May 12 2015

The Opposite of Nesting

If you’ve ever moved from anywhere to anywhere, you know that it is quite a disorienting endeavor. If you’ve ever moved at the beginning of your third trimester, you know that it is the EXACT OPPOSITE of everything your body is telling you to do. Every hormonal cell that exists in your system is like, “We must ARRANGE THINGS! Organize things! Sanitize things!” But at the end of today, my house looked like this.

kitchen packed up with moving boxes

This used to be my spotless kitchen.

I will start with a disclaimer: The Company is paying for movers to pack and ship our stuff, which is incredible. In the past, I’ve gone from residence to residence with only the help of family and a few close friends. Moving sucks in general, and packing is the absolute WORST part of that suckage, so I am forever grateful that I did not have to tape down those boxes today.

This incredible-ness did not, however, transform me into a more rational human being. I have a very major thing about germs, and I like to pretend that I am keeping them out of my house by not allowing shoes inside. Ever. Clean floors are my safe zone. I need to know that I can walk barefoot in my own home and then get into bed with feet that have not picked up dog or goose feces from the yard. It’s the one house rule that is nonnegotiable.

But today begins like so. Movers, Day One. Three strange men walk into my house with shoes. I ask them politely if they would mind removing them since they will just be inside the house today and not running in and out loading up the truck. I tell them I have a toddler who still has to live here for the next two days and that I am pregnant and that we also still need to sell our house and I would like to minimize dirt and germs, please. They refuse.

small white dog in crate

The dog is just as depressed as I am.

I have a complete breakdown upstairs with Al, who arrived home a few days ago to help with this end of the move. I say things like, “This is OUR HOME!” much too loudly, apparently, because downstairs the men start taping down cardboard to walk on, but at this point it doesn’t matter because they’ve already been all through our house for an hour with filthy shoes. One man takes a bathroom break and does not wash his hands. Another man does the same thing. Now all I can think about is the fact that every single thing we unpack in California — including our clean plates and clean clothes and all of my daughter’s toys — will have been touched by those hands. This goes against pretty much everything my neuroses stand for.

Yes. I have an issue. I am aware.

I’m also aware that I maybe focus on the wrong things as a defense mechanism, like worrying about germs instead of thinking about how I’m going to be living in an entirely different place four days from now or the fact that I still don’t have an OBGYN in California. It’s like, that’s a little too much to handle at the moment. So you know what? Let’s just focus on the shoes.

Because every nesting bone in my third-trimester body was aching to put things back together, I left for a couple hours so I didn’t have to watch. We’ve spent the last six years turning an empty bit of land into the home we wanted it to be. It was just a piece of property at first; little by little, we added the details, and all of those details are now wrapped in boxes, waiting to be loaded onto a truck. So unsettling.

On Sunday, Al and I took all four parents out for Mother’s Day. It was a wonderful time, and I was reminded again how lucky we are to have in-laws who get along and who are such amazing grandparents to Peaches. We didn’t get home until after nine p.m. (way past her bedtime…yikes!), and were greeted with some new lawn decor.

for sale sign on lawn at night

While you were out…

Yes, we signed the papers. Yes, I knew our house would actually be on the market eventually. But it was somehow jarring to come home to that. And because it was sprinkling, and because I want Peaches to remember our beautiful, unpredictable Michigan weather, we let her play barefoot in the rain.

toddler bare foot in the driveway

Usually I make her wear shoes outside. Not today.

Peaches was fascinated by all the boxes when she got back from Grandma and Papa’s today. She didn’t even mind that all her toys were packed away. She is excited to reunite with them “in our new house at Cali-fona.” Al let her climb to the top of the “box mountains” and jump off into his arms. I keep telling her, “Isn’t this SO interesting? What a super fun adventure!” and she giggles and agrees.

When the movers return tomorrow, they will tape up the rest of our belongings and we will need to stay somewhere else until our flight on Saturday. Tonight is our last night in our home. Better get to it.

About Melissa

Melissa is a SAG-AFTRA actress and former high school teacher from Michigan who (reluctantly) moved across the country when she was six months pregnant. She is the winner of the SmokeLong Quarterly Grand Micro Contest and a past winner of the Breakwater Review Fiction Prize (selected by Susanna Kaysen, author of Girl, Interrupted), the F(r)iction flash fiction competition, and The Writer's inaugural personal essay contest, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, The Greensboro Review, New Ohio Review, HuffPost, Scary Mommy, and The Boston Globe Magazine, among others. She has been shortlisted for both the Bridport Prize and the Bath Flash Fiction Award and was recently selected for The Best Small Fictions and the Wigleaf Top 50. Melissa is represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

7 comments on “The Opposite of Nesting

  1. google ‘shoe covers’ and buy some to make the future movers (in cali) wear them. they are all over the place here (finland is a country where it is sacrilege to wear shoes inside). 🙂 and try to tamp that nesting urge down for just a few more days. save that energy, it will burst out when you get there. i had only a month to get our move done before Y arrived and we got all organized super fast once the damn move finally occurred. its agony to wait though. you are nearly done with the hard part of moving. hang in there!

    • Yes, shoe covers! We leave them outside the infant rooms at my work (child care center for children of hospital employees…who wear their nasty hospital shoes into the infant rooms and track C. Diff. germs all over the carpets). They’re wondrous. And? As much as I hate unpacking my own stuff, omg it would be a DREAM to unpack someone else’s house. Can I move with you to CA?

  2. Hi fellow new blogger friend from Mom Bloggers Club. I think we are going to be blogger BFFs because THIS post could have been written by me. I feel your pain and I am here with you — well from Buffalo, NY but here. You are not alone, everything you are doing is CRAZY hard and that is before you toss in moving!! I wish you all the best of luck — I am following you on “all channels” and I can’t wait to hear more!

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