Moving and Shaking at Christmas

This year, my husband and I spent the last few days and hours before Christmas moving from our home of the last three years to a new home less than a mile away. I know, I know. Moving at Christmastime isn’t the brightest thing we’ve ever done, especially since we were not planning on moving until May. But the home we have had our eye on came on the market over Thanksgiving and so we swooped in and grabbed it, even though it would mean we had to move over the Christmas holidays.

“How bad could it be?” we thought.

You’d think this would be a simple process, however, I can assure you IT WAS NOT.

We expected it would take the movers four to five hours to move us. Nope. It took almost nine hours. And they still didn’t get it all. When we realized after the five hours passed that we still had at least a third left in the house to move, and we were already wayyyyyy over our moving budget, we asked them to just start throwing boxes in the truck and then into our new basement. It started to look like a game of “Hot Potato” as they picked up the pace. So far, I haven’t found anything broken where they dropped the potato.

To top off the fun, the temperature was a chilly 37 degrees and since the doors had to stay open for the movers to get in and out of the house, we turned off the heat and I piled on the clothes. I looked like the kid from “Christmas Story.” For those of you who know me, I’m usually still wearing a light sweater in 80 degree weather. I was praying for a peri-menopause hot flash but just like when you take your car to the mechanic and it works perfectly, my body decided that I didn’t need a hot flash at that moment.

So I froze.

The movers eventually left and all I could think of was how bad I needed a nice warm shower. My muscles were achy, my core was frozen and my armpits smelled like I had never heard of deodorant.

But apparently that was not in the divine plan. In all of the moving craziness, we had not lit the pilot light in the gas water heater nor did we have any idea how to do it. Thankfully, Heaven sent us our angelic handyman to come by at 9 P.M. to light the water heater. (It could have been the pitiful phone call that I placed to him begging him to help us out. I might have also let out a small sob which could have been his deciding factor).

Regardless, three hours later I got my hot shower.

We unpacked for the next two days and finally got our Christmas tree up at 1 A.M. Christmas Eve since my step-kids were coming home mid-day on Christmas. photo(40)

And believe it or not, by the time my in-laws came over that evening for Christmas dinner, we had the house looking like we had been living in it for months instead of days.

The moral of the story is that with some determination, you can make something good out of difficult situations. (Having muscular men around to lift the heavy items doesn’t hurt.)

Now my days are being filled with changing out light fixtures, painting rooms, hanging pictures, putting away pots and pans, dishes and clothes. And the Angry Birds band-aids that I have on five of my fingers indicate my dedication to getting this house in order.

Maybe I’ll be completely finished unpacking by the Spring.

Because then it will be time to work in the yard and plant my garden!

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Why My Next Trip To Publix Could Land Me In Jail

I have been absolutely exhausted this week. I had forgotten how tiring packing for a move can be. Tips_MovingTruck_tip

It is a vicious cycle. I go to bed on time, only to lay awake thinking of all of the things that need to be done. How am I going to pack my fine china? What about my books? You can only pack so many in a box before you need someone with the strength of Hercules to pick it up. If some of my antique collectibles get broken I’m going to go all Southern girl craaazy on someone.

My blood pressure rises at the thought.

I get up to take my blood pressure medicine so hopefully I can relax enough to fall asleep. I drink a ton of water because in the middle of all of this I’m starting to go through peri-menopause and I’m parched all of the time. Good grief, could this get any worse?

I crawl back in bed. I finally drift off to sleep only to wake up an hour later because now I have to pee because I drank so much water. I sneak out of bed without waking up Dale and go do my business. I crawl back in bed but now my feet are freezing because the tile in the bathroom is so cold.

I cover myself up with my grandmother’s afghan only to wake up an hour later sweating to death. Is it because I’m under 80 pounds of yarn or is it that dang peri-menopause again?

I lay awake thinking about packing and then I begin thinking about peri-menopause. Getting older stinks. My blood pressure rises again. I don’t want to take more medicine but now I can’t fall asleep.

After what seems like an eternity, the alarm buzzes and I get up to wake my step-son and get him ready for school. I make breakfast and pack his lunch and then sit at my computer in the kitchen like a zombie. I may or may not be drooling. I am EXHAUSTED.

