Out of excuses

By Mir
July 22, 2007

So, um, we bought this house about a month ago. We moved in three weeks ago.

We are rapidly approaching the time when piles of boxes in the middle of every room is less “golly, there’s so much to do and we’ve just moved in” and more “holy hell, what is the matter with you slobs?” Otto and I decided to set a goal of Finishing Unpacking this weekend, because it just seemed like it was time.

And we are… well, it’s close. I can’t quite say we’re DONE, but it’s much better than it was. We even hung some stuff on the walls! Yay us!

Really, I’ve had only two things to focus on this weekend: Finishing unpacking, or face the reality that I am clearly dying.

As lazy as I am and as much as I am completely sick of unpacking, even a hypochondriac such as myself doesn’t want to face an imminent demise when the stupid move hasn’t even been paid off yet, you know? So I tried to focus on the unpacking.

[As for the dying: I have always bruised easily. Remember, I’m a delicate flower. For a month now I have been COVERED in bruises, most of which I assumed I sustained while moving heavy objects here and there. But it’s been a month and I’m STILL covered in bruises and many of them have been around for a month or longer. So I’m sort of starting to wonder. Also, I went down to the bottom of our pool for a dive stick a couple of days ago and got a charley horse on my way back up—oh MAN did that kill; for a couple of seconds I wondered how much it would suck to drown in my own pool—and now I have a huge bruise from that as well. Otto is worried people will think he’s beating me, but I also think he’s a little worried that maybe I have leukemia. I consider myself far too exotic for that; I suspect leprosy. Or ebola. Or perhaps a rare form of TB (too bad I don’t need to fly anywhere). I suppose I could go spend at day in my doctor’s waiting room so that they could take some blood and tell me I bruise easily, but that would take all of the mystery out of it.]

So! The unpacking!

I started down here in my room. For weeks I’ve had about 4 pieces of luggage in various states of unpackedness (totally a real word) sitting in the bottom of my closet. It’s a walk-in closet, but you couldn’t actually, you know, WALK IN because of all the crap on the floor. Plus I had boxes of stuff for the closet that hadn’t been unpacked. So I took care of all of those things.

[Exhibit A of my dorkitude: I was pulling on a belt that appeared to be stuck on something on the floor, so I got down on my knees to have a look. The end was snagged on the vent cover. I gave a sharp tug and the entire grating came up and towards me. I freed the belt and pushed the grating back in the general direction of the vent and IT FELL IN. Fortunately, due to the way the ducting bends, it was reachable. That was a relief because I did not want to have to explain to Otto that I’d just completely hosed our air conditioning because I managed to drop the ENTIRE VENT COVER down the pipe. Whoops!]

Next I finished unpacking all of the bathroom and linen closet stuff. When we first moved in I refused to buy more hand soap because I KNEW I had a bunch packed, but I couldn’t find it. Eventually I had to admit defeat and buy more, of course, because I can only stand on principle for so long with four bathrooms and only one container of soap. I mean, really. Well this weekend I found SIX CONTAINERS of hand soap. Of course.

[Exhibit B of my dorkitude: I came across a pretty wire basket someone had given us a gift in, and decided to use that on my bathroom counter to hold my lotions and stuff that don’t make sense to put into drawers. (My bathroom has many many drawers but no medicine cabinet.) I set about happily arranging my perfumes and such in the pretty basket, and then this morning—went I went to actually USE some of the contents—discovered that the uneven wires mean that every time I actually TOUCH anything in the basket everything ends up tipping over like dominoes. I spent more time re-standing up everything in the basket than I did in the shower.]

We rearranged some furniture in our bedroom and things were looking good down here, so then we went upstairs.

I finished unpacking and sorting out things in the kids’ playrooms. I set up the keyboard, which was good, because the kids are taking piano lessons now and were totally going to rat me out for making it impossible for them to practice. (They practiced. I am apparently taking piano, too, because they need help and hey, I can learn this stuff for free if you overlook all the money I’m paying for their lessons.) I unpacked roughly eighty quadrillion books on their shelves. (With their entire library now available, they both settled in to read Captain Underpants books. They are klassy with a K, dude.)

Chickadee has the dubious honor of having the bedroom with the access door to the usable part of the attic. So far all that has meant for her is that for the last three weeks she’s had about two dozen boxes piled in her room. And the way she’s carried on about it, you’d think that each and every box has been taunting her mercilessly whenever my back is turned. Because it’s no FAIR, that she’s got all these BOXES!

So we vacuumed the attic and set up a bazillion storage shelves, and we unpacked all of those boxes that were in Chickadee’s room. I am feeling better about this notion of storing things in the attic (in my old house, the attic was a scary place you had to go through the ceiling to reach, and the floor was treacherous and it was very dark and sometimes there were things living up there, and basically I never went up there). This attic storage is basically just a room right off of Chickadee’s, and other than the fact that it gets to be about a hundred and twenty degrees in there most days, it’s not bad at all.

