Sunday, June 8, 2008

The great unpacking

Published June 8, 2008
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

Merry Christmas!

What? Only June, you say? Well, it may be June to you, but it’s Christmas in my house. For someone who hates moving as much as I do, I have to say unpacking a house is like experiencing the joy of Christmas morning over and over and over again.

The boxes may not be brightly wrapped, but they’re securely fastened and filled with exciting and wonderful items. Every day is punctuated with shouts of, “Mom! I’ve found the…” followed by amazing and dazzling things like, uh, soap…and pans…and underwear.

Okay, so it’s not quite Christmas, at least not any Christmas I want to have, but it’s the same concept anyway. After only a few days in a box-filled house, anyone can find themselves elated over objects like toilet paper and Sunday shoes. (After our first trip to church in flip flops and sneakers, the Sunday shoe box was a very welcome discovery.)

Actually, the Christmas morning thing occurs when you’re packing too. It’s that one bright spot in all the packing chaos…those moments when you move the couch, discover untold riches, raise your treasure aloft and shout, “I’ve been looking EVERYWHERE for this!” (Though, can one really say “everywhere” when one just found it in one of the many places she never looked?)

In my move I found my daughter’s long lost glasses, a few important legal documents, a few hundred forks, spoons, knives, and socks that I’ve replaced needlessly on many an occasion and a much needed charger for the digital camera I haven’t used in three years. The only downside of all of this is that in my desire never to move again I realize I’ll never again have the assurance of, “Meh, I’ll find it when I move.”

Of course, unpacking isn’t all unseasonal yuletide frivolity. Once a box is unpacked, you have to find a place for then things in it, and all the places are taken up by all the stuff that still isn’t unpacked. Upon moving into my new abode, my new brother-in-law, Bill, astutely remarked, “20 minutes to get the truck unloaded…four more months of work left in there.”

Unpacking a house is a lot like juggling debt. There’s a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul going on. Can’t arrange the dining room until I get the dresser downstairs. Can’t move the dresser until I get that chair out of the kitchen. Can’t move the chair until I arrange the front room couches. Can’t arrange the front room couches with my very helpful sister sleeping in one of them. Once you do get a room set up, you realize you’ve made an impossible mess of another in order to do it.

The good news is that only a few weeks have passed since moving day, and I have nearly every room arranged and only 10-15 boxes left to unpack. Bill’s warning notwithstanding, I don’t really think it will take me another three months to finish this job. As long as I can manage to keep Peter from knowing what I’m paying to Paul, I’ll be fine. I may even leave one box unopened until Christmas just for the fun of it. Maybe it will be the camera charger just in time for Christmas pictures.

If it’s a box of my underwear, that might be kind of embarrassing, but I’m willing to take that chance