Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Listing

I am starting, squeamishly, to pack. As much as one can without boxes. I am mainly packing in my head and on long, crazy person lists, with some flutteringly feeble attempts to pile things up. It is woefully little, terrifyingly late. I am moving early next week. In my head I'm not actually taking anything except the piano and a small sofa and a chair, but the reality is rather different. I mean, there are clothes, and shoes, and nicky nacky trinkety bits of nonsense, and the CFO is very unreasonably refusing to retain custody of all my unopened bills and correspondence with HSBC.

The kitchen is ok. We have too much of most things, particularly bowls of course. I might have to return to my former career of cutlery crime for spoons. I get the Kitchenaid, he gets the juicer. For all either of us know, the juicer may have a family of rare bats nesting in it given the amount of use it has. I am prone to self-delusion, but not prone enough to believe I am going to start juicing. I have mass purchased bedlinen and towels in a twitchy fashion, so that's not a problem either. We've talked about all the big stuff, most of which is staying here with the CFO, and apart from some serious residual sadness on both sides over pictures and photos, we're ok with it. I'll be pretty devastated not to see the Skygarden from my bed any more, but in the grand scheme of things, it's pretty low on the list of miseries. Oh, and of course I don't even have a bed to look at it from. The weepette gets to keep one of his two favoured chairs.

I am trying to decide what books to take. The CFO is keen to keep the shelves full (not a problem, overflow paperbacks clutter most corners), so I am only taking what I really want to have, to keep, to read or reread. It's an odd mix, so far; part what I genuinely want to read or reread, and partly deluded. Deluded in that I am taking all the worthy stuff that I have not, thus far, had any desire to read, books of poetry bought for me by Prog Rock or my mum, giant history tomes I failed to read during my degree or subsequently, things I bought believing I should have read them that stare reproachfully down from their dusty perches (Don DeLillo, Montaigne, Yeats and Proust biographies, I am particularly thinking of you here) .

It's stupid really. Going half a mile down the road is unlikely to change my reading habits. I will still buy whatever modern novels catch my eye on the 3 for 2 pile, or that are well-reviewed, or that I like the sound of. I will re-read almost nothing - Wodehouse, Mitford, Cold Comfort Farm, I Capture the Castle, David Sedaris. I will flirt with poetry again and it will make me feel peculiar again and I will shove it away in a distant corner. I will never look at my big art and photography books. Does anyone look at them? I have been as guilty as anyone of buying them as gifts, but really? Do you ever look at them more than once?

What would you really really have to take with you if you moved? Or what would you and your significant other fight to the death over? It can be like that "what would you save if the house was on fire" question they ask in magazines. I've never managed to answer it satisfactorily when I am playing 'fantasy when I am a celebrity interview' in my head (don't give me that, of course you've played). I can only conclude I would burn to death trying to decide which picture to take. With my mouth full of shoes. I wouldn't make a great buddhist, would I?

39 comments:

theharridan said...

oh NO! what? Have I missed something? Oh I had better get reading.....you are freaking me out...

spudballoo said...

Leave all the stuff that you can, it's only stuff. Take children, pets, any booze you can snaffle and your sense of humour. You can just improvise for the rest.

Seriously, having walked away from one marriage with pretty much nothing, and later lived with a lot of my 'stuff' in storage I can tell you, in all honesty, that leaving your 'stuff' is very liberating.

People, pets and pino. These things are important. The rest mere detail and a huge bill for counselling at some point.

Head up young person, with regrets to that godawful film with Jennifer Aniston (boak). Be strong. Drink more. All manner of things shall be well.

katyboo1 said...

weirdly my spidey sense was suggesting I buy you a spoon as a housewarming present. I rejected it as nonsensical, but perhaps not. Maybe a runcible spoon?

Like you I would be taking pictures. No shoes worth taking, but pictures and books for sure. All the useful things obv. And the kitchenaid even though if there were a fire I would probably be squashed to death under it's freakish weight.

Lisa-Marie said...

I would take the books. I read alot, and also, book = home for me. Also - kitchen stuff I like, favourite bedlinen, and photos.

It is a pretty rubbish thing to have to go through, the dividing of the stuff.

Anonymous said...

