I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Moving at end of August

Our upper corner apartment
This fine little apartment has been our home for the last four-and-a-half years. After realizing that we would indeed be forced to move in order to maintain our sanity, we began to look for another place. As I mentioned in last week's post, we looked at two places last Sunday and were encouraged to realize that both of them would have worked for us. However, the one I loved wasn't Smart Guy's favorite: it's an upstairs apartment in a triplex, with attic type ceilings (which I adored) and unique and quaint little nooks and crannies. He's taller than I am and hit his head twice on the low ceiling. Plus it's 200 square feet smaller than what we have now.

The other one was in the part of town known as Happy Valley, and as we drove over to look at it, we descended into a valley, giving us little ocean breeze and no views at all. It was adequate but not as good as our present place. The large pine tree in our current front yard shades our apartment and has been filled with birds of all kinds. My first step towards moving was to stop feeding the birds, since summer is the very best time to do that anyway. I was surprised to find that it wasn't as hard to let it go as I thought it would be. I don't miss the house sparrows or squirrels one little bit! And they are still around, as other tenants also feed them.

I had learned that Roger, one of our community garden tenants, is moving at the end of the month, and he is in the equivalent apartment to the one we have now: the other end, thirteen apartments to the north, upstairs. He was kind enough to let us look inside and we realized it is exactly the same as our present apartment, but mirror image: everything is backwards to what has become my normal layout. We negotiated with the owner to move there and learned that I will need to pay for the rug to be steam cleaned here, and I plan to do all the rest of the cleaning myself. The deed will be done. It means I will need to arrange for the cable and internet to be switched, the electricity to be changed over, and to change my address for voting. Funny that simply changing an apartment number means a complete address change.

It's also time to lighten up my possessions. Smart Guy and I have decided to change the way we are living in the apartment to reflect our current state of affairs. When we first moved here, I was very attached to my iMac and set it up in the living room to look out the front window at the view. Today, the portable MacBook Air is my new best friend and I realize I am moving away from using the iMac as my main computer. With an iPad and the Air, I could easily get along without the iMac. Smart Guy reminded me that I can get a big screen if I want to expand my view. I'll think about that once the iMac is toast.

Yesterday I went through my closet to donate the clothes I haven't worn. For some reason I brought along all my clothes I wore to work: suit jackets, dress pants, and many dressy blouses. They simply gathered dust in the closet, not having been worn in five years. I guess I wasn't quite ready to realize my work life was behind me, so yesterday they all went into an enormous pile, with their concomitant memories of times past. The clothes no longer belong in my present life, but I'll keep the memories. It felt good to let them go.

A move also gives me the possibility of rethinking the way I use my environment. Since the community garden has become such a pleasure, I really didn't want to leave it behind. The triplex apartment had a box garden outside I could have used, created by a previous tenant and abandoned at present. I have learned that digging around in a garden is very satisfying, not to mention the actual food that is produced. Last night I woke wondering what one does with a garden in the winter. Do I pull up all the spent plants and amend the soil in preparation for next spring's planting? I'll find out from the internet and my garden neighbors. It will be another learning experience.

Yesterday I didn't get to go skydiving as has become my usual Saturday habit. The heat wave finally broke, bringing in low clouds with the much cooler temperatures. Although the skies in Snohomish were expected to clear by 2:00 in the afternoon, I decided to pin my hopes of making some skydives this week on today's forecast: overcast in the morning and partly cloudy in the afternoon. I counted up the number of skydives I've already made this season, and it's more than thirty already, more than I've made in previous years living here. We can usually jump right into late October, with September being either really spectacular or rather unsettled. It was 88 degrees F here on Friday but only 66 yesterday. The chill in the air was very welcome, as I hardly know how to cope with the eighties and nineties any more. I've become acclimated to the Pacific Northwest.

It was hard to make the decision to move, since I cannot seem to help getting attached to my humble abode. Renting seems the best option for us, since we have no money for a down payment on a home, and we have also become accustomed to being able to pull up our roots and move on. I learned over the past week that there are many places to explore here in Bellingham that we had neglected to consider, and many options for the future.

