Adventures in Moving

Husband moved yesterday on the reservation from one quarter of a double wide trailer to  half of a double wide trailer right next to his work.  The old trailer, where he has lived for four years, was across from the casino and right next to a gravel pit, so it was pretty dusty.  The fridge didn’t work, and he kept his food cold in a camping cooler. It was sort of like a studio apartment with a bathroom.  Now he has a bedroom and a bathroom and a kitchen. The fridge works. He has a dishwasher and a washer/dryer.

The trailer set up is thus: two double wide trailers are attached to one another end on end, one intended as a sober house for men, and one for women.  There was never enough staff to make the sober houses functional.  They connect in the middle in a laundry and furnace room.  Husband and I were moving things into the laundry room when we realized that the door had closed and we were locked in. We had no key . There was no one nearby to hear us call for help.  We were possibly locked in the room forever.  Neither of us had a phone.  Luckily, there was a kitchen knife above the washing machine, and I pried the lock open. It was a very frightening two minutes.

Tell about some of your moving adventures.

 

68 thoughts on “Adventures in Moving”

  1. I have moved twice in recent years.

    In 2014 I sold the small home I’d lived in for 38 years, moving to a two-room apartment in the Portland (OR) area. Although it is just a guess, I left behind about 80 percent of the stuff I had in that home. Although it was considered a small home, it had a full basement and attic, both of which were stuffed. My book library, for example, shrank from several hundred volumes to about thirty.

    Then in 2017 I moved to another apartment, this one in the small town of Port Huron, Michigan. I had to jettison much of what I had moved to Oregon, as this apartment is tiny. I can’t make my bed because it is jammed against a wall, preventing me from walking on both sides. I had to give my daughter the small bookshelf I bought in Oregon. The kitchen here is so tiny it has just one drawer for silverware, knives, bottle opener, spatula and cooking aid I own. Imagine the clutter! All my clothing must fit in a single closet and chest of drawers.

    What can I say about my “adventures” in moving? The first move felt like being dragged through a knothole, losing almost everything I owned. The second move was actually much harder. I still have two boxes unopened from that move, as there isn’t a place to put anything.

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    1. Husband moved a lot as a child and even now he gets fretful and upset when he has to move. His new place is much better since he can walk 10 yards and be at work. It is also newer and cleaner.

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      1. It interests me that he “gets fretful” when forced to move. I’ve known people who were affected very differently by that kind of background. One woman grew up not staying in any place for more than three of four years. Her response was to feel trapped in any relationship (home, job, marriage) that was four years old or longer. The guy she married figured out this pattern, realizing that one day she would have to leave him. And she did.

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        1. It was very important to him that our children never had to change schools because of a move. We have lived in our current home for 30 years. He talks positively about miving to Brookings, in a few years, but I will still expect him to be broody and fretful when we do move.

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        2. Renee, your husband and I are cut from the same cloth. Even when it was financially very difficult, I was adamant in keeping my daughter in the same home and the same schools and school district during her childhood. And this is absolutely a result of my moving and moving and moving and moving when I was a kid.

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      1. This apartment complex was built specifically for seniors. It is where old people go when they don’t yet need all the help of a nursing home. My living room is tiny because old folks don’t socialize and generally have few belongings. The kitchen is a joke; I can almost touch any wall if I stand in the middle. Old folks don’t cook much. My favorite room is the bathroom. It is huge! Old folks have walkers and wheelchairs, so bathrooms need to be big. The bathroom and bedroom each have little strings coming out of the wall. Nobody has said so, but I am sure those strings connect to some kind of alarm in case I have a medical crisis in the night. There are about 100 folks in residence here. About twice a week ambulances make emergency appearances.

