Packing It In


Packing was a little bit hysterical.

I wanted the whole thing to be over. I wanted to leave and never look back. I wanted to be brave and amazing like a movie heroine.

Except mostly it was all I could do to tape a box together.

I would tape a box, maybe a few at a time, and then wander around the house trying to figure out what I would take with me. I would walk over to the wall and see a thing hanging on the door. I would look at it. I would take it down. And if I could not determine if I wanted to keep it or if I wanted to give it to my sisters or if I wanted Dave to take it or if it should just go into the dumpster, I would "put it down" so that I could determine what to do with it "later."

You know what isn't considered "packing"? Putting things from over there into a pile over here. Yeah, no.

And the clock was ticking.

But seriously. Determining what I would do with each item in the home required more mental and emotional fortitude than I could rightfully summon, and without anyone there to help me (“Kiki? Don’t you think these kitchen items should be packed with the other kitchen items, maybe?”), the process was a bit dramatic and the results were rather haphazard.

Example Of Girl Who Should Not Be Allowed To Pack:

Kiki is standing in the middle of her kitchen with an empty box. She spies one of the 12,643 objects she will need to make a decision about. She considers.
Oh, look. [sniffle] It's the blue oven mitt. Remember when we got the blue oven mitt at that store the day before New Year's because we realized we didn't own one but needed to cook? And that lady at the store said I didn't look old enough to be married? And then we did cook with it? Well, I mean, I did. I cooked with it. [sigh] But I guess not enough, huh? Probably you wanted someone who would cook more than I did. Like…what about that girl, that girl whatsherface who you're already dating? Does she cook? Oh probably. I'll bet she cooks all the fucking time. I'll bet she's just giddy happy to have a man to cook for, right? And that is just great for you both. Great. Terrific. You deserve each other. No, I mean that. You go be happy with your new girlfriend and her love of kitchen utensils and I? Me over here? I’ll be living it up in an apartment in a REAL CITY where I can just get TAKE OUT ANYTIME I WANT and I will be COOL and that is WAY MORE AWESOME than suburbia-coated oven mitts! Who needs that? Who? Not me! No! Who needs to cook for a man who turns around and laughs at you in that awful voice when you're crying? AWFUL VOICE! Oh, yeah, I said it. Did I ever tell you that, dipshit? That I HATED your voice? Well I did. So you can take your horrible laugh and stupid voice right on over to some other Home Depot-ed, in-law-ridden prison and cook up a fucking STORM with your domestic-positive girlfriend and while you're at it, HERE'S AN OVEN MITT YOU CAN USE, ASSHOLE.

Right. Now, repeat that example 12,642 more times, with some slight variations.

* * * * * *

I threw a lot away. I also made a lot of piles for my sisters to come and take: there were lots of lovely items that I wanted to keep in the family but didn’t want to adorn my apartment with right away, either for issues of sentimentality (the artwork we received as wedding presents) or issues of practicality (the Christmas dinnerware will get more use here on the East Coast…).

And the rest?

I just wandered aimlessly through my house with open boxes. Here, I’ll take this vase. Oh, and that pillow. And this spoon, I always liked this spoon. And that lampshade. And the candleholders I painted that time with Mom in New Hampshire at the paint your own pottery place. How’d that napkin get in this closet? Better take it.

Eventually I ended up with about two dozen boxes packed to the gills with I-had-no-idea-what, in absolutely no order or with any reason whatsoever. And I shipped them to my dear Cousin Nate (who had no idea what he was getting himself into when he agreed to allow me to send him “some stuff”) in Palo Alto that I would pick up when I got to the other side.

* * * * * *

David and I would coordinate times for me to be gone from the house. I would go do things (like what?) and while I was gone, David would come to the house with his family and they would take furniture away and break stuff down and make their own additions to the dumpster.

Day by day, we whittled the house down to empty.

I sent stuff to New Hampshire and I shipped stuff to California and I packed up the stuff I’d need in transit that would stay in bags and suitcases in my car.

By the time I got to the last night I'd spend in the house, the only pieces of furniture left were cleaning products, the cat carriers, and my cell phone charger. I slept on the floor in the bedroom because it was carpeted.

* * * * * *

Completely unexpectedly, the morning I was to leave – first stop, Boston – I awoke with a feeling of joy. I was…I was actually excited. I couldn’t help but be reminded of waking up as a little girl on the morning my family and Em’s would be leaving for DisneyWorld.

I had butterflies in my stomach and a belief that really good things were waiting for me. They just had to be.

I packed up my car with my suitcases and my cats.

I took a long last look at my picture-perfect white house on — ferchrissakes — Primrose Lane. And I drove away.

You know? I never did look back.


  1. wow kristi. it's been said before, and i'll say it again, this is riveting and sad and wonderful (just because i know the ending) to read. i hope you're doing well, and seriously, if you need a little vacation let me know and you can stay down here in monterey at my hotel.

  2. There are very few things as exciting as getting to start over.

    I'm so glad you got to start over.

  3. 18 boxes to my mom's house.

    When I finally went down to LA to sort through was surreal. My silverware was packed under my Anthology of Literature. AND I HAD HELP packing...those boxes made a little more sense, but not much as she was taking direction from me.

  4. "I just wandered aimlessly through my house with open boxes. Here, I’ll take this vase. Oh, and that pillow. And this spoon, I always liked this spoon. And that lampshade. And the candleholders I painted that time with Mom in New Hampshire at the paint your own pottery place. How’d that napkin get in this closet? Better take it."

    Have you ever seen "The Jerk" with Steve Martin. Yeah it reminds me of the scene when he leaves. Not that your sitch is humorous... just reminded me of that.

    Anyway, keep up the great writing. I'm always checking to see if you've written another "chapter."

  5. i can't believe i'm going to say this, but i'm going to do it anyway:

    i always hated dave's voice too.
    unnaturally high for a man, and nasely.

    there. I said it.

    i feel better. :)

  6. I love anon 12:42's comment. It's very satisfying.

    Do-overs are awesome & should always be accompanied by butterflies in the stomach. If enough happens that you have to stop everything and start again, it's inevitably going to be exciting. You're escaping the stuff that came before.

    Yay for you on the other side. You rock!

  7. Its awesome when hindsight looks just as good as it did on the day it happened. *hugs*

  8. Any chance Dave/David reads this? Wonder what his reponse would be? Not that he has any place to respond, this is your forum - I am just stating a general curiosity.


    Is there more? I hope there's more.

  10. This extended story is the most interesting stuff you have written. I can't tear myself away from the story.

  11. Thank God, Free at last!!!!

  12. I found your blog by accident, but I have been rivited to your story. Thanks for sharing.

    I grew up in Fairfield and left about 37 seconds after i graduated high school. I wanted to email you a few times when you've mentioned what an awful place it is, but always chickened out. But once I read this and saw you lived on Primrose Ln...well that made it real. I had 2 friends who lived on that street and we used to go to Lake Mohegan in the summer. One of my few fond memories of the time.

    You're lucky your family doesn't live there any more...I still have to go back a few times a year.



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