I’m finally getting around to unpacking the rest of our boxes. I’ve talked about this before. And before. And before. If I don’t unpack all these boxes soon, I’ll be talking about it forever. I’ve realized that three months is the grace period for unpacking. If you still have boxes around within three months of moving, you’re fine. Normal. After three months, you’re a slob. The cut off is abrupt and merciless, and despite all your rationalizations you know it is true.* Our boxes arrived in the middle of November. That means I have just a few weeks before I descend into full-on slob territory. And while it’s true I didn’t come here to vacuum … I do need to be able to walk around.
On moving day, as our movers brought in box after box, it was clear early on that our conservatory was going to become a book box burial ground. We brought thousands of books over with us from the US. You may ask why, and it’s a fair question. I’ll try to explain. It’s like this — OH MY GOD LOOK OVER THERE! WHAT WAS THAT NOISE? IS THAT DANIEL CRAIG? Sorry, what were we talking about? Who cares about explanations, anyway.
A few days ago I sat down in my sunny room and decided enough was enough. I unpacked 16 boxes of books and stacked them around the low walls of the room. It’s cozy and colorful in here with all the books for company, and I feel like a charmingly eccentric English prof.
I’ve made some great finds. Some ancient french materials from grammar school (Okapi, anyone?). Old friends like Dorothy Dunnett, Ellis Peters, and Margaret Frazer. Needlepoint samplers. A journal kept while travelling in Egypt. Piles of old letters from college. A copy of my taxes from 1995. And before you remind me how stupid it was to ship copies of fifteen-plus-year-old taxes overseas, let me inform you that these taxes have been following me around in that very same box for not just seventeen years but through THREE countries and FIVE states. May I please collect my prize for silliest preservation of paperwork? I promise I’ll keep it safe. In a box. Forever.
What a laugh. After dedicating myself to touring and exploring everything new and wonderful in this fantastical country, I spend the entire day sorting and stacking the past and cleaning house. But it’s all good: I found a Fodor’s London Travel Guide. From 1996. Useful.
Only 10 more boxes to go.
*Edited to add: Of course this merciless cut off does not include boxes in basements; attics; closets; in garages; in sheds; in car trunks; under sinks or beds or stuffed in cabinets. I’m talking about the boxes I had sitting out in the middle of our main living spaces. For those: three months. For the rest: eternity is soon enough.