Having recently moved to the UK from the other side of the world, my company were nice enough to pay for my worldly goods to come with me.
I still had to live for 4 months on what I had brought in a suitcase until they got here, but I had a sense of relief and security when they turned up. Something familiar in, to me, a foreign country.
My wordly goods, though, consist mostly of things that people have given to me, or passed down loved furniture, so I guess the relief and security was in having important parts of my life surrounding me when my friends and family couldn't.
I did part with a lot of stuff, to come, and although it was a wrench at the time, I can see now, cliched as it might seem, that it did liberate me and freed me up to new experiences, which didn't necessarily include gathering more physical possessions.
Any move is difficult, but you should know that many people here are thinking of you and wishing you well.
reluctant expat

Sarah said...

Do you have anything like a favourite pillow or duvet/duvet cover? Or the same five books next to your bed? Something that will help your new bed to feel like somewhere good to sleep?

I'm a chronic insomniac and so whenever I move I need to make sure my "insomniac shelf" (books that can lull me to sleep through sheer familiarity) is easily to hand - so that when the middle-of-the-night freakouts occur, I have my old pals of the tattered covers to help.

Of course, since there's no bed in the new place yet, it might be entirely irrelevant. But a good pillow and a gorgeous duvet cover would probably make even the grey lino seem inviting as a place to sleep.

WV is parsts, which if imagined in a slightly drawn-out RP kind of way, is pretty much what you're dealing with, I suppose.

Jules said...

Having tonight just gone through crates of my children's old playthings in readiness for the church Christmas bazaar, I would keep just a few special toy memories.
They include a woman PC's police helmet, a fire breathing dragon, a Kipper dog and two greasy beanie babies.

MargotLeadbetter said...

I really like the idea of leaving it all behind. It's just stuff after all. Course, I'm still at the stage where I need to carry loads of things about with me all the time (nappies, wipes, buggy etc) and the thought of being emptyhanded and footloose appeals a lot. I would take my boys though, obvs.

monk said...

1. Take the lot
2. Sell everything
3. Open an ING savings account and deposit your winnings - they are rewarding savers with WINE! BOTTLES of the stuff (up to 48 per household. I like their style).

win win

emily said...

art - always art. i dont think the beloved and i would fight over anything.... he is hideously fair about these things. Oh and books, lots and lots of them - i re-read all mine and have about 5 x as many as i have clothes...
*hug* thinking of you

lakeviewer said...

I came in from Fhina's. Good thoughts here, dark, but of the chocolate moody variety.
Take musical instruments you have loved for ages so you can soothe your soul.

karen said...

I would be the one lighting the fire. I have contemplated it often as an easier way to deal with the clutter. Don't tell my insurance company I said that, please.

Sorry I've been absent for so long. Have been following everything though, and I know you'll land on your feet, even if it is a bit mucky for a while.

screamish said...

i took whatever i could grab when he chucked me out in the street after A Scene In the Kitchen. for months afterwards I ate off a cardboard box coffee table...but I did have all my photos and papers and music...I do regret the couch though, it was nice...

screamish said...

more on this theme (as if JW you havent probably had quite enough of it at the moemnt)

http://poumpaf.blogspot.com/2009/08/long-dark-cardboard-boxes-of-soul.html

the polish chick said...

i'd take my books, and my art, and my macbook, and my...damn, i'd take it all. of course having moved 7 times in the last 5 years my "all" has become pretty pared down. and i'm still editing.
as for fighting over stuff? mister monkey and i would rip each other's throats out for the kitchen stuff, since it is very well equipped and we both love to cook.
why doesn't the CFO get the weepette? it's the comfort of silky ears, isn't it?

e-hugs and an e-toast to your new and better life!

cheers! (or zootsuf! as my word verification suggests)

connie said...

...and all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Veronica Wald said...

I'm with you on the photos, we had hundreds if not thousands of slides from two trips to the People's Republic of China, early 1980s and therefore preciously rare in those days, most of which came from my camera, but his comparatively few were excellent. So we tried to have copies made reciprocally, what a mess. I recently started to go through them and the splitting/sharing left chaos. I guess these days everything can be scanned in and shared that way if it's not already digital. So add that to your list of projects to get done.

I too missed the garden view. A lot, but I guess I'm over it these 24 years later.

I wish I'd taken more of the furniture, I would have had more, nicer stuff to sit on and it would have saved me money not to have to buy new. But I don't miss it, never did.

You have help, OTHER THAN THE CFO, to get your stuff relocated, I hope?

mountainear said...

Having moved fairly recently - and with my 'beloved'- we brought to our new house stuff; wagon loads of stuff. 54 boxes of books and crates of dust-gathering type stuff. How I wish it had all got lost somewhere on the M6. We then had to do something with it. So much for a fresh start.

