Friday 30 Sep 2016

On the Move
Jennifer Flaten

We’re contemplating a move to another house that'll quickly become a home. No, it isn’t because the neighbours have stormed the house with pitchforks and torches. I keep telling you that happened only once and it was all a misunderstanding.

We haven’t got far in our house hunt and not because we are terribly fussy. In fact my list of must have includes basics like insulation, working appliances, you know my history, and no vermin in the walls; don’t ask.

No, we’re not far into our hunt for another house because it isn’t exactly easy to find a house that fits two adults, 3 children, although they seem a multitude, only three children, three cats, yes, we do seem to like the number 3, and 1 large dog. Yes, only 1 dog but size wise he equals three small dogs.  

The problem isn’t even finding a house that fits all of us. No, the problem is all our stuff. In fact, it isn’t even technically my stuff.

I don’t have much stuff, shoes and purses excepted. Nope, the majority of items in this house right now are here because of the kids, ergo all the stuff is kid’s stuff. I know it sounds crazy, but it is true, once you have kids, you end up with tons of stuff. Some of it is understandable special furniture for kids, kid’s clothes, kid’s toys, but the other stuff is just flotsam that seems to cling to kids.

How else do you explain the drawings, papers, pencils, back packs, hats, mittens and roller skates currently covering my couch like a giant snowdrift? Before kids, I had just enough stuff to fill a small U-Haul. The last time we moved, with all three kids, it took two trips with a 26’ truck and that is after I left several things behind.

Moreover, that was the stuff I left on purpose, the stuff you forget is a whole other matter. No matter how carefully you pack or how many times you check to see if you forgot something, you still do. Sometimes it is something small like a watering can other times it is something large like a curio cabinet; it was late, I was tired, it was in the basement so I left it there

I am trying to cull the herd, in terms of the kid’s stuff, because I know everything we keep means one more box I have to pack, wrestle in and out of a truck and unpack. Every chance I get I try to get rid of some kid detritus. No go. They want to keep everything, even the wrinkled and stained piece of paper I found stuck under the sofa cushions.

Silly me, I thought since it’s been under the cushion for 2 months that it wasn’t important, the kids quickly disabused me of that notion. They wanted to keep it, insisted it was terribly important. Uh huh, want to take a guess where I found it crammed the next day.

I’ve taken to smuggling things out to the trash in the dead of night. I even manage to keep a poker face when someone asks me if I’ve seen a particular item. Especially, if I know that the item in question is now sleeping with the fishes, metaphorically, of course.

For now, it is just the wrinkled pieces of paper and broken crayons tossed. Wait when we have a firm move date everything will be subject to a round of “Keep it or throw it.” Everyone had better be on his or her best behaviour.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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