After Cobra* and I decided we were meant to be and knew we didn’t want to live apart from each other, we started talking about making things more permanent as quickly as possible. Because I owned my home and was halfway through my mortgage with a decent amount of equity built up, had an established career and network of friends and family and a ton of clothing and furniture that I had no desire to move, I just assumed we would live in Atlanta. The back-and-forth visits were already getting expensive just three flights in and I hated the saying goodbye part. HATED it.
An opportunity for a transfer with my company came up and it would allow us to speed up our permanent plans by more than six months. I jumped at it without giving it a second thought. People were shocked. Most of my friends, though not too surprised, were a little hesitant to express happiness (if they felt any for me) and my family was split down the middle. My dad and brother who had met Cobra were ecstatic, my mom was tentatively thrilled (i.e. more concerned about what I was going to do with all of my furniture and freaked out every time I told her I donated something and totally lost it on me when I told her I gave away my couches – I mean, they weren’t dipped in gold or anything!) and my sister was completely hysterical and flipped out on me.
I had just under six weeks to pack up all of my belongings, coordinate a long-distance moving company, make sure my car was ready for a cross-country trek, get things at work ready for the transition, close out all local accounts, change addresses on everything else, find a realtor and make time to say goodbye to friends and family. And I was still working at least a 50-hour work week. It was very stressful.
I’ve always been a homebody and living in the same place for 15 years allows you way too much time to nest and collect. The local Goodwill store will have full shelves for a year courtesy of my
questionable shopping choices many donations. (Thanks to my HOA, yard sales were strictly forbidden.) So, the next time you’re at Target and you see that knick-knack that you can’t live without, just remember that you may have to move it someday. Don’t buy it.
The funny thing about moving away is that the very last week before the truck arrives your life is at its apex of stress and it’s that very time that everyone wants to spend with you – dinner, drinks, what have you. So by the time Cobra arrived to help me move just a few days before the truck arrived, I was a complete nut and I’m shocked he didn’t run away at that point. Instead, he was patient and supportive and thought it was funny when I was nuts. But he knew that if he teased me, I’d go berserk, so he smiled and spoke to me in simple words and soothing tones like he was dealing with someone in a mental ward.
The last night of packing before a 6am call time with a huge moving van and helpers, we were in the final stages of sorting and boxing when I came upon a hat box from a 1950’s trip to a London department store on the floor in the back of my foyer coat closet. Knowing one of my grandpa’s favorite fedoras was in the box, I opened it to show it off. The fedora was inside, along with an enormous family of giant glossy black spiders. (One of the downsides of living in a wooded area near protected wetlands.) The screaming that followed must have scared the bejesus out of the neighbors. Cobra, secretly terrified of spiders, carried that 40-legged box all the way to the community trash bin and threw the whole thing in, family hat and all. That’s when I knew for sure that he was a keeper.
So, that was the end of a lifetime in Atlanta – a box of spiders – and the beginning of a 2,000 mile journey to my new home.
*Referring to him as Mr. Wonderful seems too Mommy-Blogger for me (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and too syrupy for his personality. And besides, Cobra is his most-quoted action-movie hero. And he’s the expert on everything.