Thursday, May 24, 2007

Keep Me Movin'

Moving sucks. Don’t get me wrong – I am happy to be starting a new job and relocating to Midwestern Funky Town. It’s not about the place or the idea of establishing a life somewhere else. All of that is actually very exciting. No, I mean the actual labor and logistics of getting one’s shit from door A to door B. If I were moving down the block, I would still come to the same conclusion: Moving Sucks.

When I was in graduate school, I stayed in a crumbling apartment for four years just because I hated moving so much. Sure the building’s plumbing was so bad that the upstairs neighbor’s bathtub periodically emptied into my bedroom closet. Hey, it was better than moving!

Yes, I was willing to trade somebody else’s scuzzy wash-water rather than pack all my belongings and relocate. If I stayed much longer, I was going to ask her to start showering with Tide detergent so at least my clothes would end up spring fresh. Clearly it takes a lot for me to move. Usually only the offer of a better job prompts me to move.

Nobody enjoys moving, I recognize. Some people, though, seem to find it more of a nuisance than the trauma I imagine it as. One of my sisters moved every year, sometimes twice a year, for almost a decade. She changed apartments more often than I changed the oil in my car. If that had been me, I surely would have left my sanity behind by the third move. You would have seen me wandering down the street mumbling to myself and popping a roll of bubble wrap.

Maybe part of my hesitancy about moving can be found in astrology. As we know, I was born under the super, sacred sign of Cancer the Crab. Real crabs hate moving so much that they carry their house with them on their back. Wherever a crab goes on the beach, they are always in their own little studio apartment. It’s only when they are being served up with butter and some cheesy rolls that you see a crab separated from his home. Now there’s a creature that hates moving.

Something about moving must be against our basic natures. The uncertainness about having basic shelter is really stressful. Once I am all moved into a new place, I know that I will feel just fine. In the meantime, there is an irrational fear of not being able to find any place to rent and ending up roaming the streets. Should this be the case, please remember to come and shoo away the pigeons from GayProf as he sleeps.

Keep in mind, I am still two months from actually departing Boston. If I am already whining, you know that you are in store for many, many blog posts filled with complaining. This isn’t even really a post about my moving. It’s really a post about the expectation of the stress of moving. To be fair, though, the last time that I moved I ended up speeding down the highway with a pile of cat shit in my lap. After that, I had to use my little stick arms to singlehandedly lug my crap up to the third floor of my apartment house. I might have reasons to loathe recreating that scenario.

This time things should be a bit easier. For one, my new institution will actually reimburse moving expenses. This is a big change from Texas. The legislature of that state imagines that state employees should be so grateful that they can move to Texas that they are required to pay their own moving expenses. I am surprised they don’t tax us when we cross the Oklahoma border.

Maybe it's just that a few minor events from this past week have left me feeling a little edgy about the move. First, because of a bureaucratic snafu, my new university won’t be able to give me my first paycheck until a month later than they originally promised. That was not good news to credit-challenged GayProf.

It turns out, also, that finding movers is a tricky business. I’ve learned something about moving companies. They hire some of the sweetest, most chatty people to answer their phones. That friendliness, however, has nothing to do with actual moving abilities.

I phoned up one company where the operator couldn’t have been nicer. Talking with her felt like making a new friend. She was filled with questions. Indeed, I don’t think my own mother expressed as much enthusiasm for my new job. If she could have, this operator would have telephonically poured me a cup of tea. She told me to tell you all hello, by the way.

All I really needed from her, though, was to send some people out to my apartment and give an estimate (I am no fool: I am shopping around for movers). I waited dutifully for three hours for them to show up.

Eventually I called my new friend back to find out if I should keep waiting or maybe start a novena for their deliverance. Though midday, only an answering machine picked up the phone. Several days later, she did phone back to say that their computer had broken down that day (which I guess must control all of the phones as well...?). She was more than happy to reschedule.

