Robert Cox

Writing on the Wall

Robert Cox is a reporter and page designer for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CCNnews@cox-internet.com.


New year, new town, same old boxes

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Iím not a good mover. I hate it. From the start, the idea of packing everything you own into scavenged boxes and bags to stuffing those boxes and bags ó along with your furniture, which you had just managed to get arranged how you like it ó into the back of a truck to cart it off to some new place where you may or may not know anyone, it all adds up to one the most stressful endeavors Iíve come across.†

There are certainly more experienced, more organized movers than me ó military families come to mind ó but even they donít like it. Something gets broken, something gets lost, things get left behind, and once you arrive at your destination, you have to perform the whole process in reverse.†

Except this time, youíre ripping open boxes clearly marked as ďKitchen,Ē only to find every toothbrush youíve ever owned, a can of glass cleaner, an assortment of outdated magazines you always intended to read and what appears to be one of your kidís third-grade art projects when all you wanted was a coffee cup ó assuming you can find the coffee maker.†

At this point, the great purge begins as you attempt to sort through the mounds of stuff youíve collected over the years, keeping some things and discarding others. Some might argue that the best time for this phase is on the front end so you donít have to move things you donít want to keep, but you donít always have time to sort through everything as youíre packing, especially if you only have a limited window to move and no one to help.†

Thatís probably the biggest downside for me. I donít like change to begin with. No matter the situation, if Iíve grown accustomed to it, I tend to prefer sticking with it. Left to my own devices, the only things that get fully unpacked are the bare essentials, the things I need to make it through another day.†

In the past, I had my wife to stay on me and keep me motivated. Both before and after her passing, my mother, saint of organization that she was, filled that role. With them gone, Iím on my own again. My bed is assembled and made, my bathroom is set up, my linens and clothes are all neatly organized in their respective closets, my electronics are all set up, and my cat is fully settled in.†

The garage is still full of boxes and furniture. Iím parking in the driveway.†

Iíll get to it. Eventually. At least, thatís what I tell myself.†

Some of those boxes in the garage havenít been opened in at least four years, since I moved from Jacksonville to Perryville, Mo., to take a job as managing editor of the Perry County Republic-Monitor. Whateverís in them I havenít needed, but I canít throw them out unopened. Thereís no telling what precious memories I might lose. †

Then again, it could just be old newspapers, outdated cellphones and dust.†

As always, Iíll start with my books. I have hundreds, and I know exactly which boxes theyíre in. As a collector and avid reader, Iím always careful with them. Unfortunately, Iím also always short of bookshelves, so the process includes determining which ones to shelve and which ones to keep boxed until space can be found. This is the dangerous phase, because I will inevitably be distracted into sorting instead of shelving.†

I think I must have been a librarian in a former life, because heaven forbid one volume is out of place.†

Then there are the other collectibles. You know ó comics, action figures, vehicles, assorted fandom tie-in merchandise ó the usual stuff. Again, care must be taken with the ďnerd stuff.Ē Some of it is fairly valuable, after all, at least to other nerds.†

During this phase, the space around my chair starts to look like a comic book shop exploded, with capes and bright colors everywhere.†

Once all that is accomplished, itís time to start in on the real work ó the boxes that Iím not sure about. They could be full of trash, assorted knickknacks or some of those valuable memories I was talking about.†

Or it could be my favorite coffee mug. Finally.†