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The Big Move

The Downsizing Marathon

Packing up the family heirlooms lets everyone involved relive great memories.

Preparing the Apartment

To ensure all would be ready on moving day, I made lists on flip charts and posted them where we could all see them and track our progress. Organization was crucial for our sanity—especially seeing the progress. When the lists seem unending, it helps everyone immeasurably to plainly see that we have been racing, or more accurately, inching, forward.

I created and updated four lists as we progressed: 1) "The Big Move" Master Plan; 2) Decisions to Make; 3) Things to Do; and 4) Shopping.

We chose paint colors and got a contractor to build the fence for my parents' dog, Jackson. We shopped for a new refrigerator with a water dispenser in the door, because that was what they were accustomed to at home (hydration being a major issue in Arizona). Only after trips to several stores did we discover that refrigerators do not come small enough to fit into the new kitchen. So instead, I arranged to have a reverse-osmosis water filter installed.

We bought outdoor carpeting for the patios to help prevent slips and falls. I bought handheld showerheads to make bathing easier and checked to make sure the new faucets would be easy to use, even for people with arthritic hands. Details, details, details—and of course, none of the home accessories had simple, one-step installation; each one came with its own adventure.

We struggled with what would make the apartment feel like home. Their familiar furniture would work, but we wanted to add a few other touches. Besides, it's exciting to get new things. Before the move, we settled on a new sleeper sofa, recliners, and new towels, shower curtains, and other bathroom accoutrements.

Shopping for the bathroom accessories late one night after a long day of packing went something like this (I wish I'd had a video camera):

: Stare at one shower curtain for 15 minutes, then at another one for another 15 minutes. Repeat four times. Choose the first one she found. (She is more like her mother every day.)
Dad: Spend two minutes looking at shower curtains. "That one is blue. I like it. Anything blue is good." (It matches his eyes.) "I'll get that one." Done.
Mom: Stare at each and every color towel in the store (she picked a white shower curtain so any color towel would work). Repeat four times. Finally decide on a color. Look at each type of towel in that color at least twice.
Dad: "Those towels are blue, and they are on sale. I like them. Get those towels." Done.

It was hilarious, and an extra dose of drama was thrown in as the store began to close around us. It was reassuring to see that some things never change. As we age, we are who we are—just more so.

We were assured all would be ready by moving day. We believed the promise and therefore didn't call to check before we loaded the moving van. That was our first mistake…

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