Moving is hard when you’ve lived in the same home for twelve years. Especially with three kids.
My fifteen-year-old remembers our last home, but the thirteen-year-old doesn’t. And Ben, who’s eleven, cried when we told him. All their life’s treasures have accumulated in that one home, and they all need boxed.
For weeks I’ve resisted packing. The day my wife told me her plan was the day after I put the final coat of paint on the shed I spent the summer building. I’d told Ben a few weeks earlier that he’d clean my tools out of it when I’m gone. I can be morbid; I get it from my mother’s side.
We’ve already moved several boxes of things we don’t need immediately—books, and the camping gear that will have to wait until things settle down later in the fall. Today begins the true move; we’ll spend the night in the new home tomorrow. And yet I’ve only managed to put a few tools in a box. I cleaned out the attic, which mostly consisted of bringing down the Christmas decorations—something I’ve done for the past eleven years anyway. But I’ve packed almost nothing.
We want to leave our home in perfect condition for the next family, but the universe is against us. Last Saturday the puppy tore the insulation off the copper air conditioning lines. That was my first job for the morning, and my first trip to the hardware store. I also bought caulk to redo a shower which I try to do every couple of years.
The bathroom sink drains looked grimy, so I decided to scrub them with a bottle brush which, to my sadness, went through the bottom of the one drain in the house I’d never replaced. I failed to get the right parts during my second trip to the hardware store but succeeded with my third. My forth trip was to buy plumber’s putty which I thought we had but couldn’t find. I later found it when I was looking for finishing nails to repair a drawer that was coming apart.
Since we expected our first freeze in a few days, I needed to cover the outside faucets, one of which we hadn’t unscrewed the hose from during the past six months. Unscrewing a water hose can become a major project, but I, being the handy-man that I am, finally conquered it. Upon removal of the hose, I discovered the faucet had developed a leak since the time I’d last seen it un-hosed.
Frost-free wall hydrants aren’t to be tackled lightly, as they connect to the plumbing deep inside the wall where no mortal can see. You need great faith to begin unscrewing such a faucet, but that faith isn’t always rewarded. I discovered that a few years ago when, instead of unscrewing the faucet, I twisted the copper pipes apart and had to get into the wall to have them repaired.
After a day with no water and a large plumbing bill, I learned that frost-free faucets have replaceable parts which are easy to change and stop most leaks. I made several more trips last weekend to various stores looking for these parts to no avail. I even drove to the next town after the lady on the phone said, “Yes, of course we have the Prier 7755 repair kit,” which they didn’t.
It was like Christmas when my repair kit from Amazon arrived two days early on Halloween. I told Ben that “It will take ten minutes and then we’ll go trick-or-treating.” An hour later, after joyfully exchanging all the worn parts and reinstalling the stem into the faucet without a single curse word, I turned the water back on. The drip was…slower than before, but not gone. I’m now waiting for a complete stem from Amazon.
I have a week between our departure and the new family’s arrival to replace the tricky back-door knob, paint over the marks on Ben’s bedroom door jam that show how much he’s grown from one year to the next, re-do the drain system I did last Saturday that is still dripping, and walk through empty rooms that hold most of the memories we have of our children.
I’ve put off packing, maybe to pretend that all is normal. I like routine. I like familiarity. But things change. When my wife talked about remodeling, I suggested that she just find the house she wants instead of turning ours into something it’s not. She was listening.
Most things are boxed. Plans are made. Papers are signed. The trailer is at the house, and the football boys will be there in the morning. I think, despite my ignoring it, that the move will happen. I guess it’s time for me start packing.