Slump and Stuff

I started a post last week about being in a pretty deep slump. And I wouldn’t say I’m out of it, just that I’m coping, or at least finding ways to cope better. There is a handy chart somewhere that shows the different phases of adjusting to life in a new place. Initial honeymoon phase, then a period of culture shock, then you slowly adjust. There’s more to it but that’s the general gist.

I probably experienced a similar feeling in Tbilisi but I either don’t remember it or I’ve subconsciously blocked it out, the way we don’t recall the worst parts of child birth or newborns. Because if we did remember how bad it was, why in the world would we ever sign up to do it again?! I know this just a normal part of things and that it will get better. Right?

Let’s focus on the positives. We got our stuff! Our HHE (household effects – 5400 pounds of toys, clothes, furniture and books) and our UAB (unaccompanied air shipment). Normally JR and I would have both been at home the day everything arrived, but I wasn’t able to take off so he coordinated the delivery. He sent me updates throughout the day. At first I was thinking, oh this is going pretty smoothly, and also I really lucked out not dealing with it all. Then the pictures started to give me intense anxiety.

This truck arrived with all of our worldly possessions.

Here come the boxes.

William was an excellent supervisor. 


I bet you are wondering, why did they pack so much food? Does it make sense to pack food that will sit in boxes and storage containers in 100+ degree temps for more than 4 months? Just know that I am wondering the same thing.

I also cracked up laughing when I opened the box that my former Tbilisi colleagues packed for me. They packed out my work desk and made sure to include 4 McDonalds ketchup packets. It’s the little things in life, you know?


Because everyone needs a cooler in your bedroom. 

 


JR was focused on the top priorities, which included immediately unpacking and displaying his Halloween decor.

 


He was also busy shaming me for a bit of over purchasing I did YEARS ago before we packed out for Kosovo and Georgia (I know you can relate, KBS!)

The anxiety only increased when I arrived home and basically walked into an episode of Hoarders. There was stuff everywhere. Every surface, almost every available floor space, I mean just everywhere. Our treadmill doesn’t fit anywhere except our living room. It’d be one thing if we used it for it’s actual purpose, but I like to use it for clothes and storage so having it in the living room is really quite inconvenient.

My first priority was making a path to the beds and clearing them off so everyone could sleep that night. After the kids were in bed, JR and I were working on our bedroom. I grabbed our duvet from the top of the dresser and turned to put it on the bed. This huge, heavy mirror that sits propped up against the wall on top of the dresser came crashing down, rebounding off the dresser and then slamming down on the floor. Not awesome.

Even worse, I had just set up these two acrylic jewelry holders I liked and placed my rings in them. The holders lay in pieces on the floor and my rings were scattered. We found two pretty quickly but my wedding band was missing. I was so upset. There were open boxes and piles of stuff everywhere. I was convinced we wouldn’t find it. Frustrated, I told JR I was going to sleep and we’d deal with more in the morning.

A few hours later during the night I woke up to a loud crash. I was convinced the mirror fell down again but when I turned on the light I couldn’t see that anything had happened. JR started looking around and opened his closet door to reveal that the entire shelf and hanging bar had collapsed in a pile on the ground. He looked at me and then just quickly shut the door and said, “that can wait until the morning.”

Over the next few days we made progress little by little, including finding my wedding band! While I wish we weren’t still hauling our gigantic living room furniture all over the world, it is so comfortable and it makes us feel like we are at home. The kids are playing happily with all of their toys and loving the playroom set up. Now that we are in an apartment we don’t have an obvious place for our outdoor toys, so all 37 of them are parked outside our front door and crowding the walkway. No doubt the neighbors are loving this and wondering who allowed the circus to move in. All we need is a few spare tires and a broken refrigerator to really complete the look.

Hopefully my sister doesn’t mind the mess because she arrives TOMORROW!

 

 

 

Confessions of a Minimalist Hoarder

Way before JR joined the FS, he told me that if we were going to be moving every few years, we would need to “live a minimalist lifestyle” and downsize our belongings.  I didn’t understand why he was directing that at me when he is clearly the one who has trouble letting go of things (see the awful brass tables he refused to part with that are now collecting dust in storage) but as each pack-out comes and goes it’s clear we both have some issues.

Not this bad:

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but not great either.

As we prepared for our very first pack-out from Columbus, we were able to sell, donate, and throw away a decent amount of clothing, movies, and odds and ends we just didn’t use anymore.  I drew a hard line at keeping these movies.  I don’t care that they are VHS and we don’t own a VCR.  I don’t care that you can probably get them on Netflix.

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In case you can’t read the label, the 4th one is my homemade copy of the final episodes of 90210, recorded in 2000.  I’m realizing it may be time to say goodbye, but I’m just not there yet.  Don’t judge me.

Our life right now is consumed with pre-move planning.  This is our third pack-out, and I really, really, really want to do it better this time.  In an effort to be more efficient and organized, I made a list of the items we need to go through in each room, and we’ve been tackling that list for the last several weekends.  I’m quite proud of how much we’ve been able to get through, and I feel better knowing we’re doing it now instead of waiting a few weeks prior to our actual pack-out date.  But again, it’s clear we have problems when it comes to hoarding or refusing to let go of certain items, regardless of logic.  A few examples:

I assume many women can relate to keeping a pile of skinny jeans in their closet.   The size on my smallest pair is laughable to 32-year-old-post-baby me, but no way in hell I’m getting rid of them.  Because you just never know!

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Turns out I’m also something of a deodorant hoarder. I really had no idea!  One of my fears is being somewhere with no deodorant so I’m always buying it anytime I see it on sale, or  when I place a new Amazon order, I end up mindlessly adding it to my cart.  Always better to be prepared, right?

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I have a love/hate relationship with this exercise book JR refuses to throw away.  A former client gave it to him and he says he might use it “some day” for exercises.  A part of me thinks it’s funny and the other wants to tear my hair out looking at it on our bookshelf.  I’ve tried to convince him that he can surely find those same exercises on that new  invention we call the internet, but he won’t listen.   The best part is that I thought including this in my blog would publicly shame him into throwing it away.  I asked if we could finally toss it and he replied “But the thing is, the book has some really great exercises!”

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Last weekend, I went through my boxes of pictures and mementos.   I was able to throw away a few things (and I had a good laugh – WHY was I keeping the empty jewelry box from the first pair of earrings JR gave me?  Why did I keep a mint from our Carnival Cruise in 2007?)  I could not, however, part with this shirt.  My memory tells me that my mom bought this for me when she went to Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet concert in 1987 and left me home to miss out on the all the fun.  Back then this shirt fit me like a nightgown.   Now, I couldn’t tell you the last time it fit me in any capacity, but that’s irrelvant.  I’ll treasure it always.  🙂

Here’s a picture of my Mom (wearing the shirt) and I, circa 1987-1988, and a picture of the shirt now (with a bonus Abby picture, to give you an idea of the size).

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As you might imagine, the minimalist lifestyle is a work in progress.  But how can I get rid of a classic like a Bon Jovi Slippery When Wet official tour shirt??

Maybe for our next pack-out.