Of curtains and U-Hauls

Front Range Family

By Alex Miller

Watching my wife sort through a big box of curtains the other morning, I couldn’t help but comment that, were it up to me, the new place would remain curtain-less for some time — forever, probably. And, I told her as she weighed the various lengths, colors and degree of appropriateness for particular rooms and windows, if someone wanted to sentence me to some particularly onerous task — perhaps as one component of hell — they couldn’t do much better than to tell me I had to outfit an entire house with curtains.

It’s all rather fascinating, watching my all-pro nest-featherer wife get our place in order here in Highlands Ranch after we relocated here from Frisco in late August. The move itself was a horror show: a self-inflicted U-Haul experience that revealed to us not only the extraordinary surfeit of crap we’ve accumulated over the years but also the fact that moving dressers, couches and boxes of books is a younger person’s game. In the midst of it all, I swore I’d start saving for “real movers” for next time — the minute we finished this move.

I’m pretty sure I made a similar pledge eight years ago when we moved from LA back to Summit County, and then I was eight years younger. On the plus side, our children are also eight years older, and two of them are college-aged guys who, while skinny as rails, nonetheless possess energy and strength in abundance. So when we rolled up to our old home at 11:30 that fateful night to get our second load, they moaned when they looked at the array of crapola still sitting in the driveway (and the neighbors’ driveway, and inside the garage, and what we knew was still inside the house — not only the packed-and-ready stuff but the things we hadn’t even gotten to boxing up yet. The horror.)

Also revealed during our Moving Weekend from Hell was some portion of that old saw about what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Even if I may have died a little (or, at least, a portion of my back), I discovered a few things about our children along the way. Max and Austin, who could have been enjoying their weekend at their respective colleges in Golden and Boulder, nonetheless showed up and worked their butts off for free all weekend. Michaela, although less vocal about the whole thing, worked just as tirelessly, not complaining into the wee hours of the morning when she made sure the new place had a bed of some kind set up for everyone. And 11-year-old Andy moved his share of boxes and kept going until the job was more or less done.

It was a pivotal moment for me and Jen — a time to realize that after years of caring for our children, they were starting to take care of us. Max leaped into the U-Haul and used his math-based brain to figure out the optimal placement of things; Austin several times gently inserted himself between me and the heavier end of some thing, shouldering the burden for the old man. And while Jen was finishing up at the Frisco house, Michaela was organizing things at the new place while watching her younger brother.

Moving is an exciting and trying time for any family, full of hope and misgivings, a mixture of old stuff and new. With all the uncertainty swirling around us that weekend (would we actually get it all done? — it seemed impossible), our family rallied, our children made us proud and, sore backs aside, it did indeed make us stronger. And even if the older kids won’t spend as much time here, they’re at least partially invested in the new place, and they enjoyed seeing it all put together on a recent weekend.

There now remain only the curtains to hang, a mysterious spousal necessity I cannot begin to understand but which I know means a great deal to my wife. I’ll help bang the holder thingies into the wall and consult from a few yards back on straight/not straight questions. Beyond that, I can only scratch my head: The blinds that came in the rental house look fine to me.

Alex Miller is a former editor of the Summit Daily and Vail Daily newspapers who recently moved to Highlands Ranch with his family. Contact him at talex10@gmail.com.

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