Back in May before either of us headed out on our summer adventures, Eun Seo sent me an installment of things she likes and I labeled it in gmail as “Follow Up” and “dooce”—you do not want to know how many labels I have in my personal gmail account, although here’s a sampling: “Follow Up”, “Follow Up, no like, seriously”, “DUDE, FOLLOW UP”, “HEATHER BROOKE ARMSTRONG WAKE UP” and “From that one asshole”. And I did mean to follow up, but when I look back at my calendar for all of May and June there are a few days in there where I jokingly inserted an event with the title “Right Now Might Be The Only Time To Go Pee Because Look At The Rest Of Your Day.”
So, here we are, what? three years? after she sent it to me and I am following up! Look at me go! Except kind of not really! Next thing you know I’m going to lose my mind and decide to move house while I finish writing a book! Nahhh. Who would do that? DO NOT DO THIS. ABORT. EJECT. UNFOLLOW.
I was going to feature her things and then I realized, wait. There were three things that were critical to surviving this move. I don’t know how I ever moved without these things before, and what… I’ve moved seven times in the last 15 years. That’s nothing. I know nothing. I’m a rookie. My kids are like military brats whose mom has been stationed in six different neighborhoods of Salt Lake City, Utah. But I’m learning. And lo, my knowledge below:
This motherfucker has changed my life. Do I exaggerate sometimes? Maybe sometimes. This is not one of those times. I’ll be sure to inform you when it is, indeed, one of those instances. Which is: usually all the time.
I could have gotten myself a traditional box cutter with an actual razor, but then I might have accidentally slipped and severed a major artery in my arm. I was moving and would often get to a point while taking apart a box when I wanted very much for the box to die. Slowly and painfully. This box cutter fits in your pocket—I had it in my pocket everywhere I went for 22 straight days—and it’s also magnetic so you can stick it on your fridge. And it works as well as an industrial box cutter, just, you know, with less blood and gore and death.
I wrote a whole post about these things, and turns out they aren’t just great at keeping cans of refried beans and a half gallon of milk from rolling around in the back of your car. Those who helped me move did very little of it with an actual truck. Most of it was done in my car, load by load by load. When I got tired of packing boxes (which was very, very often) I’d stuff things into these compartments and just take them directly where they belonged in the new place. I’m one of those assholes who will pile 17 books on top of each other to try to move them all at once instead of making two or three trips. With these, I didn’t look like a fumbling idiot. Make no doubt, whenever I pile stacks of things into my arms I can’t make it two inches without all of it cascading to the floor like I’m attempting some very ugly interpretation of a waterfall. Don’t go chasin’!
(If you get that reference, I love you)
What. Shut up. Yes. A shower cap. A goddamn shower cap. And for so many reasons, that’s the ridiculous part. Where do I even begin? Shall I compare thee?
If you listen to my podcast, you’ll know that whenever I move I have this thing that’s called The Football. I have my ex-husband (Hi, Jon!) to thank for this idea and terminology. The Football is the container in which you put the things that are most valuable to your daily, minute-to-minute-life. Things like your antidepressant medication. You don’t want to lose that shit, especially during a move done mostly with your car. Because you’ll end up wanting to murder moving boxes.
But you also need to put your passports in there, your checkbooks (stop rolling your eyes at me, for over three years I was running four separate businesses with four separate banking accounts and had to write physical checks from each one of them, DO NOT RECOMMEND, ZERO STARS), the invite to your niece’s wedding in two days that has the address on it, the wedding gift you somehow managed to buy her, the earrings you plan to wear to the wedding, and anything else that you need to access immediately or anything that requires you to petition the American government to replace. You’ve got a business meeting in Belgium next week. During your move. The fucking gall of that meeting. So, where is your Global Entry card, Karen? IN THE FOOTBALL.
There can be multiple footballs. My purse is sort of a permanent football. It’s way too big and I carry too much stuff, but lord help me, I will not ever find myself out and about without 1) a bottle of water, 2) several brands of lip balm, 3) five pens, 4) two portable packages of tissues, 5) a container of ibuprofen, 6) sunglasses, 7) a bag of mixed nuts, 8) a protein bar, 9) 24 gas receipts, at a minimum, to be able to compare and contrast gas mileage, 10) three different sizes of bandaids, 11) my EpiPen, 12) a scarf, and 13) two packages of mint-flavored gum. Oh, and my wallet. And keys. And personal checkbook. Sometimes a banana.
I thought I had put everything in that banana, SORRY, The Football (y’all, it has been a month), but I forgot two of the most important things: my label maker (shush, things need to be labeled, how this is not as obvious and sane as the rest of this post is, I cannot tell you) and my hair stuff. Including my hair brush. I absentmindedly shoved my brush and hairdryer into a suitcase thinking that I would remember that I had put them in that suitcase and then proceeded to totally forget about that suitcase. And so instead of going out and buying a new brush and new hairdryer, I bought a special package of blowouts from a local blowout bar and had someone else go through the absolute drudgery of blowing my hair dry. Yes. DRUDGERY. It takes me forever to get this mop of mine dry to the point that my arms start to shake toward the end like I’m a handmaid being forced to stand in the rain and hold a stone straight out with one hand, was that episode fucked up OR WHAT. That whole show is one fucked up piece of glorious television.
Because the weather here is so predictable and dry, my hair now does not experience the horror of its youth where it routinely got tangled inside itself because of the humidity. A blowout in Utah can last five to seven days, no joke. Those of you with short and thin hair might not understand this so plug your ears for a sec. Sure, if you’re doing hot yoga or any other activity that makes your hair drip in sweat (hi, Mom!) you’re going to want to freshen that shit up a bit, but if you’ve got it tied in a bun on the back of your head and all you’re doing is typing or moving boxes back and forth from your car to your new home, that shit can last you seven days! One, two, three, four… YOU GET MY POINT. Longer than you think is okay but, guess what. It is more than okay, BRIAN.
Normally I wrap a towel around my head when I take a shower so as not to get my blown-dry hair wet, and it has proven unwieldy. Like, the towel either knocks over the shampoo or gets caught in the stream from the shower head. It’s stupid. Just, so dumb. Like, why have not bought a goddamn shower cap years ago when I started growing my hair out? Because one time I had to argue about Miralax for over two hours in a mediation and I am still a little preoccupied that I had to pay for that shit.
I showered more in those 22 days than I have showered in my life and this cap was indispensable. Do yourself a favor next time you move and buy a package of blowouts. Don’t worry about your hair. Put “maintenance of my hair” super down low on the priorities list because, even though I have had little experience with moving house and know nothing whatsoever, you might pack your brush and hair dryer in a suitcase for the specific purpose of remembering that you did just that except that Moving Brain is a real thing. You will not remember. I have been living in this house now since the beginning of August and I don’t yet remember where I put my watch even though it is currently on my wrist. I think I finally understand my sometimes absentminded kid who asks me where her glasses are while she is looking through them at me.
“Have you checked your face?”