We’re off super early tomorrow morning to the Carolinas visit our jeep genius Wild Bill. And our friend Peggy. And the goats. You all have a terrific weekend, and I’ll see you Monday. For the time being, here’s my house-packing-photo-essay. I call it Lonely House.






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The Calm That Follows the Storm

I’m feeling a bit better about all of this. Of course, a big round of good news always helps. Mind you, I’m still slightly mad … I did insist on packing the dog’s clothes from when he was a puppy. And I made him wear one of the coats for a while. In the house.

100_0191That’s our hallway in the photo – The pictures are down off the walls, the nails are pulled, and the plaster is scraped in most of the house. I’ll go to the store this weekend to pick up a small bucket of joint compound to fill the holes. Being my usual hyper-planning self, I saved the paint cans from five years ago when we moved in – I’ll be able to touch up the patches with the correct paint colors. One of my personal rules is to leave a place better than I found it.

And here’s a load off … big news … drum roll … our best friends are going to be renting the apartment. It’s absolutely ideal. They need some more furniture, her taste is very much like mine, and they will be keeping our large pieces – couch, dining room table, etc.

Yes folks, this is going to save me from wrestling the huge couch out the side door and trying to somehow get the china closet down the stairs. And then some. A big bonus for us all – because we will be slowly clearing out and because we’re dealing with friends, they can be slowly moving their stuff in, as opposed to having to do it all in one day. Best day in recent memory!

Guess where we’re going this weekend? To see our good friends Wild Bill (our Jeep genius) and Peggy at Hidden Haven. We’re way too excited. All you have to do to get us to jump is mention “roadtrip” and “goats” in the same sentence.

In packing news, the pile to go North is still alarmingly large, and I haven’t even gotten to the bedroom and office – which are the rooms we mostly live in. So, I just keep re-culling. And re-culling.

It’s a total process.


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Cracking Up

Am I a total downer this week, or what? I guess it’s not too too bad around here. The dog and I have only had one conversation along the lines of, “You know what, I feel pretty queasy too.”

100_0190I have photos taken and descriptions written for some things I might be able to get some money out of. Those will go up on Craigslist when I decide the time is opportune. I have the things that are going to a friend’s house sitting by the door, and our pile of stuff that needs to go with us is growing in the other corner. And yeah, there is something very, very unsettling about most of your possessions going away. In fact, the process really has made me a bit queasy. (And the dog too – he doesn’t react well to his turf being up-ended.)

I think the worst part of it all is going through it item by item. Because, of course, each item brings back memories. The root of thing being, if each item is a memory, and most have to get tossed out … well, that’s just plain tough.

However, enough whining. The day did improve, and I do have my fight back! Onward and upward!


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A minor update. The first big load from the house clean-out went out to the trash last night, and I can hear the trash truck approaching.

In the no-good-deed-goes-unpunished department, I had a pile of nice stuff I needed to get rid of – Japanese vases, a tea set, some dishes, cut glass bowl, beer mugs, wine glasses, stuff like that. Nothing usually stays on the curb for long here, so I stuck it in an open-topped box and put it out so someone could just it if they wanted to.

Some jerk came along, and decided they wanted only the plates … and the box. So, they took the plates and the box, and dumped everything else out in the gutter, breaking most of it and ruining it for anyone else. The broken pieces were up against the tire of a parked car. Luckily, I looked out the window. At eight this morning, I was out there picking up pieces of glass and putting all the ruined stuff in the trash can. Jackasses.

The stuff goes in a trash can from now on, nice or not.

100_0120In nicer news – I have a few tables and a lamp that we can’t take with us; things that mean something to me. They’re going to go down to our good friends at Hidden Haven. So, that’s pretty cool – things I am fond of are going to people I am fond of.


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