Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Moving -- Nothing About The Bakken -- April 6, 2016

Our move to a new apartment unit went well.

I consider a move successful if all remote controls are accounted for. They were. Nothing lost or misplaced.

My wife won the battle: I was happy with a one-bedroom apartment, but she needed a second room for her crafts and painting, not so much for herself, but for all the projects our 9-year-old granddaughter does.

It was a busy but very, very efficient weekend move. In 72 hours, we did the following:
  • a move entirely by ourselves, except for a two-hour period when two men came to help move the heavy stuff
  • Time Warner Cable stopped by to transfer the internet/TV cable
  • reconnected the washer, dryer; cleaned the old unit from top to bottom
  • two soccer practices (one for the 9-year-old; one for the the 20-month-old Sophia)
  • two soccer games (both for the 9-year-old; opposite sides of Ft Worth - Tarrant County)
  • two birthday parties (for the 12-year-old to attend: one -- a swimming party; the other -- an archery party)
Sophia was a great help:
  • she moved two items over the 72-hour move: an empty water-spray bottle, and a yardstick
  • she figured out how to remove those twisty, springy door stops from the wall
  • she pulled down one window blind
  • she learned how to grate Honey Graham crackers to make a pie crust; she grated the cracker on the bottom of her tennis shoe and left a pile of cracker crumbs on the new kitchen floor
  • she only fell off the bed twice
  • she squished one spider, and one silverfish  

When my wife and I retired in 2007, our plan was to move every two years, moving from one large US city to another large US city, moving from furnished efficiency apartment to furnished efficiency apartments in Boston, San Francisco, Washington (DC), Chicago, NYC, Charleston, Miami, Dallas, Albuquerque, Phoenix, El Paso, San Diego, etc.

It seems we get along best when we are moving. From the time we were married in 1977, I think I can count 17 moves:
  • one-bedroom apartment, west Los Angeles, CA
  • house, Travis AFB, CA
  • house, Vacaville, CA
  • house, Grand Forks AFB, ND
  • duplex, Bitburg, West Germany
  • 4-plex, RAF Lakenheath, England
  • house, Bitburg, West Germany (then Germany)
  • apartment, Rhein Main Air Base, Germany 
  • house, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey
  • house, Prattville/Montgomery, AL
  • house, Langley AFB, VA
  • house, Diamond Canyon Drive, San Antonio, TX
  • three-bedroom apartment, San Antonio, TX
  • house, San Pedro, CA
  • one-bedroom apartment, San Antonio
  • one-bedroom apartment, Grapevine (DFW), TX
  • two-bedroom apartment, Grapevine (DFW), TX
39 years/17 moves = 2.3 years/move.

It generally took two years to recover financially from a move.

Every move was different; every move was the same.

Most of the moves overseas required two moves: the first move into temporary living quarters for several weeks, followed by "permanent" housing. Our first daughter's first crib/bed was a drawer taken out of chest of drawers. It was amazing how well that worked.

Our house in Turkey came with a gardener and a maid. We did not know that when we moved in. Two days after moving in, there was a knock on the door. A Turkish man, in broken English, said he was our gardener, and his wife was our maid. Okay. We had the nicest flower garden on the block. We did not know why until we learned that we "overpaid" the gardener. To show his appreciation, he dug up the flowers from other houses (for which he gardened) and moved them to our yard.

We always gave stuff away on every move. We gave our entire vinyl record collection -- and it was extensive -- to a Turkish woman who became my wife's best friend while we lived there. (I still often think about the wonderful Turkish experience we had -- my best experience until my unaccompanied stints in northern England.)

We gave our older daughter's entire Bruce Springsteen CD collection to the movers in Rhein Main, Germany. It was an incredible collection of US CDs and European CDs not available in the US. It was a mistake in this case. The CDs were stored in government furniture we borrowed until our furniture arrived; we forgot about the CDs when the furniture was moved. No tears. Just one of those things. But this was a collection that could never be replaced.

Our first "house" was a bomb shelter previously used by the servants who were assigned to the commanding officer at Travis AFB some years earlier. It was our first "house." My wife still reminds me of that. She was not happy. I loved it. I could walk to work.

Our first German landlord mowed the lawn with rabbits which he kept in cages with no bottoms on the cages. He just moved the 2-foot by 2-foot cages every few days. Every so often he had us over for rabbit stew.

Attending high school orientation in Prattville, AL, my wife heard the principal say that "no guns were allowed." We had just returned from overseas (where we felt incredibly safe and had only heard horror stories of all the shootings in the US). My wife was mortified. Later, the principal's comments were clarified: "No gum was allowed." After being in Europe for 13 years (my wife says 14 years), we did not "understand" the southern dialect. Gum, guns, whatever.

In the 4-plex in Lakenheath my wife was held hostage in the upstairs bedroom for several weeks while her fractured ankle healed. I brought her meals to her during that period; I did all the cooking, all the cleaning, all the childcare. We had two young daughters at the time. My orthopedic colleagues said bones should heal in about six weeks. I thought eight months of cooking, cleaning, washing, childcare by myself was a bit excessive. But what did I know? I was not an orthopedic surgeon.

We're hoping this is our last move for many, many years.

We love the new apartment. It has exceeded our expectations in all regards. 

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