17 November 2007

Smittygirl is awesome.

Moving is hard. It's always hard, for everybody. Although often we move with fond hopes for the new place, packing up, selling off, and moving your possessions to a new location is neither easy nor enjoyable.

This is not an easy time for either of us right now. It's a shame it's during the holidays here but this is what it is. Smittygirl's apartment lease is up at the end of this month and we're moving her things into my place. It's been good, much of it—we've sold off a lot of my junk, and a lot of her junk, and picked the better furniture we each had, rearranged all the rooms… this was the impetus behind fixing up the kitchen this year. Good stuff has come out of it. We still have some boxes and piles here but the new living room—some new furniture, some old, but all shifted around—is great. The dining room is cleaner and nicer than it's been in months. The bedroom is still a mess and we haven't got it all sorted out, but it's getting there. It's a nice place to live now, and it'll get better. That's good.

But from my perspective, while there's been some difficulty, getting rid of some pieces of furniture I like, clearing out years of accumulated junk, throwing away a lot of things, I've had this pretty easy. Once I consented to giving up my glider rocker, that was really the hardest thing I've done. The labor hasn't been tough, certainly. This is still my house, and even though now it has our stuff in it, it's home regardless.

Not quite so easy for Smittygirl. I lose sight of that sometimes, but she's the one who really has a lot of stress to deal with. First of all, we're getting rid of a lot more of her things than mine. We're not terribly attached to our possessions, for the most part, so that's not that big a deal. But she has to move everything else, too. I've had to move out some of my big stuff and go through some of the little stuff, but Smittygirl has to go through everything. We're looking through everything she has, everything she owns, and deciding what comes with us to my place, and what we're getting rid of.

Think about that. This isn't an ordinary move. Yes, I have a small place, and because we're moving in together here we can't have too much stuff. But whereas I can just move things to another place when we need room—need space to move the desk? Take the stuff off the desk and put it in that corner there—she doesn't have that option. She has to look at it all, decide about it all. You don't have to do that when you're moving to a new state. She hasn't had to do that in any of her previous moves. This is sort of final for a lot of her things.

I don't want to give the impression that we place all this importance on things. What's important is us, not stuff. But no matter how non-material we claim to be, anyone claims to be, you have stuff, it's yours, and because it's yours it's important to you. And you don't go through everything you own every year and condense down, do you? Nobody does that; we all should, but nobody does that.

(Actually, I was speaking with a friend this week about the upcoming holiday, the orgy of consumption, and she mentioned the idea that kids should be taught that if Santa's going to bring new toys, you've got to make room for them by getting rid of some older toys. Make your kids go through what they have and get rid of stuff they don't use, play with, need, and donate it to somebody—and parents should do it, too, of course. That's a great idea and we should all do that—after Thanksgiving, instead of rushing out at 5 in the morning to get that must-have toy, go through the house, the closets: find the clothes you haven't worn in a while, toys that don't get played with, books that you never plan to read again, furniture you want to replace—all the stuff you have that you don't actually need, and collect it all together, and donate it, recycle it, something. And let that be both a continuation of your giving thanks—be thankful that you have the means to have more stuff than you need—and the beginning of the season of giving. Season of giving is much better than season of getting, isn't it? Isn't this is a great way to make giving the focus?)

The point is, it's been years since I've had to sit down and look at every single thing I own and decide, permanently—this goes, this stays. Period. Lord, I moved a box out here from Texas that I had never opened. In a year, I had never bother to open and unpack the box. I didn't even know everything that was in it. It was still here when we started going through things to sell/donate to make room for this move. That's disgusting.

And Smittygirl is doing that. And she's going to work every day, and making bridesmaid dresses for people at the last minute, and planning to recover some of our furniture, and making Halloween costumes, and she still manages to cook a third of our meals and help me keep the place clean. And she has to put up with me while she does all that.

Damn. I don't give her enough credit and I don't tell her enough that she's amazing. She tells me how much she appreciates what I do, and I frankly don't feel like I do all that much right now. And I've been getting cranky because I don't feel occupied, and she's been tolerant of that.

Well. Nothing left to do except tell her that I love her.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Matthew: Tried to send you an email but I'm not sure you got it. So here is my note - your blog titled "Smittygirl is awesome" was great! You rapped it all up with a wonderful last line!