Moving. It is an interesting exercise in polarity; it is positive and negative, stressful and therapeutic, sends you forward and backward, and it is both an ending and a beginning. Since the age of 18, moving has been a part-time profession for me, often occurring more than once a year and often is out of necessity or for employment. I have actually moved 15 times in 12 years with my current, soon to be former house, taking the cake for longest held rental at 3 years. If you do the math that actually means that I moved 14 times in the previous 9 years which makes me judge myself a bit. Looking back at why I move, it often has more to do with school, work, or location (and sometimes involved a storage unit and a stay with parents) but I am also simply growing up and looking for different qualities in a house and neighborhood. In the last few years, the decision to move has also involved the commitment to live with my partner, in turn integrating both our possessions, pets, and lifestyles to see if we can thrive as a family. (Which, thankfully after three years, we most definitely are thriving.)
At this point, the decision to move is a culmination of frustration with our continuous struggle dealing with non-licensed yahoos, I mean contractors, sent to “fix” our failing apartment, the sale of our rental house, and the often excessive amounts of “character” found on our block. No, my dear neighbors, I am not working tirelessly all day long so I can come home and give you _____ (money, a beer, a ride, or my number) so you can leave trash in my yard and wake me up with late night shouting matches. Plus, there are only so many times you can have your truck run into by drunk drivers and stolen cars in high speed chases before you draw a line (I know, I know…I am so high maintenance). Needless to say, a line has been drawn and I am more than happy to move to greener pastures.
Interestingly, despite the negatives, looking for good affordable housing in Charleston has revealed that we were actually quite lucky with our apartment. Not that this is a total shock considering we were thrilled to find it initially and have spent a better part of three years enjoying the apartment layout, our housemates, the general location, and the epic backyard. The pickings are pretty slim for the amount of rent we have been paying, so it became apparent that it was going to be a process. As with anything in my life, I did not let the dismal selection of housing in our price range discourage me but instead took it on as a personal challenge. If you need advice on property managers, the best neighborhoods, how to describe your dogs in non-threatening ways, or how to handle the awkwardness of being a shown rentals at the same time as two other interested people- I am your woman. (And don’t worry on the last one- you don’t have to cage fight, bribe with cash, or run in yelling “I’LL TAKE IT!!” before knowing what you are renting.)
After two months of hunting the proverbial housing snipe, I managed to secure a cute little rental house in an awesome neighborhood thanks to a lead from a good friend. So now we find ourselves ready to move forward and focus on a positive and exciting new adventure. The only hiccup? We have A LOT of stuff and our new place is several hundred square feet smaller. I have inherited absurd amounts of heirlooms, sentimental knick knacks, and other cool doodads. Ariel from The Little Mermaid doesn’t have a dingle hopper to my collection of snarfblats. Add to that hobbies like biking, sewing, hooping, and gardening and I have myself an entire box truck full of fun stuff. Sorting through it all inevitably results in an introspective process for me- something I always enjoy. Picking through the flotsam and jetsam of my life leads me to relive experiences, remember people that have touched my life, and ultimately forces me to decide what to keep with me and what to let go of.
After watching our friends with a tiny house reduce their possessions down to 300 items total, downsizing a few boxes and gadgets seemed like a completely manageable task. Not afraid of a little material possession cleanse, we chose to re-home many of our things through a yard-sale. With the help of Dan’s wonderful mother, the support of many of our friends, and the awesome taste of our neighbors, we were able to re-distribute our things into the community.
The turkey hat and faux beard are happily living on John’s Island now where thankfully I will have visitation rights.
Pam Kelley, moving expert. Gavin and Kate, moral support.
We also had to face the reality that we could not take our two darling chickens with us to our new home, so we reached out to some of our friends to find a safe place for them to move. Thankfully, one of Dan’s co-workers is quite the animal whisperer with a beautiful spread in Ravenel where they will be loved and free to roam.
Mother Clucker with Pecan getting comfortable in her Eggloo.
Van, chicken adopter, critter whisper, and trailer lender.
As if that was not amazing enough, Van and Kim also let us use their horse trailer to move our remaining hoard AND Van lent us his muscles for some serious heavy lifting alongside our friend John. So, roughly three months after our initial search began, one yard-sale, several horse trailer loads, and two less chickens we are in the homestretch completing our transition to a new house thanks to the love, support, and lifting of friends and family. Our lives are currently in boxes, our pets are needier that ever, we are sleeping on a futon, and we still have to sell several pieces of furniture but I am still beyond excited about our new adventure. After a walk with the dogs on the greenway, dozens of friendly “hellos”, and a cocktail on my quiet front porch I had no doubt that we were definitely moving in the right direction.
Here’s to new beginnings and the interesting-life-altering-challenging-unexpected paths that take us there.