The only things I wish I'd brought with me were my boys, who sensibly stayed put 'oop north'.

Start afresh with bright new, shiny things and your boys. Best wishes.

wv is lesses - which I feel is somehow significant.

westendmum said...

Take passport, children, coffee maker, teary booshone and the stuff your mum and Prog Rock have given you.

Having experienced living out of a suitcase or in a shoebox quite a lot, I always take: a heart shaped stone my mum found for me, a photo of me age three on my dad's knee, passport, address book, corkscrew, knife, camera. Things I missed most were oddly cookbooks.

Two things I regret not getting in a break up were 'British Birds' a fab sixties B&W photo book of girls I found in a charity shop and the cafetiere.

Good luck with it all. x

Kathy said...

After living out of two suitcases for six months now, I can tell you what I really miss (I did do quite a lot of paring before the movers came, but I cannot wait for that freaking shipping container to be unpacked some day, as I really love what's left).

My really comfy sofas (suspect your Ektorp will do nicely here)
My books. Even though I'm not a re-reader, much, I *really* miss the comfort of their familiar faces.
The non-essential things that make my place "homey": a beautiful collection of mercury glass candlesticks, my lovely platters and bowls and casseroles, my framed artwork
Cozy blankets to snuggle under on the sofa
The stereo

Things I don't miss:
The entire box of stationery and torn out magazine articles and other, erm, *stuff* that I thought was so essential to save, and that lurks in the container somewhere. Haven't thought about it once.
Excess toiletries, aka all the shit under the bathroom sink. If I hadn't used them before, why did I think I would need them now?
Things like small electrics. I mean, some are necessary, but they are cheap enough now that you can get brand new for just a few €€€, so it's easy to be 'big' and leave the old behind. If my KitchenAid had worked in this country it totally would have come with, but alas, no, so I bought this pretty one instead: http://www.kitchenaid.com/flash.cmd?/#/product/KSM158GBCA/ It SPARKLES.

Also, I really encourage you to bring Christmas decor with you.

I hope you enjoy setting up "Emma's House!"

Belle_Lulu said...

Its crapola - there are no two ways about it. I got everything physical when 1stMrP got into The DitchPig's car outside our sittingroom windows and waved us goodbye. I don't think the Ds really cared one way or the other what furniture was left once Papa was gone.

Since then I've moved it all back to the UK at his (considerable) expense and been grateful for it all.

I still bought a new bed though. Couldn't have kept sleeping in our marital bed - too many memories.

What matters most? : Apart from the Ds, the dog and the cat......not a lot really - lost all my photos when my hardrive died a month ago!

Emmma - it will all be well. It will also be crap at times - but then you will have family, friends and us - and we think you're fab.

L xxxx

Agent X said...

I can only answer house on fire since nearly everything in my house is mine and not the ex whom I (strangely) live with. I really boiled it down to this - family and pets are out of the house, whats left is really the laptop and hard drives for pictures of my son. I can't really think of ANYTHING else that can't be replaced...

3limes said...

If it gives you comfort and makes you smile then take it. Relish the fresh start and don't take anything that haunts you or makes you feel guilty. As soon as you arrive, buy fresh flowers, lots of them, so take vases.

sylvia said...

What a trial! I'd leave the man behing

Bath Bun said...

Books - we were planning to move to Australia a few years ago and I gave 10 boxes of books to a charity shop. I miss them everyday. Strangely, its the large arty books which were bought in the 70s/80s that I rarely looked at but that can't be rebought that I miss the most. Large useless books = home.

GingerB said...

I know, I know!

Don't take the moths! This thought has lifted my sprits enormously while reading your post and comments. I'm sure this will bring you good cheer.

I'd put this on my take list, after kids and stinky old dog: books, pictures, art on the walls, and sentimental scrapbook stuff for the kiddos. And ten or so pairs of black shoes. Everything else can burn, except maybe the brown shoes and the sandals. And slip on sporty mules, and maybe the boots.

sylvia said...

I know what you mean. Left in a fit of generosity usually results in regret!

indigo16 said...

I walked away from my marriage with a huge debt, a sofa bed and a wadrobe. The rest, including a range of hideous wedding gifts I was quite frankly glad to see the back of.
Yes I am the person who reads those big fat glossy art books, but that is beacuse it is my job to.
In a fire, after the girls of course, photograph albums every time.

Chantal said...

