Beginning the move

Spencer is moving.

After months of planning and prep, my boyfriend is beginning the process of relocating to the new condo he now proudly owns — and that means I’m dusting off my never-done-a-day-of-hard-labor-in-her-life hands and pitching in.

We’ve been talking about “The Move” for so long now, it’s hard to believe that we’re actually . . . you know, moving. Spencer has been diligently packing boxes and preparing his life for transit, a process I find overwhelming. I’ve never moved. At 25, I still sleep in my childhood bed in my childhood home, a place I’ve shared with my parents and sister for decades. I didn’t even leave for college, choosing to stay close to home and commute.

I don’t know what it’s like to dismantle your world and start over somewhere new — which is just what Spencer did when he moved here from New York. That sort of transition terrifies me, but it’s something he seems to embrace — not always, I mean. It is scary, too, even for someone as even-keeled and rational as my boyfriend. But Spence doesn’t let things bother him to the degree that I do . . . rather than shunning change, he tries to keep moving forward. Always.

It’s one of the things I love about him.

When I arrived on Sunday to start hauling boxes, I made sure I was in shorts and a loose top — necessary garb for the Maryland heat. Spencer was crouched over a stack of stuff when I walked in, labeling the outside of cardboard boxes with Sharpie. We jumped on in.

You know, I wouldn’t call myself a lazy person — I like to get out in the world and do things, even if that doesn’t always involve things like “exercise” — but the idea of schlepping heavy boxes between his two residences was daunting. The muscles I developed from carrying hardcovers during my bookseller days have gone soft, leaving me a sleepy shell of a woman. I’m not energetic. And on Sunday? Well, I was still recovering from a friend’s awesome bridal shower and my grandfather’s birthday party the evening before . . . not me at my sunniest.

But I perservered. Even when we arrived to Spencer’s new building to learn the elevator was broken (really, Universe?). Even after we’d scampered up and down the stairs at least a dozen times, panting more with each step. Even after I lost my grip on the new set of pots I’d gotten Spence for his birthday, which sent them smashing into the concrete floor (they were miraculously undamaged).

By the time 9 p.m. rolled around, we’d made two trips between homes and unpacked most of his kitchen items. The empty pantry shelves are now crowded with pasta and macaroni and cheese, and we’d had the foresight to grab a few cases of sodas to put in the just-turned-on fridge for later. Exhausted from the work, all we wanted was to sit and sip a little caffeine.

But we had no furniture.

It’s funny all that we take for granted . . . from having a couch on which to perch to paper towels in the kitchen. Scissors in a junk drawer. Toilet paper in the bathroom. Never before have I started a home from scratch — and never before have I loved someone who was doing just that. It feels so exciting, an adventure — a location that has no memories attached to it beyond the ones we will create; a free place to explore and convert and create from the ground up. We can paint it. We can tile it. We can hang whatever we like on it.

But even without furniture, we made the best of it — above, Spencer sprawled out on the floor to check the strength of his Wifi signal. (You know — important things first.) We used the windowsill as a “table,” propping up our lukewarm drinks. We had no television or radio. Nowhere to sit; nothing to do but unpack.

But it stilled my mind, you know? Eliminated all distractions. When the final boxes of the day were brought up from the car, we opened the windows on a starry, quiet night and collapsed on the carpet. From one of his new windows, a sliver of moon was just visible behind the trees. Though so tired, I felt . . . so happy.

And though we have several weekends of much more intensive moving ahead of us, it will only get better from here.

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23 thoughts on “Beginning the move

  1. So glad you are there with him! Thanks for helping. Wish we were there to help, will be in a few weeks…. Spencer loves a new adventure and he sounds very excited about his new place. We are so proud of what he has accomplished in his first 25 years! Can’t wait to see what you have done to it. He really needs a womens touch!! Love to you both.

    • Don’t worry, Alex — I’m on the case! We’ll have the place sparkly (you know, in a masculine sort of way [hopefully]) in no time. Can’t wait for your visit! Hopefully we’ll have everything moved in by then.

  2. Moving is a daunting task! Good for you for jumping in straight away. I’ve moved a few times in my life, and while I know there will be at least one or two more moves, I’m soooo not looking forward to it. Except for the “being done” part at the end. 🙂

    • The “being done” part will be the best, Andi! We already cracked open a bottle of dessert wine to toast the “hey, we started moving things in” part of the project. The rest of the bottle will be for the “OMG thank goodness this is done, done, done” part in a few weeks! 🙂

  3. Congratulations to Spencer on his new home!! I can’t imagine living in the same place all my life. We’ve lived here four years now and I have the itch to move.

    • I love the sound of moving around, Kathy — it seems so exciting, what with the new places and people and things to see. But I’m a homebody by nature . . . I’d rather travel all over the place but come home to the same bed. Nothing makes you appreciate “home” more than going to a foreign place!

  4. When you’re done with Spencer’s apartment, can you come work on mine please? We’ve done all the lifting, so I just need you to scrape all the mould out of the bathroom, get rid of the mice, and build some bookcases. It’ll be so much fun! Look forward to seeing you soon.

  5. Congrats to Spencer on his new place! That’s so very exciting. How nice of you to help him move in and I’m glad you had that moment looking at the moon from the carpet to feel so content.

  6. Forgot to tell you before that I hope you two make the best memories there. It really is a special time. Enjoy

  7. I could have given you some advice – I stopped counting after my 20th move (and those are just the ones I remember). It seems I have a new place every year, just about. The first time is always hardest. Congrats to Spencer on his new home!

  8. We moved a fair amount when I was a kid, but until last summer, I was never responsible for moving myself. I think I learned that the most important things to move first were toilet paper, water, paper towels and scissors.

    Congratulations to Spencer on his move, and to you on having a taste of the moving experience without having to go through the trauma of actually moving yourself.

  9. You are lucky you have been able to avoid moving — it can be incredibly painful! However, I have also found it to be rewarding. I have had to move every summer since I started college – moving into dorms at the beginning of the year and then moving out of them during the summer. I have also had the pleasure of helping the man I love move a couple times. I just love the feeling I get when its all done and you see that fabulous space for the first time.

  10. I hope Spencer enjoys his new “home”. I have lived in a dozen places 6 different cities and 4 states in my 51 years. Oddly enough, I’ve been in this house for 18 years, My kids have only known this home, and my girls go off to college in 3 months. I think the world is an open landscape, and moving and change can be scary, but oh so fun!! Good luck getting your man all settled in.

  11. Good luck on the move! It’s not so bad when you’re young and don’t have a lot of stuff to pack and haul around. I’ve moved a few times and it gets harder each time as you accumulate more things.

  12. You’ve wonderfully captured the chaos of a move. It’s life-altering stuff when it happens. And I never can settle down to read (which is freakish for me) until all the boxes are unpacked. So it’s like a weird psychological torment that kicks me when I’m down! But, that having been said, there’s nothing better than settling in to a place you really love. Nesting is *good.*

  13. the only moving that I’ve ever done is to college and back and what I learned is that you can accumulate a lot of stuff in as little as nine months without any idea of how youo did that.

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