Wednesday, May 17, 2017

International Move - aka Emotional Roller Coaster

So yes, it's all "go" in the Repat household. (Did you notice my banner?) With less than two months till our big move across the Pond, - it's complete chaos here, and I'm not just talking about Donald Trump's Tweets. 

Every day is a roller coaster of emotions - panic (will I get everything done in time?), worry (what have we done?), confusion (still trying to make sense of the dog-shipping rules), resignation (well, it's too late to change our minds now), excitement (just a little, I'm sure that will come once I move down the to-do list), sad (we are leaving out family home), sadder (our family is no longer the nucleus since the big kids don't live with us). You get the picture. 

When people ask me why we're moving I often say "itchy feet", and it's true. I have lived in Chicago longer than I have lived anywhere else, including where I grew up. 27 years. It's a long time and it feels like it's time to do something else. We have no roots here (as in family) although all my kids were born here and obviously feel a huge connection. 

So of course I'm now bumping into people I've known for over twenty years, whether it's while walking the dog or at a social event. I know a lot of people!  It's not good to start reminiscing just before a major move! Enough to make me hide in the dairy aisle at the sight of long lost neighbor or former teacher! 

And packing the house up is a veritable sob fest. Last time we moved I just put everything in boxes and carted it to the new house; with a five month old baby, two older kids and a shiny new publishing deal there wasn't much time for thought about what to take and what to dump. This time we have to weigh up the value of everything we want to ship. Given that it's going to cost thousands to get our stuff over the Atlantic, everything that does come with us had better be worth it's weight. Literally. 

When it comes to memorabilia, as I mentioned in my last post, it's really difficult. I have diaries from when I was about 7. I haven't read them in years, but of course when I got them out for their shipping inspection, I sat down and pored over them. My daughter (home last weekend for the last time in her bedroom - wah!) told me I can throw out all her little girl diaries. Talk about a difficult decision. She also told me she didn't want her koala bear when she went to college in 2011, but was ecstatic when I sent it to her only a few months ago. Sometimes mother knows best!

The ex-Man-Child, now College boy, has been busy selling off bits of his drum set. Every time a Green Day song comes on these days, I am taken back to his daily vocal, drumming and guitar practice in his room, straight after school. Having painted over the DIY graffiti (black marker to cream walls, by the way), and picked the clothes off the floor, his room now bears no resemblance to the room he occupied. Another wah! 

I like to think of myself as someone who isn't averse to change, but really - I'm not doing a very good job of it at the moment. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Using Everything Up

I am usually one of the people who keeps things "for best" or "just in case". Give me a beautiful bar of soap and I probably won't use it. Not because I don't like it, but because well, it's a waste to just use it on myself. (Shrinks would have a field day with that one, wouldn't they?) I keep it for "special", - although what makes one wash more special than another? I have countless nice notebooks that people have given me but I hate to spoil them - by writing in them.

I know. Ridiculous.

Now that I have to pack up my things and ship them to the UK however, it's a slightly different story. The lovely creams are being slathered on in abundance, the expensive culinary oils are used in every meal prep, and the guest loo is overflowing (not literally) with paper hand towels, usually reserved for Christmas and other special occasions.

My pantry is rather daunting, partly due to the fact that the Ball & Chain goes food shopping without bothering to apprise himself of what we already have. He likes to cook and uses a wide variety of herbs and spices in most of his offerings. His shopping habits, plus love of exotic recipes, means we currently have -

4 jars of fennel, all opened
2 jars of coriander, both opened
3 jars of whole cloves, 2 opened
2 jars of ground sage, both opened
3 jars of Cholula hot sauce, 2 opened
An ancient jar of organic pear juice, which will probably go straight down the sink

Also -
2 jars of Marmite, 1 opened. Not sure if it's humanly possible to get through 1.5 jars of this stuff in two months but wouldn't taking it back to the UK be a bit "coals to Newcastle" ish?

Fortunately, I also have this..

...which sounds disgusting, even if you love Marmite, but actually isn't. Will have to work my way through the recipes.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Keepsakes and Mementoes - What's the Point?

As part of preparing to move four thousand miles across the ocean after amassing stuff for 27 years here, I'm going through said stuff. I have all my cards from my 18th and 21st birthdays! Can you believe it? Actually, I'm blaming my mother for this one as I'd actually left them at her house, and when she moved she brought them all over to the US for me. (She also answered "Yes" to the security question "Are you carrying something for someone else?" and has been regularly stopped and searched every since.)

Having moved four times since I've been in the States, lugging all the cards around with me (without looking at them, I might add), I threw 99% of them out the other day. This wasn't quite the wrench I though it would be though. Half of the wedding cards were from people who are now divorced, so that made things a little easier. Some of my 18th cards were from people I cannot recall for the life of me, so ditto. And one child's comment from several years ago also helped. "I hope you're not keeping all that stuff for us." Oh, and having to pay for our own shipping makes me want to ship as little as possible anyway. 

It made me think though - why do we keep stuff? I understand if you think something will increase in value or be of historical interest in the future, but why do we hold onto scraps of paper, tickets for things and other "proof" of what we did with our lives? I mean, I found an empty Twix wrapper with a piece of paper inside, on which I'd recorded the scintillating fact that I was in my bedroom on such and such a date back in the 70's and doing my homework!!! WHY on earth did I think even I would be interested in that forty years later? 

I have years worth of diaries, starting from about the age of seven, which have been quite interesting to re-read, but again, I'm not sure what to do with them. At this age, it's safe to assume that I'm not going to be an international name, and the world won't be clamoring to know what I was doing at 17, 29, or 36, but might my children want to read them? (I'd better read them through again in that case.) 

I also reduced three large tubs of kids' stuff down to one relatively small container. That was slightly more difficult what with mother's guilt popping its head up as soon as the lids were off the tubs. Again though, how many of their own five year old scribbles do our kids actually want? Well, it's too late now as they've already gone to that great classroom in the sky. 

If only I'd taken photos of them! Oh well. 

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