Tuesday, November 21, 2006

movin' right along

Once upon a time, I moved around a lot. It wasn't uncommon to move my junk in and out of residences, houses and sublets two, three times a year in university. But I didn't have as many possessions as I built up in the bunker over the past seven years, so moving was never particularly taxing.

There were times I had wished this was the case now.

The past week was almost pure packing. There had been dribbles over the previous month, but it was mostly tossing a few clothes in donation bins or donating cannned goods to local food banks. There was life to live, and my old landlord wanted to show the apartment. Only when my target date began to dawn on me did I get down to business.

I was proud I moved around 20 boxes in the Official Warehouse Car on my first two runs...then collapsed from total exhaustion. Pacing was going to be the key, especially as I discovered just how much of a packrat I'd been...

An old-fashioned, writing-university-essay style panic attack struck Thursday night, as the scale of how much stuff I had crammed into the bunker fully dawned on me. Did I have enough boxes? Even though several friends had indicated they could help, would that be enough? I wrote a frantic e-mail, which hopefully didn't annoy too many people. About five minutes after I sent off the note, I calmed back down - maybe getting my panic on paper was the tonic my nerves needed, even if unwillingly involved a dozen others (whoopsie).

Tip: Food Basics, or at least those around East York and the Don Valley, had a steady supply of good condition, bottom-included cardboard boxes.

Friday I felt more relaxed and continued with packing, trying to clear off the lingering items on my shelves. Made the last box run in Thorncliffe Park, stopping for a quick bite at Iqbal Sweets - tasty lunch thali special, including one of the meatiest, least greasy tandoori chicken thighs I've ever had. Several responses to my panicky note eased my mind more.

I was about to head over to Yonge St to pick up the cargo van when I received a call from the rental agency. Turned out somebody was tardy in returning a van and none were available from any of their Toronto locations.

My feeling of ease evaporated.

I headed over to check out their first substitute option, a pickup. Totally inadequate. After some calling around, a Dodge Grand Caravan was secured near Yorkdale (navy, not the grey pictured at left). The agency reduced the rental price, then drove me over to pick up the van. Due to tight spacing, a corner of the lot that turned into a cramped dead end and general inexperience driving large vehicles, it took me 10-15 minutes just to leave the lot, accompanied by a high volume of cussing.

I arrived back at the bunker to the find the first round of help waiting. For the next seven hours, furniture and boxes were shuttled over. I discovered I was lousy at backing the van into the bunker's driveway, which one of the helpers noticed. After the second trip, I was relieved from backing-in duty. Many thanks to Greg and Mark for their skillful coordination and talent for fully utilizing the space in the

van, as well as thanks to Nile, Elizabeth and James for their help.

A running joke was that I was using the "Yanoush, Hands of Fate" moving service (combining two cheesy things longtime readers of this site may recognize).

***

The rest of the weekend was spent cleaning out the last dregs from the bunker. Like one friend said, it was the small stuff that would kill me, as items kept popping up. By this point, I was in full purge mode - if it wasn't absolutely necessary, it went. A few large items didn't survive this cull, ranging from the living room rug to my George Foreman grill (RIP - you offered service above and beyond the call of duty, but you were wearing down. You'll be replaced sometime soon).

The Official Warehouse Car was rewarded for its dutiful service by being babied at the garage yesterday.

I suspect there will be further purging before the apartment assumes its full shape. If I have learned one thing from this experience, it's that my stockpiling habits were growing out of control. Better organization should ensure that I don't continually buy items I have hidden elsewhere, like tape, storage bags and gift wrap. That it is OK to toss out the odd book or CD. That I don't need a nuclear stockpile of food. That I don't want to be found dead when I'm 66 under a mound of...whatever.

But first, I have to unpack.

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