Whoa. Here’s some advice. Do not EVER move.
Just kidding! What I really mean is: Do not ever move unless you have as your moving crew Dennis, Tensie, Donald and Alan.
I am safely in my new place in Tucson, as of a week ago today, and I am still reeling from the way that things fell into place.
That was in giant large part due to the aforementioned friends who VOLUNTEERED to help. One couple drove down to LA from Santa Maria, CA, which is in itself often a 3 1/2 to 4-hour drive, not to mention the 8-9 hour drive in a truck from LA to Tucson.
Last Monday, Dennis and Tensie met me at the UHaul place and they drove the truck to my apartment. Donald and Alan arrived soon after, Jose and Antonio showed up at 1 as arranged, to do the heavy lifting, and we had a 15-foot truck neatly and tightly packed, including plants, garden pots, in 2 1/2 hours.
I mean seriously, you have never seen such a crackerjack crew: cheerful, insanely hard-working, and crazy competent. My property manager had expressed doubt that a 15-foot truck could be maneuvered into the admittedly narrowish spot at the foot of my stairs but Tensie hopped out, expertly directed, and Dennis slipped that cumbersome vehicle into place with no more trouble than as if it were a bicycle.
Donald and Dennis are both expert packers–again, wondrous to behold how they managed to fit everything safely together for maximum conservation of space. We ate together that night at Donald and Alan’s. Tensie had brought me an air mattress for the last night in my apartment as the bed was gone. I set the alarm for 5:30, scrambled to cram my Fiat full of the last bits and bobs, food from the freezer, etc, and took off at 6:45. The other two couples caravaned, spelling each other at the wheel, stopping together for gas.
We all made it by Tuesday afternoon. They stayed in two airbnbs and I spent my first night at my new home! The next day they drove the truck over, the two guys I’d hired to do the heavy lifting on the Tucson end showed up–late, but still–and before I knew it, everything was in, my bed and desk were set up, someone was breaking down boxes for recycling, the truck was returned and people were saying, “What should we do for lunch?”
The whole time there was not a word of impatience, frustration, or complaint. Not one person remarked, “My God, do you have to bring quite so many plants?” (Or books, or boxes of kitchen stuff, or tcotchkes).
We hung out for a couple of days, eating, telling stories. The photo above is of our first lunch, which took place in this cool little covered enclosed area adjacent to the dining room. The whole place is surrounded by a WALL, providing a level of privacy and quiet which after my last enforced semi-communal living situation is akin to dying and going to heaven. The wall isn’t super high and the front part is made of ocotillo branches so you can see through, which I also like. People get up early and walk early so it’s nice to get a sense of the neighborhood waking to first light. God knows as the sun comes up I am already up swilling coffee and regarding my front garden.
i read not long ago that the average person has something like 60,000 thoughts a day and 90% of them are the same thoughts as the day before and the day before that. So it’s terribly exciting for new notions to be passing through my fevered brain, such as “I wonder how I can wrap the trunk of that agave with string lights without being skewered by the adjacent cacti” and “Crap, where is the nearest ’emissions station’ so I can register my car?” and “Where do people buy cherries in Tucson?” and “If I set out at 6:30 on foot, can I make it to the 7 am at Sts. Peter and Paul on N Campbell?”
It turns out I can.
I will be reeling for many weeks with the physical, psychic, emotional and spiritual effects of my move. But for now, I am here. I can’t thank you all enough for the prayers, good wishes, reflections, questions, jokes–for accompanying me on the journey. A few of you made generous donations, which was also incredibly thoughtful and helpful.
I have not had one spare minute to post but I was very much aware, the whole time, of the Eucharistic it-takes-a-village dimension of what from the outside is a mere physical move.
I’ll still be settling in for a few weeks I’m sure, but I can at least now see the day when things return to “normal.”
More on Tucson later. But for now, I can sincerely say I am loving it.