The carpool picks him up and I go back to bed. Why? One, because I’m getting old, and two, because I CAN.

I fall back asleep rather quickly considering my raging thoughts over the previous six hours have kept me awake.

I wake up and realize I better start packing if we are going to be out of this house in two weeks. I put on my old sweatpants and a t-shirt. I look in the mirror. Holy cow. I look awful. The way I look right now is the reason some men start having affairs.

I look down at my hands. My beautiful manicure I had over Thanksgiving? Well, it’s gone. It now looks like I have been on Survivor and I’ve been using my nails as primitive tools to open coconuts.

I pack a few more boxes before I realize it’s time to go pick up the kids from school. I’m driving like a little old lady (which I’m apparently getting close to being) because I know my reaction time would be equal to a little old lady.

I come home and pack a few more boxes. Where in the heck did all of this crap come from? It’s like our dishes turned into rabbits overnight. Out of ten dinner plates, we now have 20 salad and bread plates.

I want to take a nap but I realize I need to go to the grocery store to get items for dinner. I head into the store still wearing my sunglasses, praying that I don’t run into anyone I know. Too late. As soon as the double doors slide open, I see another hockey mom who looks all perfect in her designer jeans and perfectly coiffed hairdo. Great. I explain that we are moving and she gives me the “Oh-that’s-why-you-look-like-this” sympathetic head nod. I politely excuse myself telling her I am in a huge rush.

Not really. I just want to go home.

I go through the checkout line and walk my grocery cart to my car.

What the heck? Now my key fob isn’t working.

I open the car door. Wow. I’m so tired I didn’t even remember to lock my car.

I start putting items in the back seat when I look in the front seat and see papers that I don’t remember being there when I drove in the lot. I look around a little bit more. Why are there cheerios all over the floor? I don’t let the kids eat in my car.

That’s when I realized that this ISN’T MY CAR. I quickly grab my bags back out of the car and race off before the true owner calls the cops on me for breaking and entering.

I hit the key finder on my key fob and my car beeps from across the parking lot. I didn’t even park on this aisle. I’m parked three aisles over.

I get in my car and granny-drive home.

Maybe I’ll take a nap as soon as I get home or maybe I’ll open that bottle of wine I just purchased. In my peri-menopause-old-age state of mind, I decide that’s the way to go.

And I don’t know how I did it, but I somehow pulled into the right driveway. I only know this because my husband (and not my neighbor) came out to help unload the groceries.

How eBay Helped Us Buy Our Home


You know the saying “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure?” Well, for me, the saying should go “One family’s junk that is sold on eBay makes for a nice contribution to a house down payment.”

My husband and I have been married for three years. When we got married, we each had a home to sell so we rented a home until both of our homes were gone. Finally, it was time for us to look for a home to buy together.

Since I also have my real estate license, we were able to take our time looking at homes that might fit our blended family. We wanted to stay in the same area so the kids wouldn’t have to change schools. After looking at what seemed like every for sale house in the school district, we finally found THE ONE.

We got the contract written up and signed and were officially under contract. Woot!!

Since we are a blended family, we had pretty much two of everything – one from his house and one from my house. In our current home, we would use one, and the other stayed in the basement.

I started going through things, sorting them out to “things that will move with us”, “things that we don’t need but still have value”, and “things that are trash.”

I’ve always had great success selling items on eBay and Craigslist. One Christmas when I was still a single mom and on an extremely tight Christmas budget, I sold enough of my “junk” on eBay to cover presents for my son and parents, plus enough leftover to make my car payment that month. Score!

I began in the basement. Tables, chairs, sofas, boxes of dishes, lawn equipment…you name it – it was down there. I took pictures of all of the items that were sellable, and determined what would sell best on eBay, and what would work best for Craigslist. Most of the heavy items were listed on Craigslist, because no one is going to buy a sofa on eBay and have it shipped to them in Minnetonka, Minnesota when you’re living in Atlanta, GA. Those items are best put up for sale locally.

