Controlled chaos

Heck, who am I kidding?  It’s not “controlled” at all.  It’s complete chaos.  ;-)  After all, we’re moving!

On the other hand, we are eating 3 tasty hot meals a day; today’s lunch for 9 a great example of creative cookery since I would’ve sworn I had “no food” prior to noon-time rolling around and an unexpected houseful of people helping us pack.  Surely packing assistance deserves a lunch?

So, “steak fries” that we’d bought from a near-by restaurant weeks ago (and were only just earlier today discovered in the freezer!) became a welcome addition.  I’d baked bread just a couple of days ago, but certainly there was nowhere near enough for this crowd, but luckily we’d bought a standard scary loaf of local “whole wheat” (emphasis on the scary, not on the whole wheat) and with some sandwich ham slices, a couple of big fat tomatoes, some homemade mayo… well, sandwiches and fries were on the plate in no time.

Due to our taking sangria to a lovely lunch with friends yesterday, we also had (quite unusually) 2 big fat oranges (complete with now-traditional dyed orange skins!) so a couple of wedges of those on each plate managed to make the whole thing seem quite civilized.

And what was the setting for this informal luncheon?  We are DEEP in the throes of packing up for the return shipping to Salt Lake City.

Boxes staged for the first truck!

Yes, it’s true that the decision to return to the states brings with it the painful reality of PACKING UP for the move back. Yikes.  It seems like every time we move we swear it will be the last time. (You’d think we’d learn, right?!?)

One huge challenge here is simply that there’s no “U-Haul store” (or anything remotely similar) to pull up to and buy boxes, packing paper, bubble-wrap, and specialty items like “mirror boxes” for pictures and such.

Loading up the first truck.

So… how do you get this stuff? Well, frankly, it’s not easy.  We’d had nearby neighbors planning on moving in some weeks (months?) ago so initially we’d just complacently expected to use their materials. We were slow to “grasp” the eventual ramifications of their delayed move, and finally one day not too long ago went “oh shit” (or some variation thereof) when it sank in that we had only minimal materials for a rather complicated move.

I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow details, but I can say we are eternally grateful to our friend and neighbor up the hill, Ava, who’s one of the few folks we know who actually had a big-time moving company pack her stuff — they LOVE packing paper and her cast-offs alone transformed our experience from disaster to “we-can-survive-this” mode.

Our neighbors Paul and Michele struck upon a marvelous solution (after they finally had their delivery, just in time for the prep of our final furniture load) that they’d give us all their blankets to use (blankets being an item in EXTREME demand) and then we’ll sell them for them up in SLC. A win-win and we’re so grateful.

But. even with these great gifts, it’s still been a challenge. So, you get creative.  One day David thought he’d bought Mom’s “Depends” type of “pull up briefs” but had, in fact, accidentally picked up a package of the “diaper style” pants that we don’t normally use. Expensive mistake?

An unorthodox use of "Depends"

Oh no, indeed.

Neatly "diapered" crystal

Those “diapers” provided a great solution — especially given the shortage of other packing material! — for wrapping delicate vases and crystal decanters.  Who would’ve thought? We even went and bought another package for some of the final delicates!  Can’t say it’s cheap, but then packing materials never are.  At least it’s available.

I’d like to think we’d learned our lesson the last time around.  And the single biggest thing I currently counsel clients about is to “be ready” — don’t still be packing stuff up when the truck is there!  So we’re working hard to live by that advice. It’s challenging, of course, since so many things you feel like you “can’t pack yet” because you’re still using them. But, I’m becoming relentless on this — we don’t “live here” anymore, we’re “camping out” and, as such, we will live perfectly fine without whatever it is for another 10 days.

It’s still an interesting process — we’ve loved Costa Rica, we have dear friends, neighbors, ticos and gringos, and we’re not looking forward to leaving any of them.

However, we ARE looking forward to getting up to Utah, back to our family, to our new home which we already love so much (Thank you, Doretta, for being willing to think a bit outside the box and rent to us!), and just to life in its broader version.

It’s been a great ride, and we’ll have fun in this coming year working to put together a fractional ownership consortium and hoping to buy the house back, but even though we hope to be here for some time in future years, we’re ready to focus our day-to-day life up there.

Bring it on.  ;-)


This entry was posted in Cost of Living, Family, Food, Moving back to the U.S., Shipping. Bookmark the permalink.

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