For a few minutes, I was immersed in a cascade of memories, made more poignant by the knowledge that we would never again be enjoying the pastel wash of morning light or the vivid sunsets over the bay from this special place.
I didn’t have long to linger on memory lane, though. Eric was sitting in the truck, engine running, waiting for me to hop in and head to the lawyer’s office to transfer the house to the new owners.
The truck was stuffed with the dregs of belongings that hadn’t yet made it into the storage unit. We were hauling our trailer into town, because we hadn’t had time to drop it off at our friends’ house where we would be staying for a few days. And Magnolia was riding shotgun, protesting about being rudely removed from her beloved screened porch.
It was not a graceful leave taking.
Moving Is Horrible
I think I’m ready to admit that I’m unreasonably optimistic. “This is going to be an easy move!” I told Eric. He did not agree. He told me I was unrealistic. I told him he was worrying about nothing. We went back and forth about that a few times.
I was wrong. It was terrible.
When I was 19, I moved out of my dorm at Florida State University for the summer. I lived on the fifth floor, with no elevator. I dragged a giant refrigerator-sized box up the stairs and stuffed all of my belongings into it. I thought I was being very efficient packing everything into one big box. It must have weighed a couple hundred pounds.
My dad and my boyfriend arrived to help me move. My dad eyed the box. “You know, it would be a lot easier if you used smaller boxes for packing,” he said.
Since then, I’ve packed things in smaller boxes. Lots and lots of boxes. All carefully packed and beautifully labeled. Until I get to the final few boxes, and I’m just throwing random crap into them because I’ve been working since 6 a.m. and it’s now 11:00, the closing is at 11:30, the buyers are arriving for the final walk-through at noon, and I am just so over it and I don’t care AT ALL anymore.
It All Seemed To Be Going Well…Until It Wasn’t
Honestly, I don’t know how everything went downhill so quickly. It all seemed to be going so well in the days leading up to the move. We sold the house furnished, and only kept personal items, kitchen stuff, and a couple of small pieces of furniture that will fit into our new tiny house. Our stable of lawn equipment and our grill went to various friends, and numerous truckloads of random household items and clothing went to the thrift store of a local church.
We even hired a cleaning crew for the first time, thinking it was going to make our lives easier. It didn’t. Their idea of cleaning involved a big bottle of Windex and a microfiber cloth for everything from the toilets to the refrigerator. I ended up spending several hours meticulously cleaning on the last day when I should have been finishing packing.
We spent part of the next three days in our storage unit, organizing and trying to make sense of our lives in boxes. It is a very random assortment that we are dragging with us to North Carolina: Kitchen appliances, a million baskets, artwork, tools, my grandmother’s crystal champagne glasses, and the 60-pound concrete pelican that my parents had for at least 60 years. (I love that thing, and the ones they make now are nowhere near as nice.) We’ll pick up our treasures as we head north in late March.
It has been exhausting and stressful, all of it. The good news is that we’ve officially turned the page, and are beginning an entirely new chapter in our lives.
Feeling Ready To Move On
On a very happy note, we met the buyers for the first time last Sunday. We spent a couple of hours getting to know them and sharing information about the house, the landscaping, and our carefully curated list of favorite helpers—the eccentric electrician, the landscape crew who only work for people they like, the best dentist we’ve ever had (it’s NOT the one in town), and a dozen others who have made our lives easier in this remote locale.
The new owners love the house and the property, are delighted with their new home, and were generous with their praise. (Their first words: “It’s so clean!” LOL.) It felt as though we were meeting old friends, kindred spirits who share a deep appreciation for nature and this very special piece of property. We’re leaving it in good hands, and that makes it infinitely easier to say goodbye.
Too bad the boxing and moving portion was the pits. Hopefully things will unwind and you’ll relax in your new home. I’m excited to see photos.
Hi Christine, we are SO ready for some relaxation! At the moment, we’re adjusting to Airbnb life, which has some unique challenges, LOL. More photos of real life adventures to come…the good and the not-so good!
I’ll share a photo of my storage unit someday which will make you feel much better!
Please do send me a photo of your storage unit, Teri. We’re all in this together, haha!! I’d love an update on your tiny house build!
