12 December 2007

Packing House

I'm surrounded by boxes. Tottering piles of closed boxes lie in piles and open boxes lie in half hearted heaps where the Disreputable Cat finds them both excellent to chew on and to play in. I'm moving house this weekend (although I will be here another week) and I'm at that point where I wonder if I will get it all done in time? The Disreputable Dog has moved more times then he is years old and he sighs sadly at the sight of all these boxes and takes refuge in his kennel where no random assorted pieces will fall on him and where I won't trip on him. He knows me well, he knows that I will both trip on him and drop things on him if he doesn't get out of the way but this space is so small the only place out of the way is his kennel. Luckily he loves it. The Disreputable Cat however has never traveled and never moved. She thinks we are playing a fantastic new game involving lots of interesting new hiding places and new toys. She loves nothing best then to sit in whichever box I am currently trying to pack and she loves shredding the cardboard. I admit I am anxious and yet I am also happy. I think I am happy to be leaving this small town. There are things that happened here that will always leave scars, memories that are sharp as broken glass. Yet I also love it here and I am nostalgic about leaving, as I always am on moving, often even for things I never particularly liked.

It is hard to remember the holiday season amongst my moving although my sister calls me daily, more excited about this holiday then I can ever remember her being before. I am glad for this. I am glad to hear her call me and ask a brief question, something about a special food or baking cookies or making a special birthday punch for my grandmother and can I bring more animal pictures for scrap booking with my niece and nephew like I did the last time because they had so much fun doing that with me? She also tells me regularly that she hopes I move closer which is another new thing. I am both surprised and pleased to hear her express it. But amid the family's excitement that I will come and be with them is the personal underlying anxieties of not knowing where I will be next, when a job will come through, etc.

oday I packed much of my office. I wonder, those of you fellow scientists and other professionals, at what point do you not move all those papers you referenced for a project now past? It takes up so much space, so much weight, and yet, I feel a sense of obligation to take them with me. I've always been told how important it is to build up my own reference library of citations but is it really valid in a world where you can increasingly find what you need online? I have a strong temptation to build a bonfire with them but I still haven't published that last paper. So instead I'll store them in Los Anchorage and then go work on my paper in the lower 48. Does this make sense? I have no problem jettisoning things from other parts of my life but somehow the notebooks and the papers have different rules. What would you do?

Of course, I must admit that despite packing I took a little time out to indulge in making my favorite present to give one and all at this time of year. Look at those fantastic little boxes! One year someone asked me what my idea of a perfect present was and I said, two chocolate truffles in a fancy box and right there and then I resolved to make such a gift for others and it has become a holiday tradition for me. They don't ship very well though so they only go to people who I get to see in person. Now....enough procrastinating! I must get back to my packing!


  1. I know that feeling of "how can this all possibly happen on time?" It just does, somehow, doesn't it.

    As a reporter, we are supposed to save all our notes from every story and interview FOREVER in case we get sued. I have 4 boxes of reporters notepads that I have moved a ton of times. I, too, have toyed with the idea of one great fire built with the words of others.

    I wish I could taste your truffles -mmmm....

  2. I've been lurking about your blog for awhile and need to comment. Really enjoy it. Good luck with the move. I'm facing cleaning out files from my job of 12 years -- just to make room for more, and it's so hard. I avoid moving like the plague.

  3. I also wanted to wish you good luck with the move and beyond - I hope you find yourself in a great place with a great job very soon! I will miss hearing about Alaska though!

    And what is it with cats and boxes? The smaller the box and the bigger the cat, the more likely it is that they will climb in...

  4. Between me and Florian we have a huge pile of papers. We too are unsure of when to throw.

    Good luck with the packing and God speed. May your journey wind its way to the haven of your dreams.

  5. I have many pictures of 15 pounds of cat trying to stuff himself into a 10 pound box. Cracks me up every time.

    Moving. Ack. Shoot me. Umm.. Good luck with that.

    The truffles makes me with i was going to see you in person.

  6. so, you really are packing up to come to the southeast for a bathroom remodel??? sweet!

  7. A lovely summary of the perils and pleasures of moving: mixed feelings, uncertainties, the prospect of change, leaving things behind...and a beautiful cat doing everything it can to hamper your progress.

    I hope you get it all sorted in good time: I wish you well with it.

  8. Qt, well, maybe I'll have to write a descriptive truffle eating post :) Yep, it doesn always seem to come together in the end no matter what.

    Jodi, yay for de-lurking! Delighted to meet you! Welcome. And thanks for the good wishes.

    Cae, well, although I am temporarily going to the lower 48 there is no garuntee I won't be back here in the long run! So you might here more, besides, even if I go elsewhere I probably have a lot of Alaska to write out of my system. And thanks for the luck & good wishes.

    hele, thank you!!

    meno, with me it's the other way around, the little itty bitty cat in the biggest box she can find. Well, big until she shreds it. :)

    liv, why not?

    trousers, thank you!

