Friday, April 16, 2010

Packing It Up

I am preparing to leave Longview. No surprise there, because I’m unemployed and on relief, as my aged friend puts it. Job prospects are poor here, since I’m only interested in running a newspaper. That job has been taken, rather rudely I might add.

I received my first relief check the other day. Actually, now one receives a debit card with a weekly amount placed on it, which is mighty handy. This is the first time in my 40-year work history that I have received unemployment, so I have a clear conscience. What is more, it will be short-lived. It is too early to make an announcement. It is not too early to begin packing, so that is how I have spent my days lately.

In celebration of my first “relief” check, I took my debit card and went over to Harley’s, the closest package store to my house and bought two bottles of sauvignon blanc, since the weather is getting warm. I tend to switch to cold wine as the temperature rises. Besides, I wanted to make sure the PIN on the debit card worked.

It did. This is a great country.

The last move, a little more than two years ago from Lufkin to Longview, spoiled me. The company paid the full deal, packing everything and moving me 90 miles north. I insisted on unpacking so I would know where everything ended up. This time I will get to handle the boxes on both ends, though my new employer is generously financing the transport costs.

All of the other moves over the past 20 years, save for the one from Lufkin to Longview just mentioned, were cross town or across the Angelina River and self-financed. I packed sloppily, made lots of trips, paid hefty fellows to do the heavy lifting as I grew older, and stretched the move out over a week or more. I can’t do that this time, since I’m headed several hundred miles away.

So I pack and pack, and pack some more, in the course of which I find dumb stuff that it is time to shed. There is the Carlos n’ Charlie gimme cap from Cozumel that I never wore. I am too old to wear a Carlos n’ Charlie’s cap. Heck, I was too old to wear it when I bought it, since I would be trying to look hip when I decidedly am not.

I chunk the massive wine opener that came as a gift for joining some wine of the season club. It never worked and mainly served as a fur-gathering place for Maggie the cat, who has since has moved on to other quarters. Gone is the odd collection of book bags gathered at conventions and never used. Tossed are too-tight sweatshirts one hoped to shrink back into. Tattered jeans that simply shouldn’t be worn in public anymore head out the door. And so forth.

When you are either letting other folks pack you or are only moving across town, you get lazy about moving stuff that isn’t needed. At least I did. This move, I am ruthless. The Goodwill store folks are seeing a lot of me. I have made at least a half-dozen trips thus far, once the back of the hybrid SUV is filled. You get more tax-deduction receipts that way. (Only kidding, IRS people who might happen along this column.)

I still haven’t tackled packing up the woodshop. Not long after this is posted, I’ll finish staining my desk, the last piece I will build here. It matches three other mission-style pieces I’ve built over the years: a sofa, a Morris chair and ottoman, and a side table. When I get to where I am heading, that is where I will sit most nights — writing these missives and other pieces, at that desk.

Soon I will start packing up the shop. Most of the large power tools will go into the care of my son-in-law (it is weird to think I have one of those — makes me feel old) who does woodworking and has the space, until I again have time and a shop of my own. I will take to where I am going hand tools and enough stuff to putter around. More on all that later.

Meanwhile, it is back to packing. Who ever knew one middle-aged guy living by himself could acquire so much stuff? A few more trips to Goodwill are definitely on the agenda.

1 comment:

  1. Our last move, from a one-bedroom studio to a large house on an acre of land, is the very first time I haven't taken the ruthless Everything Must Go approach by necessity. Having more space than stuff is very new to me.

    Having a mother- and father-in-law makes me feel old, too. Or grown up, at least.