Thursday, February 08, 2007

Moving on

We are due to move tomorrow. My husband, however, has adopted a policy position on the move and decided we do not need to pack anything. Cardboard boxes, tea-chests and plastic crates are just so last year that we have refused to use any of them. What he is going to do is drive a white transit van up to the back door and throw things in it. This does not necessarily strike me as the best idea but my husband says it will work. I must say I cannot face doing it on my own having gone through the upheaval of moving when we came up from London, so I have decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and do it his way. His plan - I say "plan" I do not know the word for the opposite of "plan". I need a word to wrap up in nine letters or less, the idea of sitting at your desk working hard to meet your professional deadlines while you drink tea, eat digestive biscuits and utterly ignore the really big hairy mammoth gallomphing towards you straight out of your personal life.

The plan then, (for want of another word,) is to manhandle the contents of the cottage out into the van on a room by room basis, drive it two miles down the lane to the rented house and then unpack the contents and install them on a room by room basis into the rented house, recreating our life exactly as it was before. Perhaps, he was a museum curator in a different incarnation. In fact, he could probably submit it for the Turner prize. He could call it something like: "Our life - a mess in two places." If I videoed it while he was doing it, he would probably win. I want to know before we start this ad hoc "moving is such a lark tra-la" process, whether he is going to mark everything up with blue chalk so each apple core and mouldy coffee cup will be carefully put back in their original spot.

I blame myself. I think I am coming to the conclusion that what I have always regarded as a certain easy-going quality is in reality, a deep passivity. Part of me thinks "You have to be joking" and wants to stand and giggle while it all goes on. But the other half of me increasingly wants to jump up and down in rage and shout "We move tomorrow. Move! Do you know what that means? We need to be sorting things out, putting them in piles, throwing them away. Good grief." That is the point at which I take a deep breath. I honestly do not mind the chaos and relentlessness of it all most of the time. Just occasionally I wonder what it would be like to live a Von Trapp sort of life (before Maria arrived). I bet he could always find his car keys for instance. I think I am partly feeling this way because I was told off by a friend in London for being so meekly acquiescent to the chaos of our life. "Doesn't everyone live in chaos though?" I pleaded with her. "No," she told me as she bundled me efficiently along a North London canal path from her high powered office to a pastel coloured haven that looked like a toy-shop but actually sold coffee and iced cupcakes. "I don't live that way. Most people don't. You shouldn't." I know she is right. I just don't know what to do about it. I do know that all my closest friends keep telling me to get a grip on my life. I can refuse to eat the cupcakes they put in front of me, I can put my fingers in my ears and hum while they talk, I can take refuge in feelings of hurt and self-pity, but deep down I know they can't all be wrong.


sally in norfolk said...

Having moved house many times but hopefully never again. All I can say is good luck, sounds like you may need it !!

Jen said...

If someone wants to come to my home, organize the chaos, and then stay for many weeks until we somehow learn to keep it that way...well, welcome to it! However, so far we've had no offers like that, and it's just too big a job to do on our own.

Sort of like the job of throwing everything into a truck. Although, I imagine that lots of stuff will be thrown away on its way to the truck, so that's almost like packing.

I'm fond of my passivity and my ability to no longer see a mess after it's been there a day or two. It provides a far more leisurely life style, with time to read mewspapers, books, and of course, blogs.

chrevnir said...

My heart goes out to you. Your husband and mine seem to be of the same optimistic, myopic idealism that at times shocks me with its abilitiy to succeed and at other times horrifies me when it fails miserably :) But I have to admit, (mostly) when I expect such plots to fail spectacularly, they succeed brilliantly. You and your family's move is in my thoughts with high hopes for higher success!

May your new home give you peace and warmth until the builders relieve you from their tender mercies :)

007and a half said...

Moving house to have the builders in is like having a baby :

just before D-day, you will have nagging doubts about coping, each will exceed budget, and each will take up an order of magnitude more time than you ever anticipated.

But you will not have a moment's regret, and once over, you will rapidly forget the pain, leaving you free to enjoy the results.

PS Good luck!

James Higham said...

By my reckoning, you're moving today, even as I write, so good luck. Do let on how it went. If your computer is back to working, check Girlpower tomorrow evening, W in the N.

Giles Marshall said...

Your friend is wrong. Chaos is the natural manifestation of an active and joyously companionable life. It bespeaks human activity and involvement. You could have tidiness I guess, but you would be substituting the emotional highs and lows that make life worth living for the flatlining stagnancy of order!

Anonymous said...

hmm...I personally think moving is a project that requires a little more planning. That said, I am someone who spends so much time planning it is procrastinating actually 'doing'.

Maybe your husband just 'does', or even better has a wife that 'does'..

Although, in fairness to him, you are not moving 'cross-country' or even being out of the country for a while, in which case packing would become a military operation.

Anonymous said...

The word you are looking for is 'routine'. Your husband is following his usual 'routine' of pulling it all together at the last momnet. Why? Because it has served him well all his life and he knows it is actually less work than planning. Though he also secretly knows it would go more smoothly if he did plan it. How do I know this? I have frequently done the same. The Army has an exact phrase for this, 'cuffing it', which means you have scribbled your plan in 2 minutes on your sleeve cuff. Effectively he is making it up as he goes along which is what most of us (men) do in our lives.