  9. I made truffles laast year as gifts and they are wonderful. I love your fancy boxes for them!

    Good luck with the move!

  10. To throw or not to throw?

    Depending on how much pain those papers have caused you, I would recommend one of the following disposal methods:

    1) Burn;
    2) Shred (takes a long time but is amazingly theraputic where bad memories are concerned - feed the source of stress into the machine and see it come out in fluffy, tiny pieces);
    3) Put in box for recycling;
    4) Donate to a colleague;
    5) (Very similar to 4) Leave with a friend to "take care of" if you can't deal with the trauma of accepting that you really don't need those papers any more.

    Personally, I gave the ones worth reading to colleagues who hadn't seen them, and put the rest in the recycling bin.It felt good, but not without a pang of nostalgia and sense of guilt at the sheer wastage of it all.

    Those truffles sound wonderful (can you share the recipe?).

    Good luck with the move - it keeps life interesting!

  11. I totally agree with But Why; throw it away. Nowadays you can get almost anything online. Throw it away, less stuff to carry!

    Hope your next place to live is a fantastic one.

  12. I ditched my long-held paper after the last move. It was probably a dozen years.

    GL with move and pets.

    Your treats look delicious.

    Using My Words

  13. our late kitties LOVED the boxes part of moving... they would lounge on top of them, surveying all they saw...rub their (declawed) paws all over them... thinking to themselves "I love how you've redecorated"... they would lie on top of them and fall in and have to be rescued! ;) Then we would put them in the car to move. THAT part never went well.

    i finally did the meme you tagged me for about a month ago!

  14. i wish we could all have a packing party and help you. but i'd probably end up just snooping through all your stuff..

  15. Your description of DRC made me laugh, Werecat is exactly the same each time we move! In fact she doesnt need moving as an excuse to shred paper...where are you moving, did I miss that? Thise truffles look marvellous, can you move over here for a while, at least till next xmas so that I get to have some?

  16. LOVE all of those little boxes!

  17. Papers are a curse! any kind..save or pitch ...what if i need this piece in 200 years, ack.
    You are evidently well practiced in the art of moving, but I'm sure it's difficult. Good Luck and I hope you you be somewhere warm and peaceful for the Holidays.

  18. I think when I next move, I will keep the hard copies I have of the most relevant papers and make sure I have or can get pdf's of the ones I don't think I'll really use. I will probably leave the remaining hard copies for my labmates.

    Good luck with it all. Moving is so much work. I don't envy your uncertainty either. Do you have any leads for jobs?

  19. good luck with the move and everything! i can tell its going well if you have the sense to make truffles and gifts a priority.
    i personally enjoy the liberating effects of a good bonfire. Seems like the burden of maybe having to track down something later that you burned up is a small price to pay for the freedom of it being off your shoulders. have a great holiday season!

  20. Wait--only TWO truffles?

    Dearling, I'm not so sure we can be friends after all. Surely THREE or A HUNDRED would fit in one of those boxes?

    Joshing aside, I love your gift idea. In truth, I am, *cough cough*, made to be in your life. Heh.

    All the best as you weather this move. I finally reached a point within the last year (after helping my mom and sister move this past summer) of being ready to shed, shed, shed, especially the paper part of my past. I type this knowing full well, though, that my office is a hell of Needed Sorting.

    My advice? Toss the articles.

  21. so, these are the truffles you offered me when my life was on the skids.... very, very nice.

    wish we could have shared one or two.

  22. Wow...truffles! They look yummy! Regarding references, I now keep PDFs on my computer instead of hard copies except for the papers that I often need. I, too, was tempted to start a bonfire with the pile of references from my thesis after I was done, but my conscience got the better of me and I recycled them instead. Good luck with the packing and moving, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family.

  23. The truffles look delish. Do you make the boxes? I have been battling my cats today as we put up holiday decorations and decorate the tree. One ten pound cat perched in the tree and one thirteen pound cat in in an eight pound box. They live for this stuff...

  24. You inspired me. I just finished making caramel corn and fudge that will be attractively packaged as gifts for friends. We don't want to expand the list of people we buy for, but these friends keep buying us gifts and we can not recipricate for only so long.

  25. My boxes of papers now take up most of my office closet. Why am I keeping them when I could easily find them online?

    Dog gone good question.

    I think I should save only the ones I actually wrote margin notes on and jettison the rest!

    Later.. it's easier to just leave 'em where they are, but next time I move, it will be mighty tempting!!

  26. All, Thank you all for all of your good luck wishes and advice! I feel so loved by all your comments! More then I've ever had! I promise I will be back with more regularity soon. And I'm glad you enjoyed the truffles & their boxes.

    Dancingfish, welcome and thanks for delurking!


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