Saturday, April 25, 2015

X. Sólo Veintidós Días Más

Only Twenty-One More Days

In the past few days we’ve broken through an invisible barrier of moderate angst. My wife and I have each gotten a good handle on how we will complete our respective tasks for this move. I’m organizing how we’ll get most of our belongings into storage; my forward-thinking spouse is putting together everything we’re taking to Mexico. 

Except for a few—mostly essential—things that are being given to a good home in the country on our final day in the apartment, nearly everything we are getting rid of is now gone. 

Having this plan will help maximize our use of this space
and guide us to the most efficient packing and unpacking
There’s a stack of boxes and totes in my office so I can visualize how big a storage locker we’ll need to rent, and how everything will fit inside. Suitcases and duffel bags line a bedroom wall allowing my hard-working wife to begin packing what will go with us on the plane. What remains of this Jalisco-bound mound, she’ll pack to be picked up by Pay-Through-Your-Nose Shipping. With whom I’ve lately been exploring an online relationship.

Early next week, I’ll travel to the outer suburbs to rent and measure a storage locker and check out where I’ll soon be saying, “Hasta la vista” to Eddie, our little red Hyundai. I’ve made a floor plan for the locker that is measured to the inch and includes up to four levels. Which means I’ve been striding around our virtually empty rooms, slapping a fluorescent Ultralok tape measure on desks and dresser, etc., and coming back to the graph paper where it’s a ratio of one inch equals one foot. I’m pretty proud of what I came up with, at the same time being a little sheepish of its anality.

I know I’ll need help with the move, so last week I ran into Miguel, our garden apartments’ handyman. We arranged for one of his crew to give me a hand. The irony was not lost on either of us that a Mexican who recently moved here will soon be helping an American move to Mexico.

So. Closing out the US of A chapter seems well in hand.

A week ago we were discouraged, but now we’re feeling more sanguine about exactly where we’ll live once we’re down there, in Ajijic. People are being helpful.

Interesting, but I think I might be in danger, here,
of overthinking.
Jaime, of the Aces Ex-Pat Couple we’ve made friends with, sent us a recommendation for a very nice casa that will soon be for rent. He also suggested we contact a certain rental agent—the girlfriend of a guy he knows. This is the same woman I first heard of as the ex-girlfriend of a fellow I hiked with last summer: an example, perhaps, of the kind of inbreed relationships that become common knowledge in small communities.

I had already contacted this lady, and she just recently became more active on our behalf, as did another ex-pat friend who sent us a rental listing she saw on Facebook and thought we might like. 

Finally, I received validation for a our on-the-ground plan to find, what we call, Casa Delicia, whose 19—and counting—desirable attributes this Virgo has ranked and weighted. Both Jaime and Canuck Bob say I’ve got a good strategy, one that’s well thought-out. More about that in the next post.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

IX. Intranquilo


The word “unanchored” comes to mind when I try for a one word description of my mood lately. Add “anxious”, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of the way we've both been feeling.

It makes sense. We’ve removed most signs around this household that have connected us--for years--to our whims, pleasures, and values. Gone, and either packed or given away, are the pictures and cards, fountain and plants, all the books, most artwork, meaningful rocks and pieces of wood. Gone even are a few mainstays of our modest and mismatched furniture suite.

I guess we could have waited another couple of weeks or so to start the sorting and packing, but once we'd made flight reservations--well, it was hard to hold back. We're both perfectionists, for one thing, and don't like to be rushed. Doing this work consciously also feels kind of like a mitzvah, and as my forward-thinking wife would say, "That's just the way we roll".

All packed, soon to be moved out of bed-
room into office staging area, there ready 
to be moved to a $69/month storage 
locker...Bye-bye nice stuff, stay safe.
Daily to-do lists brief us on how to complete the task of deconstructing our once comfortable home. Boxes and totes, that will soon occupy a storage locker in a facility somewhere behind a filling station or in an industrial park, are now propped in corners and at the base of walls throughout the apartment. Our rooms are beginning to echo when we walk, talk, or rustle in and through them. All this does not make for a settled feeling.

It’s not only shedding pounds of unneeded objects and useless sentimental fat. We feel—or it seems we should feel—lighter and more free for doing that. But it’s also about this long process of further deciding, among the objects we keep, those that we absolutely must take with us, and the vast majority of things that will go into storage. And then there is the final, seemingly irrevocable step of sealing each box, by which action we signify that all objects within will remain unseen and untouched for at least a year.

This coming week will see more sorting, and packing for either storing or shipping. Each iteration of this exercise leaves us leaner and more discriminating about what we’ll keep, but it’s also a reminder of what we’re leaving behind. Even our faithful, gracefully aging, little red Hyundai GT will soon be covered and parked behind a fence.

Work in progress:  big Home Depot box 
will be filled with linen, duvet, and 
favorite pillows and shipped to Mexico 
to the tune of $200/box...What to do 
with Scrabble game?
Add to all this is the Always In the Back of Our Minds knowledge that we have no specific idea exactly where we’ll live next, except in the general sense that it will be VERY unfamiliar, and a long way from the area we’ve called home for nearly half a century or more. As it gets closer to the date we embark (on what we swear will be--at least--an adventure, and one that we still choose), the uncertainty about where we will settle, and the fear that our choices will be limited to Not So Bad, and I Guess We Can Stand It For a Year complete this recipe for stress.

In the next post I'll write about how we are coping with this last aspect of our move, slated to begin in exactly one month.