Saturday, May 23, 2020

A Time to Move by Kait Carson

Things at Casa Carson are up in the air. At least those things that aren’t already in boxes. My husband and I had been talking about permanently moving from Florida to our Maine home for a long time. Somehow the time never seemed right. Or something came up. We were all set to go three years ago. Then Irma blew through. Dealing with insurance and repairs took two years. While we were making repairs, we decided to turn the house into the one we always wanted. 

All well and good, except once all the renovations were done, we realized we simply didn’t want to stay in the Sunshine State. Maine was exerting its siren call, and we were more than ready to trade beaches for woods. 

We were deep in planning when COVID-19 threw a major spanner in the works.

Oddly enough, COVID-19 also became the deciding factor. My husband and I realized how uncertain life can be. A simple trip to the grocery store can result in terminal illness. If that happened, we wanted to be in Maine. The time had come. We put the house on the market and made our plans to go.

The current plan is to be in Maine by late July – whether or not our Florida house has sold. We decided not to move in the winter, and that can start in mid-August some years. We wanted to pick our time and acclimate. 

There is one catch. We’ve always sold the incumbent house before the move and then had packers from the moving company do the boxing-up honors. In this time of a pandemic, we can’t count on a fast sale, so we are packing ourselves this time. Okay, my husband is packing. I committed to starting with my books. With the exception of writing craft, autographed series collections, and some books with sentimental attachments, I figured the majority would go into the donate pile. Easy peasy.

Here’s a tip. Never let a writer pack the books. I have rediscovered so many volumes I had forgotten I owned. Naturally, finding a forgotten book means opening it and maybe reading, well just the dust cover. NOT. It means sitting on the floor, starting at page one and promising yourself a fifteen-minute visit with this old friend to decide if it goes in the box or on the donate pile. FAIL. With the exception of the books already on my donate pile, I’ve learned to simply put all the books on my shelves into the boxes. There’s plenty of places in Maine to donate, including the St. Agatha Library funded a few years ago by the Stephen and Tabatha King Foundation.

It’s always best to travel with friends.

How about you. Are you able to read a few pages of books you loved enough to shelve and then put it in the donate pile? What’s your secret?


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I'm doing a systematic purge of books, realizing I'll never read most of them again, and if I do need a quote, I can access them on-line. I can't add borrow books I need from the library because our wonderful library is struggling to service borrowers without letting them enter the building.

Good luck with your move!

KM Rockwood said...

We're planning a move, too, and started going through the books. Some were easy decisions--outdated text books (from undergraduate years to when my husband stopped his part time "retirement" job teaching political science in the local community college)

Others were absolutely falling apart, especially things like John MacDonald paperbacks, and much as we hated to see them go, a book that sheds brittle half-pages the minute it's taken off the shelf is not a good prospect for moving.

Some are "Oh, well, I enjoyed it, but not enough to read again." And a small stack of "Absolute favorites of all time" that we will save, especially if they are out of print, like "Rafe" by Weldon Hill.

There's another pile of "read one more time" books, like the Mary Stewart Merlin trilogy. We've been going through them slowly, interspersed with more current things.

Then there's the ultimate solution--let our daughter pack the rest.

E. B. Davis said...

Good luck with the move, Kait. Me-I'd stay at the beach, especially since you also have a pool. But that's me. Since you already have the house, I hope it isn't too much of a hassle moving. It will be anyway, but if it is where you want to be, it will be worth it.

Kait said...

@Margaret, Thanks for the good wishes. Will I read them again has become my criteria, too. Or autographed. I'll keep those, too, and the books with sentimental value. Our library is no longer accepting gently read books for resale, which I understand, so mine will be going to Goodwill. What about yours?

Kait said...

@KM - go with the daughter solution. She wouldn't be for hire, would she? We are having the same dialogues - some of the books I love are not in shape to be read again. Putting those books in the recycling is like losing a family member. You HAD to mention the Mary Stewart trilogy. Oh, KM. Now that's on my gotta buy it in hardback list. Mine were lost in our first move to Maine. I've Kindle replaced a bunch of other favorites since, but the trilogy. Oh.

Good luck with your move - it's never easy, but always the start of a new adventure.

Kait said...

@EB - I admit this is the perfect house for us. We love it and wish we could just truck it up behind us. No offense intended to our Maine house. We also love that, but there is something special about this place.

It's time - we miss the community of friends in Maine and the way of life. It's very different to Florida.

They say it takes a village. The St. John Valley of Maine is that village. When I was undergoing chemotherapy and my husband was working downstate, my friends simply banded together to make sure I didn't miss a treatment. I never asked, they simply presented me with a schedule. It meant a trip of 65 miles each way on rural roads in the heart of a winter with record-breaking snowfall. The photo with the squirrel is from that year - it was taken in April. It's a special place. I'm happy to go back.

Warren Bull said...

Good luck. Books are like tribbles. They multiply when you're not looking.

Grace Topping said...

It makes it so much easier going back to a place that you've known rather than to someplace new. I hope your move goes smoothly.

Kait said...

@Warrren - LOL - I have noticed that!

Kait said...

@Grace - I think you are right about that. The added stress of not knowing anyone or all the "good" places to shop or dine doesn't exist in this case. We spent the day packing. Oh, my. Tired at 2 PM :)

Shari Randall said...

Oh, someone had to mention the Merlin trilogy! That's one I have to buy.
Fabulous house, Kait (the pic is your Maine house, yes?) Sounds like you and your husband have found your forever home, surrounded by good friends. That makes all the difference.

Kait said...

Thanks, Shari - yes, that is our house in Maine. It doe feel like a forever home. I can't wait to get back.

Storyteller Mary said...

I find it so hard to part with books, so I have to stay here forever. I've never had the luxury of movers doing the packing, but on the move from condo to house, I did hire someone to haul the stuff rather than burden friends. A friend who moved away right after the Ferguson unrest (so close to her house, she could hear it at night) send most of her books USPS, media rate. Just a thought.
May your move and sale go smoothly. <3 said...

I wish you the best. If I could live without 8 months of sunshine I would be on my way to join my grandson and family in South Dakota. It's always on my mind, To go or stay. With my daughter and family just six miles away it's also making my decision difficult. Parting with my books, music and record collection would be more than I can imagine. Making porcelain dolls for years and really enjoying the art and creativity has also caused me to amass another collection that I will not let go doesn't help. My heart goes out to you as you pack and prepare to leave But it seems sound given your great friends and a home waiting for you.
Enjoy!!!!! Robie Hirt