I then moved into my closet. What had I not worn for at least a year? Those designer clothes in the back of my closet? Yep – those were going on eBay. My Coach and Dooney & Burke purses that I have not carried in three years? Those went on eBay too.

Those two broken lawn mowers that have been sitting in the basement? Craigslist allowed me to find a gentleman that bought them for $50 so he could rebuild the engines and make three times reselling them. And that stationary bicycle that has unfortunately collected more dust than sweat? Hello Craigslist, and another $100 in the bank.

Dave Ramsey recommends doing this when you’re getting out of debt. Since my husband and I don’t have any credit card debt, we decided that any money we received would go straight to our home down payment. (He also says to sell so much stuff the kids think they’re next! HA! Love that Dave Ramsey, however, no one in their right mind would buy our kids.

By the time it was all said and done, in less than a month I had sold over $2,000 worth of clutter out of our home.

And you know what one of the best parts of this story is? It’s less stuff for the movers to move, which resulted in a smaller quote from the moving company.

My motto in life is “If it’s free, give it to me.”

But when you’re moving and need to get RID of stuff instead of GETTING stuff, our motto is “if it’s sellable, then it’s going on eBay!”

I’m Not A Hoarder…I Just Collect Lots of Things

My husband and I are probably going to be moving in the next six months. We have been renting a home since we got married because we both had houses to sell, and in this market we knew that was not going to be easy and would probably take some time before we could buy something. Now it’s that time.

To get a jump start on our moving process, I decided to take this past weekend to start figuring out what we would be moving, what we would be donating and what is going to stay boxed up in the basement from our last move.

I put on my raggedy sweatpants and an old t-shirt and just for the look, I tied a pink bandana around my head, kerchief style, just in case that would help motivate me more if I looked the part.

I opened the garage door and looked around. To my left I found all of our camping gear, which takes up a ton of space. To my right is the deep freezer, more shelving with hockey sticks and lacrosse equipment, four sets of golf clubs and eight bicycles. We are a family of five. With eight bicycles.

I turned around and shut the door. I’ll conquer that room later.

I opened the basement door and went down stairs. I looked around. Two more bicycles that the kids have outgrown are by the back door, waiting for the garage sale that I can never seem to put together. Mismatched furniture from before we were married sits against the wall with more stuff from our pre-marriage days. Boxes that have NEVER BEEN OPENED that we both moved from house to house before we got married – my stack is on one side; his is on the other. What the heck is in them? Who knows? Probably my old Halloween costumes from when I was five…that my MOTHER wanted out of her basement.

I turned around and go back up the stairs. Maybe I’ll just start on my closet.

That’s when I realized something.

Oh. My. Gosh. I might be a hoarder.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m clearly a very ORGANIZED and clean hoarder. My house is spotless. Everything has a place and is usually IN it’s place. I don’t have boxes towering up to the ceiling waiting to slide like an avalanche and crush the next person to walk by. Or old rotten food from 1995 in the kitchen. Or so much junk everywhere that there are decaying animals in the dining room that died because they were trapped behind 97 boxes of QVC deliveries. You know what I mean…you can admit you’ve seen the real “Hoarders” on TV.

I just have stuff. Lots of stuff.

I collect antique books, but they are all nicely kept on bookshelves. I have knickknacks, but they are all in a display case.

I think what did it was when my mother passed my old toys (that were in boxes in HER basement) on to me, which for many items, I have proudly displayed: the old metal Peanuts lunchbox, a Mickey Mouse watch, Baby-Beans (the bean bag doll with the pull string that would say “I love you!”), my old Winnie-the-Pooh, Romper Room toys, marionettes, etc. They are all displayed nicely on the bookshelves in my family room.

But it’s still a lot of stuff.

I started having an irregular heartbeat.

Because I realized that moving doesn’t mean just moving the furniture. It’s all of the other stuff that makes a house a home; clothes, toys, dishes, patio furniture, potted plants, pictures…EVERYTHING. And now I’m going to have to pack it all up and move it.

I start to realize that maybe we should have started packing for this move the month after we moved in.

But wait! I sort of already have. Those unopened boxes in the basement from the last move?

They’re all ready to go!!