Struggling to Move

Monday, July 4, 2022


There’s something about moving that is unsettling. You can be organized and have a good sense of reason, but nothing can really prepare you for the chaos that ensues when the movers show up and the clock starts ticking.  I freely admit that I’m a semi-professional hoarder, and that puts me at a definite disadvantage from the start.  I can appreciate the emotional attachment that some people have with various things that have accumulated over the years.  

(Two piece sculpture that my wife and I bought for our 1st house)

My wife and I made the decision to move to Covington, LA.  A lot of people are confused at first, “Covington, Los Angeles? Where is that?”  It’s Covington, Louisiana, and yes it may seem like a random place for a couple of California lifers to be relocating. I even wonder myself sometimes, how this life choice came about so quickly.  I’d say that the short answer is that we live in a changing world. California, in particular, has become a very expensive place to live.  And one of the breaking points for me was the increase in HOA dues in our complex to $420.00 per month.  When I get saddled with the equivalent of a new car payment in exchange for a pool, write-ups regarding what color our garden hose is, and board member in-fighting about how much they can increase our assessments in order to replace the roofs on the entire community, I had to say, “check please.”

(Liquor jug/music box, with spinning drunk man on a lamppost)

In preparation for our move, I was tasked with the job of clearing out a storage unit, and some boxes that have been in our garage since – roughly, the beginning of time.  To put things in context, I still have a box from our last move that I clearly marked in black Sharpie, “Videotapes and other obsolete things.”  I read somewhere that if you haven’t seen it or used it in over six months, it’s a candidate for donation or disposal.  For items that carry some kind of emotion attachment, it is suggested that you take a picture of the item and then donate or discard it.  I’ve done this quite a bit, and it seems to make it a little easier to get rid of things that probably have no value to anyone. 

(Candle holder with glowing eyes - given to me in 8th grade after an overnight minor surgery)

We do a lot of traveling, and New Orleans has always been one of our favorite stops.  The food, the strong sense of pride from the residents and the culture have always appealed to us.  I had a conversation with a couple from the area and told them how my wife and I loved the New Orleans area, and always took some time to check out the local real estate vibe whenever we visited.  They told me to look into a few up-and-coming communities in Mandeville and Covington.  They said that the areas are very nice, and you can purchase a new home for about $350,000.00



My storage unit had been with us almost as long as my youngest daughter (23 years old). You could say that it was like the ever present relative that you just can’t get out of your life.  (I don’t happen to have any relatives like that, but I’ve heard some stories.)  It started out as a holding cell for returned or unsalable business items, but slowly morphed into a place for things that we just didn’t need right then, or things that held some real or imagined sentimental value to me.  For a partial list, but by no means a comprehensive list, here are a few examples of the random items that I’ve held in storage – and are well past drinking age:





  • Cassette Tapes – about 100.  Some pre-recorded, some mix tapes that I put together. When was the last time that I played a cassette? When was the last time that one of my cars had a cassette player?  I can’t remember the answer to either of those questions.  But I do still have a cassette player, and there is hope that someday I may explore some of those tapes.
  •  Two and a half boxes of vinyl LPs.  When was the last time that I’ve played an LP? It’s probably been a few years, but I do have a very high-end turntable and as soon as I get my stereo receiver repaired, I will most likely play them again.
  • A bowling pin from my tenth birthday.  OK, full disclosure, I did take a picture of this and throw it away.

(Bowling Pin from my 10th Birthday Party)

  • A box of get-well cards that were written to my father, following his brain cancer surgery.  These cards are about 40 years old, and no one but me or my siblings might ever look at them again, but I’m holding on to these.  
  •  Similar box of get-well cards that were written for my mother, and condolence cards written for both of them as well as my maternal grandparents.  I’ve saving those, too. 
  •  Photos, pens, pencils, safety razors and Zippo style lighters (Do I smoke? No.)
  •  Bags full of matchbooks from restaurants around the United States – some of these I had frequented, but mostly they were accumulated at restaurants that my parents had gone to. Again, do I smoke? Could these possible be a fire hazard?  I got rid of most of the matchbooks. 
  •  Salt and Pepper shakers (My wife and I were once avid collectors, not so much anymore, but I’m keeping them.)
  •  Shot Glasses (My wife was a big collector of these, and I’m keeping them.)
  • I had some standard office supplies: staples, paper clips, cellophane tape, file folders, page protectors, push pins, three ring binders - I used to call these notebooks, (1” and 3” for those who might have been wondering – and they were all orange in color.) I threw all of the notebooks away – all 8-10 boxes of them - after taking pictures of them and saving one of the 1” for a souvenir.  

(Orange isn't the new black. Notebooks at the landfill.)

  • Upwards of 30 large rolls of cellophane – almost all of them amber in color, and about eight boxes of rattail (satin cord, for those in the jewelry or packaging business). I kept these originally because they had too much value for me to throw away.  The years of storage paid for them many times over.  I ended up donating a small portion to a special needs organization and sadly, throwing away the rest at the landfill.    

Moving is emotional and traumatic.  Every time we've moved in the past, I've vowed to never do it again.  I am such a liar!  As we begin this journey, I know that we will face an equally frustrating task of unpacking - an endless search and rescue process that will challenge our patience and memory.  

Our drive to the new home begins tomorrow.  We will be traveling cross country with two dogs in tow.  I'll attempt to document our progress, as long as my sanity remains intact.  Here is a picture of our ultimate destination; the light at the end of the tunnel.

(The new vessel for all of our stuff. Photo courtesy of


photoln July 5, 2022 at 7:59 AM  

Best of luck in your new home!

Britton Minor August 5, 2022 at 7:48 AM  

How exciting for the two of you!

When I was seven, we (my Mom, stepdad, older brother, and I) moved to Baton Rouge. We lived in our Airstream trailer for three months, in a "trailer park," as they were called then. I went to the local school, my light skin drawing all kinds of attention (though I only realized this in hindsight). I made a friend whose small, inviting home I reached by crawling through a hole in the fence. Her parents invited me for dinner, always serving my new favorite food—fried eggplant.

After we moved back to California (I was sad to go) when my grandparents took ill, my stepfather took on the friend eggplant tradition; he was such a considerate man.

May your adventures be both expansive and fulfilling. Keep the food photos coming!

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