Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rocking the Temporary Life

Move #2 of 4 is done and I'm as settled as I'm going to be in a temporary apartment in San Francisco. There's a reason I devoted a whole chapter of my book to temporary living. If you've never done it, you might not think it's a big deal. But let me assure you, temporary living during a move is the weirdest transition state in which you'll ever be. You are living someone else's lifestyle with someone else's stuff. The only good thing about temporary living is that it's temporary.

"Well, at least we'll get a feel for what it would be like to live here," my husband said. Which does us no good whatsoever, because we will probably never live in a microscopic apartment with modern knick-knacks, hotel soap, lamps with no apparent on-off switch, and only one frying pan.

Here's what else I have for my temporary apartment life:

* A bunch of cardboard boxes and packing materials that I don't know what to do with. This apartment is too tiny to shove them anywhere. I don't know any of my neighbors or I'd try to pass them off on someone who is moving out and needs them. Also I don't know enough about the trash disposal rules and regs or where the security cameras are to know how easy it would be to abandon them in a hallway  in Building 2. To recycle them probably involves cutting and folding that is beyond my interest right now.

* A set of wine glasses and a bottle of wine that the relo welcoming committee left for us, along with some artichoke spread and crackers. The only reason we didn't wolf that down on sight last night is that we were too exhausted to find the corkscrew and we didn't have enough upper-body strength to open a jar. That won't last another night, I assure you.

* Photos of us in frames that my husband's new employer so sweetly had set up here before we arrived. It was a gesture so nice that when I walked in the door, after a grueling day of travel, and saw a picture of  us with our Florida friends on the beach, I about burst into tears. Sentimentality is a dangerous thing to a woman who is moving.

* One of those nicer-hotel beds with 16 pillows and layers of duvets, blankets and sheet-like things. It took me 45 minutes to make the bed this morning and it still didn't look like it did when we walked in, which is just like the Pottery Barn beds. Mine looked like the Princess and the Pea when she was 6 and was practicing cleaning up her own room.

What I don't have is:

* My magnifying make-up mirror. So in the next up-to-6-months, if you see a photo of me with a big black hair growing out of my chin, please private-message me. Thanks. (If you could give me a rough location of where it is, I can probably take care of it - I do have tweezers.) If you see unsightly facial hair after I get my mirror back, you will kindly keep your opinions to yourself.

* Any measuring cups or measuring spoons.

* An umbrella.

* Any hand cream or body lotion whatsoever. I could dry up and blow like a crispy old leaf right down King Street right now.

I'm making the best of the situation and am doing some matchmaking. For instance, the wine glasses look to be roughly 1 cup, so I measure the dog's food in fine glassware with a stem. The dog is suitably impressed with herself over this.  It's going to be an interesting couple of months.

If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.

Monday, March 25, 2013

When Perfect Timing is Actually the Worst Timing

Whose idea was it to put out a book on moving at the exact same time that I'm moving? This ranks up there with My Permed Bangs Calamity of 1984 in decisions I've made that seemed full of hope and light until it was too late.

My book, Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap and My Accent Helped Me Survive 9 Moves will be outdated before it sells a single copy. I'm moving again, which makes that 10 moves. Although that number is questionable, because I haven't decided whether I should count the move into my first house, the big blue farm house in Poland Township, Ohio, or if I should count all the places we rented before we became reluctant and weary homeowners.

I know it's not irony but it's something that my book is scheduled to come out of editing on Wednesday, the same day I'm moving across the country.

So while it seems foolish that I haven't updated my header on this blog yet, I haven't developed my book website, I have nowhere to send my Tweeps in my clever and relevant Twitter postings, I really don't have time, because I'm spending hours a day staring at our suitcases and trying to will my clothes to fit in them. (I think I'm getting closer to success. I will continue to try, just in case.)

This past week we had a big going-away party, several last dinners with close friends, six showings of our house, change-of-address notifications, high-value inventory sheets completed, and the final arrangements of moving our dog with us. (The dog transport process is more complicated than you can imagine, especially those of you with small dogs who can sit at your feet during a flight. Our dog's flight gets another $300 added to it every day, so we better hurry up and get her on that plane before we can't afford a house of our own.)

We move in two days. At the same time as I prepare for that move into a temporary apartment in San Francisco, I am pre-planning a smaller move into a Florida apartment, the big move into a soon-I-hope San Francisco house, my son's move to DC,  the selling of our current house, and the purchase or rent of everything else. So right now I'm a cleaning lady, a house stager, a CPA, a storage expert, a negotiator and a philanthropic donor of old Christmas decorations that won't fit in any of the aforementioned places. There's little time to be an author. Just now, as I was writing the previous paragraph, my husband yelled in, "Can you please come back in here and listen to me talk about this offer out loud?" So apparently, I can't even be a proper blogger either.

When you hear from me again, I'll be settled into my new temporary apartment and I'll have all the time in the world to write my little heart out. Don't believe me? You haven't read my chapter on How to Use Denial and a Good Bottle of Chardonnay to Lull/Trick Yourself Into Agreeing to a Move.

If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Movecation Recommended

As a self-proclaimed moving expert, I will now update my moving advice to include the following:

"Never . . . "


"Always . . . take a vacation approximately 10 days before a big move. Your husband and your Realtor will be just fine."

You would be surprised at how capable your husband is in cleaning the house for a showing. He can make the bed, as it turns out. My self-worth took a small dip in finding out that I wasn't the only one who could clear the counters, turn on all the lights, and make the house look like it was a set from Roseanne after the Connors won the lottery, and make it look so effortless.

And since this is my 10th big move (and arguably the biggest one yet because it is coast to coast and involves flying a dog) I'm shocked to find out that if you ignore your Realtor's advice to meet all deadlines on paperwork and wait a few showings to clean the bug droppings out of the drawers, the world will not come to an end.

Speaking of vacations, look what I found in both hotels this trip, which I am totally in favor of:

Shampoo, conditioner and shower gel containers that you cannot physically, legally or spiritually take home in your suitcase. This removes a huge burden off my shoulders. You know how I love to talk about hotel shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion, soap and whether or not we should take it home.  I mean, think about it: If it was so great, why didn't you use it all when you were at the hotel? You brought your own good shampoo, but you take the little bottles home, where they sit in your closet pushing you one step closer to being a hoarder.

I'm downsizing in this move, so last week I went through my closet after making a speech to myself about freeing myself from material possessions, which included repeating quotes from the Dalai Lama and Rod McKuen. I came across two huge Ziploc bags of tiny hotel toiletries, which I had squirreled away in suitcases from hotels all over the United States, Europe and Great Britain. I had intended to donate them to a woman's shelter or something, but I kept missing Christmas. It seems no one really wants these tiny bottles. At least not at a seasonal convenient time for me. Not to mention the miniature sewing kits (with not enough thread to even sew on a goddamn button) and shower caps (not even worn by ghetto teens anymore).

These bags of personal cleanliness in miniature are gone. Gone, I tell you. If there isn't room in my new place for the foosball table, there certainly isn't room for soap that smells like a gas station bathroom air freshener and hand lotion with as much alcohol content as the Bloody Mary I had at the hotel breakfast buffet.

Although I wasn't home to start purging the house of nonsensical items in anticipation from our upcoming move, I did my part by not bringing home free toiletries from the hotels where I stayed.

Did I not say I was a moving expert?

If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.