Back to reality…

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.

Boxes, boxes everywhere!

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!!!

C’est la vie.


Decisions, decisions…

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.

C’est la vie