Getting On With It — Week Eleven

Running on Empty, Broken Toys, and Deep Disappointment

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The 24-day countdown to closing!

And, the moving process continues. My daughter’s former bedroom is now crowded with boxes full of whatever we decided we could not live without. Another ten boxes are in our Florida room waiting to be picked up for donations. One of my scariest closets is empty. It was a messy junk closet but also held boxes of documents brought from my father’s when he passed eleven years ago. I knew none of his papers were necessary to retain at this late date but still I took several minutes to read about his military service. Nothing else in the box was of interest. Amazing how little he kept about his life. One more scary closet remains — it is filled with the remainder of my step-mother’s memorabilia that I’ve avoided for four years. Moving takes physical stamina, nonexistent time, and boxes (pun intended) of courage.

Our house has gone from looking sad to abandoned. We can no longer gauge from where a sound is coming because each noise bounces off barren walls and echoes down empty hallways and through vacant rooms. My cat and Pekingese dog wander about looking worried, staying close to my husband or me at all times. My poor old hound dog is oblivious. Like our guinea pigs, as long as she is fed, she is carefree. We can move or stay — doesn’t matter to her. Her only concern will be that there is food in our new home.

My Tuesday morning client did not need me, and I used the business hours to take care of utility shut off and turn on dates and to register address changes with various offices and organizations. The extra time allowed me the opportunity to load my car with a few very old client files and deliver them to a secure shredding facility. I purchased a mid-range shredder from Office Deposit about three months ago, intending to use it to destroy my client and personal financial documents but it has jammed continually, once badly enough for me to pay my handyman to take it apart and clean out the shredding mechanism. It has since jammed multiple times, the last jam being bad enough that I could not fix it. I refuse to waste more money on that hunk of junk. I would rather cart boxes to the shredding facility and pay ten dollars for a confidential shredding guarantee document than to keep messing with that piece of rubbish. In a couple of weeks, I will have a carload of items to take to our hazardous waste department, and the crappy shredder will be included.

My lease is through the end of June, but we move on the second of June, so I scheduled the utilities to be shut off on the June 9 to allow time for cleaning. My landlord’s residential manager informed me that my lease requires my utilities to remain in my name for ten days after my lease ends which would be July 10, 31 days after we move. That would make sense if I were moving at the end of my lease but I am moving almost a month earlier and during that month my landlord’s maintenance department will doing extensive upgrades in the house. Why should I pay the utilities for the upgrades that I begged for over the years but never received and will never enjoy?

One of my attorney clients read the lease and said that if the landlord requires me to keep the utilities on, my only resort is to refuse to turn over the property until June 30, thereby impeding his renovation plans. After relaying that to the manager, I continue to wait for an official reply.

I have great concerns about their maintenance crew’s sense of responsibility. They truly are like the Keystone Cops, except they don’t move that fast and they aren’t amusing! A simple 30-minute job turns into two hours due to numerous cigarette breaks and a half-dozen cell phone calls. Since the renovations will be done in the June heat, I am sure the A/C will be cranked down to 60 and doors will be left open as men wander in and out. None of this should be charged to me.

When my daughter moved, she left behind a wooden toy box overflowing with toys, games, and other childhood treasures. After six weeks of my pleading, she came today, while I was at work, to “take care” of the toy box. When I arrived home, the box was still sitting in the kids’ bedroom, the bottom littered with unwanted toys, crayons, markers, pencils, erasers, a jump rope, and broken pieces of former playthings. The top of the solid wooden box was, inexplicably, shattered with long nails dangerously pointing toward whoever reaches inside. I was furious. My first impulse was to call my daughter and raise hell. But, I didn’t. If it took her six weeks to get here for the toy box, I am sure it will take a least another six weeks for her to return.

Since she moved, I’ve had heartbreaking revelations about her. I now sadly agree with my husband and others who often say she treats me poorly and doesn’t appreciate all I’ve done for her and her children. Distance gave me the space I needed to see what I couldn’t see when she was here, and the toy box is simply another confirmation of her lack of respect or concern for me. Admitting this is hard, writing it is harder. Confronting her about the box is probably the correct action to take, but I don’t have the energy, the time, or the desire. I am still processing the past and too busy preparing for the future. Instead, I sorted through the items left in the box — setting aside some for donation, some for recycling, and some for the trash can. The toy box top will be another project for my handyman. Once repaired, it will make a lovely storage box for the quilts my stepmom left me.

Work continues to be amazingly busy, and I rarely arrive home before 8 pm, leaving me no time for weekday packing. I try to make up for lost time on Saturdays when I have my grandchildren to help. Sundays are a mix of working and packing. Sadly, my relaxing Sunday mornings are a thing of the past.

Good news is that we are taking a break next weekend — no work or packing allowed! I desperately need some down time before the actual move occurs. I am running very close to empty these days.

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I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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