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        1. my bathroom at the warehouse has a hot plate single burner convection microwave and rice cooker in addition to little fridge coffee pot tea pot and slow cooker
          a shelf full of spices beans and pots and pans take one wall, i have a couple gas grills i cook on, in my warehouse i can put them out on the loading dock but it’s not really necessary a little fried onion in the air never hurt anyone, maybe i’d i was smoking ribs or brisket i’d be concerned but i’m not
          rice and beans with onion artichoke hearts and olives in a sauce to pull it all together are my typical items and into the fridge they go

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        2. That sounds like my parents place. Do you have the closed circuit TV of the front door so you can see who the ambulance is picking up? That was always a popular channel… I don’t think they offer it any more though.
          My MIL, when she moved in there, she wanted her chair in a place so she could see the front door to know who was coming and going. 🙂

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  2. my moves are getting stupid
    i am a collector without a museum
    my warehouse is a collection of stuff i’ll get to

    between my house and my warehouse i have enough stuff to choke a horse and moving it is such a large proposition i tend to stay put and deal with paying to continue as before
    furniture clothing books art music and instruments tools and products that have enough value they should not simply be thrown out.
    everything is a project each project could be broken down into a work substantial enough to keep me occupied for an extend period of time.
    we are leasing both the house and warehouse and the thought of moving makes me crazy
    july is my next move date at this house and i hope to renew the lease fora mother couple of years. it’s too expensive but we like it.
    i am doing the ben franklin 13 week rotation these days and this past weeks task to focus on was staying on task. this followed last weeks focus of orderliness. the warehouse and the organization of stuff is an ongoing process
    not being planted makes it a thing
    george carlin’s stuff is the opposite of my situation
    if i put all my stuff into shipping containers it would require 4 or 5
    my goal is to get it done to 2
    i hate to give up my baby grand but maybe it’s time for the other pianos to go
    the one i got from pjs next door neighbor is in the entry to my office and gets played often but like my 15 or 20 guitars feels like abundance without appreciation.
    i am looking into placing stiff in a consignment joint, i could use one for furniture art books music instruments tools and of course clothing hats shoes and coats
    every item i touch has a vision of how i would like to see it in my ideal situation and my vision is that a short way down the road it will all fall into place and let me get down to the business of getting my life in order.
    i am so looking forward to it
    there will likely be one or two more moves along the way but honestly if i stayed put exactly where i am for the next 20 years i’d be happy
    a house and a warehouse , just get it a bit more organized and honed down
    words to live by

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  3. My mother moved from the house my dad bought in 1956 (a small bungalow, not unlike Steve’s) to a 2 bedroom apartment. The apartment is plenty of room for her and how she lives. It did mean downsizing a lot of the acumulation of stuff in drawers and closets that inevitably builds up when you live in the same place for decades. She worked with a company that specializes in these sorts of moves – marking things to definitely move, things that could definitely stay, filling a few boxes at a time. The parlor grand moved to my brother’s house (after some cajoling from her kids, she bought a new upright for the apartment). I got my favorite painting and the bust of Beethoven. Photos came off the walls. She went through the Christmas stuff and selected the things she treasured most. Once she was moved, the estate sale folks came in to take care of the rest; pricing and moving things around. I walked through the house once while the estate sale folks were getting things ready and decided quickly that I should not look too closely at what the had uncovered – like a crystal bowl that had been my grandmother’s (I had stopped over to empty the dehumidifier, not snoop…must not snoop…).

    Sale day: a friend texted me to ask if we really intended to sell these sweet pictures of me as a toddler…and, as it turned out, the 8x10s of senior photos of Brother and I. Um…I bet those were in a closet that Mom didn’t look into because she thought it was all other stuff. Yeah. Buy ‘em. $12 later I had a bit of my childhood back. (Teased Mom mercilessly…) Long about November Mom went looking for a flashlight (not realizing her smartphone would function as one) – realized she didn’t look at all in the drawer that held the flashlights and all were sold in the estate sale. About a week later…hmm…where did the step stool get to? Oh – also in one of those spots in the kitchen that becomes invisible because it’s just always there. New stepstool (with a fine handle) for Christmas! Mostly she is content with what came with her – though she does realize now she was a perhaps a bit overzealous in the frugalness of what came with her. Wonder what we will discover next that got sold to a new home so it could be loved (or at least used) by a new family?…

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    1. I was really hoping that my gradual over the months and years discarding project wpould keep me from this but I fear it’s already too late. Spent about an hour yesterday looking for a box that I couldn’t find, I know I had it a year ago, but fear may have gotten tossed in one of my flurries.