Even with the best of intentions, I accumulate stuff. Although Smart Guy doesn't accumulate like I do, I seem to want to "nest" and have little places where my stuff surrounds me: the recliner in the living room has everything I need within reach on both sides, with a lamp overhead. I do the same next to my spot in the bedroom. Time to rethink everything as we pack up and get into "motel mode." Consolidating all the important things into one place and rethinking all the unnecessary detritus of the past: that's my task for this upcoming week. We will be in our new place by Labor Day.

Labor Day! It's two weeks from tomorrow! Falling early this year, but still. It marks the end of the summer season for many of us. Kids go back to school, the leaves begin to turn, and the migration of so many birds to the south will also begin soon. At present, we are losing more than three minutes of daylight every single day as we move towards the autumnal equinox on September 22, at 7:49am Pacific Daylight Time.

Before I know it, it will be here, with the three months of fall gently moving us into winter. The seasons change, people move on, and I will continue to delight in the wonder of it all.


Mel said...

I wish you all the best in your new home, especially quiet neighbors! I loved reading this post, it made me think about many things, especially the need to donate the last remnants of my work wardrobe. I've looked at them several times, but the emotional attachment to who I used to be was just too strong. But sixteen years in this house and my packrat tendencies are taking a toll, especially the books. I'm going to pretend I'm moving and lighten the load. Unnest just a little. Thanks for the inspiration.

I love that you will have access to a garden in your new apartment. Digging in the dirt is the best therapy. I didn't accomplish much in my garden this year, but enjoyed the food I grew myself immensely.

I hope you get a few more sky dives in this season. It seems Fall is in a hurry to arrive this year. I'll try, like you, to relax and delight in the wonder of it. Have a great week.

Anonymous said...

The new apartment in the same complex sounds like a workable solution. At least you won't have to rent a UHaul truck. What about all the books you have bought? Are you donating those? Too bad you can't have a garage sale; I bet you could make quite a bit from it. I should go through my closet too. I've kept so many clothes, thinking I'll fit into them once I lose weight, but it hasn't happened yet!!! Lol.

Linda Myers said...

Sounds like a good solution. I'm attached to my garden, too, so I understand.

I love that you are continuing to downsize. My husband is a collector but not a get-rid-of er. I wish!

June said...

Ugh. Moving.
But! How fortuitous that you're moving to a new place and not truly leaving the environment you've come to know so well. Congratulations on using this opportunity to weed out unneeded *stuff.*

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I've spent a bit of each day this week weeding out stuff...work clothes, old bedding (really, who needs four old mattress covers or six worn sets of sheets?), and I'm about to tackle the medicines-and-cosmetics shelves. Glad you have the opportunity to stay in your current building and a similar apartment. You'll have to tell us whether the backwards orientation makes you dizzy!

#1Nana said...

I'm so glad you found a good solution. If you have to make a move, this sounds like an easy one.

I did the same thing with my work clothes. I couldn't bring myself to let go of my suits until just a few months ago. I kept several because once in awhile I work but I hauled a huge pile to the goodwill.

I also like to nest. My husband calls my living room loveseat my cave. It has everything I need at arms reach.

I'm looking forward to meeting you this fall.

Gigi said...

I am so glad you get to stay with your garden!

I like to think that I'm not a packrat....but I do keep things I probably shouldn't. And then regret when I give them away. But Hubby? That man is a packrat and a half. His stuff alone makes me dread our next move.

CrazyCris said...

You get to keep the garden YAY!!! :o)

And you've mentioned the other good thing about moving: it forces you to confront things you don't use/wear anymore and get rid of them! Ciao to the clutter! :o)

Good luck with the move!

Sandi said...

It seems that your problems are resolving themselves wonderfully. I love how life works out when we let it!

For some reason, I didn't manage to get any of the usual summer sorting done around here. Maybe it will become a fall/winter activity . . . one cupboard at a time!

Wishing you a stress-free move. You will get used to the backwards feeling eventually. A few years ago I moved my classroom to one that was set up exactly opposite. It took awhile, but I really like it now, and feel it's my most favorite set-up ever!

Meryl Baer said...

I never thought I would like the cleaning and de-cluttering when we moved, but it was a great cleansing opportunity. Now after 2 1/2 years in our down-sized home, the clutter is accumulating again...Good luck with the move and enjoy your new digs!

Jackie said...

