It is entirely surreal to be sitting in a house, on an island, far from anything I have ever considered home, surrounded by my things, which were all just very recently surrounding me in a completely different location. Of course, back then they were in some kind of order and not just literally surrounding me in a fort of boxes. Back then my daily chaos felt, by comparison, quite organised.
So we had movers pack up our house ... a lot of work goes into preparing for the movers, mind. It's like when people have a house keeper and then feel the need to clean before they come. It's like that, only instead of the result of not doing it being that your cleaner thinks you're a mess, you might end up paying an extra several thousand dollars for having shipped things you don't need* and didn't bother to cull. And the thing is, they will literally pack everything. If you leave rubbish in the bin, they're going to just pack that up and send it. If you have boxes and boxes of paper bills that you didn't have time to shred, they'll send that too. Thankfully neither of those were me. I totally emptied and sanitized our fancy trash can and I was shredding paper for days. DAYS.
I imagine it's hard to try to label boxes of other peoples' possessions, particularly when sometimes the contents of any given box might be unrelated and random. Still, for all the good things I can say about the movers, labelling boxes was not their strong suit. Every box has my name and "Hawaii" written on it, along with some vague description that, I've found, gives no real clue as to the actual contents inside.
Today I opened a box that I had directed to the kitchen since it was labelled "drawer appliances", only to discover that it was the entire contents of a bedroom dresser. I mean, they *could* have written "girl room dresser", but that would be very obvious and far less mysterious. And who doesn't want to play guessing games with 280 boxes?
In fact, their go-to labels appear to be "kit items" (kitchen), "books", "pictures" and "linens" with a couple of random "lamp shades" thrown in for good measure. Oh, and toys. One of the movers in Hawaii said "you sure do have a lot of toys", which had me feeling like an overly indulgent, materialistic, kid-spoiling hoarder **. That is, until I realised that a large box labelled "toys" might include a small pirate ship and four couch cushions. But again, who doesn't like mystery?
On balance, the movers were good. Things arrived, people were respectful and efficient and, for the most part, very careful. During pack up in Maryland, several walls were damaged and a light fixture was removed and, I believe, packed up and sent to Hawaii. Fantastic. I spoke to our contact who told me that she had spoken to the movers who advised that the light had not, in fact, been removed. As I stood under it in the dark (they took the bulb out, too), I begged to differ. I remember them doing it to get the basement sofa upstairs, which was when they also caused the only real move damage to several walls. I mean, I get it. It's hard. It all resulted in another trip to Home Depot that I didn't have time for, but I'll have a lovely 1980's glass light shade somewhere in a box, probably labelled "linens", to show for it. So there's that ...
* I may or may not have inadvertently shipped two baby baths
**I AM a hoarder, but only when it comes to memories and baby clothes