I hate change. I guess that’s why when there are changes to be made, I try to do them all at once. It’s kind of like ripping off a bandage—better to do it quick than to slowly peel it off. In the spirit of fast pain, I have decided to leave the Chronicle, take a new job at a Bozeman nonprofit, sell our house and leave Livingston for Bozeman. With any luck it will all be effective by the end of the summer. Nothing like shaking things up as much as possible, right?
In my first 18 years of life, I moved once—and even that was so early that I don’t remember it. My parents still live in the house where they moved when I was 18 months old. From 18 to 32, I made up for it, moving more than 10 times in the young adult shuffle that most of us know. For all that later-in-life experience, you’d think I’d be good at packing things up and transporting them. You would be wrong.
I am possibly the worst mover ever. It takes me weeks to
moon over closets full of unused baby clothes and shelves full of books, and
even then I end up packing things for which I have no real use—things that will
ultimately sit in a box in the new place and mock me.
When we moved to Prague from Massachusetts, a Montana friend of mine came up from New York, where she was living, to help us sort and pack. As a kid, she had moved with her family about once a year, and she claims that she and her mom could pack their house in 12 hours. After seeing her in action, I believe it. She was ruthless, packing five boxes in the time it took me to stop weeping over one.
Ultimately, when I was unpacking those same boxes from
storage five years later, I would curse myself for not having listened to her.
Her boxes were neat, full of exactly the sort of things that one would want to
pay to store—art, irreplaceable souvenirs, pictures. Mine held such gems as
half-burned candles, obsolete electronics cords and pants that didn’t fit when
I packed them and certainly wouldn’t five years on. Sentimentality has its costs—approximately
$40 per month, plus the cost of moving all that crap again.
I asked my moving whiz friend, only half joking, if she would fly down from Alaska, where she lives now, and help us move this time. If Sarah Palin could see Russia from her house, I could see my friend’s eyes rolling back in her head from mine. I think we’re on our own this time.
As I ponder getting the house ready to sell and the family
ready to pack up, I am also reflecting the end of my six years as a freelance
writer and editor. Four of those years have included managing Business to
Business for the Chronicle—and writing this column. In this space I have had
the opportunity to rant about everything from voicemail phone trees to parental
leave to taxation. I have shared enough of my personal life to be a little
surprised about how much people know about me when I meet them for the first
time. Of all the things I’ve written since moving back to the United States,
these columns have prompted by far the most feedback. I’ll miss that.
I’ll also miss the business owners and others that I got to talk to month after month. There are few things as exciting as talking to someone who is getting ready to launch a new business, and fewer things sadder than talking to an owner whose business is closing. I’m glad to have had more of the former. I sincerely hope that my successor will be able to report on brighter days for everyone.
As for me, I’ll be dividing my time between the new job and the regular old responsibilities of family and home, while adding in some time for packing—and, of course, crying. Because what’s a big lot of changes without some tears?