Onward! I am sure the leave taking was very hard for you three especially as the home had belonged to your parents for 40 years. I wish you all the best as you start this new chapter! And what is it with people you hire to clean??? When we first arrived in AZ this year I hired a highly recommended woman to clean my house and do the windows. Emmi could have done a better job!!!
I had an image of Emmi cleaning, LOL LOL!! Seriously, I was appalled and maddened by the supposed house cleaning…and it was expensive! And then I had to do it myself. 😾 Thanks for your good wishes and the laugh, Janna. :-)
Mazel tov on your next chapter! That photo of Eric said it all…but that’s behind you now. Breathe, drive, stroke your kitty-pal…and take us with you to the Old North State!
Oh, Gretchen, that morning in the garage on the day we were moving out was SO BAD!! It’s behind us, and now we’re on to more challenges. The kitty definitely helps keep us happy. I know you understand all about the joys of a furry companion. :-)
We feel every one of your words deeply in our hearts, sounds similar to our recent move – minus a Magnolia which makes it even more difficult, I would expect.
Blessing to you both and our prayers for calm seas at the Airbnb.
Thanks so much for your good wishes, Sharyn. We’re so glad we made it through the move…adjusting to Airbnb life is another big life lesson! Although traveling with a kitty is more challenging, Magnolia brings us so much joy and comfort she’s worth the extra effort. 💕
I’m exhausted just reading this. And I understand completely being SO OVER IT!! Love Eric’s reaction to the mess that still needs to be dealt with. Unreasonably optimistic huh? That would describe David and you guys leave all the worrying to me and Eric. Not fair!😁
But you’re on your way now to new adventures And I can’t wait to hear all about them.
PS I wouldn’t have paid that cleaning crew a dime.😇
Sherry, I always tell Eric that at least I’m happy up until reality hits, hahaha!! That morning in the garage was especially stressful. And that encounter with the cleaning crew just about put me over the edge. Thanks so much for your support and encouragement as we continue navigating this big life change.
So happy that you’re through this physically and emotionally challenging time! Now you can look forward to nesting in your new home. Can’t wait to see it!
Thank you, Janie! We have about five months before our tiny house will be built and we can really settle in again. But selling the house and moving out was a huge piece of the puzzle. Now we’re on to other challenges, LOL.
You know, Laurel, I burst into tears looking at that photo of your beautiful bay and reading about your leave-taking moment. I have experienced moments like that, walking around the house I loved, reliving the memories as I leave for the last time. The box thing reminded me so much of what I call “the last load”, where the trailer has rakes and lamps and weird stuff tied to the top and looks like the travelers during the depression. It is hard. No matter how much you plan and prepare, it is ALWAYS hard. I think maybe you need to review all that advice about life changes creating stress and sometimes getting sick. Please take care of yourself. It is like a death in your family or friends, and other life changes. You know the ones the therapist is always touting as markers that people who are depressed need to be aware of? Somehow I don’t see you as a person who succumbs to depression, but the life changes can still really take a toll. My heart goes to you every moment of this huge transition. Having experienced a truly fabulous transition from one home and one life to another, I can relate. No matter how wonderful it was and is, it was still incredibly stressful. Hang in there and I can’t wait to see the progress, your Airbnb life, and the new house. OF course, I love love love photos of Magnolia, but Eric’s open mouth in the garage was spectacular and told the full story.
Sue, I feel as though you’re processing this move with me! You are absolutely right, moving is an enormous life transition. And honestly, we really didn’t need another huge life change and challenge right now, but the reality is that this was the perfect moment to sell the house. So here we are, and we’re trying to take care of ourselves and ride the waves as best we can. Thanks for your support, and for the reminder that no matter how much we plan, every move ends up looking like a scene out of The Grapes of Wrath! LOL.
Oh the memories of our move-out before going full-time into TheDip! K’s still looking for boxes that “should have been here” and aren’t! The interesting part of coming off the road for us was that we don’t miss TheDip (our RV), but we miss the travel and meeting great people like you two! We wish you the best as you begin your new journey in your new home. Keep those stories coming.
Hi Riley & Karen! I laughed at the image of Karen still looking for boxes that “should be here.” We’re in the midst of that right now, sorting through what we’ve hauled with us and stuff we unloaded from our trailer, and trying to figure out if we’ve lost some things or if they’re in storage in Eastpoint. It’s crazy making! We miss you guys—we need to figure out a plan for getting together!
