Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Why I Hate Moving, Part 1 (Plus Some More Bad English Toddler T-shirts)

Seven moves in thirteen years and you're bound to misplace a few things. Big things: a pearl necklace, immigration papers. Small things: the play you wrote in college, your first passport.

Actually, we kept track of our stuff pretty well until that last big move, the move seven weeks after Pink P's birth, eleven weeks after we put the house on the market, and five weeks after we sold it. The move where some of our stuff went into storage, some of it went to my parents', and the rest of it crammed into seven suitcases and made the trip across the Pacific to Japan. 

Before that, we had a house and file cabinets, and a pretty good idea of where we'd come from and where we were headed. But, when we decided to sell the house (to move to Tokyo for my dissertation research), we became nomads, not sure where we'd end up.

Essentially, we've been living out of suitcases (albeit disguised as cheap rentals, bad furniture, and a file system relying heavily on cardboard boxes and plastic drawers) for the last six years. So, this summer marks the first time since 2006 that we know where we will be for two consecutive years. In other words, the time has finally come for us to try try to get our sh** together.

It's not as easy as it sounds. 

First, there are the books. I'm a professor (which means I basically collects books for a living) married to a bibliophile. We have tons of books. Literally. Since transport companies charge by weight, we like to move our books ourselves. When we drove up to close on our new house we took about 1200 pounds of books with us, and those 1200 pounds represent only a fraction of the books that need to be moved. Nothing good comes from schlepping books all over the world. And, yet, I feel compelled to schlep them. (Incidentally, I'm pretty sure this is how you figure out whether you should pursue a career in academia. If you feel compelled to carry heavy books wherever you go, then this may be the life for you.) Many of these books have made every single move with me. Others were acquired along the way. For this move,  between fifty and sixty boxes of book will make the journey first from my current office, then to our old house, then to our new house, and finally to my new office. If there was an easier way to do this, believe me, I'd do it.

Next, there is the small island worth of stuff still stuck in storage at my parents' house. The island, which is the size of five pallets and once reached the ceiling, is made up of all the things we couldn't take with us to Japan (and didn't want to pay to store) back in early 2008. Theoretically, if we haven't needed it for the past 5 years, we probably don't need it in our new house. But, we can't just let it sit there, either.  So, yesterday, I loaded up Stow and we drove the 80 minutes to my parents' house so I could go through it.

Stow bubbled with excitement, and when we finally pulled into their driveway, he exclaimed, "Yay! Sissy! Ganma!" (Sissy=Grandma and Ganma=Grandpa. Totally obvious, right?) While Stow played with Sissy and Ganma, I dug worked my way through the pile. Good thing I did because I found our long-lost Halloween decorations, the koi nobori I got back when I was an ALT, and the mysterious missing tub of Sky's old toddler clothes. The good news? I'm not crazy. There really was another tub of clothes. And also? I found 5 more awesome Japanese t-shirts. The bad news? Stow has already outgrown half of it.  And also, oh my gosh, how much shopping I did for that first child!

All the stuff that doesn't fit Stow.
While I was at it, I also tried to get through the closetful of stuff I'd left when I went off to to get married. I'm pretty sure I don't need the old Beta tape of my favorite television shows from junior high. Also think I can go on without the copies of my grad school applications or xerox copies of every single reading from my Master's program. I also managed to get rid of two boxes of books I'll never read again, my financial records from 1997-2001, a high school creative writing journal (shudder), and all the material I collected for my post-college job search (I graduated in 1994, so I think it was time). I didn't manage to purge myself of any of the following, however: every post-high school paper I've ever written, ten bookshelves of my favorite novels, four old license plates, or every t-shirt I've ever bought. In the end, after six hours of work, I left only a couple of boxes on the pallets in the storage room and stuff in just half of the closet. One of these trips, I'm hoping to make it back with our wedding china, which went into my closet the day after our wedding and has been there ever since.

A girl can dream, can't she?


The shirts:

Sometimes the hyphen really matters.

Existential guilt from a toddler tee.

If existential guilt isn't your thing, how about some good old unintentional sexist nationalism (complete with a misplaced apostrophe)?

Sorry, even the big doe-like eyes can't make this guy cute.



Denise said...

I love the bulldozer shirt. That's hilarious.

When visiting my in-laws in Japan, I like to stop by Jusco, mostly to fill my cart with Japanese snacks and candies. :) But I usually walk around the clothing sections, too. The "English" on the outfits usually either amuses or baffles me. Love it.

Mom on the Edge said...

I <3 JUSCO. One of the best places ever for cheap, funny kids' clothes.