Monday, 25 July 2016

Moving Stress

According to healthcare people who know a lot more about this stuff than do I, the five most stressful situations in life are...(listed here in no particular order, because I would never presume that one is worse than another.)

1. The death of a loved one.
2. Job Loss
3. Major Illness
4. Divorce

Even if the move is a wanted upgrade or a downsize, moving is a cataclysmic disruption to one's routine and an all-around pain in the ass. There is little to no downtime during a move and the continual need to maintain organization and a composed non-confrontational demeanour is taxing on the psyche, especially when one's default emotional response to any situation trends more to the batshit crazy side of the ledger. But I believe what really has most of us movers skipping over to the "lock me up in a rubber room and throw away the key" side of the scale is that no matter how much we plan, no matter how organized and colour-coded our strategy may be, no matter how efficient, neat, and tidy we are, there is still an enormous amount of control that must be relinquished, and it is that dependence on the kindness and competence of others that is making me cuckoo for cocoa puffs. 

The Husband and I moved four times in the first ten years of our marriage. Of those four, only one went smoothly, and strangely enough, that is the one I can't remember at all. (I think it has something to do with being more preoccupied with a 9-month old at the time.) During our second move from an apartment to our first house, the movers simply didn't show up. When we finally managed to cajole them into making an appearance, the building we were moving from threatened us with police action because we were moving after hours. When the movers heard that the cops were on the way, two of them bade a hasty retreat citing the fact that they were on parole. We were left in a half-completed mess. When the cops did finally arrive, they were really cool and said (and this is a quote that is etched in my memory even after thirty years) "Fuck 'em. I'd move!" That particular move took over twenty-four hours, ruined our brand new couch, saw us threatened with legal action from  subletters for not vacating the apartment on time, (even though they weren't moving in for another two weeks) and left us freezing in the new house for another day because we weren't there in time to let in Toronto Hydro.

When we moved into our current location I was actually far more relaxed. We literally moved around the corner. I sent the boys to school in the morning from one house and told them to walk back at the end of the day to the new one. We were able to walk most of our most fragile items over ourselves and there were no traffic or city headaches to deal with. I was stupid and I got complacent. I wasn't paying close enough attention to the details and thus was repaid with a nightmare. The people who were living in our new house were renters. They vacated without issue, but the actual owner, an expatriate gentleman who was no longer residing in the country, had stored most of his personal and business effects in the basement. It was packed floor to ceiling with boxes of shit that he no longer wanted nor required in his new digs. We were assured for months before that he would have everything out by our moving day. We were blatantly lied to. 

On the day of our move, he showed up and started hauling his crap out of the basement and dumped it on the driveway and in the garage. His shit covered the entirety of both. We couldn't park our cars, nor could the moving van properly access the house. The movers had to run a gauntlet of broken toys, old building materials, bulky trash, and anything that wouldn't make his return trip abroad in order to walk through the front door. We had neighbourhood kids and out of area locals stopping by asking if they could rummage through the trash. Our new neighbours, already less than enamoured with us because of our big goofy dog and our two goofy kids, threatened to call the cops and have us cited by the city. (That bastard came face to face with karma. A few years later the cops came and arrested him for spousal abuse. He was gone a few months later.) The Husband chased a garbage truck down the street and offered the maintenance guys $20.00 each if they would haul the stuff. Thank God for unethical people willing to succumb to bribery. Yup. That's the strangest prayer I have ever uttered.

So it is with great and understandable trepidation that I face our move in two weeks. We have cleaned and sorted and emptied and packed. We have arranged and managed and organized and calendared. We have dealt with cable and internet and alarms and mail. 

And yet....

I know that deep in that deepest recess of my soul that it still may not be enough, that something could easily and without warning fuck up from the inside out, and that has my stress levels soaring into the bright red zone. There simply aren't enough breathing exercises available to calm my palpitations. I am the person who likes order. I am the person who likes neatness. I am the person who revels in calm. Moving involves none of those things.

If you have some kind of zen technique for quelling stress, I am open to anything natural and without the need for a prescription. Oh...and I don't imbibe. Ready...set....comment....

Two weeks and counting...

1 comment:

  1. Moving is the WORST! Back when we were dating, the Mr. and I once moved 3 times in one year (the first place had a fire, another bed bugs and we moved right back out). The fact that we didn't kill each other or break up solidified in my mind that he was the one.

    I wish I had some de-stressing tips, I am the one who wails that we will NEVER be able to move all of this stuff out on time even though it all comes together in the end every single time.