Jan, I was secretly hoping that something would work out so that you could stay there...
Your changes sound like they are all positive ones; I need to take note of a lot of them for myself.
You continue to inspire me as I read your words. Thank you for that.

Red said...

I haven't moved in the last 42 years. That's a tragedy. We have accumulated too much stuff by sitting in one spot.
You have the right attitude.

Sally Wessely said...

I admire your ability to downsize even if it is driven by lightening your load before you move. I'm also very glad you found a place to move that seems to be a better place for you. I don't care how close a move may be, it is still a move, and that is not easy to accomplish. Sometimes, I wonder if the reason we have not sold our house is because we are being protected from the reality of trying to move all this stuff. We keep weeding out stuff, but we don't do a very good job of actually getting rid of things.

Trish said...

You're a few years older than I am,but well beyond me in wisdom, DJan. I am now going thru my closets and the attic with a renewed sense of what I no longer need.

Linda Reeder said...

I had to go back to last week's post and catch up with why you are moving. Then I had to evaluate what we did today in light of your minimalist living style.
Today, in preparation for the renovations we are having done, we moved all of the furniture out of the downstairs, except the kitchen, into the garage. The garage is full, and the rooms are empty. they look so spacious and sparse, and I kind of like it. I think maybe I should look closely at what I put back. And yet, I am not a minimalist, I am a collector, and I can't think of anything I really want to part with. So we'll see.
We should be moved back in by Labor Day too. Good luck with your move.

CiCi said...

Moving so often helped me keep my belongings to a minimum. Even so, each place more stuff was added. I think of myself as someone who does not get attached to material things, but I end up with more than I need and more than I want. I am working on that trait too.

So glad to see the picture of the apartment. Moving to a different apartment in the same complex will be less work hopefully. If I lived closer, I would help you.

Anne said...

I'm glad you decided against Happy Valley. I doubt that you would have found the neighborhood congenial. I lived on Alabama Hill for 5 years and loved it, but the hill is quite different from the Valley.

Moving is stressful, but when it's over and everything is back in place the new order can be so satisfying that it seems worth it. I hope your new neighbors are sedate and quiet.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, that last line in your posting sums up for me the secret of your life--you "delight in the wonder of it all." You grow where you are planted or transplanted. You find nourishment there for soul and body, mind and spirit. And whatever you do, you always inspire me. Thank you for simply being you. Peace.

Friko said...

Your last sentence is the one that counts most of all.

It seems to me that you have chosen the one place which gives you all the benefits of your current home but none of the drawbacks. And you haven't even got to drag your belongings very far.

We are not moving but, in view of advancing years and the extra hassle of cleaning and dusting unnecessary stuff, we have begun to make inroads into years' of accumulated possessions. All of them treasured and all of them unused and forever useless now. It will feel good when the de-cluttering process is finished.

karen said...

Glad you found a workable solution. Wish you the best on your move and hoping you will now have quieter neighbors. Take care DJan. xo

Gina Gao said...

I wish you all the best when you move to your new home. Good luck!


Far Side of Fifty said...

That was fast! I hope your new neighbors are quiet! :)

Far Side of Fifty said...

I have boxes I have not looked into for about 12 years..I never unpacked them..one of these days perhaps I will.
Sounds like you made the right decision..it will be interesting to meet your new neighbors and it is great that you can keep your garden:)

Deb Shucka said...

I hope this move brings you everything you're looking for. This is such a lovely, poignant, reflective piece. One of the best things about moving is that it forces you to look at every piece you own. We've lived here for 20 years, and have many pieces we haven't seen for a very long time. I'm in awe of your light lifestyle, and a bit envious.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Your final words sum it all up so perfectly. I can imagine though that moving into a mirror of what you are used to will be a challenge at times.
Not sure why you have to steam clean the carpet. Doesn't the landlord have to give you a cleaned place?

Rita said...

What's nice is that you know Roger and he could tell you if it was noisy where he lives. I'm late reading blogs. You're probably half packed by now.

You guys steaming and cleaning must have been part of the deal you made. I suppose it keeps them from having to pay to clean both Rogers and your apartment. Geez!

I admire your minimalistic ways but I, quite obviously, was born with the pack-rat gene. Enjoy your new place and I hope you figure out what to do with the garden for the winter. :)