Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Guest Blogger - Karen Lingefelt

I’d like to welcome Karen Lingefelt to Writing with Vicki. Karen is not only an amazing writer, wife, and mom but also the Past President of TARA.

Her book True Pretenses received rave reviews. It’s “fast and furious” read will not only delight you, but is “full of twist and turns on the road to romance”, check out her site for the full reviews.

With out further ado I turn over today’s blog to Karen.

A recent event in the life of our blog hostess inspired me to write about one of the two evils most likely to send couples to divorce court, if not lunging for the kitchen knives.

It’s not sex or money, because really, what is marriage all about, but sex and money? (When pop psychologists go on talk shows to proclaim that, “Most marital issues are about sex or money,” they really mean, “Most marital issues are about—well, marriage.”)

After twenty years of joint insanity with the same person, I can state with absolute certainty that the two greatest menaces to connubial bliss are buying a Christmas tree, and moving. As Vicki (and her marriage) recently survived the latter, that will be the topic of today’s ramblings.

My husband and I are Air Force veterans. He also grew up an Air Force brat. Between us we’ve weathered many moves, from cross-country to halfway around the planet. I’ve often wondered how we made it this far—literally tens of thousands of miles—without killing each other. Somewhere along the way, I must’ve picked up something that kept my murderous instincts in check, but what? (I mean besides chocolate.) Here are a few things I’ve learned about moving that might hold the key:

You can never have too many boxes. Start collecting them well in advance—preferably right after you’ve finished your previous move. Let hubby have his fun stomping them flat, as if they’re flaming pies left on the doorstep Halloween night. But stand your ground afterward. Ignore those whiny entreaties to keep the boxes out of the garage, storage room, tool shed, attic, storm cellar, or any other parts of the new house he’s scheming to convert into one or more of the following just as soon as rerun season starts: Game room, home theater, gymnasium, model railroad empire, laboratory, bowling alley, or mockup of the war room from Dr. Strangelove. Worst case scenario, you may have to bury the boxes in the backyard, or even under the bed if his unopened box of exercise equipment for that future gymnasium leaves enough space.

If you haven’t looked at it since your last move, get rid of it. But there are obvious exceptions. Like old TV guides, because it’s so warm-and-fuzzy nostalgic to thumb through them and marvel at how program grids once took up only half a page, and were still decipherable as recently as 1992. Or my old wardrobe from the 1980’s, because you never know if ruffles and piecrust collars a la Lady Di, big hair bows a la Fergie, or even NFL-approved shoulder pads a la Joan Collins might come back into style. If they do, I’ll be ready—assuming I lose enough weight to fit into those clothes again. My ever-thoughtful husband says he’s been hanging on to his unopened box of exercise equipment all these years for precisely that purpose. Isn’t he a prince?

So, Karen, what DO you get rid of that you haven’t looked at since your last move? There’s no better time to don the hazmat gear, open that refrigerator, and throw out the leftovers and five gallon jar of Dijon mustard the husband bought (along with an entire gross of “irregular” hot dog buns), during his three week “Let’s-Buy-Bulk-At-Wholesale-Grocers-To-Save-Money” kick.

If you can disassemble it yourself (and if you can’t, my youngest son does it every day for relaxation), do so and hand carry the hardware to your new home. If movers disassemble it before removing it from the premises, then they must reassemble it at your destination, but I’m scarred for life by one move where this did not happen. I was still single, and being transferred from stateside to Germany. They disassembled everything after taking it out of my apartment—a bentwood rocker* I’d bought in Spain on a previous overseas tour, bookcases, you name it. When these items were unpacked at my new duty station, not only were they in pieces, but all the hardware was missing—every last nut and bolt and screw and doohickey. Alas, there was no Home Depot where I could buy replacement parts. But even more embarrassing, I couldn’t remember the German word for “doohickey.”

Since then, with every move we disassemble the stuff ourselves—and I hand carry the hardware along with all the other valuables, like my secret emergency chocolate supply and picture of Colin Firth as Darcy giving Elizabeth “The Look.” Besides, I’d much rather watch my husband reassemble everything in our new locale and enjoy his—shall we say, “colorful” commentary—instead of making him drive all over an unfamiliar town looking for a place that sells three-eighths inch Thompson-head doohickeys. For one thing, he might stumble across the local Best Buy and then I’d never see him again till the next move. And for another, he won’t let me break into that unopened box of exercise equipment to harvest it for extra nuts and bolts.