Um, yeah, no. If they can’t even figure out how to make it to my place for an estimate, what’s going to happen when they have all my worldly possessions? If a glitch in Outlook shuts down their whole operation, I think that I will pass on their services. Sometimes it just seems like it would be easier to tuck my cat under my arm, douse everything with kerosene, and toss a match over my shoulder as I walk away.

Alas, I am much too sentimental for all of that. How could I possibly leave behind my copy of The Odyssey which I have been lugging around for the past ten years? True, I haven’t read the The Odyssey in over fifteen years (if not longer), but the mood might strike me at any moment.

Whatever the case, I will think more about the whole moving thing on Monday. In the meantime, I hope to meet some members of the gay-blogging aristocracy this weekend.


tornwordo said...

Does that mean you're going to NY? I guess I won't pop down this weekend, lol. Also, how much crap can you possibly have? Moving sucks, but it sucks in direct proportion to how much crap you have but never use.

Anonymous said...

I can relate. My copy of the Odyssey has followed me across Canada as well. The cover is so pretty that I can't get rid of it, so when I move in a few years, I'm sure it'll come along with me.

Sometimes the only things I really don't want to leave behind are my books (and boyfriend). My 7 year old IKEA furniture can happily be set on fire, I think.

vuboq said...

Ugh. I hate moving too. When I graduated college, I moved at least every year until I finally settled in the DC area (of course, I've moved 3 times here). Hopefully, I'm settled for a little while now! Don't worry about finding a cute place to rent in Midwestern Funky Town. Ask the SuperFantasticVuboqCuzin for help if you need :-)

Doug said...

Ok, I couldn't stop giggling at the thought of your upstairs neighbor showering with Tide. I just found that hysterical.

And re: your sign: I'm imagining you served up with butter on a roll. Yum!

For avoiding the stress of moving: hire some independent, young, beefy boys to put your stuff into the truck, and then another set of independent, young, beefy boys to take it out of the truck. Avoid the companies. Use students. Saves the work, and it's a popular spectator sport.

Anonymous said...

You're meeting up with the in-crowd ... the gay blogerati ... don't forget your tiara!

Mmmm, I love crab a la gravitas.

Roger Owen Green said...

I think you better pace yourself. At this level of anxiety two months out, you'll be a wreck by the actual moving day.

Steven said...

All that comes to mind with your story were those undercover investigations by 20/20 on moving companies and how they'll hold out on your possessions until you pay them a price that had increased exponentially since first signing.

The longest distance of my four moves in life was no more than five miles. So no dealings with moving companies yet. Thank God for family. Have a fabu weekend!

Marius said...

I hear ya! I'm a 4th graduate student and, of course, I live in the crappiest apartment in town. I've thought about moving to a nicer place on the "right side of the tracks," but, as you mentioned, moving is such a pain. And tornwordo is right--I have too much useless crap that I like keeping around for some strange reason. It’s makes moving a lot more stressful. So, you’ll be meeting with members of the gay-blogging aristocracy? That should be interesting. :)

GayProf said...

Torn: I am off to NYC. Too bad our trips didn't coincide.

I have very little stuff (Liar Ex absconded with most of the furniture (his vision of "fair" was to take anything we bought together as "his" (unless he clearly didn't want it) and leave behind anything I owned before we met as mine). The biggest/heaviest things I have are books. It's not really quantity -- Any move would stress me out.

Olaf: I am thinking of purging my books.

VUBOQ: Yeah, finding a place in MFT won't be nearly as hard as finding a place in Boston was.

Doug: Butter stains sheets. Just sayin'.

Cooper: Yes, I will meet up with them . . . assuming I am not stabbed on my way there.

ROG: You're right! Where did I put that Xanax?

Steven: I have heard many horror stories about moving companies. Most start with, "The woman on the phone was so nice..."

Marius: The other great thing about that apartment was that the rent was dirt cheap. I am so glad to be out of grad school (sorry).

Horace said...

While I totally agree about moving out, there's something magical about moving in, about putting my home into order, about crafting my own space, about feng shui'ing my way into a new era.

So good luck with that...

Antonio said...