Laurel, it is amazing how packing boxes is so orderly and organized in the beginning and then toward the end it all falls apart. I literally labeled a few boxes ‘stuff.’ I hope you had a nice stiff drink when you landed for the night.
Suzanne, you have no idea how much better it makes me feel to know that your move also fell apart at the end. You are such a competent, organized person…and even you ended up with boxes labeled “stuff,” haha! Thank you for making me feel better. And yes indeed, I certainly enjoyed my G & T that night!
Hey, I know we offered to help you load up your belongings when you clear out the storage unit in March, but that was before I knew about the 60-lb concrete pelican. :-) But seriously, getting the house sold and the trailer on its way to being sold are the two biggest challenges. It’s all a glide path from here on out! Just keep reminding yourself of that when you encounter inevitable issues. The hardest part is over and you can look forward to the new chapter. Hooray!
Wait, what?? I’m counting on you and Ken to move that pelican! You should have seen the look Eric gave me when I told him the pelican was coming with us. But he built a special box for it to protect it. That’s the definition of true love, LOL!
We’re almost through the hardest part…although the last few days have been excruciating. But that’s news for another blog post. Thanks for your encouragement, Shannon. :-)
I saw the headline and said ‘awww’ in such a way that N even asked if all was ok! Oh my, the things we collect even in our seemingly minimalist state. Cheers to one more of the many chapters, and both sad and excited for you.💖
Aww, thanks, Leah! I’ve thought of you so many times recently, knowing that you have the Airbnb travel thing refined to an art. Whoa, are we ever in a learning curve at the moment! Including the shocking realization of how much crap we had in the trailer, and that we now have to deal with. Thanks for your loving support!
This blog brought Perry to tears. He remembers leaving a house he put so much love and sweat equity in. He feels for you, we both feel for you and we are both excited for your future.
We are reminiscing our chance encounter with you guys at the blue hole in Florida and are so grateful for our friendship!
Oh, sweet friends! You understand exactly how hard it was for us to leave our home in Florida. We’re now in Gainesville, not far from the Itchetucknee River and the spring where we met at the swimming hole. What a fortuitous day that was! We’re overdue for a visit/trip with you two!
I’m amazed that you have the energy to write a blog post! I ALWAYS think things will be easier than they look. My husband is more realistic (I say “pessimistic” until it turns out he is right) about these things. I had to laugh when I saw all those baskets… since you are moving into a much smaller home, I’m curious what you plan to use them for.
Best of luck on your ongoing move. I hope our meet-up actually happens in the future.
Janis, I always think Eric is being pessimistic, but dang it, he’s almost always right when it comes to judging how much time something is going to take, or how difficult a task is going to be. You would think I would have learned by now, but I always bounce back to my delusional ways, LOL!! Thanks for your good wishes..and yes, we definitely need to meet up! We’ll have fun, and you can see what I do with all of those baskets. :-)
Looking forward to hearing more bout your progress
Thank you so much, Kathryn. We’re still in the challenging part of the transition…trying to maintain some kind of balance. I know you understand, since you just went through a similar move. I hope everything is going well for you. 💕
A wonderful ending to a truly beautiful place. Life moves on and I am confident these new owners are pinching themselves to have found such a beautiful property….I know we would be!!!!!
We are in Trinidad and the pace is hectic but the birds incredible. Red Ibis, the National birds, we saw lift off yesterday morning. WHO would get up and head out the door at 4 AM???? It was truly worth it….
We are here for 4 more days then fly to Togabo for 3 days. An incredible 12 days with friends….PHEW this is fun!!!!
Julie, how fabulous that you’re in Trinidad! I’ve always wanted to see a Scarlet Ibis. I’d even get up at 4 a.m. to see one, haha. So glad you’re having such wonderful travel adventures! And we’re very happy that you and Martin came to visit us in Eastpoint. It truly is a magical place. :-)
Gawd, I love the realness of your blog, Laurel. It makes me sad, it makes me laugh, it makes me sigh and it makes me think. I so appreciate your sharing. Sometimes I think I like the super heartfelt, if not difficult, times you write about even more than your travels and the photos of beautiful birds and places you’ve visited. BUT I’m ready to hear about the next phase of this long-ish transition, which I hope will bring some ease back into your life, and I’m ready to see some birds at some point too! hehehehe! Big hug to you my friend!
