Even though my experience with moving has been very limited in my life, it didn’t take me long to realize and understand that no matter how many times one has moved, no matter how long or short the distance is, no matter if there are kids involved or not, the one common denominator that all moves have in common is….drum roll please……MOVING SUCKS.
I have friends who have moved multiple times all over the country and then I have friends in the military who have moved so many times that many of them have told me that they have literally never completed a move before having to move again. I simply cannot imagine. Prior to our recent migration to the Midwest, all of my moves were either paid for and labor provided thanks to our taxpayer dollars while serving in the military, or relatively small moves within Albuquerque that were no more than 10 miles at the very most.
When the realization came back in May that we were going to be moving a three bedroom home, part of a vacation home, three kids, three dogs, and a lot of personal belongings 900 miles away, I would be lying if I said the infamous “Hispanic Panic” ailment didn’t kick into high gear. Trying to piece together all the things that needed to be done in a matter of two months simply seemed impossible. In addition to all of the little pieces there was one huge, glaring, detail that was a tad more important than anything else: finding a job. While my wife had an outstanding opportunity offered to her, I needed to search for a job in a new and unknown market. The good news was that the metro Kansas City area is currently going through a tech boom and there were an abundant amount of IT jobs available (I estimate 30 IT jobs for every one in Albuquerque). The bad news was that no company was interested in an applicant that couldn’t start work until August (keep in mind this was May). Stressors continued to multiply and if there wasn’t enough to worry about already, I made the mistake of notifying my employer of my upcoming move which resulted in unintentionally being a stay at home dad for the summer.
During my first week as an unemployed stay at home Dad, I attempted to pack some boxes. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was as I started packing up our items. That was when things started to “get real.” Unfortunately, after the “quality inspector” got home from work, the thrill was gone. Apparently I’m not a very good packer and like my previous job that just ended a week earlier, I was promptly “let go” once again. Talk about total demoralization. Luckily for me there was still plenty of other logistical things that needed to be accomplished up at our cabin where I was able to get a lot of much needed work in.
Fast forward to two weeks before the big move. Despite having nearly three months of planning time, the final two weeks were likely the most stressful time of the entire move. While I do not remotely consider us packrats or hoarders, it’s quite amazing what living in a house for 9+ years will do. We filled a 29 foot ABF trailer, a 16 foot horse trailer, and unfortunately still needed a 12 foot U-Haul on top of all that. In our own defense we did move a good portion of our vacation home with us as well.
The day before the move had finally arrived. My wife and I had been doing the rounds and saying goodbye to friends the entire week. The plan for moving day was to leave Albuquerque at 0300 in the morning. The drive to our new home would normally be about a 13 hour drive, but with a 12 foot U-Haul and three dogs in tow, we were planning on the trip taking maybe two hours more. As I can imagine other folks in the same situation, we found ourselves packing the last items in our house at 11PM (four hours prior to when I wanted to get on the road). We finally got to sleep around midnight for what amounted to a quick 3 hour powernap.
I would love to hear some stories about a flawless moving day because in my mind, they do not exist. Our early 0300 morning started off with me realizing that I had mistakenly thrown away my hitch lock key (I had about five others that looked exactly like it) the night before. After about ten minutes of trying to determine which of the six giant garbage bags to go through, I finally decided to go for the hack saw and get to work. I was cutting through what I guessed was quarter inch steel that was designed to not be sawed through. After about five minutes I was halfway through when the saw slipped and I immediately saw blood gushing everywhere. The hacksaw drove deep into my thumb. After I assessed the damage and realized that yes it probably needs stitches, but no that isn’t an option, I applied serious pressure and continued sawing. Finally the hitch lock broke free and I was able to hook the U-Haul on and an hour later than we wanted to, we were heading east on I-40.
The driving was going really well, albeit a little slower(due to the trailer) and with more stops (worse gas mileage due to the trailer and doggy bathroom breaks can take a while to sniff out the perfect spot) until we hit Wichita.
Just before entering Ta-town many motorists began frantically pointing to my wife and trying to get her attention on the Kansas Turnpike. It turns out, her tire’s valve stem blew out and she was instantly driving on a flat tire doing upwards of 75 mph.
Luckily we were able to exit the turnpike and I was able to change the tire without any problem; however, those little donut tires are only rated for 50 mph so what was supposed to be the final three hours of our journey turned into an eternity.
We finally rolled into our new house’s driveway just before midnight. Our day had started at 0250 that morning and we were glad to have arrived safe and sound even with all the little hiccups that occurred along the way.
So back to the original question of what is the definition of a successful move? Well for me, it’s these four things:
1. Everyone arrived safe and sound
2. I’m still happily married and not pending any type of separation or divorce
3. I didn’t kill my wife and she didn’t kill me (kind of falls under item #1)
4. Did I already mention not getting divorced
All joking aside, moving is obviously one of the most stressful events that people go through in life. Being married with kids exponentially multiples the stress that is inevitably going to occur so I recommend being the best team you can be with your partner. Keep your expectations in check and of course always live within your limits. Stress is temporary, but the benefits of starting a new life in a new place will last forever so take it in stride, one little step at a time.
Perhaps everyone goes through a love/hate relationship with their hometown at some point in their lives. For me, I had every intention of leaving Albuquerque right after high school, not necessarily because I disliked Albuquerque at the time, but more so just to say I went out in the world and lived and experienced different places. I did end up living in Arizona, Florida, and Alaska for about a four year period and had a long-term master plan of returning to finish my undergraduate degree and then immediately leave Albuquerque and New Mexico once again for “bigger and better” things. Well like many people in Albuquerque, I became a victim of the “Land of Entrapment.” Many events took place that kept me here (e.g., met a girl who’s now my wife, got a decent job, had a kid, and then another, and then another) and after settling into a routine, the idea of leaving started to fade away as a distant memory.
Albuquerque is a unique city with a diverse culture, great outdoor activities, and probably the best weather anyone could ever ask for (except the Spring winds). In my early to mid 20’s, I often thought about those things and came to the conclusion that maybe “it’s not so bad after all.” It always appeared there were plenty of employment options with the career I chose and luckily I never had any problems finding great paying jobs. My wife was also very fortunate to have a great job with outstanding benefits. We purchased a two different homes since being married and spent countless hours on various DIY projects around our houses and made more priceless memories that can be documented. We were fortunate enough to purchase a vacation home up in the Jemez Mountains that we absolutely love and consider our “happy place”. There are a number of good things in Albuquerque and New Mexico that we benefited from so the question naturally comes up…..”why would you ever leave?”
When I was young, leaving Albuquerque was more about rebelling, being spontaneous, and going to see and do things just because I could. Now as a father of three, my reasons for wanting to leave Albuquerque are all about providing a better life and opportunities for my family. The article titled “State of exodus: Our disappearing professionals” from BizJournals.com tells some of the exact reasons why my family is leaving and why many others have already left. I believe anyone from the Baby Boomer and Generation X timeframe that has lived in Albuquerque for an extended period of tine would all agree that the city isn’t what it used to be. When my family was presented with a new opportunity to live and work and raise our kids in a completely new and different environment, it didn’t take much time to decided what we were going to do.
Now I am not naïve enough to think that moving away from Albuquerque will solve all the worlds’ problems and in fact I completely accept the fact that I may not like the location, people, culture, etc as much as I did in Albuquerque, but how does anyone ever come to love anything in life without trying it first? So it begins…..