Oh gawd. I've just had to do all this. It was hellish. So even though I do the pretend celebrity interview fantasy (favourite one: The Gardian weekend magazine Q&A) I can give you the real lowdown on what I actually took:

Framed photo of my mum and dad
Important jewellery (dad is a jeweller. N.B. not my engagment ring. Ha!)
A mouse and a rabbit called Tobeme and Flopsy respectively, I've had them since I was born.
ALL my books. Lovely books.
My kitchen stuff.
Essential clothes/shoes/misc. garments.

Everything else is packed up in storage, which makes me feel ill (with absolutely no disrespect at all to spudballoo), especially considering my current 'home' is the sofa of my best friend's studio flat...

Am so so glad you have somewhere to go to, even if the walls are salmon, and that it's not too far away. Courage! Photos sound like just the ticket to take. All else will follow xx

Chantal said...

Ha! How ironic, I spelled 'Guardian' wrongly - everyone of course knows it should be 'Gurniad'. Apologies.

Z said...

I've had a contingency plan for many years and know exactly what is mine. If it's 'ours', I'd leave it because I'm proud to a stupid extent and 'his' is, well, his. My difficulty would be "things I love which he bought me" as if we were actually splitting up, I presumably wouldn't want the reminder. But then nor would he.

No, I can't play - I'd take nothing that is his and nothing that is ours, apart from kitchen equipment. What I'd regret from 'ours' is the oak dresser in the kitchen and from 'his' is his mother's walnut bureau. Fortunately, the Victorian corkscrew is mine anyway.

Anonymous said...

Take things that are meaningful to you – often they are in a top drawer or the most easily accessed cupboard or shelf. They may even seem insignificant at first, but hold good memories. Take with you memories of what appealed to you in your current home and previous homes – to recreate areas of similar style? You could make a story-board of colours, textures and styles, with the use of paint swatches, mag pages, fabric samples and pictures of lovely rooms – so if the salmon overwhelms you, you have something to focus on for inspiration. Grab any relevant mags, brochures or catalogues for the above ideas. Copies of records of saving, repaying etc. Take some pictures of your bedroom, backyard, whatever you want memories of. Hope it goes well for you!! Best wishes. c

Soda and Candy said...

I'd leave almost everything except my clothes, shoes, a few books which are indisputably mine... basically anything which is so obviously mine that he wouldn't want it.

Oh and I'd definitely take my La-Z-Boy reclining chair, which could double as a sleeping-place in a pinch.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Take the lovely boys, the Weepette (you couldn't leave those eyes and THAT look!) and your happiest memories, Emma - That's all you'll ever need...

Books are a delight, and I have hundreds and the big art and lit ones too, but when I spent 7 weeks for work, living in Duesseldorf with only my clothes and some photos and music for company, I felt lighter - I did - And with my girth, that's saying something!

Welcome to your new home - May you find happiness in it x

By the way, Lakeviewer (above) is the font of all things wise and wonderful - Please visit her and perhaps find space for her writing in your life and your blog-family - She's wiser than you or I shall ever be, I swear... (I'll not talk for Progrock Dad, of course). Fhina x

Ms Understood said...

Just make sure you take, and keep, your sanity!

Z said...

Oh thanks, Woman of no Importance, as if I don't have enough blogs bookmarked. Be warned, I'll be visiting you too.

Stuff the bloody packing, by the way Emma, just keep a key for a bit - the CFO is a reasonable man on every subject except Oscar and HSBC and he will accept the necessity. After a while, he may not notice that you've dumped all the junk on him and taken only what you really want.

Sarah L. said...

We calmly unpacked (having just moved) and repacked the things I would be taking with me. He graciously kept my wedding dress...I don't know why I still even had it...or what he would do with it. We fought over a single item: a fine wine bottle opener given to him by my aunt. The agreed upon rule was you keep things given by your own family members. He could not remember her name and I was irked and said he could not keep it. Three guesses later he had it and I relented. Hopefully he never forgets.

doubledutch said...

I left everything with my former husband, except gifts from my parents. I really only took those to avoid awkward conversations with my mum. I learnt that even though we agreed when we bought, I compromised and he didn't!

dashtimargo said...

I came back to London after 9 years in the Middle East this summer. I cleared out loads of stuff and chucked the rest together to pack. Now I'm here the stuff is neither here nor there. What's important is what I left by way of love - for the country I left, the air, the desert, the daily touch and feel of where I was living. And people I now miss. What's important here is exactly the same but here, London streets, rainy damp autumn, the carzy stuff people get up to. OK it's nice I have my things in my flat but really I haven't found that worth sweating over.