Aww, thank you, Janet! I really appreciate that you enjoy reading about our “real life” adventures as well as our travels. As you know, life is definitely not all unicorns and rainbows, LOL. And selling a home and moving is just plain not fun! But we do have some excellent birding and kayaking waiting for us here in Gainesville. Wish you could join us! Hugs to you too, dear friend!
Every single one of life’s major transitions comes with its own set of challenges. Will there be more ahead for you? Probably. Will you get through them? Absolutely! I’m happy to hear you made the time for a final walk-through. Difficult, yes, but so much better for your emotional well-being than not taking the time to say farewell to an important piece of your history. In time, I trust that the grief of leave-taking will be overshadowed by the happier memories of all the good times you enjoyed there.
In considering all the possible combinations of optimist, pessimist and realist couples, I think you and Eric hit the jackpot. I believe that an optimist and a realist are the best possible combination. With luck, that translates to faith that everything will work out combined with the perseverance to see that it does. As you work through the next set of challenges in this monumental transition, keep your rose-colored glasses clean but pay close attention to Eric’s admonitions. And remember, the stands are full of fans and every one of us is cheering you on.
Mary, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I like your perspective of possible relationship combinations. And I think you’re absolutely right, that Eric and I are a combination of realist and optimist. We seem to make a good team most of the time (with a bit of driving each other crazy thrown in, haha).
I appreciate your encouragement and support as we navigate our way through this major life transition. It was bittersweet to say goodbye to the house and that beautiful property, knowing that it truly was goodbye…so different from all of the years when we came and went while visiting my folks, knowing that we would always return. We’re grateful for the time we had there, and for all of our rich memories. I believe my mom and dad blessed our decision. :-)
My goodness, your post brought the hell of moving right back to me in vivid detail! I am not looking forward to our next move at all and it is probably still a couple of years away. I hope your next home is your last home! Fingers crossed your next few months go smoothly!
Lisa, I’m not sure how long it takes to get over the hell of moving trauma, but I really don’t want to do this again for a very long time! I don’t know exactly what it would take for it to not be such a pain. I’ve moved so many times in my life, and it has never been easy. Thanks so much for your good wishes, and I hope you don’t have to move until you’re really ready!
Oh my….this post brought up all those “change” feelings again. When we left the farm I absolutely couldn’t do a final walk through, my knees would have collapsed. As the antique dealer was carrying out my beautiful dining room set I stuck my head under the kitchen sink and began scrubbing it within an inch of it’s life so I wouldn’t see those memories moving out the door. It’s all so emotional and frustrating and exciting at the same time. You’re through the really hard part now, the emotional part. Any problems ahead will be purely logistical! We look forward to seeing you in June!
Sue, your feelings about leaving your farm sound very similar to my feelings about leaving this house. The memories are embedded in the structure, the furnishings, the land…everything contains the stories of that particular time in our lives. And even when we know it’s time to go, it’s painful. Even when we’re moving toward something exciting, it’s painful. I have to remind myself that I still have the memories…and a few choice pieces that I’m hauling with us, like that 60-pound concrete pelican, haha!! Thanks for your encouragement, and we can’t wait to see you guys in June!
Leaving the people, places, and things we love is just never easy. I don’t know why we always think we’re going to be able to soften those blows, armed with our Sharpies and our lists, but we do, silly us! As we were walking around IKEA yesterday, I was saying, L&E could set up their tiny home like this…or this…or this! They are the masters of tiny spaces, and I don’t think there was a one of ’em I couldn’t have easily slipped into.
We’re all going to miss Eric’s weekly photos of the bay, too. I’m so very, very glad we got to experience it with you in person. It is a beautiful, magical place.
