‘Tis the Season…for Moving

moving feet and boxesWhen I was growing up in Connecticut, I just assumed that I would always live in the Northeast. I’ve now moved 16 times with my latest move being just two weeks ago.

Among our friends, we have moved the most often—and by a large margin. In fact, many of our friends still live in the same house where they raised their children. None of them are talking about moving. At least not yet. I think that will change in the next 10-15 years when maybe a 1-level house simply makes more sense.

Of course, there’s an abundance of reasons for moving. Over the years we’ve moved for many reasons, the most common one being a job relocation. But there have also been moves to neighborhoods that better matched our family size and lifestyle. We made this last move for a cluster of reasons: the appeal of downsizing, the power of economics and the desire to live in a more urban environment and still have a small backyard.

Are you considering a move?

Moving Facts

If you’re considering a move (or even if you aren’t), here are some of interesting facts.

• You are not alone. About 40 million Americans move every year. That’s more people than the entire population of California! The average American moves about 12 times in a lifetime. That’s every six years for the average American.

• 50% all US relocations occur during one-third of the year – between the beginning of May and Labor Day (the first Monday of September). That’s no surprise.

• Around 40% of all moves in US are job-related; 42% are personal moves; 18% are military or government relocations.

• Moving is the third most stressful event in life, following death of a loved one and divorce. You won’t have any problem convincing me that this is correct.

• One of the stunning moving facts is that about 62 percent of the people in US currently live in the very state they were born. Growing up in the Northeast, this is something that I assumed for myself. Boy, was I wrong.

 

Major Stress Factor

moving men lifting chair into truckWe’ve now lived in six different states. Indeed, one of our family stories is that each of our three kids was born in a different state. All things considered, I’m glad we’ve made those moves. We’ve had a good opportunity to experience the pace of life and character of several regions around the United States, including the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Midwest.

But even with all these pluses, moving is not an endeavor to be undertaken lightly. Because it is never a ride in the park. Each move has its own quirks, excitement, and frustration. With an emphasis on frustration.

Perhaps the most aggravating experience this last time around has been with the local bureaucracy. Permits are required for the moving truck (even smallish moving trucks). It turns out that getting a permit requires two stops: first at the Street Department, then the Police Department. Sounds easy enough. However, the Street Department is not easy to find (how silly of me to think that the website would have the correct address) and how incredibly naïve I was to think that I could pick up the required paperwork from Police Headquarters.

Hearing about my moving woes, a friend pointed out that my searching for permits reminded him of a Jerry Seinfeld episode where the car rental company claimed that they had his reservation; they just didn’t have a car for him. Seinfeld jokingly focused on the overall concept: that the car rental company should have both the reservation AND the car. It now makes an amusing story. Similarly, it would be clever to have all of the moving permits handled in one easy-to-find location.

Moving Tips

Have I learned anything in all of our moves? Yes, I think so. Here are some tips.

• Go into “moving mode”. View every item as a potential throwaway. Keep in mind that this no-nonsense approach probably doesn’t include photos. There will come a day when you want to tackle the photo project–even if it’s just going through the box and talking about the stories behind the photos. Use the Saving Memories Forever app and website when you’re going through that box and accomplish sorting and sharing the photos and recording the stories at the same time!

• Get quotes from several movers. This last time (even though we only moved all of ½ mile) we got three quotes. We selected potential movers from Angie’s List and found this read-the-multiple reviews approach quite helpful.

• Pick the moving strategy that works best for your age and level of endurance. With some minor help from us, our 25-year daughter packed and unpacked her stuff and enlisted a bunch of friends to help with her move. Our 26-year old son and daughter-in-law pretty much moved themselves with one important proviso: they hired movers through the truck rental company to load and unload the rented truck. Brilliant idea. In contrast, we packed and unpacked our stuff and hired a mover to lug and place the boxes and furniture.

 

SMF-Jane2Jane Baker is the Co-Owner of Saving Memories Forever. She likes to write, garden, explore, read, meet with friends, and pat her cats. Not known for big spending, she and her husband, Harvey, like to take advantage of the free activities around St. Louis. She volunteers with several local organizations with her favorite one being STL Village. 

 

 

 

 

My Dad

Bill WebsterIt’s a little strange to write about my Dad when I don’t even have a picture of him. At least one that’s readily available. You see, we are in the midst of moving (yes, again) and all the pictures are packed. But write about my Dad I will. It is, after all, close to  Father’s Day.

(For those of you who MUST have a visual aide to go along with this blog, I’ve gone so far as to borrow a picture of someone who looks a bit like him at least in terms of having an elder statesman like appearance.)

All things told, my Dad was a quiet, soft-spoken man. He was a genuinely nice guy. King of the one-liners, he also knew how to deliver a joke. And (lucky for me) he also understood what being a good  father entailed.

The only child of German immigrants, he was born in western Pennsylvania in 1915. The small family moved to Clifton, New Jersey when his father got a job as a city accountant. His mother taught school. His no-nonsense upbringing reflected both the times ( the Depression and World War I) and his parents’ ambition: to give their son the best education possible and send their son to college. They succeeded in both. Dad went to Newark Academy and then Princeton University. A well-liked man, he served as the class secretary for many years.

During World War II, Dad served on a naval supply ship in the Pacific Ocean. A capable, efficient man, he earned two Bronze medals. From pictures and stories that he used to tell, some of his best friends were from those days. I remember pouring over a black and white picture of my Dad and some buddies smiling and smoking pipes.

When he returned from war, he dated and then married my mother. The couple was a good match: a tall, attractive pair, they both had exceedingly smart minds. Plus their  different personalities balanced out each other.

Like my Dad’s parents, both of my parents worked as well: he as a business executive for a chemical company; my mother as a lawyer with her own private practice. My Dad provided for his family well and my brother, Tom, and I had alot of material advantages. But most importantly, we grew up in a family that loved us. I especially valued the way my father and I would communicate. Alot of it was non-verbal.  For example, as children when Tom and I rode in the back seat of the car, Dad would give me quick look in the rear view mirror just to say “hello”. And we’d both chuckle over one of his one-liners for days, reliving the punch line as we passed each other around the house.

Perhaps the greatest gift my Dad gave me was his trust. He trusted my judgement. (That doesn’t mean, however, he applauded every decision I made!). But that basic faith in me eased over many of the growing pains that typically occur between parents and their children, especially those who grew up in the Age of Aquarius and all that this time period implied. Plus my father understood the importance of cheering from the sidelines. No matter what. He also understood the importance of community and served on the Library Board for many years.

Time went on. I got older, married, and had a family of my own. There are years (sad to admit it, even decades) when I grew apart from my Dad.  However, much to my infinite relief, my Dad and I got a few years at the end of his life to reconnect. I was able to say goodbye to him, telling him that his life had indeed been a blessing as I read and re-read a particular passage in our prayer book. Although it sometimes feels like a lifetime ago, he died at peace only eight years ago in June 2006.

Do I miss him? You betcha. I especially wish I could hear his voice. Nonetheless, I still feel his spirit and his smile. In meaningful ways, he still lives on. Today, in our own ways, my brother and I try to pass his many good lessons on to our respective families. I am always mindful and grateful for the grace and example of his life well lived.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.