It’s been over three weeks, and the trauma has faded.  And it has been a hard winter for many friends, making my troubles seem small.  I keep telling myself that my pioneer ancestors had it a lot tougher.

It started with the loading, the day after New Years.  Having spent the week packing, we still weren’t finished with the kitchen and the lamps by 10, when the loaders were arriving.  Robert got the truck, and as Lawrence the loader was telling me his grave doubts about getting all our stuff in, his crew discovered the padlock to which Robert hadn’t been given a key.  While we have many tools, they don’t include bolt-cutters.  Budget wouldn’t come out; Robert had to drive the 24-foot truck back across town.  They hadn’t put the furniture pads or the dolly in the truck either.  (Obvious once we discovered the padlock – had they tried, they might have noticed they couldn’t open the back.)

I had measured and counted all our books (thousands), and had used several on-line estimators of how much space we needed.  We moved to Texas in a 24-foot rental truck, and I had looked at what we had acquired since then and determined that first, it wasn’t much, most of it replacements, and second, we weren’t moving a number of things, like the appliances. I am a major compulsive planner, and being told I had blown it was nerve-wracking.  I continued packing dishes and answering loader questions.  Since everything was going, it wasn’t clear to me why I had to keep saying, “Yes, that’s going” – until I walked into the bedroom and our luggage for the three days on the road was about to go.

In two hours, everything in the house that was packed had been loaded.  The kitchen counters were still piled high, the sunroom floor was covered with unclosed boxes, and the back patio was covered with all those miscellaneous things that live in the garage in Texas, where there are no attics or basements.  Everyone in our neighborhood parks the cars in the driveway, since there is usually no ice, snow or rain to prtect them from, and throws a quilt over them when it hails.  Lawrence said he would load the back yard and leave two feet for us to load the additional boxes when we had them packed.  I was envisioning having to store things, having to make another three-day round trip, having to pull a trailer with the car, which I was driving.

We continued packing, grimly.  What was left was mostly the kitchen, and the china and glassware seemed to have been breeding in the dark upper cupboards.  We had already given away the set of china we got when we first married, two dozen champagne glasses inherited from Robert’s aunt and used only for puddings occasionally (very occasionally – we don’t eat dessert – instant pudding is a comfort food used only during illness) , and a variety of other things.  The kitchen, which some prospective buyers had objected to a much to small, was really a bottomless pit, endlessly producing items which had to be carefully wrapped.  We were supposed to be leaving that afternoon, and all the beds had gone on the truck long before.  I couldn’t see a solution, and I couldn’t bear the suspense of whether it would all fit. At four o’clock, I lost it.  I called my husband and son to the car, and announced we were going to Burger King, the nearest place we could sit down with veggie burgers for my son.  Once there, we ate in silence, and I calmly announced that I could not go on.  This shows how far gone I was; my usual method of losing it is much louder.

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