Well, here I am in a new town again. We have moved so much these last few years that I feel like a perpetual newcomer, a packer and mover by profession, and a stranger living in other people's houses. I'm not really a professional mover, but I rate packing as one of my skills should I need to support myself and the kids one day. The last move, they only broke one thing and I wasn't the person who packed it.
The movers broke one of the kid's beds by putting it together wrong, then snuck off without saying a thing about it. I didn't know it was broken until my daughter cried out in the night and found herself on the floor. It wasn't sleeping on the floor that bothered her, just the sudden descent.
Later, I found out there was even a little "local atmosphere" outside the windows. Someone was pushing dope there every night. (We lived in an apartment complex.) That's a little much to put up with. I'm glad we moved from there - I think.
I can't complain that our new house doesn't have room for all the furniture. The girls are growing up and they need a little privacy. We made certain while we were house hunting that we chose a place with plenty of room. (I flew here for a weekend house-hunting trip.) We also made sure we weren't on the regular dope route. (The kids are growing up, you know.)
The furniture. We have plenty of room here, but the furniture is pretty much the same as we had two moves ago when we lived in the little place. That brings up a technique for moving.
- Buy furniture that will spread out or squeeze together
- Buy furniture that fill function in different rooms
- Buy furniture in neutral colors.
Believe me, there is enough trouble trying to fit your household needs into whatever your income says you can afford without having to look for a house that matches your furniture or worse yet, buying new furniture every time you move.
Packing boxes. I discovered during this last move that packing boxes on the floor of the closet make great drawers for younger kids and leave plenty of space for play in the bedroom. Packing boxes can also double as night stands and end tables. All you do is throw a fabric or a cheap tablecloth over them and place a lamp on top. The boxes they use for packing lamps are particularly nice for this purpose. Eight of 10 people will call you clever - for the first year.
We've also tried using the super size packing box for a makeshift dinner table, but there's no room to put your legs. You end up lounging by the "table" in a style like a Roman orgy, with a hotdog dripping mustard into your lap.
Save some of your packing boxes for the things you had a place for in the last house, but you don't in this house. If you save it, it may look great in the next house. For me there's always been a next house.
The kids. Save some pity for your kids. You were probably consulted about moving. Your husband probably got the word from higher up. But the kids, well face it, you just picked them up from where they were finally beginning to feel like they belonged and put them down again in a new place.
If you have older kids, you've given them extra work to do, griped about how they did it, and have always been too busy when they wanted to talk about it. Sure, you say "Give it time and you'll like it here." That is no comfort to the kid who thought she was going to make first string basketball - before you moved - and who just found out that soccer is the big game in the new town and everyone else has been playing soccer since babyhood.
There comes a time when, although you ache for adult company, you are going to have to spend more time with the kids. You have to take the place of the friends they left behind and be willing to abdicate when new friends take your place.
It's easier with smaller kids, because you're the center of their little world. You can take them in your lap often, talk to them at their play, make cookies, color together, and play with them and their toys.
With older kids, teach them to play with your toys.
- Teach them how to bake bread, pizza, and bagels.
- If you have room, indulge in a ping pong table to encourage activity and crazy laughing. Ping pong tables are inexpensive and easy to get rid of when you move again.
- Teach them your favorite card games, bridge, pinochle, or canasta. Card games played for fun are a great way of diffusing tension, and you all will have tension.
- Go out to dinner. I don't know why this one works. Later, you won't be able to make them go to dinner, but when you're new in town, they LIKE it.
Let the kids call their friends "back home." Encourage them to write letters. (This was in the 70's remember.) Supply the stamps. Show them how to save by using economy night rates. Forgive them when they sneak in a person-to-person call on Wednesday afternoon because "I knew she'd be home then Mom." (I have to explain to my younger readers, that for a big extra charge you could call and ask for a specific person. If that person wasn't there to take the call, you weren't charged. If they were there, the extra charge was by the minute.)
NOTE: We're still far from the end of this note. I'll continue it tomorrow.