Moving Along With Moving Along

This week is Marcia’s last in her current job, and she will be heading west to Iowa next Thursday, picking up Katelin en route so they can keep each other company through the long drive and first few days in Des Moines. I’m glad things worked out that way, schedule-wise, for both of them.

Our new house in Des Moines.

Marcia will be living in a furnished corporate apartment for the first six weeks or so, while I remain in Albany to take care of various local and regional things that I need to get done before I’m able to join her. If all goes as planned, my last day of work at the University at Albany will be November 9, the packers and movers will take care of clearing our current house on November 10 and 11, I will head west on November 12 (with the cats), arrive in Des Moines on November 13, with closing on our new house (photo at left) on November 14.

Between now and then, I will also be serving in my volunteer capacity as Secretary of the Corporation for the American Institute for Economic Research at their annual meeting, and as reunion coordinator for my Naval Academy class at our 25th anniversary homecoming. I will also be attempting to maintain a small and tidy footprint in our current home, to facilitate selling it soon. So it’s going to be a busy six weeks.

Of course, that period of time is still going to seem somewhat empty to me, since I’ll be alone at the house for much of it. While a six week separation for Marcia and me is nothing compared to what many of my Naval Academy classmates and all of our fellow soldiers, sailors, pilots and Marines endure as a matter of course, it is pretty dramatically outside of the family paradigm to which we’ve become accustomed, as we’ve never been separated for more than a week during the past 24 years.

So I’m advance planning on how to amuse myself during that time to make it go more quickly. Those of you who know me or have read my work over the years are probably aware that I have a fairly deep masochistic streak. Not in the sexual sense, mind you, but rather more in the monastic/ascetic/penitent/endurance athlete model of the word. I often like to push myself to the point of discomfort to see how I manage it, because I believe we learn things about ourselves that way. For example: is it possible for a reasonably fit person to lose 30 pounds in 30 days? Answer: yes, which I know because I’ve done it, though it was a long, long month. What did I learn from the experience? That I never, ever, ever want to gain weight to the point where I feel like I need to lose 30 pounds again. 16 years later, I never have. Mission Accomplished.

So, my planned self-betterment schemes for October and November currently include:

1. Eating The House: You know how you often buy food items on a whim, or when planning some meal that never quite comes to pass, and then they sit in your cupboards for months, or (sometimes) years? We have a good number of those sorts of items about. So, starting October 7, I will not spend a penny on food until I have eaten every bit of food in the house. (Within reason, of course: I’m not going to drink a bottle of Tabasco Sauce straight up or eat a bowl of ground cumin, but rather will be focusing on living off all of the end product dry, canned and frozen goods in the house). As an adjunct to this, my fighting weight for the past several years has been in the 208 to 212 pounds range, and I’d like to see what I look like back under 200 again, since the last time I was there was in 1995, after dropping from 227 to 197 in 30 days (see above). So I’m sure I’ll come up with some extra uncomfortable physical activity to facilitate that piece.

2. Living Off The Stuff: My last paycheck from my current gig will come sometime in late November, and I’d like to be able to put away all of my earnings from October and November to provide some buffer and safety net for the first couple of months in Des Moines. Toward this end, I will be attempting to live completely off money earned or collected outside of my salary and benefits. For example, I plan to hold a CD and DVD sale of the “Three bucks per disc, 10 discs for $25, and 25 discs for $50” in my garage some night in October. I guarantee you that my collection contains a lot of stuff that you’re not likely to find elsewhere, especially at those sorts of prices. I have a restored vintage ARP Solus analog synthesizer that I’ll be selling too, and I’m going to start re-activating some of my paid freelance writing relationships over the next couple of months. Finally, there will be The J. Eric Exotic Escort Service . . . okay, just kidding on that last one. At bottom line, though, all discretionary activities until I arrive in Des Moines (to include gas for getting around outside of work responsibilities, and food, once I finish eating the house) will be funded through such additional income streams, which will also help me de-clutter in advance of the move.

3. One Bag Out Of The House A Day: Some de-cluttering can’t take place through selling stuff, but rather needs to be taken care of by chucking or donating things. For my last 30 days in the house, I want to have one large garbage bag’s worth of stuff (or a similar volume, for items that don’t go into bags) leave the house each day, either into a dumpster, a Salvation Army collection bin, or someone else’s home, in the case of items that can be directly free-cycled that way. I used this approach in a facilities job I had once, and it was amazing how much we cleaned the place up just by forcing ourselves to look for the things that really could go, right now, rather than seeing them and thinking “Well, maybe someday this might could possibly of some use, to someone . . . ”

I’m sure I’ll come up with other games to play to amuse myself, but these are the ones I’m planning at the moment. Watch this space for updates.

18 thoughts on “Moving Along With Moving Along

  1. re: Eating the house…reminds me of Thanksgiving vacation, 1978. My roommate and I had just enough cash for gas money from Greenville to Poughkeepsie. The nite before we left, we had to eat the house. We had naught but saltines and some kind of liquid canned good, I forget exactly what it was. We called it gross-out stew, and it tasted like it. From that point on, there was ALWAYS a jar of peanut butter and white bread in the room if nothing else.

    • When I lived in Athens, a key part of my dietary program was “Eat the Happy Hour” . . . we knew each night which happy hour had the best/most free grub that you could power-pack while drinking one cheap beer, thereby saving money for important things like cigarettes and beer for the house . . .

  2. I need more dicipline in my life! Lovely looking new house. You’ll be feeling so pure by the time you get there without all the “stuff” that’s gonna go elsewhere.

  3. Thanks, bud. Rizzo is a really great economist, and he is teaching his discipline from a philosophical viewpoint that is way outside what most mainstream academics are touting these days . . . and then backing up his words through solid research, rather than just by taking a “Because I said so” posture . . .

  4. If you end up with any large-scale items of value that you don’t want to truck across the country, give the Damien Center a call . . . they did a wonderful job taking stuff from my father-in-law’s, and they came to us and picked it up. Furniture, decorations, that sort of thing which they sell in their store in Center Square.

    • Done and done . . . Marcia actually donated a LOT of women’s business suits to them to help their program for helping folks land jobs. I used to work with them a lot directly when I was at the AIDS Council, so agree with you that they do a super job of second-hand retail work for a great cause.

    • P.S. Loved your Delaware cycling post . . . . while Des Moines itself is shockingly, surprisingly hilly, once I get out of town on the MANY excellent cycling routes/trails they have there, I expect to get some high-speed, wide-shouldered riding excellence under my belt, too . . .

  5. I’ve been there – 2 six-week separations in our first year of marriage. Granted, I met Chris for long weekends both times, and we spoke on the phone every day, but it was hard. Six weeks is a long time. This last time, among other (more constructive) activities, I over-indulged on crime dramas. It was a delicious craving to feed. 🙂

  6. Love the whole literal and psychic house cleanings. We’ve lived here only 7 years and I can feel the stuff closing in on me. You’ll feel marvelous when you’re done, I know. (And in the meantime, I bet you will write your wife some lovely poems!)

    Good luck — and your house is picture perfect!

    • I wish I was!!! But I want to try to make the trip in two days, which puts the mid-point closer to somewhere like Toledo . . . in a cat-friendly hotel, yeesh . . .

      Chicago is an easy trip from Des Moines, though, and we have lots of friends there, so I’ll catch you there at some point, for sure . . .

  7. I’ve been thinking about some of the dishes I could whip up eating the house. Does anyone have a suggestion of what to do with canned pumpkin, instant chicken soup, and chick peas?

  8. Pingback: Ealdorman Tondberht of South Gyrwas « INDIE ALBANY

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