[Exhibit C of my dorkitude: I used to store candles in the basement. I have spent more time than I care to admit trying to figure out WHERE DO THE CANDLES GO NOW? I can’t put them in the attic. I am perplexed. This is a major issue in my life. The candles. Yes.]

With all of the above done, it was finally time to finish the kids’ rooms. Otto strode around manfully with his drill, putting up shelves and bulletin boards and generally winning hearts. I followed behind with the two packages of wallies we bought a few weeks back. Flowers for Chickadee, airplanes for Monkey. This would take no time at all!

Except that the package of flowers we bought for Chickadee turned out to be the clown car of wallpaper cut-outs. I think there were a hundred pieces in there. GAH. But her room is now a girly haven, and after weeks of churlishness she threw her arms around me and said “This room is even better than my room at the old house! Thank you, Mama!” I know she’ll be mad at me again tomorrow, but it sure was nice, anyway.

Monkey’s airplane wallies were much more cooperative, and after two hours in his sister’s room wrangling flowers, his were done in fifteen minutes. Thankfully.

[Exhibit D of my dorkitude: The first few flowers I put up, I really didn’t have the hang of things and every time I went to sponge the pieces flat to the wall they sort of skidded around. As a result, a lot of the paste ended up not actually where it belonged, and a few flower petals were curling up after all was said and done. I fixed them with an Elmer’s glue stick. DUDE. I’d already been in there for hours. I was DONE.]

Tomorrow Otto takes the last load of cardboard to the dump. Because now we’re unpacked.

Which I guess means that it’s time to start writing thank-you notes. Hmmmm. Maybe I’d rather focus on that whole dying thing, because if I died? I wouldn’t have to write those thank-yous. (Not that I’m not thankful. Just that I hate writing thank-you notes. Even though I might truly FEEL very enthusiastic while saying “Thank you so much for the gift card to my very favorite store on the planet, TARGET!” it can be difficult to convey my love for buying Lysol and candy and furniture all in the same trip to someone in the space of a 4″ x 6″ card.)


  1. YetAnotherKaren

    Craigslist your old boxes and someone will take them away for you.

    So…the boxes in my basement? That have been there since last August, still unpacked? Should I be storing up guilt about them? I actually was enjoying thinking of the basement as just additional storage for stuff I will probably never use again and will someday throw away. That’s what basements are for, right?

  2. Barb Cooper

    It all gets better from here. No, really. Now you have all of your underwear in one place. That’s a good thing.

  3. Rachel May

    As far as the bruising issue, you could be slightly anemic. Try taking iron supplements. If you don’t see an improvement in a month, go to the doctor.

    Other than that, yay for no more boxes and wallies and Target, oh my!!

  4. LuAnn

    I hate to move. I may go so far as to say I l-o-a-t-h-e moving. The best move we ever had was one where I was preggers and nobody would let me lift anything! *lol*

    I’m officially adding “dorkitude” to my favorite word list.

  5. Kim

    Candles? Live in the vegetable crisper at my house. We’ve christened it the Candle Crisper. As for why I do this? It’s where my Nana kept hers. :) lol

    Glad y’all are all unpacked. We’ve lived in this house for 5.5 months, and there are still boxes in my garage. Want to come help? LOL

  6. Cele

    I bruise so easy they don’t let me give blood anymore. Frigid Capillaries. The flower things look pretty kewl.

  7. meghann

    Candles go under the sink. Surely with four bathrooms there is the room somewhere. ;-)

  8. Angel

    I have to giggle about the Wallies. I’m about to take a glue gun to the ones in my daughter’s bedroom GRRRR.

    Ditto about the bruising….get it checked out. Are you taking lots of aspirin or NSAIDs?

    Go easy with yourself on the boxes. I’ve been in this house for almost 14 years and there are still boxes I haven’t unpacked. Don’t you feel better now? ;)

  9. Lady M

    Do we get pictures of the room decorations?

    We met with our realtor today to get an opinion on to-do items, and we’ve gotten the orders to start packing our stuff. Cuz we have a lot to pack up, sigh.

  10. Heather

    Those Wallies look very cute – I really like Chickadee’s, but then again, I am a girl. Rachel May made me feel a bit better about the bruising (because you know, it’s MY feelings that matter?!!) but a teensy bit of hypochondria is good…maybe go to the doctor if it doesn’t improve? Pretty please? ;-)

  11. carrien

    That’s what the cupboard over the fridge is for, candles, alcohol and chocolate. Everything you need to feel better in one hard to access place but also very close to the ice cream.

