Let me tell you a little something about the way I do my Christmas shopping.
Every year I decide anew that this year I am finally going to start my shopping early. I vow to avoid the last-minute frenzy by approaching the whole endeavor with military precision. Knowing I'll have about 15 gifts to purchase, I make a list, I check it twice and then it's off to the mall! There I buy two or three well-priced and appropriate gifts and return home full of self-satisfaction. I've done it! I've gotten a jump on the season! Good job, Meg!
This self-satisfied feeling carries me through the next several weeks. I brag to anyone who'll listen, "Started my Christmas shopping early this year!" I settle comfortably into a pattern of massive cookie consumption and epic sloth, sure in the knowledge that I've gotten a jump on the season!
This giddy feeling usually comes to a crashing halt around December 23rd, when it finally dawns on me that I still have a dozen gifts to purchase and only and day and a half left until Christmas. At this point there's nothing left to do but careen through the mall in a multi-hour shopping frenzy, wildly grabbing inappropriate and overpriced gifts while vowing to anyone who will listen that next year will be different.
I mention this because of the many characteristics it shares with my recent moving experience.
In the early days of the move I had a system! Three months prior to the move I was way ahead of the game with a small pile of boxes packed! I had invented an system for categorizing our belongings under a room-based system for optimal moving ease. Was there a corresponding document on the computer titled "Packing Log"? Yes, there was!
CUT TO: The morning of the move - which finds me furiously throwing the following contents into a hastily reconstructed Huggies box:
- 1 ice cream scoop
- 1 frying pan with remnants of last night's dinner
- 1 lampshade
- 2 pictures of my lab partner from the 7th grade
- 1 check book (from account closed in 1987)
- 9 Care Bear stickers
- 1 VCR remote
- 5 mini springform pans
- 1 letter from the woman who directed me in a production of "Measure for Measure" sophomore year of college (she found my commitment to the role of Sebastian "just great")
Allow me to attach the following timeline, so that you may truly appreciate the insanity of this undertaking:
Early April - close on house and begin various remodeling projects.
Early April - Meg gets an "early start" on packing. Boxes are numbered! Items are cleaned and systematically packed! Hope springs eternal!
Mid-April - Meg abandons all packing, secure in the knowledge that she is "well ahead of the game".
Mid-May - Oh my God! The trip is next week and we haven't started packing! FRENZY COMMENCES!
May 21 – We fly to New York with Snoods as one happy family to meet up with my parents, my husband's parents and my husband's grandparents. Let the family fun begin! At least that was the plan...
May 20 – INSTEAD. Informed by husband that due to a work problem he will not be joining me in NY. So….
May 21 – Fly to NY solo with the Snood (see here for some idea of how well that goes).
May 22 – May 23 – Daytime activity: dealing with insanely jet-lagged 8-month-old while touring the sights of NYC with in-laws. Nighttime activity: Weighing merits of divorce v. spousal murder.
May 23 – Following a series of ever-more threatening phone calls, husband arrives from California. Divorce/Murder plans temporarily suspended.
May 25 – Why not fly to Buffalo and take in Niagra Falls? (Unsolicited advice alert! “The Maid of the Mist” is not really an appropriate excursion for an 8-month-old.
You are welcome.)
May 26 – Flight number 3! Back to NYC!
May 27 – May 29 – Bid farewell to in-laws. Spend two days in parents living room tending to son. Take occasional break to glare at husband who is on multi-day work conference call.
May 30 – Fly back to New York. Attempt to lull baby to sleep for first hour of flight. Finally succeed only to have lady in the window seat inform me that she needs to use the restroom. Spend the remainder of flight plotting method to jettison her from aircraft.
May 31 – 6am wake-up call! It's moving day! (and also time to finish packing!)
I will not bore you with all the gory details of the move. Suffice it to say it was a nightmarish hell on earth, which at one point involved me standing in the dark by the side of the road next to my broken down automobile with a screaming baby and what I thought might be a dislocated kneecap.
BUT WE'RE IN!
We ended the night asleep in a bed in a home that we own surrounded by giants piles of our crap in boxes!
Now all that's left to do is unpack.
But that should be easy. I have a system!