We have moved!

We’re not in our new place yet, just our summer place, where we’ve actually been spending our nights for a week now. Our days, though, have been spent at the old place, finishing up the packing. We filled the last box around mid-day yesterday.

Today the movers came and moved everything to our storage unit.

Jackie did great work on the move. She not only did much more than her share of actually packing things into boxes, she also ordered the boxes—and did an incredibly precise job of it. We filled almost 60 book boxes, a similar number of small and medium boxes, somewhat fewer large boxes, and a few specialized boxes (extra-large, electronic equipment, mirror, wardrobe). Jackie figured out how many of each kind to order, and when we were all done we had 3 extra book boxes (one or two of which we will use to pack up the tools that we kept on-hand in case we need any during the cleanup), 1 small and 1 medium box.

I also credit her hard work with saving us money on the move itself, which came in at about $150 below the estimate—mainly because with everything properly packed in advance, the movers were able to just load and unload, without having to fiddle around with stuff that wasn’t quite ready.

Here’s the living room early in the move—piles of boxes, all the shelves empty:

2014-06-16 09.13.30And here’s the living room late in the move:

2014-06-16 13.14.26And here’s the view from near our storage unit:

2014-06-16 10.25.54Tomorrow is my birthday; we’ll take the day off for some celebratory relaxation. The next day we need to go back to the old place and clean it, then schedule a walk-through with the management to make sure there’s no damage. It’s in very good shape, but I’m still mentally warming up to argue that “normal wear and tear” for a unit we’ve been living in for 14 years is more than might be expected after a 1-year rental. Hopefully it won’t be necessary.

After that, we’re pretty much on vacation for the rest of the summer! I’ll be able to focus on my writing. Jackie will be able to focus on her spinning. (Not her weaving, as the loom is packed. Also not the knitting—she’d intended to have some knitting yarn, but used so much as packing material to go around fragile items, she ended up going ahead and packing the knitting needles as well.)

There’s a bunch of cultural stuff in Champaign in the summer that we hope to do, including Friday Night Live every week, and the annual Blues, Brews, and BBQs, not to mention the Taste of Champaign. It’ll be really handy to be so close to downtown for all that.

We can spend June and July enjoying all that, before we have to start worrying about where we’ll live in the fall. Hopefully, Winfield Village will get us a move-in date in good time, but if they don’t, we have lots of options, from visiting relatives to just renting a regular apartment, to taking an extended camping trip. (We made sure to bring our camping gear to our summer place, rather than packing it up.)

Moving is a big disruption and a lot of hard work.

I’ve moved enough times to know all about the big disruption, but it turns out I’d had a skewed perception of the amount of hard work involved.

As a software engineer, most of the times I’ve moved it was because I had a new employer, and my new employer paid for the move. A guy (or two or three) would show up and pack all my stuff in boxes, and then a couple of guys with a truck would load everything up, drive it to where I was going, and then unload the truck into my new place. Still a big disruption. Still a lot of hard work—but only a fraction of the total work involved.

I’ve done a few local moves without movers—with friends or relatives to help—but I now realize that it was back when I had a whole lot less stuff than I have now.

Turns out, I had no idea how long it would take to pack everything up, doing it ourselves. As I said, in the past it was always a day’s work for three people or less. Jackie started packing weeks ago, and I now see that she was very wise to have done so. If we hadn’t started until last week, or even the week before, we’d be nowhere near ready—and utterly exhausted. As it is, we’re just about ready, and only moderately exhausted.

She did the same thing the last time we moved, but that was back when I had a full-time job, so most of the packing happened while I was at the office. I knew she was working hard, but I didn’t know how hard.

Both last time and this time we’ve hired movers to do the loading, driving, and unloading. It’s a very modest amount of money. (A low single-digit multiple of the cost of renting a truck and buying pizza and beer for your friends who help—assuming you still have friend young enough to fall for that.) Plus, the movers show up with a dolly and do in two or three hours what it would take you and your friends all day to do.

