There are six sides to every moving adventure

True Tales From Everyday Living

Real Life

July 23, 2006|By MICHELLE DEAL-ZIMMERMAN | MICHELLE DEAL-ZIMMERMAN,SUN REPORTER

I'm feeling boxed in.

Literally.

There are boxes in the living room, boxes in the dining room, boxes in the bedroom, bathroom, basement - and as we never can have too many boxes and are constantly seeking the perfect specimen - boxes in the back seat of the car blocking my rear view.

No, we're not cardboard collectors. We're moving.

The average American moves at least once every five years. We are not average. We haven't moved in more than seven years.

So maybe this long stretch away from the box bin at BJ's has led to a lapse in memory about the hassles of moving.

But it's all coming back to me now, starting with the first time I moved.

It involved a small, U-Haul trailer for the 300-mile trip to the University of Florida. I had very few boxes but the car was full of family members. Hence, the trailer.

Four years later, I moved back home. Somehow, I had acquired furniture worthy of keeping, along with boxes and boxes of college memorabilia. This time I rented a cargo van and ended up moving in the midst of a rare ice storm in Florida. After a harrowing drive, I pledged to stay put awhile.

But then I got married.

We moved from apartment to townhouse to single-family home in a span of about six years. We never rented a U-Haul or a truck. Never needed to.

It seemed every box or piece of furniture fit snugly into my husband Todd's Toyota hatchback. Mattresses snapped in place on the car's roof with the swipe of a few bungee cords. Boxes packed by Todd, closed neatly with a single piece of tape.

When we relocated to Maryland, we used professional movers provided by my employer. They did all of our packing and even boxed up our garbage and dust balls. For our latest move, we're doing the packing ourselves. Just like old times - minus the hatchback, which was sold years ago.

But packing is my husband's area of expertise.

He's never worked for a moving company, but packing is in his genes.

He comes from a family of professional movers. Legend has it that his great-grandfather could pack a truck with one eye shut. His grandfather, until a piano fell on him, was also a mover.

It seems Todd, although he never knew either of them, has inherited their skill.

Even as a boy, his grandmother would notice his uncanny ability to pack a suitcase or even a picnic basket. He knew exactly what would fit just by looking at it.

My husband tells me there is a science to packing boxes. Heavy stuff in smaller boxes. Bulky, lightweight items in larger boxes. All of the items must fit snugly from corner to corner. But first, you have to find the right box.

The great box hunt involves visits to grocery stores, malls, mail rooms and a few dumpsters; then come the laments about the imperfections of the "copy paper box," praise for the perfection of the "banana box," and, finally, agreement to seek professional help.

We will go to the local storage place and buy a moving kit with boxes of every size. Then we will pack them so that they close with nary a bulge showing. We will do this over and over again until we have so many boxes that when the movers arrive, the guy in charge will take one look and immediately call for more help.

It took four movers all day to transplant our boxes from one house to another.

I'm still boxed in (albeit in a somewhat larger space).

But now I'm going to use the skills that are in my genes. My great-great-grandfather was a moonshiner.

The boxes can wait.

michelle.deal@baltsun.com

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