Packing it in and back out again – and again

It is the curse of an Air Force brat. Aside from all the (dubious) benefits military children gain from the experience, such as being a champion shoe shiner or being able to tuck in the sheets of your bed so tight you can bounce a quarter off them or being able to sleep through aircraft takeoffs and landings, there is a definite downside. About every year and a half I get the urge to move.

This is something for which I totally blame the Major; read, Dad. If I had been raised as a normal kid, living in one town, taught in one grade school, playing in one neighborhood, as an adult I could probably find a decent place, fix it up and live in peaceful contentment for years on end. But it is probably never to be.

I moved into my beautiful, gigantic downtown Tupelo apartment in the summer of 1994, fixed it up and I recall having enjoyed at least one fall afternoon of peaceful contentment on the front porch sipping coffee, listening to Beethoven, reading thrillers and thinking, much like a character in a lite beer commercial, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Then it happened. Almost a year and a half to the day I moved in, I found myself frantically searching the streets and byways of Tupelo for enough dry, unsmelly cardboard boxes to cram all my stuff in.

It’s all Dad’s fault. And since he still has the moving bug, he’s always at least three states away, never around to lift heavy furniture when the bug bites me.

The truly terrifying thing about my many moves is that they are executed much like they would be if the family were still in the military. I never give myself enough time to think about them, let alone plan them. On Monday of the last week of the month I decide to move and by that Friday I’m loading up the car and the U-Haul.

It reminds me of hair-raising stories my mother told about the Air Force handing out orders for Dad and her to pack up their young family and get from California to Florida – in three days. She said Texas was just one long, hot, hazy blur as she and Dad took turns driving the Nash Rambler station wagon and taking care of the babies.

The Blitz-move method I have developed is quite similar in execution and has its advantages for the compulsive mover. First, you don’t have enough time to think about whether you are doing the right thing because you’re too busy getting this utility cut off and that one turned on and your mail forwarded in the nick of time to your new place.

Secondly, because you notify all your friends and relatives of your new address and phone number via the U.S. Postal Service, they assume you have already moved and don’t bother to call you up and try to talk you out of it.

Finally, while the mover suffers excruciating stress for about three days during the Blitz-move, it is all over quickly. Before you know it, you awaken exhausted and sore in a strange room, surrounded by all your cherished possessions hidden in brown boxes like big ugly Christmas presents, believing that the ordeal of the move itself was but a terrible dream.

The problems associated with the Blitz-move are obvious and numerous, the hardest of which is finding moving boxes on short notice.

I was fortunate that my irresistible urge to move struck shortly after the holidays so a lot of people had boxes they didn’t want sitting out on the curb. And, as always, the stocking personnel at my friendly neighborhood grocery store and friendly neighborhood package store were sweet enough to set aside some empty boxes for me. What do I care if my CDs and novels smell like bananas, pineapples or even white zinfandel?

The point is to get to the new base of operations and and get there quick.

Jane Hill is a Daily Journal staff writer.

Click video to hear audio