The mother-in-law’s move

busy summer

movingMoving is tough, I can attest from having moved 30-odd times. My mother-in-law’s move was definitely challenging.

After my father-in-law died in April 2020, she had, beyond the emotional stuff, reams of paperwork to deal with. Yet by the fall, she knew she wanted to move, and by the spring, she signed papers to indicate where.

Yet the moving – and I mean the psychological decision to move – couldn’t really take place until after May 22, 2021, when my FIL was buried in the columbarium of his church.

The sorting and tossing began in earnest. A lot of can foods, including every kind of canned beans I’d ever heard of and a bunch new to me, are now in our pantry. Or on the dresser which has become the overflow from our pantry.

Besides the music, I gave away all of the blank writable CD and DVD discs. I knew my MIL couldn’t use them, and I don’t have a computer with a drive anymore.

My MIL had the closing for her new place in mid-July, but only a handful of boxes made it there by then. Her daughter and one of her sons worked diligently. But here’s what I’ve learned from about six dozen moves. The movee has to make the decisions about what stays and what goes and in their own time.

The hard thing is that she had to decide about not only her own stuff but her late husband’s. The last several moves they had done together. Add to that moving from a house to an apartment, and it can be daunting, even with help.

Two strong guys

Moving day came in early August. The two guys started at my MIL’s home about 75 miles away, then to her new place, about 15 minutes from here, then the delivery of three pieces of furniture to our house. One of these was a very heavy armoire going into our second-floor bedroom. One of the moving guys thought, incorrectly, that I was trying to tell him how to carry the piece. No, I was merely trying to let him know where to place it.

But there were still items in the old house that needed to leave by August 17, when the closing on THAT house took place. Not incidentally, my wife started a summer job on August 2, so she would work all day then spend the weekends helping her mom.

My MIL seems to be adjusting to the new place, even as she continues to unpack boxes, some with items she didn’t really want to make the trip. She’s making friends. After living alone for over a year, it’s a new day.

Moving, moving around, Picasso

“You are a very intelligent person!”

Picasso.portugueseI have my own office at work for the first time in over 12 years. There’s a lot to this story, and I would share some of it. The problem is that in moving into the said office, I have managed to pull something in my back, which makes moving around quite uncomfortable at times.

And I otherwise feel a bit, well, off, including a near-constant headache. I’m waiting to see a doctor after I hear from the HR folks about whatever the worker’s compensation process is.

Meanwhile, I sit in my office putting things on the wall. A picture of me when I was on JEOPARDY! Close up, it’s horrendously pixelated like something from Picasso’s cubist period. From a distance, it’s not bad. Also, a picture of my father, my sister Leslie and I singing when I was 16.

Oh, speaking of Leslie, I mentioned she was going to have surgery on her left arm on October 1. well that didn’t happen because of an infection at what would have been the surgical site. But she went back to the doctor on October 15 and the infection has been stemmed. Now she’s scheduled for surgery on October 23.

So emotionally, I think I would feel really good if I didn’t feel so bad. Y’know what makes me happy? Positive spam messages, such as:

“I’ve been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this sort of area. Exploring in Yahoo I, at last, stumbled upon this website. Reading this info, I am happy to convey that I have an incredibly good uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I most certainly will make certain to don’t forget this site and give it a look on a constant basis.”

Thank you very much. You’re too kind.

“You are a very intelligent person!”


“You can definitely see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.”

Thanks for the good advice.

“The ability to think like that shows you’re an expert.”

Aw, shucks.

Full circle

full circleEarly in June, I took a #10 Western Avenue bus downtown, then a #18 bus to Delmar to see my podiatrist at 8:20. When I caught another #18 bus to go to my doctor’s office to get a shingles vaccine, it was the same driver; not really a great surprise.

I took another #18 bus back to Albany with another driver. That same driver, about 15 minutes later, then took me out to Corporate frickin’ Woods, the #737, which I did find interesting.

As I may have mentioned, this past 109 months is the second time I’ve worked at CfW, the first time at Blue Cross/Blue Shield for 13 months in 1989-1990. The return there in 2006 did not make me happy. At all.

The first job I ever had in the Capital District was at the main branch of Albany Savings Bank in downtown Albany as a teller in February 1978, a job I did not enjoy, but I liked the locale. It DID become my bank as well, as it transitioned to Albank, Charter One, and now Citizens Bank.