  12. elswhere

    Candles in the Attic– wasn’t there a book by that title? I think it got passed around my sixth-grade classroom when the teacher wasn’t looking. ;P

  13. ri

    Oh I envy you all those bathrooms! Good job on packing out and decorating. The flowers looks great.

  14. Leandra

    Do you remember the story I told about not being able to get a doctor’s appointment for two weeks and telling the nurse “I could be dead by then”? I was CONVINCED I had leukemia because of all the mysterious bruises I had. Had the blood test, don’t have leukemia. I just bruise easily. BUT, you should get the test, too. Because it REALLY is better to know than to freak yourself out (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything ;) )

  15. Charmed

    Candles totally belong in the refrigerator.

  16. hollygee

    Ditto to what YetAnotherKaren said about Craig’s List and raise her bid to add that Freecycle — and Athens does have a Freecycle.org.

    Moving boxes are always in demand.

  17. Brigitte

    Great. Now you made me do Google searches and I’m convinced I have some dread syndrome.

  18. Joshilyn

    Yesss — do not break the AC, Mir. Not when you are heading into a GEORGIA August, for the love of all that is holy!

    Basket Fix: I use that same basket system, and I CRAM the basket PULL so that when I take out ONE wedges thing, the rest have no ROOM to fall. They just….lean. Then I wedge thing one back in, and take out thing two. It;s not as pretty but it IS a system. :)

  19. chris

    Aren’t you supposed to use the candles? Maybe I am lacking in candle knowledge because I have none stored.

  20. Stacia

    Do you have little red “freckles” on parts of your body? You could have ITP (low platelet count; no, that’s not what ITP stands for, that’s just what it is). I’d get it checked out to be safe.

    Glad you’re all unpacked. I know how good that feels.

  21. Christine

    Never EVER heard of candles in the fridge – but I’m another good New Englander. Up here, unlit candles rarely melt. Mine are on the mantle.

    That being said, the last time the power went out, the best we could muster was a dinosaur flashlight whose mouth opens and growls whenever you pull the handle.

  22. Therese

    Ri, don’t envy Mir all those bathrooms. That’s just more bathrooms to clean!

  23. Barb

    My solution to the pretty wire basket with everything falling over? Line it with a pretty washcloth or other piece of fabric that matches/coordinates with the bathroom. That usually supplies enough traction to stop the tippage.

    We keep candles in a drawer of an old vanity in our bedroom.

  24. MomCat

    I have two boxes in my attic that never got unpacked from our move of over twenty-one years ago. I have no idea what is in them, except for being sure I don’t need it, whatever it is. I was planning to throw them away on our fiftieth wedding anniversary, however I now think it would be cool to move them to our new house in two years and then actually unpack them, perhaps wearing a filter mask, goggles and kevlar gloves.

    I bruise very easily, too, Mir. Anemia and low Vitamin D, is what I was told. Also I’m the palest person on the planet.

  25. becky

    i feel for you. we’re busily rearranging things so we’ll have a place to put our new bed, moving the old bed so the kiddo can sleep in it, throwing away things we don’t need (after about 10 years of living here, mind you), and cleaning up a storm. it’s still in chaos, but we got a lot done this weekend.

    and yes, later i am totally going to tell the baby how much we had to rearrange our lives for him. isn’t that what every parent does? what?

  26. Delton

    Sheesh! Who knew candle storage would be such a popular topic for commenting on? I was going to suggest the linen closet. Two of the houses we’ve had have had very large linen closets, so it’s no big deal to use part of it for candles. Although, if yours happens to be in the bathroom, completely ignore that suggestion.

    And the bruising? Are you sure Otto’s not beating up on you in your sleep? I’m sure with all the unpacking, when you finally fall asleep, you’re probably pretty out of it. I think you’d better watch him!

  27. Jenni-nifr

    My comment is (partly) in line with Angels. We moved into our house 11+ years ago and our garage is a storage room. We also have a storage room not too far from our house too. Can you say pack-rats?! I think a lot of people in my neighborhood use their garages as storage because for the most part, cars are in the driveway. As for the attic goes…that’s some scary sh!t dude! We had a raccoon and it had babies. I think it’s gone now. It’s been rather quiet up there. YEAH!!!!!

  28. Aimee

    I have a basket TOO and I use the same system as Joshilyn. Cram it in there!

  29. Daisy

    Unpacking is the pits. you have just reminded me that I have a whole classroom to unpack in a few weeks. It’s not nearly as much fun (I use the term loosely) as unpacking a home. It’s essentially working without pay to get ready to work.

  30. daysgoby

    Dude, candles go in a bag on your freezer door. Weird enough place so you’ll always remember where they are, (it’s hard to forget the large white thing in the kitchen, even when blundering around in the dark)they’ll keep forever in there, and besides, if you freeze candles? They burn longer and drip less.

