Moving is the worst thing that can happen to you while you're alive, and the dead probably loathe it as well. Moving is all the most annoying tasks of adult life crammed into one awful fortnight: clean the closets out, call the utility company, carry books you'll never read down a flight of stairs, convince landlords you're a good person who didn't mean to stain the carpet, spend a weekend doing manual labor, beg friends for favors, search helplessly for a pair of scissors, survive anxious days without Internet, spend money, spend money, spend more money.
I would rather spend a year on a crowded airplane than move. I've had 17 addresses in the past 17 years. You'd think I'd be an expert at packing by now, but I swear I'm getting worse each time. Rather than building up packing antibodies, I feel like I've contracted Packing HIV, and the next move or the one after that will be the one that tips me into Packing AIDS, listlessly tossing pieces of plastic junk into used liquor boxes until I die.
Doing this with a toddler doesn't make things easier. The main problem with parenting is also one of its main benefits: you feel compelled to be the best person on the planet whenever the kid is around, endlessly patient and kind, fun and fair. But moving makes me feel impatient and evil, grumpy and selfish. Charlotte follows me around, mimicking my every move and expression. This week I think I'm turning her into a tiny Dick Cheney.
It will all be worth it to live in a real house of our own, my first since leaving the nest and starting this crazy moving streak half my lifetime ago. It's a two-year lease so at least there's that reprieve. But tonight I just want to renounce all possessions and decorations and tell my kid, when she wants something, "Use your imagination."