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      1. Isn’t that the way it goes? You hold onto stuff forever and ever. Then you finally get rid of it because you haven’t had any use for it in decades, and sure enough, the following week you need it.

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  4. My most dramatic move was the one when I left NYC and a misguided marriage. I may have told before how my poker group had helped back the van the evening before – to the “rafters”. Two of the cats were hiding in the wings, the third draped around my shoulders in the drivers seat, as I crossed the George Washington Bridge singing “Goodbye New York, goodbye no place to park, goodbye skyscrapers, goodbye subway denizens… ”

    I (and then We) moved so often – almost once a year – between 1976 and 1985 – I had the routine down (nesting pans, and baskets crates for plants… ) and because of all those moves I didn’t accumulate as much as I would have. Made up for that in the 27 years we lived in a house with plenty of attic and garage space in Robbinsdale, and then most of you have read of our move here 2 1/2 years ago now. (!)

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  5. There’s a commercial running on TV these days that claims the average American will live in 11 homes. I’m not sure how they handle the count. If I include the different places I lived as a kid and then as a grad student, I hit 11 pretty easily.

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    1. Your response, Steve prompted me to tally up the various places I’ve lived in my life. I came up with 28 different places. All but two of those moves occurred in the first 36 years of my life.

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        1. I did live in a lot of places. But one of the things I discovered many years ago when I was making this list is that I actually went to more schools than places I lived due to changing school districts and moving from one school to another while still living in the same house. Those are long stories in themselves. I know my parents thought they were doing the best thing for me with all of these moves and school changes but looking back on it I don’t think so, except for maybe one of them. And of course I assume that when my child is my age she’ll probably look back and say “I’m sure my mom thought she was doing the best thing…”

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  6. Ooh, this is a fun game. I just tried listing all the addresses I’ve lived at (that I could remember), and I’m clocking in at 27. I didn’t count addresses where I lived two different times, but I did count the two dorms, a sorority house, and my student teaching apts., etc., from college.

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  7. Compared to many of you, I am downright sedentary. My family moved to my dad’s hometown when I was three and I lived there until college. I lived in 2 different dorms at UMD, one dorm and two apartments at the main campus, one apartment after graduation, and then into my little condo where I have been since late 1982. My place is small and I don’t like clutter, nor do I collect “stuff” so moving for me will not be a big deal.

    I helped my mom move several times: from a three bedroom rambler into a large 2 bedroom apartment, then to a smaller 2 bedroom, then a small one bedroom, then her assisted living studio, and finally to a studio care suite at the assisted living complex. Each move was painful – she never threw anything away (“might need it someday”). Later as her vision and memory deteriorated, she would buy personal hygiene or cleaning supplies because she couldn’t or didn’t see that she already had some. She died a year ago and my sister and I are still using the tin foil, Saran Wrap, etc. that she had accumulated. Whoever has to clean out my stuff when I’m gone will not have such a problem. I don’t want anyone to say “what the hell did she keep this for ?!

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    1. My best friend’s mother died early and unexpectedly leaving a house full of the things that she had collected. One of her idiosyncrasies was to pick up Sweet and Low packets every time she went out. There was a half-gallon container of them in her kitchen luckily all in the same place. My girlfriend doesn’t do sweet and low so they came to me. It took me about seven years to use them all up.

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  8. I think I am on my thirteenth residence, although I don’t remember the first one and have only hazy memories of the next two. The 13th has lasted 30 years so far.

    Last year I helped a friend with her nightmarish moving experience. She had been sharing a rental house with a married couple, and the wife of the couple died unexpectedly. My friend’s mother and two sisters had been sharing a house, the same house the mother had moved into as a young newlywed over 70 years ago. In a confluence of misfortunes, the mother and two sisters all went into assisted living, and my friend’s housemate (the widower) decided to go out on his own, all at once. My friend couldn’t afford to rent the same house by herself, and had to find a new place. Her mother’s house had a reverse mortgage, and had to be sold by the bank when her mother no longer lived there.