It was confirmed that very same day of those coincidental bus trips that my office will be relocating downtown, likely in September, to the very same intersection I worked 38 years ago. I hear the offices served a former law firm, so they are supposed to be pretty nice. Collectively, the biggest add for us will be a fiber-optic network for connectivity. A really good thing will be that the walls go to the ceiling for private and semi-private offices, which will be HUGE for me.

(Put your rant about the dehumanizing effect of the office cubicle here.)

We have been encouraged to use some time in the summer to purge files of material we no longer need. After nine years, one gathers lots of stuff. This will take a while.

I’ve already asked some folks to take some print versions of Census data from 1990 through 2000 because it’s occasionally useful – I’ve referred to it three times in nine years – but if I could get OTHERS to store it…

I am happy. This will be the fourth move in this job in almost 23 years, and I’m sure, it’ll be my last because I’m likely to retire before another one.

Yes, I still remember: moving sucks!

The movee (or his/her designee) must be in charge of the move, especially the unloading.

Poor Jaquandor wrote at the end of May:

The move is done.
Well, at least the part that involves “taking all of our stuff from the old place and bringing it to the new place”. I can’t believe how long this process took. It seemed a good idea at the time: “Hey, we’ve got about two months, so we can just slowly nickel-and-dime our way over there! We can slowly pack and take a few things over every day and gradually it’ll get done!”

Take it from me, folks: this approach sucks, and should never be adopted by anyone. Live and learn, I guess.

[Except for his books,] Moving it in little chunks was a stupid, stupid, stupid idea, and it may well rank with my dumbest ideas ever. What sounded like a way to make moving into a less-stressful, less-annoying, less-soul-crushing-of-a-day turned out to be “death by a thousand cuts”. The old place became this daunting monkey on our backs, always there, always in the back of our minds. Every day, thinking, “I’m almost off work, gonna go home and take a nap…oh wait, gotta go grab more stuff.” “Hey, it’s Sunday, I can read the paper and–oh wait, gotta go grab more stuff.” The phrase “Oh wait, gotta go grab more stuff” has become the most often-said thing around here.

Yes, this is almost invariably true. I have moved so often, north of 30 times, that I actually got rather good at it. But I never enjoyed it. Jaquandor’s way reminded me of getting a pair of pliers to remove a tooth, but you just yank it a little every day for three months.

I’ve been in my current abode for 14 years this past May, and the idea of moving STILL gives me the willies.

Jaquandor also wrote, and I am going to quote his entire post:

Really good friends help you move. Your best friends help you move twice

This is not necessarily true, in my experience. I’ve helped people I’ve known for two weeks.

I once wrote, and it’s still accurate:

Moving other people’s stuff I love. I love it for a number of reasons:
1) It’s good exercise
2) It becomes an interesting anthropological study
3) People are grateful that you’re moving their stuff
4) It’s not MY stuff

Whereas moving my OWN stuff, even efficiently, is all sorts of emotionally dreadful.

Here are my rules for moving other people’s stuff, having done so many times:

1) Pick a time. Stick to the time. I want to get there, do it, and leave.

2) The movee (or his/her designee) must be in charge of the move, especially the unloading. I don’t care if the movee picks up a single thing as long as that person can say: what goes and what stays when we’re in the old place; and where the things go when we’re in the new place.
One friend was physically incapable of helping the physical moving. That’s OK.

3) Have extra boxes. Inevitably, the movee thinks he/she is done packing, but forgot the stuff behind a piece of furniture or in a closet or in the refrigerator. Seldom have I been in a situation with too many boxes.

4) Don’t pack your books, records, and other dense items in large boxes. I may be, as one friend calls her roving moving crew, of “strong backs and small minds”, but we’re not looking to end up on the disabled list while doing one a favor.

5) Highly recommended: extra packing tape, and markers for labeling boxes (oh, PLEASE, label your boxes so that we don’t have to open the boxes and decide what’s in them). Bungee ropes can be useful.

6) If possible, contact the authorities about blocking off the moving spaces so we can load and unload at the actual addresses rather than from half a block away.

Other than America; ending arguments

Moving closer to the equator doesn’t interest me much

CHILDRENAROUNDTHEWORLDLisa of peripheral perceptions wonders:

I don’t know if you’ve answered this one, but I’d like to know in what city/country would you live if you could live anywhere else in the world. And why. 🙂

I don’t think I have. I did this with states – I came up with Vermont – but not countries.

