Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Between Homes

I hate moving. Not counting college and the time my family had to move back and forth after a house flood, this will be my 10th time moving. And I've hated it every time.

I hate tracking down boxes. I hate scheduling movers and/or renting a truck. I hate the meticulous process of going through all my crap and packing it (although there's something cathartic about throwing stuff out). I hate driving back and forth between the old place and the new place. I hate thinking I have everything packed up and then discovering that there's still so much left.

When we moved here from St. Louis, I discovered something new that I hate about moving. I've probably hated it all along, but I never picked up on it until that time.

I hate the feeling of being between homes.

When you pack up all your stuff, there are decisions to be made. What are the essentials that need to be left out until the last moment we leave this house? What pots and pans do we still need to cook with? How many sets of clothes to wear? What will Coffeeson need between now and then? Those items deemed essential are all that remain.

Everything else is temporarily removed from your active life. Pictures get taken down. Other items of entertainment stored away. And before long, you're left with stacks of boxes lined up like cardboard gravestones, memorials to a place that used to feel much warmer and much more inviting. For as long as it takes to pack, to finalize plans, and to move everything to the new place, home becomes hard to define. The current house becomes just a house. The new place hasn't really been made a home yet.

I clearly recall the despair that crept in the last time we moved. Our apartment had been packed and most of our stuff was already in transit to Ohio. All that was left was a TV on top of a box, our desktop computer set up on the floor, our sleeping arrangements a couple blankets with no mattress or padding. Coffeewife still had to work a few final shifts, so it was mostly me, our cat, and empty, echoing rooms. This was our life for only a couple days, but it was long enough to feel displaced without changing locations.

Fortunately, this move will go much quicker, and be much less lonely. We're only moving a few miles down the road, and there will be plenty of people around to help, so that feeling of displacement may not be as pronounced.

But It's there. It's always there. Our walls are becoming more bare, and we've been making decisions about essentials. We have to dodge around boxes to get from one room to another. The sense of home is disappearing, albeit more slowly.

I look forward to creating a home in our new place. I look forward to discovering what it will entail; how best to make it our own.

But this time in between homes is awful. As many times as I've moved and will move, I'll never get used to it.