I hate moving too. I've lived at my current place 2 years, and I've amassed a little bit of junk that I'd have to sort through. The biggest obstacle would be settling the matter of what to do with my 250 lb, 32-inch HDTV that I just can't let go of.

Frank said...

"In the meantime, I hope to meet some members of the gay-blogging aristocracy this weekend."

You're coming to New Jersey to see me? Why didn't you tell me! I'll fluff the pillows in the guest room! *LOL*

I should hook you up with my grandmother. She moved every few years after she and my grandfather retired; she had it down to a science.

dykewife said...

we're going to be moving as well and you're right, moving sucks.

Anonymous said...

i also hate moving - so much so next time i'm just taking books and the clothes on my back. possibly my cat. the rest i'll replace.

Earl Cootie said...

I love packing. All those neatly taped boxes with color-coded (by room) 3x5 index cards secured on the top (and on one side) listing all the contents. The end of the packing tape roll folded over precisely 1/8 inch when not in use. These things fill me with such unimaginable pleasure.

It's the cleaning of the old place that makes me a sobbing, hysterical mess.

ZaPaper said...

I like doug's beefy boys idea. I may have to try that myself this time around (also moving, August 1!).

The movers from the company last time around were amazing, two extremely tiny Mexican guys who were INCREDIBLY strong, carrying 4-5 large heavy boxes of books up the stairs to our fourth floor apartment, tied to their backs with a single cord...trip after trip for hours. It made us feel really guilty. We plied them with lemonade. When we apologized for all the books, they said, Ha, you think this is bad? We had to move some professor in Hyde park...! (Eyes rolling eloquently.)

Oh, what I was going to say is that we had our company recommended for us by the school that was paying the expenses. They had a deal with that company, so that anyone from their school gets a huge discount. Might be worth asking about.

The Goldfish said...

I hope everything goes smoothly for you. In the meantime,
I have given you a Thinking Blogger Award.

r said...

Moving is horrid for me on all kinds of levels. I am the poster child for Pack rats everywhere, and I hate cleaning.

Plus, for me, there's the asking of friends with trucks to help me move. My friends always come through, but it's so close to begging.

Of course, except for my friend the PE teacher at school. He said, "oh... I'm sorry, I have a pilates class at the gym." the last time I asked him for help.

That was almost four years ago, and he's still dating the instructor.


Anonymous said...

Let me be sure I'm sure I'm clear about this post's topic: it's not about moving; it's not about stressing about moving; it's about dreading the upcoming stress of moving. I feel so at home here.

Yeah, the gasoline idea sounds wisest. Cat in one hand, Mego Wonder Woman in the other though.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Good luck on the moving, when I moved to the UK, I moved 40 boxes of books internationally (apparently they were so heavy the boxes had to be put along the wall as the edwardian house didn't have floor strong enough to support them) - I came back with 100 boxes of books. And our "oh so accomadating" moving company we ordered boxes from so they would arrive 2 months in advance...they came 9 days before we needed to move.

So really...good luck!

Anonymous said...

I once lived opposite a city council garbage truck depot. The 4am din made it all so very special.

Just wanted to congratulate you...I don't think I've ever seen the word "moving" and its cognates used so often in a single entry!

Good luck with finding a place.

Tenured Radical said...

As one who has moved many times in the last five years, here is my hard-core moving advice:

1. Let no trash day go unremarked.
2. The Salvation Army is your friend.
3. Pay the movers to pack too.
4. When you get to the new place, have an air mattress, a reading light, a sleeping bag, a pillow, a coffee maker, and a few utensils and plates. The movers will be later than they say they will be -- perhaps much later. I once called to find out where the movers were in atransition from Pennsylvania to CT (about a half day's drive) only to be told that the driver's grandmother in Alabama had just died, and he had turned the truck around and driven my stuff to Mobile. To go to the funeral.
5. Get rid of everything you bought from IKEA. It bruises easily and either arrives broken or looking like shit.
6. Craig's List is your friend -- on both ends.

love and luck,