Thursday, June 6, 2013

Joys of Moving

As a footloose young man, I never met a move I didn't like. I graduated from high school living in the house where I was born,* and relocation possessed for me the romantic appeal that only comes from inexperience. Between my eighteenth and twenty-first birthdays I lived at eight different addresses in five cities in three states.

Of course in those days everything I owned fit in my car.** And half of it never got unpacked. Moving took about four hours plus driving time and however long I spent broken down on the side of the road. I probably would have done it more often, if not for utility deposits.

That all changed when I acquired my first live-in girlfriend, destined to become my ex-wife some dozen years later. Before I knew it I owned a pit sectional, component stereo, and my own refrigerator. A refrigerator, for Gods-sake. Suddenly, moves required U-Hauls and planning, and pizza and beer for friends. Soon I was hiring moving companies and putting things in storage.

This could be a post about the evils of acquiring things, but it's not. I really just want to make the point that moving sucks if you can't fit everything in one carload. And sometimes even then, depending on circumstances.

Why bring this up now? I'm glad you asked. The research center where I work has occupied various temporary homes since its inception, waiting for the fabled "new building" to be designed, funded, and constructed. That day has finally arrived. Or at least, it was supposed to arrive last September, then December, February, April, and latest of all, this week. Of course this requires packing our offices and labs into boxes, and sorting it out on the other end.

Everyone keeps telling us that this is our new work home. At this point, I will believe it when I show up and my stuff is there.

For most people -- or at least for me -- this is a chance to be rid of some old things that are obsolete, worn out, or otherwise no longer useful. In this case we have the added motivation of moving into a smaller space with glass walls. Unfortunately, my colleague and part time boss is a ... umm, let's go with "collector," so we've managed to throw away only a fraction of what we should have. As an example, we have a box labeled "paper scraps." I am not making this up.

Undiscouraged, we packed and sorted and taped and labeled and stacked. By last Thursday we were down to things we actually use every day, and the boxes for those things were assembled and waiting. There is not really any room to work, but we only have to endure for a couple of days, right?  The IT people were taking down whiteboards and preparing to move our servers. Then, around 4:30 in the afternoon, came the "Move Delayed!" e-mail with the high priority status icon. The main difference in this edition of the all-too-familiar-by-now message was that there was no "until" included. It seems there are some issues with the building, and all we know is that the move will happen some time in the future. The most persistent rumor I have heard is nine weeks.

Oh, happy day.

* Not literally. I was born in a hospital. I'm not that old.

** Except for my albums. The were held for safekeeping by my friend Winston. There were only two people on Earth in whom I would place this sacred trust, and the other was already married.


  1. Murphy's law does not permit preparedness. You have sinned against the law and been justly punished. I suggest unpacking everything. Moving a heavy refrigerator into your office would be a nice touch - err, offering to the gods.

  2. OMG what a nightmare. The 'powers that be' need to work in the position they now put you in, or at least allow you to encamp in their conference room....**was it me?

  3. gawd. this is a nightmare. not just the ummm...'collector', but the delay. we've been in the midst of a lab renovation that will be completed in Jan, 13. That's "2013". Not moved in yet. Expecting the last bit of the punch list to be done by autumn. 2013, we believe.

    my ex-husband used that "move in one carload" metric as a means of determining how much stuff one should have. our first move? the two of us did with a 14' u-haul and one trip. the second move, to our 25 year home, took two trips with the 14' u-haul, plus numerous car trips. we still did it ourselves. my last move, out of that place? hired "Two Men and a Truck". Required "Four Men and Two Trucks" to execute. i really need to get rid of shit...