I’m so looking forward to your tales of the in-between months coming up and, of course, the upcoming new tiny home build. It’s going to be a gorgeous time of year when you finally arrive in NC, and I just know all three of you are going to be very, very happy <3
Oh, Joodie, thank you for your loving encouragement! I’m so glad that you and Mark came to visit us and experienced the beauty and magic of Magnolia Bluff. There’s something about that view of the bay that has always brought me peace. Even though I’ll no longer be seeing it on a daily basis, thanks to Eric we have approximately 1,000 photos of sunset from our dock. 😆
You’re right, all of those lists I made did nothing to soften the blow of leaving there. But we’re also very excited about our tiny house experiment. It’s going to be fun! (I think, I hope…) I love that you were browsing IKEA for us. Send me ideas!
I feel your pain, no move is easy. Cyn and I have made some very adventurous ones ourselves. You would have got a chuckle of us going through LAX when we moved back from Mexico, lots of baskets also. When we moved Kevin from Corona to Herons Haven, I drove the U-Haul out of the driveway 1 1/2 hours before the open house, after a 36 hour marathon packing session.
Glad you and Eric got it behind you, and moving North. Stay in touch, Luv K
Kyle, I think your moving story is way worse than ours! I’m not sure I would ever recover from a 36 hour packing marathon. You’re right, no move is easy. But I wonder why it’s always so terrible? It’s not only the emotional aspect (if you’re leaving a place that holds good memories) but the sheer physical effort is daunting. I swear I thought I had it all under control this time. I was clearly delusional, haha! You guys need to come visit us in NC!!
We know you will be fine but in the meantime please don’t fault us for shedding a few
tears. 🥲🥲. Such a beautiful place. Happy travels, we love you both! Penny and Tom
Oh, Penny—thank you so much for your loving comment. We’re so happy that you and Tom came to visit us in our little piece of Florida paradise. We’ll never have a view like that again, but hopefully, our lives will be simpler (soon). We love you both! 💕
Well, given that it’s two days after you posted this and I’m just now having a minute to sit down a read it, trust me when I say: I know how crazy moving can be. LOL.
It is remarkable how easy you think it will be vs how much of a PITA it actually ends up being. So much small stuff. So. Much… Ugh….
But, you got it all done and you left that special place in the hands of good people. So many fun adventures ahead and so many special memories you’ll carry with you as you move forward.
Laura, I’m amazed that you managed to find the time to comment after the craziness you guys have been through. I hope your move is going well and that you’re settling into a place that you will be happy living in for a good long time to come!
Here’s to peace for all of us and lots of fun adventures ahead! (Once I finish organizing all of our crap and cleaning, the fun can begin here, LOL.) As you said, we have so many good memories from our three years in Florida, including having you and Kevin and Thor visit. :-)
Oh, I can just imagine how bittersweet that final wander through your house felt. I know that when the time comes for us to leave this house, we’ll be flooded with so many memories. My parent built this dream home here on the coast in 1997. We spent twenty years visiting that same home before we moved into it, joining my mom after her husband’s passing. We have hosted numerous family gatherings here and it just won’t be the same once it’s time to leave… However, our hope is to find something smaller in the area, when the time comes. Mom turns 90 this year, so we’re being realistic, but her doctor says she is extremely healthy and may live another decade. Fingers crossed!!
Moving is so difficult & stressful. Every time we’ve moved, I’ve sworn it’s the last time. But, of course, the universe always seems to have other plans. I’m sorry your optimistic outlook was proved wrong, but it sounds like you’ve left the new owners with a well-loved (and clean!) home. I cleaned our last house like a crazy woman the day of our closing. Had I known that the owners weren’t going to move in for six months, and remodel the kitchen and two bathrooms, I wouldn’t have wasted all that time…
By the way, if you haven’t read Ann Patchett’s collection of essays (These Precious Days), I recommend one in particular: “How to Practice.” It’s about clearing out and reducing the unwanted/unused items in one’s home. You’re way ahead of the game!
Lesley, your situation is so similar to ours! As you said, one day you will be leaving your parents’ home that holds decades of family memories, and the home that you now share with your mom. I hope that your mom continues to be healthy for many years to come. It’s such a gift that you have this time with her, and that you all enjoy each others’ company and live so well together. I’m glad you’re so happy on the beautiful Oregon coast!
Thank you so much for recommending Ann Patchett’s essays. I just finished reading “How To Practice.” It’s gorgeous, and I can relate to every word (I’m glad to know there are others who anthropomorphize inanimate objects, LOL). Your comment and her essay are a balm for my spirit in these frazzled times. 💕
Oh my Laurel, you brought me back into my own anxiety way back in Mar 2012.