Provide refreshments for the movers. I could be wrong, but had I known this at the time, I might still have a bentwood rocker to commemorate my time in Spain, instead of a useless pile of extra-fancy imported firewood. It was my new husband who, on our first post-nuptial move from Germany to California, bought a case of soft drinks especially for the movers, and put it in the refrigerator to chill the night before. He said it was important to do this.

Didn’t I tell you he was a prince?

I think I just found the answer.

*Bonus Household Tip: Bentwood rocker pieces make interesting wall decorations—or just use them to fill that annoying gap in the family room between your favorite end table and the wall! Woven cane seats and backs not only make great strainers for huge amounts of spaghetti serving twelve or more, but will make you and your dinner party the talk of the town for years to come!



Anne-Marie said...

Hey, Karen. Too funny. I absolutely love reading your stuff and talking to you. Visitors who don't know Karen, she's as fun to talk to as her writing.

Karen, great tips on moving. I'll have to keep them in mind if, and that's a small if, I move again. lol

Karen Rose said...

Karen, you had me laughing once again! Especially the war room of Dr. Strangelove. I know that place.

My DH swears we will never move again. He's said that a few times now. I hope now he's right...

And you're right to make goodies for the movers. I got mad at the movers in my last move (they deserved it!) and some things mysteriously fell off the truck... I should have made brownies.

Erica Ridley said...

LOL, Karen you kill me!!!

After having moved myself for the zillionth time this past November, I have decided if/when I ever move again, I will bite the bullet and call movers.

And will also provide lemonade, brownies, sangria... whatever it takes. =)

phyllis towzey said...

Lol, Karen -- are you sure you weren't talking about MY house? I see we have the same priorities on what to save and what to through away. Right down to the incredibly heavy and complex home gym that's never made it out of the box.

Bill Clark said...

If you haven’t looked at it since your last move, get rid of it. But there are obvious exceptions.

Alas, too true! In my case, the exceptions become the rule...sigh.

Laurie K said...

Karen you are too funny. I haven't moved in three years and still have a room I'm scared to enter, because I just packed and didn't sort beforehand. I think some of those boxes haven't been opened in 10 years (Scary), which of course means I need to pitch it, but the nostalgia...

I will certainly call movers next time and make goodies 'cause the beer and burgers isn't working with friends anymore.
Laurie K

Patricia W. said...

And I thought I had moving stories! Very funny.

December/Stacia said...

Lol, I came for Vicki and got Karen too!

Oh, yes, I was ready to stangle my husband numerous times before we moved to the UK. And hopefully in another year and a half or so I'll be ready to strangle him again as we move back!

Karen Lingefelt said...

Karen R & Erica: I never thought of brownies, and am now rather surprised DH never has either--though maybe that's because he'd eat them. I'm not sure about the sangria, since you do want to keep the movers sober. (Oh, wait, I get it now! The sangria's for ME!)

But you gals keep this up, and before we're done here, you'll be hiring a professional catering service to put together a whole banquet for the movers!

Phyllis: I think everyone must have an unopened box of exercise equipment somewhere in their home. It seems to have become a household staple, like the TV, telephone, and toilet plunger.

I open up the weekly shopper or local flyer that comes in the junk mail, and find countless ads trying to unload those things. Most of them include the words "barely used", "rarely used", and my own personal favorite, "never used."

Thanks to Vicki for having me--and especially for never giving up on me!

Wendi said...

Karen, You're one of the most entertaining people I've ever met! The moving nightmares ... ugghh, I've had my share. My husband was military too. The worst: I caught one of my movers in my bedroom with his shirt off covered in sweat and taking a rest on my brand new mattress! UGGGHHHH! I didn't know whether to scream at him or cry so I did both. Thank god for Febreze and mattress covers! And now just thinking about it makes me want to go flip the darn thing! (And yes, I had already fed them pizza for lunch. Apparently I failed to recognize his need for a nap.)
Thanks for the laughs Karen!

Karen Lingefelt said...

Wendi, LOL! Now there's the "flip side" (pun intended) to offering them treats!

I assume he didn't look all that great with his shirt off, or you might not have been so grossed out by the whole thing? ;-)

Vicki said...

Karen, you are the best!!! I have loved this post and reread it several times today.

I'm honored to have had you as a guest blogger.

Give up on you? Woman you are amazing. You inspire me bunches everytime I read your emails and yes, even when you have to talk in front of everyone. Which by the way is kinda funny since you were our President for two years and had to do it every meeting.

Too bad I didn't know about the goodies for the movers prior to the move. All mine got was water and I sure could have used the sangria. :D

And everyones comments have been great!

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