    It’s a win win.

  31. kim

    We moved March 22, across town, and we’re not unpacked. My excuse is that I had a baby three weeks later so I was huge and then had a baby to care for. She’s three months old now so that excuse is wearing thin…. I’m tired of looking at cardboard. Relatives coming from England are my new incentive. If I don’t have the boxes unpacked there will be no place for them to sleep. It’s good motivation.

    I bruise easily too, and have the red spots another commenter mentioned. My dad died of leukemia so my mother thinks I’m near death most of the time. I seem to be perfectly healthy.

  32. RuthWells

    The bruising could be due to potassium deficiency — eat a few bananas a day and see if that helps. But yes, go to the doctor.

  33. Heidi

    Playrooms, as in plural? Four bathrooms? Geez Louise, how big is this house?

  34. Henrietta

    About the basket? What Barb said, with the addition of a piece of cardboard cut to the size of the bottom of the basket, which you can wrap with a small towel (v. easy to wash) or the pretty fabric.

    If you are taking Motrin on a regular basis you will bruise more because it inhibits clotting. There are other good suggestions there too but, word to the wise, list them and try each one for about 10 days, make notes.

  35. sumo

    With as much as Mir has talked about fixing large quantities of food and storing it in deep freeze, it is probably safe to say that any refrigerated space would not be available for candles. I am also guessing we are talking about at least one large box if not multiple boxes of candles, because you are either a person with a few candles or with big boxes of candles. The people with just a few don’t worry about where to store them, they just throw them in the nearest drawer or have them all out on display. The ones with boxes of them stick them in the basement. In our case, we have one box of candles and one box of candle holders. In both our current house and our last house we have had large pantries, so that’s where the candle stuff went. We also had basements but the pantries were easier to get to, plus the boxes were more visible so there was a chance in hell that we might think of swapping out some candles once in awhile. Of course, we don’t have kids and we’re not big time chefs, so our food storage requirements are not as high as Mir’s. Mir is just going to have to find some closet space somewhere. I liked the bathroom cabinet idea that was mentioned earlier.

  36. Alix

    I thought the vegetable crisper in the fridge was for batteries, not candles. Although my partner thinks it is for produce. I can’t talk to her.

  37. cher

    The freezer!!! Store candles in the freezer, they burn slower, drip less and of course, won’t melt in there. .. Uhm.. okay.. example of my dorkitude.. I just saw someone else post that in the comment above.

  38. Beth

    The crisper is for beer and sodas, the fridge door is for batteries. The pass-around book was “Flowers in the Attic” (which still fits with the Wallies theme!).

    And while I’m being a pedant, don’t forget to keep brand-new pantyhose in the fridge – they won’t run as quickly!

    As for the unpacking? I’ve been in the new apartment (1/2 the size of my former house 760 sq. ft opposed to 1500 sq. ft) for going on 7 weeks now, and I still don’t have a functioning kitchen, you can’t get to the linen closet, and you can’t walk through either the living/dining room or the back bedroom. Shut up. Cramming 16 years worth of memories that I’m not sure I want to keep into a little space is hard!

    At least you’ve got Otto’s place as a spill-over place for a while… what? ;-)

  39. Lilymane

    I’m in the process of trying to remove airplane wall decals from my sons’ room in our new house and unless I discover a universal solvent soon, I’m convinced they are never coming off. I hope for you that Monkey loves airplanes FOREVER! Also? I envy your “finished” status. I yearn to be like you!

  40. Sheryl

    Prolonged bruising could be a potassium deficiency, which also causes charley horses. Could also be lack of vitamin C.

  41. Chris

    Thanks for the candle tidbit everyone. What a great idea.
    As for the bruising…go for the test. Could be many things, most of them non-fatal. I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you either. I’m selfish like that, I love your blog and would miss it. Seriously, take care of yourself.

  42. kate

    When I was a child, we moved so often that getting everything unpacked was a rare thing indeed. Unfortunately, it let me latch on to the perfect excuse. Whenever I can’t find something, I can always say, “Well, it’s probably in a box.”

  43. Lillian

    I’m with the others who have said to cram more into the wire basket. You simply need more lotions!

    And again, as I am completely unoriginal, I think you should see a doctor about the bruising. (I’ll not tell my horror story about the neighbor my age who recently died of colon cancer. I will not. Bruising was not a symptom, but still, I also enjoy reading your blog too much.)

  44. ScottsdaleGirl

    To: Elsewhere
    It’s FLowers in the Attic. That’s the only book I can imagine would be furtively passed around a classroom. Incest! Woo!

  45. Jenifer

    Good job girl…. I moved into my house in March and I am still not unpacked!! And you just made me really sad all of a sudden that I haven’t put anything on my walls either!

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