I feel you.
But I’m sure you are relieved albeit sad, the you are moving on.
In no time you will be in your element, and back to your normal self and you will be fine.
When you look back to this day, you will pat yourself in the back and say I did it!
When you feel anxiety creeping in, take deep breaths several times and it will be gone.
You know you can always come visit the other Laurel and Erik anytime! We would love to have you!
Erik, we would love to see you and Laurel! We’ll be in Apalachicola for several days starting March 11th. If you’re around, let’s get together and catch up. It’s great to hear from you, hope all is well!
ML, you’re absolutely right…we’re relieved that the sale and the move are behind us, but of course, leaving was very bittersweet. I’m looking forward to feeling ‘normal’ again, whatever that may be, haha! Thanks for the reminder to take a deep breath, my friend. It makes all the difference. :-)
Having moved numerous times, the ease of small boxes of the same dimension was a game-changer! And yet it’s always terrible. Always something that comes up. Always people you depend on dropping the ball, or the cleaning cloth. And then it’s over and you’re on your way to a wonderful new adventure! Glad you’re leaving the place with kindred spirits who are prepared to be the new guardians – what relief.
Magnolia is so beautiful!
Small boxes, big boxes, now matter how much I try to make moving easier, it’s still traumatic! You’re right that something always comes up, and I should know that by now. But…hope springs eternal LOL LOL. We are so grateful that we’re leaving our beloved family home with kindred spirits. And Magnolia says thank you for the compliment, Jodee! We think she’s beautiful, too…and she’s so sweet and funny!
Moving is terrible!! I was sure we would never get rid of everything when we went full-time in the MH. It’s all those last things that really make one crazy. But the closing will happen whether you are ready or not. Guess you were finally ready. It’s nice to hear that you feel comfortable with the new owners. Helps a little with the departure. Magnolia is certainly filling out that cat tree…haha! Enjoy Gainsville!!
Pam, it was so crazy-making—the stuff we had seemed to multiply! I packed and packed and packed and there was still a mountain of stuff to deal with on the morning of closing!! We just shoved it all in the truck. And then had to deal with it, haha! Magnolia is definitely filling out the cat tree. She turned into a bigger kitty than we expected! But we think she’s done growing now. And we’re not going to let her get rounder. :-)
I remember the angst of moving from our dream home in 2013 and downsizing to a much smaller house. It was a painful experience, but it was also comforting to know that the BIG move was now behind us. We still have a few boxes marked “stuff,” but almost everything else was sold in a three-day garage sale. I still consider that sale the most liberating feeling in my life. Enjoy the journey. I’m confident the three of you (plus the 60 lb Pelican) will do just fine. Keep us in the loop. Joe
Joe, moving is so darned painful! I just can’t believe we had so much to deal with, since we had only been in that house for three years. I think my tolerance for “stuff” is much less than it used to be. I know exactly what you mean about the liberating feeling of letting go of excess belongings. But then I find myself attached to things like a 60-pound concrete pelican, 😂😂.
We are here in Borrego Springs reading your blog. So glad it is you and not us that are making all of these huge life changes. I have every confidence that you are making the wisest of choices at all the junctures but my how hard they must be. I think your amazing organization combined with patience and a good sense of humor will get you through all this and to the other side in good stead. The desert is beautiful and it looks like we might get a bit of rain this evening. We camped next to Linda and Steve in the state park for a week and now have moved into Holiday Homes RV park. Wish you could snap your fingers and join us here for some walks, rides and music. Stay well and we would love to see you back in Ashland when you get out that
Oh, how wonderful to hear from you, Sue! I love knowing that you’re in Anza Borrego. I wish we could magically transport ourselves there to be with you guys! We have such great memories of our times there, and all of our adventures with our Ashland tribe. :-)
We can’t believe we’ve pulled the rug out from under ourselves again, haha. But we just keep rolling with the changes that life presents, and so far, we’re surviving. We’re definitely feeling ready for a peaceful stretch of not so much dramatic change, though. Thanks so much for your encouragement. We miss you guys, and look forward to seeing you somewhere! OX