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Falling into Place

Moving out-of-state is a pretty big task. It’s a checklist that expands faster than one can check the completed boxes.

There are two horns on this bull. One project is getting my wife moved. She’s my Advance Team; Pocahontits.  She’s got to find us a pet-friendly apartment that offers a short-term lease while we scout houses. The second project is getting our current homestead fixed up to sell so I can hurry up, sell it, and rejoin her before I die from missing her.

Ergo, we’ve divided the home remodeling chores into those that require her help (slowing down her goal of getting packed) and those I can accomplish by my damned self once she’s gone.

Top of the list was replacing our 1977 laminate cheap-ass  countertops with 2015 laminate cheap-ass countertops. That was an absolute DIY hoot, lemmetellya. We hauled a 12 foot countertop home in the back of my truck, five feet of it hanging out the tailgate and bouncing precariously. I kept listening for the snap of the thing splitting at the sink cut-out where it’s structurally weakest. We got it home in one piece, thank goodness. Then came the unmitigated joyful experience of fitting a 12 foot countertop with backsplash in a 12 foot wide room. That sumbitch was heavy and it took quite a bit of manhandling and lifting to wedge it in-place, half of said manhandling being outsourced to a woman.

It was finally in place. My shoulders screamed with relief. Then MBW screamed. Literally. My eyes followed her scream. The sink cut-out was in the wrong place. They measured from the wrong side. “Please, Dear God, don’t let this be my fault,” I prayed. I checked our paperwork. Nope. It was their mistake. Unfortunately, this was 3 pm on a Saturday and the counter shop didn’t have Sunday hours. The guy express-created a new counter for us. We drove like maniacs and made it to the shop seconds before they closed and locked up. I mean literal seconds. Lights were out and the crew was walking toward the door.

Back home. Lift. Ouch. Back in. Our backs and arms collectively exhausted. Looked fabulous.


By my shitty math, the new backsplash on the new countertop was supposed to overlap our existing backsplash tiles on the wall by ½ inch. That’s cool. That would work. But… The countertop backsplash turned out to be an inch too low. So much for Shawn’s math skills. There was a one-inch peekaboo stripe of some hideous wallpaper from 1977 between the new countertop and the tile backsplash we installed five years ago.


Back to the hardware store for new backsplash. (Yes, we tried to match the old tile first.) Then back home. We demoed the old backsplash until midnight on Saturday. Sunday I installed the new sink and ratcheted the new countertop in place. Then onto the mess of mastic and wet-sawing little glass filets that shot glass crumbles all over our kitchen as I cut them.


It looks fantastic. Replacing the traditional terra cotta tiles with a modern glass mosaic was not in the plan/budget and certainly not the way I’d have chosen to go, but it looks great. Tonight we grout. More mess. More mess. More mess.

MBW is an absolute champion. I adore her. She worked like a yeoman. She ran her sweet ass off, anticipating tools and what needed to be done next. There were a few moments where my inclination to despair got the better of me, and she stepped up and got the shit that was frustrating me done. It helps that she had the small hands that could wedge up under the sink and install the tension clips. My big hams just didn’t fit in those small gaps.

Funny how we talked about that particular upgrade for years and never pulled the trigger until we did it all for some other family to enjoy.

My entire moving strategy hinges on us clearing out virtually everything we own at an Estate Sale. Apparently I cannot start this phase of the plan until after the realtor has an Open House. We have to leave the house “staged.” Then I think I’m going to sell the contents down to the floorboards. It doesn’t make sense to pay someone $8,000 to move $3000 worth of crap across the country. It’s easier and cheaper to liquidate it and start over in our new digs. Leave it all behind. Turn the page.

That sounds romantic, but wait until Day Six of sleeping on an air mattress and eating at a card table in a shitty apartment with loud neighbors thumping the baseline to “Bitches Ain’t Shit” on repeat 24/7. All those callbacks to my 20s that I thought were behind me.

Hey. As long as my wife is there, it’s home. I can’t wait.




  • Dane Tyler

    December 7, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Vaya con Dios, amigo. I will pray for thee. Moving is NEVER pleasant, and moving a LOOOOOOOONG way even less so.

    God speed, m’friend.

  • Vanessa

    December 7, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Yes. the cross-country moving thing isn’t much fun. Been there, done that, more than once. My heart goes out to you.

    On the up-side, like you said, you have a team member, so that’s a major win. Your strategy is sound – selling as much as possible.

    As for the air mattress thing – it’s not so bad, just make sure to get one of those double-layer things. 🙂 And hopefully, you won’t get those neighbors. We had them, oh joy, lol. The 20s callbacks – well, just think of how young you’ll feel. 😀

    Good luck on all of it! I’ll be praying for you and if there’s anything I can do for you, let me know. 🙂