Packing Out of “The Saltwater”

(So…I’ve been meaning to start blogging this journey for weeks now.  The intention was to start writing back in the spring and chronicle a bit of the process of moving itself.  But, as it turned out, the only times I wasn’t actively working, packing, running, or spending time with friends, I was either in a catatonic state of collapse from all the DOING, or asleep.

Which means I’m now on Day 3 of “Launch,” and am just now posting.  Which means there’s so much to say…so much I’ve already written in my head, so to speak…that I’m totally overwhelmed by how to write this post.  But I finally decided I couldn’t put it off any longer….)



I’ll start with news from the Saltwater, I suppose…my former address.  The house is empty.  Clean.  Signed away.  Kind of.  It was supposed to close on July 5, last Thursday, but a wild “derecho” storm slammed the eastern half of the county the Friday previous and knocked out power all over the region, including at my realtor’s northern VA office, and contributed to a snafu that ultimately spelled a delay in the paper-signing.  I myself went in on Friday to sign all the paperwork my parents (my co-title-owners) had already signed from Nevada, and was told that the house was still “mine” till Monday the 9th.  (Which was a moot point, essentially, as I’d said my goodbyes to my beautiful home-of-ten-years a few days prior, and would be heading out from NOVA on Sunday the 8th.)  But I found out yesterday from my mom that the loan paperwork from the buyers’ FHA loan had not yet come through. The house is in limbo…the buyers’ realtor is entirely AWOL…and everyone from my folks in Reno to the buyers in VA are up in arms about when it’ll clear.  I’ve been assured, however, that I’ve done all of my business and that (thank God) I do NOT need to go back.  So we’ll see how that goes.  God help us all if this sale falls through.  It’s just a hassle we don’t need.

Ergo, “the Saltwater” is, to my knowledge, empty still.

The PODS unit arrived on Monday, June 25.  It was cool to see it arrive.  It was brought in on what looked like a flatbed truck, but the truck carried a giant frame with a hydraulic (?) mechanism that placed the PODS unit.  The frame lifted the unit off the truck…the truck drove out from under it…the driver used controls on the frame to get the unit in place in its parking spot…the frame lifted off the unit…and connected back to the truck.  That sucker fit perfectly in a parking spot.  (Not mine.  Not even Jesse’s, which had been generously offered to me.  Poached my neighbor’s spot, which worked out perfectly, as his sister was going to be out of town for almost the entire time the unit would be in her spot.)



It was tough to see the house empty.  Not as tough as it was to GET it empty, however.



There were two “big stuff move-out” days…last Saturday the 30th of June, and Tuesday, July 3.  My brother, his friend Jonas, my neighbor Jesse, and my Tony helped on Saturday…Jesse, Tony, Lump, and Lump’s dad all helped at various times on Tuesday.

Four or five different people came from all over to take away couches, end tables, coffee tables, dining set, and deck swing that they’d either acquired or bought from me.




The solid oak computer desk left for its new life in a farmhouse in King George.  The bedroom set went into a storage unit at Lump’s insistence, despite the fact that I was loath to leave my detritus in someone else’s possession to sell for me.  Everything else went into the PODS unit.  Bookcases, secretary desk, bench, bed frame, Clavinova piano, flatscreen TV, tons of framed art, box after box after box after BOX of books, garden items, more framed art, TV stand, a few more boxes of books, crates that’d been with me since college, hanging clothes, boxed clothes, MORE framed art, shoes, barn gear, and, of course, yet MORE boxes of books.  (It was entirely appropriate that I’d acquired some of my boxes from Lisa Renard-Spicer, many of which bore labels like “Books,” “More Books,” and “Dear God More Books.”)


Without help from my brother Mike and my Tony, Lord only knows how I would’ve gotten out of that house.  I would’ve just hit the meltdown point and sat down and cried.  Tony especially.  The boy was a godsend.  I actually DID hit the meltdown point somewhere around midnight on the last night (July 3), when I realized a) we had at least three more hours’ work to do, and b) he wasn’t going to leave until it was done.  He was going to stay and see me through this.  He didn’t have to.  But he was going to.  I realized I could not fathom a way to let him know how grateful I was that he was there, and just burst into tears.  Which was to his dismay, of course, as it was soaking up productivity time and it was friggin’ late.  So he had to walk the line between “There, there, honey…” and “GET UP OFF YOUR ASS AND LET’S DO THIS!!  THERE’S NO CRYING IN MOVING!!”  lol.  Good man.

