Move in day started early yesterday with a 4:30 a.m. fire alarm at our hotel. Happily, no one was injured, but we could have used a little more sleep! We were eventually allowed back into the hotel. We tried to get a little more sleep but knowing all our worldly possessions were on their way, it was hard to go back to sleep. So, we got ready to roll, grabbed Starbucks and went to the new apartment.
The movers arrived and proceeded to get everything off the truck, into the elevator and up to our apartment.
EVERY room in the apartment is now filled with boxes, paper, and our stuff. While we are still a long way from having everything in its place, we are on our way. And having been up since 4:30, we agreed Rome wasn’t built in a day and that it would all be there for us (me) in the morning. We ended the day with drinks and dinner, toasting this great adventure of life.
The movers arrive Friday to pack up all our worldly possessions. On Saturday, they will load them onto a large truck and drive away. While preparing for our move to Pennsylvania, Mr. Smith and I have been spent snatches of time the last couple weeks visiting some of our favorite places in the Ithaca area, saying “goodbye” to this chapter of our life and this beautiful location. The Finger Lakes area is absolutely gorgeous (Ithaca is Gorges!) and we have sweet memories of the lakes, wineries and restaurants. We will definitely miss Aurora Street and its plentiful choice of al fresco summertime dining and cozy cafes for winter.
Now, onward, ever onward. We stand ready to begin the next chapter of our lives. We are excited to be living 125 miles from our youngest son. It also puts us closer to our DC kids. While we’ll still be about the same distance from Elliot and his family, I’m going to take a bit of a break from full-time employment and am anticipating a visit or two to see my marvelous granddaughters!
Moving is a pain and change is rarely without its challenges. Mr. Smith and I have made plenty of moves and plenty of challenges during our forty years of wedded bliss. We feel lucky that we’ve been able to weather the impediments without killing each other and grateful that we still get along!
So I’m putting on blinders to any irritations that may pop up during the moving process and focusing forward. I want to remind myself of the new adventures that lie ahead and what I’m looking forward to in our new home:
1. Living closer to New York City!
2. Reconnecting with some old friends and meeting new people.
3. More time to devote to writing.
4. Sitting in our new light-filled apartment and reading a book.
5. A break from the 9-5 and taking a moment to breathe.
Please check out the blog on Sunday when my sister, Jeanne, muses on the advantages of aging…
I’m back from my road trip and back to reality. A week off from work seems like such a great idea until it’s that first Monday back at your computer and there are 337 emails in your inbox. In addition to a week’s vacation from work, I also gave myself a week of not obsessing about the details of moving.
Mr. Smith and I have signed a lease on the love nest in the sky and now the fun really begins. We are lucky in that Mr. Smith’s employer will hire a professional to do our packing and moving, but there’s still much work to be done on our part. We’ve been sorting, purging, and discussing what goes with us and what doesn’t make the cut. Then came my moment of panic. Was the apartment big enough??? Had we been hypnotized by the great view and not given enough consideration to the number of cupboards and closets? But then I had a tremendous epiphany. Maybe it wasn’t that there isn’t enough room, maybe we have too much stuff.
We both recently read The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. After much discussion and negotiation, a journalist and her husband move from London to rural Denmark so her husband can accept a position with Lego. Helen sets out to document her experience and figure out whether Danes really are the happiest people on earth. I was particularly struck by her passage about looking for housing in Denmark. When viewing potential rentals and looking in the drawers and cupboards of the kitchen, she was amazed at the organization and tidiness. They had all that they needed, but not more than they needed. I kept this passage in mind when sorting through our kitchen and felt better and lighter seeing the pile of items that won’t be on the moving truck.
Sorting through just our wine glasses revealed that two people who have lived alone for over ten years somehow owned over 75 glasses between wine and champagne. Some were in boxes in a closet, but many were crammed on shelves in a cupboard and rarely used. The ones in the boxes hadn’t seen the light of day in our four years in New York. Sixteen wine glasses and eleven champagne glasses will be moving on to Pennsylvania. While that’s still probably more than we’ll need, sometimes baby steps are needed. In another step forward, I’m packing up some things that I truly don’t need, but am not quite ready to part with yet. I’m going to store those boxes in my sister’s basement and if they aren’t needed in the next few years, I will donate them to someone.
While I’m not ready to Marie Kondo my life, I will try to make sure that everything we take with us into our next adventure is either useful or beautiful. The decluttering and letting go of things feels right. Besides, a bigger apartment would just take longer to clean!!!
Mr. Smith has received his next work assignment, so we now know where we are headed. Like the swallows to Capistrano, we’ll be returning to the Wilkes Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania area for the foreseeable future and need to find a new nest. We don’t believe we will be here long term, so we are looking to rent. Let the hunt for housing begin!
We lived in this area a few years ago and are all too familiar with the challenge of finding a property that will check all our boxes. We’ve done some looking online and have recruited a couple of friends in the area to be on the lookout for us.
My friend, Mary Louise, put us on the trail to some new apartments atop a historic building just off a square in Wilkes Barre. The top floors have been remodeled into sleek apartments with great views of the city lights and the Susquehanna River.
Last Sunday Mr. Smith and I took a drive down to view one of the apartments. We were both pleased to see positive changes in the area including the addition of several new apartments, a salon/spa, and a restaurant. Perhaps not a true renaissance, but in the three years we’ve been gone, certainly a giant step in the right direction.
When we went to view the apartment we were interested in, I was taken aback as I thought the apartment was vacant. Not only was it not vacant, the current tenants were in the process of packing to move and there were boxes and stuff EVERYWHERE! It was very difficult to get a real feel for the space and how it would fit our life. While it did have the most lovely master bath with a great soaking tub, I did have some concerns about the size of the kitchen. I want Mr. Smith to have all the space he needs when he’s making me my delicious meals.
Driving home from that visit, I had a bit of a Gift of the Magi moment. I expressed my concern about the kitchen and Mr. Smith replied, “But I want you to have that bathtub!” His being willing to accept a small kitchen so I could have a fabulous bathroom may not be quite the same as selling his gold watch to buy me hair combs, but it certainly melted my heart.
We haven’t ruled out the love nest in the sky but are continuing to look. Our home environment is important to both of us. My dad had a very utilitarian approach to his surroundings and was of the mindset “If you don’t want me to use something, you’d better hang it on the wall.” Not so for Mr. Smith and me. We love our pottery, candles, books, photographs, etc. In fact, in talking about the next move and what will or will not make the cut, Mr. Smith stated that he will not get rid of any art!
Moving brings up all sorts of feelings from excitement to dread. We have moved enough to know the amount of work involved. I feel like every time we move, we purge more “stuff”. I hope our children are appropriately appreciative that we won’t be leaving decades and decades of possessions for them to have to deal with after Mr. Smith and I bite the dust. But there’s also the excitement of new beginnings. Getting to decorate our new surroundings. Finding our favorite place for coffee, a drink with friends, or a cozy dinner.
Having survived forty years of marriage, kids and grandkids and all that it entails, I’m sure we’ll survive another move in fine fashion. During our previous time in Wilkes Barre we lived in a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment for seven years. And we are still married.