Part of the problem is that I’m just lousy with languages, so it’d have to be a country where a lot of people speak English.

The default answer for a lot of Americans is Canada. It’s like the US, except they have better health care and don’t fear the metric system, the argument has been. And if the globe is warming, Canada might be a thought. But those waves of cold weather this past winter in the US, all stored to our north, and fueled by the Arctic melting, worries me.

The United Kingdom my wife loves. But it appears broken economically and is subject to that same nasty weather we experience on this side of the pond.

I don’t know enough about Belize, but moving closer to the equator doesn’t interest me much. I loved Barbados, but, in addition to too much heat, and hurricanes, I can’t imagine living on a small island. Not diverse enough geographically, and too expensive.

Ultimately, I think it’d have to be in the Southern Hemisphere. While Australia seems interesting, the ghastly warm weather that has been experienced in the interior the last couple of years, north of 125F/50C would keep me away from everything except the east coast cities.

Another option, I suppose, is New Zealand. This is in no small part because Arthur the AmeriNZ has described it so well in his blog and podcasts. It’s reasonably progressive. Now I may NEVER figure out its electoral system the way I know the US system. Then again the US system is broken, so no big loss.

Climate change will affect NZ too, but the southern landmass of Antarctica may make that a LITTLE less terrible, for a time. Now, it IS on the ring of fire of volcanic and earthquake activities, which makes me nervous. Still, I guess I’ll say New Zealand because at least I’d know someone there.
SamuraiFrog wants to know:

At what point is an argument over for you? I know someone on Tumblr who recently engaged in victim-blaming just to end an argument. He felt bad about it, knew it was wrong, admitted it, and sincerely apologized. But some people are still invested in making him feel bad about it. At what point do you let something like that go?

It all depends. What is the “crime”, first of all? Some dumb comment someone makes in the heat of the moment might get a pass unless it’s so hateful and vicious that you have to surmise that, deep down, that he or she must be a really awful person.

Michael Richards of Seinfeld fame gave a really nasty racist rant, I hear. I didn’t listen to it. There’s a point, though, that it is in the past, and for me, Richards is there.

Of course, it matters if it is a real apology. Richards sincerely apologized. I’m sure I must have mentioned this topic somewhere about bad apologies. Oh, there it is, from 2009:

DON’T use the word BUT. An example would be, “I’m sorry, BUT you started it.”
DON’T use the word IF. My least favorite apology: “I’m sorry IF you’re offended.” The clear implication is that you really SHOULDN’T be offended, but I better say it anyway.

Lame apologies get zero points from me.

Nasty words written are more difficult to forgive. I do know that people can get caught up in a debate on social media, though, which is why I tend to minimize my contribution to the same.

But some acts are so egregious that even a sincere-sounding apology is hard to accept: “I’m truly sorry that I molested those boys over a 20-year period.” Not satisfactory.

Now, online fights, I’ll just walk away from, even if THEY think that, by not responding, they think I think they’re right. I suspect that your Tumblr acquaintance, assuming he keeps his nose clean, will come out OK, if only because his critics will latch on to someone else.

Whereas a face-to-face or phone argument might be a different issue, especially among friends or relatives. You may have heard stories of fights that went on for years or even decades. True of my maternal grandmother and her brother over the fact that he was “living in sin” with a woman in the 1960s.

Go, Argentina!
Go, Argentina!

And speaking of arguing – Not an ARA question, but rather a comment by Lisa to this post:

I would encourage you to try and get back into one of the groups at your church. That seems to be an area of importance for you and may be the best place to nurture those human interactions. But you’ll always have us…….:-)

As it turned out, I actually had an odd incident at one of these groups back in April, and it’s not entirely settled.

It was after The Daughter was starting to get better after her terrible March. I hadn’t gone to the previous meeting, partly because it was Lydia’s birthday, but partially because she was still having issues. Getting together with this group was something I was clearly looking forward to, as I had purchased lots of snacks.

But one guy dominated the conversation with references most of the rest of us did not understand for a good half hour. By the time I got to say something, someone made a joke that less upset me than distracted me from what I had hoped to be talking about. I angrily stormed out and didn’t come back for the last three or four meetings before the summer break. I may return in the fall.

Still, it’s not the same as one-on-one conversation with an old friend.

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