Anyway.  It’s packed.  Wish I’d gotten a shot of the POD when it was done.  Can’t believe I didn’t.  There isn’t a ton of air space left in there.  (This shot here is the initial pack, which got mostly undone and stacked much higher in the back.)  I pretty much filled the sucker.  It was 8’x8’x16′ and I filled it UP.



At the end it really was a matter of just chucking stuff in there.  The Sleep Number bed comes apart into all kinds of soft, squishy, foamy parts that work as great cushions for expensive flatscreen TVs and space fillers around boxes of china and framed art.  A suitcase with all the clothes I wasn’t going to bring in the car got tossed up into the back.  Thank God I had boys – firefighters, electricians, Marines – who know how to tie rope knots that I may actually be able to UNDO on the other end.  There’s hanging racks built into the POD and I decided to make use of them instead of folding everything and then having to box up hangers (a nightmare, always).  Several small boxes are marked “Deck Whatchagot” and “Shed Misc.” and “Whatever.”  I think one is marked “Bite Me.”  There’s a trash can full of piping for the drip system, though I couldn’t figure out how to uproot the main water pipe and finally decided to rebury the parts I HAD pulled up and just leave it there for the new folks to deal with.  A laundry basket full of this’n’that is perched up high where I know it’ll topple, but not onto anything it’ll hurt.  A lampshade is tucked under the “Buddha-dome” top of my cat’s old litter box, which finally came with me.  Jesse inherited the basil and the deck chair.  The plants went to Andrea and Luke and Lee and the church and anyone else I could foist them on.  Mike got the Adirondack chairs my dad made.  The deck umbrella got left behind as a gift to the new owners, along with a giant ivy pot that had grown into the deck, and the thermometer and the clock that’s only right twice a day.


I climbed up on the deck railing and carved “RLE CME ’09” into the pergola my dad and I built three years ago.


I took pictures of the empty house.  I locked the door and carefully shut the storm door all the way closed.  I blew a kiss at the day lilies along the side of the house that my mom had gotten fifteen years ago with my college boyfriend’s mom, and that I had brought from our old house to plant next to mine.





When everything was either in the POD or in the car, I finally took down the flag and the mounting bracket, rolled it up, and set it inside the POD…the last thing to leave the post, just as my brother had told me.  And I shut the POD and got in my car and drove away, to a song I’d never heard before, and can’t remember the words to now, but was about the concept of “home.”




It was sad.  It was hard.  But I didn’t cry.  Because by now, it felt right.  It felt like it was TIME.  In fact, the whole process has felt totally natural, like just the thing I was supposed to be doing.  It felt very matter-of-fact.  I’ve had no doubts and no second thoughts.  There hasn’t been a moment where I questioned whether I was doing the right thing.  It felt like change…but the kind of change I feel at the end of the summer when it’s time to head back to work and prepare for another school year.  It feels like a big job and an overwhelming amount of stuff to do, but it feels like exactly the right thing to do at the right time.  It just IS.  That’s what it’s felt like.  I don’t know how else to describe it.



Anyway.  Yes.  So my life is packed.  The car is packed.  The POD is packed.

But I packed it thinking I’d see it in about 3 weeks, hire a couple guys to unload it, and have everything I needed again.  I packed it thinking I had everything I needed for 10 days in the car.  I packed it thinking I’d be moving into solo occupancy of a furnished house within a month.

And then the upheavals began.

(to be continued….)


(ps – learning to integrate pics into my blog posts…how’d i do??)


About merlintoes

Amateur marathoner, constant wanderer, sometime teacher, and pilgrim for life. As of July 2012, I have picked up and moved my life to Colorado, a state where I know no one, have no job, and hear it is very beautiful. I don't understand it myself...but I'm gonna run with it.
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4 Responses to Packing Out of “The Saltwater”

  1. Patty says:

    You did a GREAT job integrating the photos into the narrative! Loved it! Now. . . keep it going!!

  2. I agree!! Love the pictures! :) Nice cliffhanger….I can’t wait to read more. Safe travels. Enjoy your time at the beach.

  3. tanyareads says:

    OK, can your blog talk to my blog and tell it to be more interesting and get some photos? Mine definitely needs help!

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