When Raf and I married and moved to Seattle from Denver, we were so excited to be starting our new life together. The moving company his work provided us was one of the biggest in the US, and although their packing worried me terribly, I was hopeful that the damage would be minimal – especially since trying to prevent damage seemed impossible – they kept brushing us off.
We moved, and found a lovely house to rent at a reasonable price (a rarity in Seattle – I’m convinced the owners only picked us over the other couples vying for it because they were Chinese and I spoke Chinese, so they were more comfortable with us), and waited for moving day…. Unfortunately, as the truck was unloaded and we began to unpack, we soon found that nearly everything we owned had been damaged!!! Furniture was broken, garments slashed, priceless heirlooms smashed, antique family photos were scattered over the lawn and the mud puddles in the street… it was truly heart-rending and the start of a long nightmare. We were hung up in court for 2 years fighting for damages, and in the meantime, we couldn’t throw anything away, so we lived in a still-packed home, surrounded by smashed and shattered bits for all that time, unable to unpack, unable to settle, unable to make our home.
When we moved away from Seattle, we were glad to shed some of the broken stuff, but others were still jumbled in boxes with good stuff, so it moved with us. Because of the mess in Seattle, we were still moving two households that had never been combined and pared down. We’ve been in our new house for 1 year now, and still weren’t ready to entertain or receive guests (to our great dismay and frustration!!). All our boxes were mismarked (I only mentioned the big moves, but we moved 8 times in 5 years, and every mover relabeled the boxes – often erroneously), so unpacking has been a very slow process – and often a very dispiriting one. Compounded by the fact that some basic painting and repairs were needed, so we were in the house 6 months before we could even make a dent in the unpacking. We kept trying to buckle down and unpack, but then another problem would crop up, and off we’d go to deal with that. I’d told Raf we had to have the main areas done before he started school next month, but we were still moving slowly (for good reasons, but still…). SO, when my sewing group called on Monday and asked if they could meet at my house on Thursday morning due to a late cancellation from our regular facility, I agreed, seizing the chance to FORCE us to be ready.
When we were done, we sat down and toasted our new house, and that was when I realized that it wasn’t just that we’d finally unpacked THIS house (main areas only, the rest still needs to be dealt with!), it was that finally, after so many years and so much heart-break, we had a HOME!!
Btw, I just came across this wonderful article advocating for “scruffy hospitality”. I agree whole-heartedly, what these don’t show are the little piles and misc. odds and ends not put away. HOWEVER, my personal taste in my own home is for a relatively clear and clean room. But if I visit someone and things are not perfect, I have never broken off a friendship or stopped visiting because the house wasn’t immaculate! So if this you, EMBRACE IT!