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A box.

It all got real with the appearance of a box.

So, I’ve been in this house for 8 years. Might not sound like a lot for most people, but for me it’s a very long time. We moved a lot when I was a kid, I moved a lot as a young adult, and things only seemed to slow down a bit when I got married. We stayed in that apartment for four years and that seemed like forever at the time.

When we moved in here, I was massively pregnant and had an almost two year old and a cat. Now, I have two eight year olds and a ten year old. They have gone to the same school their whole lives. The girls have only ever known this house as home. The cat died 11 months after we moved in.

This house has seen us through some pretty awesome stuff, and a bunch of awful bullshit. Mostly awful bullshit. For some reason, the edge of the living room window reminds me of when my husband had back surgery. For the first month, it was hard. I worked, looked after the babies, did pretty much everything - on top of caring for someone who’d just had their spine screwed back together. God, that whole winter sucked out loud. I can look into a corner of the ceiling in my room and remember every night I stared into that corner half the night, unable to sleep because I couldn’t figure out how to pay the bills that month. I see the ding on the corner in the upstairs hallway and remember wrestling our new bed up the stairs very much against its will. There are approximately eighteen places in the house where my daughter wrote her name with a sharpie. Every inch of this place is stuffed with memories.

How am I supposed to fit all this in a box?

I’m pretty mad at the owners and the property manager. I don’t think they were planning on telling us until much closer to the end of our lease, but the contractor they asked to come and do an estimate on kitchen renovation and new carpet spilled the beans when they called me to schedule a time.

I’m mad because I’ve had the World’s Shittiest Kitchen for 8 years and now they’re willing to re-do the whole thing. Right after they kick us out.

I got a copy of the move-in report to have in hand as we pack and clean. Eight years ago, the maintenance guy that did the walkthrough with me recommended that they replace the carpet and paint the damn walls but they didn’t.

We had shitty carpet eight years ago and now, because it’s in the lease, I have to pay a few hundred dollars to have the shitty carpet professionally cleaned. So they can rip it out after we leave.

I understand, as a reasonable adult, that we are likely being booted so they can sell the place. That makes sense. And they want to make the place nice to sell it. That also makes sense.

But it still hurts my feelings a little bit that we as faithful and good tenants didn’t warrant a better kitchen or new carpet. Makes me feel a little worthless, makes the bad shit we’ve had in the last 8 years feel that much heavier.

As a result, we got three months’ notice to find a new place. Three months is a long time, but for someone who didn’t want to move in the first place it’s not enough.

Three months to go through our possessions with a brutally honest eye and decide what’s getting packed and what’s getting tossed/donated/shot into space. We have sooooo much crap. I need to be organized, systematic. Do a little every day. Categorize, pack, label, record. I look around and I just get tired.

This is an opportunity. An opportunity to let go of extra, of unnecessary. An opportunity to start fresh in a new house. I don’t want to leave town and will do whatever I can to stay near. But even just a different neighborhood, a different set of ceiling corners to stare at, might shake things up.

Maybe I’m worth new paint and carpet to someone out there.

So, yeah, that box. None of it’s really sunk in, it all still feels a little bit like imagination or a bad dream. Even as I asked the admin people at my office to start setting aside empty boxes for me. Even as I spent my lunch break looking at listings - again.

Nothing felt real until someone brought me back an empty box. The first box for my move.

Shit, I really have to do this, don’t I?
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officemonkey

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