Moving day comes at last
By Linn Ann Huntington
Saturday was a momentous day for those of us involved with Habitat for Humanity of Ellis County. Our first family, Nan and Jason Brown and their three children, moved into their new home at 1809 Walnut in Ellis. For those who may not be familiar with this organization, Habitat for Humanity is an international Christian organization that builds decent, affordable housing for those in need. It is not a giveaway program. Families must be able to make a monthly payment on a no-interest loan and must put in “sweat equity hours” into the building of their home. Nan and Jason have put in more than 1,000 hours.
Another board member and I took lunch for the family and those helping them move Saturday. As I watched the children race excitedly through their new home and observed volunteers putting up curtains, I marveled at it all.
Just a few months ago this was a shell of a house. Volunteers were hanging insulation and sheetrock. Nan was picking out the paint for the children’s bedrooms.
Now she and a friend unpacked boxes in her kitchen, filling her cabinets with boxes of the children’s favorite cereals and trying to figure out where to put the pots and pans.
It took a lot of time, patience, volunteer hours and donations to get the family into their new home. As the afternoon wore on and they worked at unpacking boxes and finding a place for everything, I heard both Nan and Jason mutter, “We’re never moving again!”
I nodded my head. That brought back memories of the last time I moved and how I vowed the same thing.
It was the fall of 2000. My husband, Don, was once again in the hospital in Kansas City. Once again he was having surgery on his right foot. Only this time the orthopedic surgeon had told us he would probably be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
At that time we lived in a lovely older home in Hays that had a full finished basement and tons of storage space. The only problem was the house was split level—not suitable for anyone who would be in a wheelchair permanently.
I looked into having a ramp built so Don could get up the steep front steps and having a motorized device installed on the interior stairs. But when we looked at the costs, it just made more sense to move.
So, while he was in the hospital, in 90 days I had to find a home on one level, purchase it, and pack up a three-bedroom house and move. All on my own.
I don’t recommend this to anyone.
The biggest challenge was finding a house all on one level with no steps leading into the house. Our real estate agent found three. Only one had a two-car garage, so that’s the one we bought.
I hired a college student named Bryan to help me pack boxes. After working all day, five days at week, I spent nights and weekends packing. It was a race against time, because the moving van was coming on a specific day.
At that time Don was in the midst of working on his dissertation from KSU. All of his research was spread out all over his office in the basement. He was adamant that we not throw away or lose any of his research materials.
So Bryan and I carefully filled box after box with everything in Don’s office, labeling each box with where that pile of materials had lain. It was weeks later before Don finally felt up to going through all those boxes in the garage at the new house.
He wryly commented that I certainly hadn’t thrown anything away—not even the bubble gum wrappers that filled the area around his computer whenever he typed.
“I promised you I wouldn’t throw away anything in your office,” I said sweetly, “and so I didn’t. I didn’t sort through or throw away one thing.”
That’s when we looked at each other and started to laugh—and vowed that we would never move again.
It is a vow that I suppose most of us make when we move, as we wonder how in the world we have accumulated so much “stuff.” But it is also a vow I expect I will break one of these days.
For every time we enter a new phase of our lives, it means shedding the old things of the past and embracing the new things ahead. That can be exciting and a little scary. Moving on with life invariably means getting rid of the old things we no longer use and accepting that which is new and unfamiliar—even if we don’t physically change locations.
Nan and Jason have embraced this challenge. They have moved into a house that love has built. I wish them well.
Copyright 2008 by Linn Ann Huntington