Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In The Move Groove.

It’s only been seven months since I started blogging and already it has changed my world. If it wasn't for Heidi constantly nagging me - asking me every other day “when was I going to FINALLY start a blog?” - I may have never begun. Heidi, you’re going to make someone a ‘fantastic’ wife someday...

Now I am totally obsessed by my blog statistics, especially how many people read my posts and where they are from. Initially, these stats were pretty boring. If 30 or 40 people read a post, it was miraculous. The majority of my readers were family and friends from Canada, with a healthy smattering of US citizens and a few from the Commonwealth countries.

Then the tsunami and earthquake hit Japan in early March. After trying to explain nuclear fission to my husband, Peter, one night, I decided to write about the Nuclear Meltdown that was (and still is) occurring at the Fukushima reactors. Overnight this post found an international audience. Countries like the U.K., Australia, Japan, Germany, India, Indonesia and Iran began popping up. Then my post was reprinted on a medical site in Slovenia that dealt with the aftermath of Chernobyl and I am still getting readers from this country. Now I can hardly wait to see how my international audience has grown. Peter is getting used to me shouting out the names of countries the first time they appear, like “Iceland! Kazakhstan! Bosnia!” or more recently, “United Arab Emirates!”

This international audience has made posting blogs much more fun. Since I wrote Sense or Censorship two months ago, it has garnered over 1000 visits. That's totally blown me away! I really have to thank my friend and writing partner, Methodius, for pushing me to write about this topic. I never expected literary censorship to be such a hotbed of interest.

Currently though, I am surrounded by a new project. I am in the midst of many boxes. Hundreds of them to be exact, mostly filled with unknown ‘treasures’ I have yet to discover. You see, we are moving. That very statement brings to mind a famous line from T.S. Eliot’s poem, The Hollow Men – “The horror! The horror!”

Those of you who have ever moved a vast amount of baggage know what I mean. If there was a huge dislike button, I’d be pressing it. In the 21 years Peter and I have been married, we’ve moved once. That was over 17 years ago and we have literally gained a ton of stuff since then. UGH! But a wonderful opportunity has come to us and it’s time for a change. (Also time to hit the ‘dislike’ button again...did I tell you how much I dislike change)?

And this change is radical, not like just moving across town. We will be leaving the city and living in a house on 40 acres of wooded land. So instead of watching the police bust a drug house down the street, we will be watching the deer sleep in our back yard, listening to a thousand birds sing, and making sure we don't antagonize the moose.

Although every city neighborhood has a few villainous individuals, we have been blessed to live near some pretty remarkable neighbors - who have now become very close friends. I will miss the ebb and flow of these people coming and going from our house. I grew up in a country setting where we never locked our doors or closed the blinds on our windows. And I still maintain an ‘open door’ policy where friends are encouraged to just ‘drop in.’ But sometimes other creatures have decided to drop in too...Once a mouse took up residence in our living room for a few days until I saw his shadow scurrying across the floor. Then there was the cat that wandered in and began exploring our basement. It was as much a shock for Peter as it was for the cat when they encountered each other.

The great thing about our new place is that family will be living close to us. That will be a huge blessing and an opportunity to get to know some of our nieces and nephews better.

But how are we supposed to get all our junk from here to there? We don't have a lot of experience and both me and my husband are pack rats, of sorts. I like to think Peter is much worse than me, having inherited the ‘pack rat’ gene from his mother. But as I am wading through box after box of personal correspondence, I realize I must have a genetic predisposition to be a hoarder as well.

I found my baby bracelet from the hospital, a birthday card from my first birthday (which was quite some time ago now), a tiny stone from the Roman Coliseum my brother brought back for me, (this was before security guards stopped people from absconding pieces of their historical monuments...unfortunately my brother encountered police at Stonehenge otherwise I might have a piece of that too)!

Then there are all the letters, notes, cards and postcards from the Fat-5, other friends and family. I have kept every meaningful and interesting card and letter anyone has ever given me. Since there are artists on both sides of our family, many of these are amazing and unique. But hey, I did throw out all the original Bloom County and Doonesbury comics I had kept from the 80s.

So you can see why I need your advice. What do we move first (we have a month to get it done) and what can we move last? What do we do with the old boxes of black and white photos we have? Does anyone remember slides and slide projectors? What if I want to throw out a couple dozen boxes of junk but Peter thinks they’re worth more than gold? How can we not kill each other? Does anyone want a used process camera? (It’s free if you haul it away).

I’m going to share a BEFORE photo of a small section of our basement now. And yeah, this is also BEFORE we started packing. These boxes and CDs normally lie all over our ping pong table.

Have you heard my cry for help???


  1. Here is some helpful advice from my Network Blog Followers on Facebook.

    Jill says, “Your blog was great. I take lots of photos of things before I toss or put in giveaway piles. It makes the parting less painful. I figure that I should be the one to purge the junk and save someone else from having to do it when I am gone.”

    Jenn says, “If you feel like dropping some cash you can hire a company to take your photos and slides then digitize and put them on DVDs - that saves space. But I have to say there's still nothing quite like printed photos, or letters, or newspapers, or books... I wish you success and continued camaraderie as you sort and purge and prioritize. It takes a different kind of brain power and energy to bring organization out of chaos. You can do it!”

    Anne says, “YES, moving is tough, but it will happen. I am in the process of moving the end of July. I sold my apartment tonight. Having done some downsizing already, I am dreading the work involved, but then I do have family who have helped a lot already and my girls are so capable of throwing away things and getting STUFF off my shelves. I am slowly learning “not to keep it for another time.” All is great and I am seeing GOD leading all the way. In this soft market I had hoped to have a quick sale but was not assured of it by any realtors and when things began to roll this week my head was spinning at the rate of the walk-through’s I had. Then a fellow walks in and buys it after his second time through and almost for my asking price. Only God is able to do that!”

    Debie says, “Doris!!! We have moved hundreds!! Well maybe not hundreds, but about 25 times in my life. So if you want help, I will come. But to start off with, set up three boxes, one to KEEP, one for GARBAGE and one to GIVEAWAY. Then sort through all you have, taking only one box at a time and when each of your boxes are filled, seal label and set aside, make sure you seal the garbage and the giveaway ones and set them out of the house immediately. The one to keep, list in felt pen the detailed contents that are in it.
    Just keep asking yourselves, do I use it? Do I need it? Then if you want, especially with the artful cards that you have, you could just take pictures of each one and throw out the original. This way you can save them on disc and that takes up less space!!”

  2. I'm always a fan of keeping original mementos like postcards and such, but as I seem to have inherited the pack rat gene, I'm probably not the best person to ask...

    (Also, I'm glad you think those, uh, nagging "talents" will come in handy some day. :P)

  3. It will be interesting to see your 'pack rat' tendencies as years go by, Heidi. As I read over the letters and cards from decades ago, I see it as part of our family history (any excuse to keep this stuff :)

    On Network Blogs Helen says, “Whatever you do, don't throw out your boxes of ‘unsorted archives,” e.g. old family letters. I did that (in an attempt to purge old stuff I would ‘probably never look at again,’ and have regretted it ever since. Now I want it back!”

  4. I'm a pack rat too... how about if I come over and go through your stuff and you can come over and go through my stuff... either we'll be more objective about stuff that's not our own and be able to throw out what needs to be thrown out... or we'll both find fascinating items in each others stuff and end up doing a swap instead of a dump... (kinda like a garage sale but everything's free) ...hmmm...

  5. Get over here, Joy. I have piles of stuff you are welcome to! I like the idea of a garage sale where everything's free!