    My friend was faced with the task of emptying her mother’s house at the same time she had to find a new rental for herself. To make matters worse, she had a dog and two cats, and her mother’s household was home to a dog, a cat, and a cockatiel, which all needed new homes.

    I’m sort of surprised that my friend survived this without having a nervous breakdown. The house her mother had lived in was pretty full of stuff – furniture that was neither new enough nor vintage enough to be in demand, and all the accumulation you would expect in a house that had sheltered the same family for 70 years.

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    1. That does sound like a nightmarish situation, Linda. Did your friend manage to resettle with her animals, and also find homes for the one that didn’t belong to her?

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      1. She found a home for the cockatiel, and took on the dog and cat herself. In a one bedroom apartment. Since then, one of her cats passed away at age 16. He had had kidney trouble. So she now has two cats and two dogs. The cat that had been in her mother’s household is a little resentful of her cat, but they are getting used to each other. The dog from her mother’s is severely allergic and has to have only certain foods, and even then has significant hair loss. And also has incontinence problems. When I said nightmare, I did not use the word lightly.

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  9. Looking back, I marvel at the number of times I’ve helped friends move, and they in turn have helped me. Some of those moves were difficult because there was no flexibility about when you had to be out of the old place and when you could get into the new one. How did we do that? Often you had to be out of your apartment at the end of the month, and you couldn’t get into the new one until the first of the month. On one occasion I remember sitting in the U-Haul in front of the new place waiting for midnight to roll around so I could get into the new apartment. Moving from a house you’ve sold to a new one you’ve bought is relatively easy if you have timed the closings right.

    I also shudder to think of the two times wasband and I packed all of our earthly possessions into a U-Haul truck and headed to another part of the country. With no job, no apartment, virtually no money, and without knowing a soul in the new location, that was about as risky as I care to live. But we had no choice, so that’s what we had to do, and somehow, we managed.

    Can you imagine the sheer terror refugees, with children in tow and their only possessions the clothes on their backs and what they can carry, must feel?

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    1. I have become angry and disappointed about the failure of journalism to engage with the people struggling to get into the US. I assume there is a wealth of stories to be told about why they have left home and walked so far in the hope of getting a better life. Why have journalists ignored those stories? The language problem?

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  10. I am sorry to tell all of you this, but there is an enormous snow storm hitting here tomorrow and it may hit you early this week.

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      1. This morning the Weather Channel says that we’re going to have freezing rain in the Twin Cities tonight followed by snow. I hate to say this out loud but I’d rather just have cold please. Freezing rain reminds me way too much of Missouri.

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  11. I’ve never moved.
    Our address changed from a Rural Route to a street address and then the County changed our address but I never moved.
    And, well, I lived in the old house until I was 4 yrs old so I don’t remember much of that… we lived in the machine shed for the summer when they tore the old house down and built a new one in the same place. And then I had a basement bedroom and when Kelly and I got married I moved into the upstairs bedroom.

    I’ve helped a lot of other people move. And one of my best friends tried to kill me by dropping a washing machine on my head as we carried it up some basement stairs. But he missed.

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    1. I find it fascinating, Ben, that you have always lived where you do. You must have an entirely different sense of belonging than I do. I suspect you feel connected to the land itself, and have a much more intimate relationship to, and knowledge of, your community. I’m wondering, though, don’t you ever feel a sense of longing for something else, some adventure, or simple curiosity about what you’re missing out on?

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      1. Yeah, I have pretty deep roots here. And what an interesting question; been thinking about it while doing chores this morning.

        My dad grew up here too. Born in that old house, lived in it until he was 43 and that’s when they tore it down and built the new house. He was 65 when we got married and they moved into town.
        Mom grew up in this neighborhood a few miles to the North. So she moved from there to her and didn’t move until we married.
        I guess I come by it naturally.
        It’s a rural / farmer thing too I guess. I know a lot of farmers who have never moved or moved from their birth farm to the new farm and haven’t left there.
        I have travelled and spent time in other places… but I sure like it here. At this point, I’d not want to live any where else.

        Sure I hope to travel more. Every now and then I have a daydream about moving to an island or something. But I think about how much I would have to give up and that’s the end of the day dream.
        I really do appreciate everything we have here.
        At least for now.
        Thanks for asking!

