Last Thursday, November 19, we moved into our new home.
Four faithful friends and one mom helped us move, without which we might still be swimming in a sea of cardboard. My mother firmly grabbed my shoulders as she made her departure.
“Do not finish unpacking tonight,” she advised. “It is too much. Don’t let your compulsiveness make you think you need to do it all.”
Apparently she knows me pretty well. She also knew, even as she spoke, that I was incapable of following this advice.
I’m not one of those people who has to lock and unlock a door seven times before I can walk away from it. I don’t wash my hands with a fresh bar of soap every time I approach the sink. I don’t have Melvin Udall-brand OCD. But I do feel completely suffocated and unable to sleep knowing that my kitchen is only half-unpacked.
Add to this that I can’t resist surprising people, and I was doomed. Mike had to go to work immediately after our full day of moving (poor guy), so I felt compelled to wow him with what I could get done before he got back home. He’s as much, if not more, freaky as I am about organization, so before he left he looked around at the boxes and said he couldn’t look any longer without developing a twitch.
So I dove in.
I have discovered that Mike and I both have an insatiable need for order. Despite the midnight hour, despite barely being able to walk from exhaustion, I still relentlessly unpacked boxes and organized, as if pounding my gavel and hollering “order in this house!”
It’s as if we are transition-averse. I seriously thought Mike was going to break out in hives when he couldn’t find his shaving cream the day after the move. There’s nothing to make you homicidal like the rush of the morning coupled with lacking all of your essential tools.
So I grabbed my proverbial sledgehammer and started knocking down the walls of disorder. It’s truly a good thing I was in workout pants and a hoodie, because the effort was not without perspiration.
But I did it. And when Mike walked through the door to find he could see the floor and the countertops, it was like his shoulders descended from their perch near his ears to the more relaxed location near his chest, where they should be. Though I hardly noticed since I was beaming the special glitter-glow that organization creates.
What’s funny is I always translate my work skills into my home skills (since my home skills are limited). As an example, I made a three-week “moving” work-back plan that mimicked ones I used to make while at Microsoft. Excel kept us in line with tasks, details on what to pack each day, which walls to paint, when to clean, errands to run, forms to turn in. So on the actual move-in day, everything was streamlined and we finished in less than five hours.
But I’m not going to pretend all is as it should be. We only painted two areas of our new place, so we are going to have to go back through and move things around next weekend to paint more extensively. The den is not put together at all. The curtains are not up.
…which is why we both feel the need for self-imposed denial of every social opportunity until the task is complete. Even as I write that I realize it’s absurd; people take years to fully furnish and decorate — why should we try to do it in two weeks? The truth is, we won’t. Unless you’re on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, who on Earth could accomplish such a feat?
And who would want to when there is a cozy couch, lit fireplace and glass of wine beckoning?
Next week, I am excited to debut two new guest bloggers, who will tell us about the completion of their first half-marathon (coming up on Nov 29)…both of whom, before training, had never run more than three consecutive miles.