Our summer place
Our summer place

Anyway, we’re about set. We’re already living part-time at our summer place. (That’s what we’re calling it now, to distinguish it from where we’re calling our new place—where we’re hoping to end up in the fall. I like the sound of it, like it was an estate in the Hamptons or a at least a cottage on a lake.) We have things well-enough in hand that I’m confident that we’ll be ready in advance of the mover’s arrival.

We’ve been able to do things at a sufficiently moderate pace that we were able to do a lot of decluttering as we went along. The Habitat for Humanity ReStore not only accepts donations of old electronics, for $10 they’ll send a truck and a couple of guys to load everything up and haul it away. We’ve also made repeated trips to the Idea Store, which takes all manner of things that can be used in student art projects, and uses the profits to fund enrichment programs for the schools.

Less clutter is nice. Very nice.

In a very small way, I’ve been persisting with my parkour training.

I’ve been practicing my shoulder rolls with some success: I can now do shoulder rolls from a kneeling start on both left and right shoulders. With that under my belt, I also did some from a standing start on my right side. I want a little more practice before I do them from the left side.

Next will be to do them at a run, and then to do them after dropping from a height. (Not a high height—I don’t want to hurt my feet, ankles or knees—but I want to develop the ability to drop from a height, absorb the impact of landing, and then go into a roll if necessary. It seems like a useful skill.)

The other thing I’ve started with are what the parkour folks call a precision: a jump to a specific point. You’ve seen them in movies where the actor (or a stunt man) jumps from one beam to another over a gap, or jumps from the top of one wall to the top of the next wall.

In the interests of not killing myself with my practice, I’ve been doing all my jumps at ground level, jumping and then landing on a curb. I’m not jumping very far—I still have no explosive power—but so far I have reasonably good accuracy. (The curb is maybe 6 inches wide, and I’ve managed to land on it, and to not topple over, pretty much every time so far.)

The distance I can jump is growing, which I think is just improving neuromuscular recruitment. (That is, at the level of the muscles, I’m getting better at firing off each phase of muscular contraction at the best moment to launch myself, and at the level of the limbs, I’m coordinating my arm and leg movements so that everything works together to launch me the distance I’m trying to go.)

In other news, packing to move proceeds apace. We’re soon to be at the point where we’re living in our summer place as much as we’re living in our old apartment. And we’ve learned that we’re on the waiting list for Winfield Village

We’ve decided to move. The reasons deserve a post of their own, which I’ll write in due course. This post is about our short-term plans.

We’re hoping to move to Winfield Village, an apartment complex that’s unusual in that it’s owned by a co-op of the people who live there. For a while now we’ve been on the waiting lists for either a two-bedroom apartment or a two-bedroom townhouse.

This has been in the works for some weeks, and we’d hoped to have a move-in date by now, but things are moving unusually slowly this spring.

Lacking a move-in date, but with our move-out date set by the expiry of our current lease, we’ve decided to resort to a delaying tactic: We’re getting a summer sublet. There are lots of reasonably cheap apartments available over the summer, and we’ve found one that’s cat-friendly and pretty nice. As a bonus, it’s just two blocks from downtown Champaign. (It’s a straight shot across West Side Park to the Blind Pig Brewery!)

We were going to hire movers to move us anyway. With this delay, our plan is to get the movers to put all our worldly goods into storage, except what we need to bring to the summer sublet. We’re going to limit ourselves to just what we can fit in the car. That sets us up for possible phase 2 of delaying tactics: visiting every single one of our relatives for a week or two. (We’re not especially richly endowed with relatives, but we have enough that we could stretch that out for a good long while, especially if we intersperse visits with bits of camping. In particular, if we end up going to visit Jackie’s brother in California, we’d almost have to drive through southern Utah, and I’ve been wanting for 20 years to take Jackie to Zion and Canyonlands and Arches and Bryce.)

I find myself really enjoying this process. It’s been years since I felt myself quite so footloose.