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        1. I envy you your sense of rootedness, Ben, but I’m not sure I’d trade my living in other cultures for it. A classic example of The Road Not Taken, I guess. The one thing I know for sure is that no matter how long I live here, I will always be from somewhere else. But I can’t go back. I’ve changed, and so has Denmark. I might consider moving to Portugal, though. It has the advantage of a great climate, and reasonable cost of living; there is the language thing, though. I don’t speak Portuguese, and at this stage of my life, I’m not sure I could wrap my brain around it. Decisions, decisions.

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  12. One of the things that this weekend’s Trail has made me realize is that I do not remember one single moving day when I was a child. I’ve tried to dredge up any of them, even the most horrible one when I was a junior in high school. But not one memory. It must be some kind of block, because I clearly remember the day after we moved in my junior year.

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    1. While i do find that interesting, vs, I’m not so sure that it’s unusual. Of the 28 times that I have moved, there are actually only a few where I remember the actual move. The renting of a truck, the packing and unpacking of everything, and with the help of friends moving it all, most of that is gone. I recall living in one place, and then living in the next, but don’t recall how the heck I got there in most cases.

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  13. Anna and K-two both talked about moving their parent. I’ve now moved my mom four times, and each one we downsized further. Once she was in assisted living, there was a system of putting out table in the hall with things she was letting go of – even notices about furniture. It was fun to see who gave a new home to some of her things.

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  14. I have a friend who is so well organized that the last time she moved, she knew several years before (when I first met her) how many boxes she would need to pack for a future move; I think it was about 15. Her home was not spartan, just impeccably organized. Now, in a new, larger home, I don’t know that she has the number of boxes she would need calculated, but she knows exactly where everything she owns is. I was helping her prepare for a party a few years ago and asked where some seldom used item was, she knew, down to the exact position on the precise shelf in the basement where the box it was stored in was. That may not be as astounding to some of you as it was to me. I can usually find what I need, but it’s quite a process of remembering where I saw it last and what I was doing at the time, along with an inward spiraling search until I find it. For my friend, locating stuff is a non-issue. She moved her mom from a long-time house to an assisted living apartment with less than a week notice, and over a Thanksgiving weekend she had everything moved, unpacked, organized, and personalized for her mom, down to the pictures on the walls and cosmetics in the bathroom by Friday evening. I stand in awe.

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    1. One problem I have when I try to organize things is I can’t remember where I’ve put things after I’ve organized them. I sill retain a mental image of where the things were before I reorganized, and I keep looking for things where they used to be.

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  15. The summer my parents moved from their house in town into the Senior Citizen apartment was a tough summer. Dad was not happy about that pending move. He was grumpy all summer and I don’t blame him.
    Once they moved in he liked it with no snow to move or grass to cut. And he was able to convince management to let them put a wood shop down in the basement for anyone to use. (Dad was very persuasive).
    But boy, that was a rough summer.

    Mom downsized after Dad died. And still, she’s always giving things away and asking us to take stuff back. What’s left in her apartment are the pictures and special items that hold significance. A little furniture and TV and computer. She’s good at planning ahead…

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  16. My friend, Ann, who lives in an old historic mansion on Crocus Hill, has been systematically downsizing during the last couple of years. She has found new homes for most of the books in her large library, donated a grand piano to the Guthrie, and has hauled load after load of household goods, tools, and clothes to a thrift store on West 7th St. Many of her books were rare, first edition volumes that you would think had some monetary value. As it turned out, it was mostly educational institutions and museums that had any interest in what she was getting rid of, and they didn’t have the funds to pay (or perhaps sensed an opportunity?). The piano, she tried to find a buyer for, that proved impossible. When she decided to donate it, she thought that the Schubert Club Museum would be a good place for this antique instrument, but they declined. Didn’t have the space or the funds for it’s upkeep. At any rate, she ended up with a lot of charitable deductions and very little cash. Ann is 84 years old, a widow, with a married son who lives in Seattle, and a married daughter who lives in Stockholm, Sweden. I don’t envy them the task of dealing with what’s left when she’s gone.

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