You Can’t Go Home Again, but You Can Pay a Pretty Penny to Drag its Contents With You


Something wicked -- and 40 feet long -- this way comes
Something wicked — and 40 feet long — this way comes

With apologies to Mr. Wolfe, there are two kinds of people in this world: 1) those that keep their high school yearbooks until the day they die, leaving their eventual disposal and related guilt to their heirs; and 2) those that ditch their yearbooks as soon as possible (or never buy them to begin with).

My bride is from the former group, so the decision regarding what to do with the contents of our previous home in Houston was an easy one — ship it all to Costa Rica. Let’s just cram it all in and when it eventually, hopefully arrives it will be like Christmas (assuming your idea of Christmas is to unwrap a bunch of dusty stuff you already own that you hadn’t seen or used in at least a year).

I had the opportunity to watch this happen in real time this week when a crew of movers took our life in boxes from a storage facility and transferred it all to a shipping container. This process was supposed to be orderly and methodical, with me marking down each item on a master inventory and indicating something profound about it to satisfy the burning curiosity of the folks in Customs. For example, “Medium box, from Study, contains yearbooks that haven’t been opened since the first Bush presidency — H.W. not W.”

In reality, the container showed up three hours late, and the truck driver then announced that the movers had two-and-a-half hours to get everything in his container — or it would miss the boat. So, orderly and methodical went out the window and, with everything I’d ever owned flying past me, I had just enough time to jot down the most critical elements. For example, “Box.”

I did happen to see a number of items that had avoided being boxed and I — a non-keeper — was a little surprised at the emotions they evoked. For example, the regulation-sized hockey stick that I purchased in 1991. The hockey stick had been purchased along with roller blades and a large assortment of pads during an extremely brief period when one of my best friends and I decided to take up street hockey. As the stick was chucked unceremoniously into the container, I recalled that my passion for street hockey had lasted less time than it had taken me to get on all of the pads and gear. The issue? Well, as it turns out, you have to be able to skate without falling before you try to add elements like swinging a large stick at a moving ball or avoiding a huge truck coming down the street that doesn’t recognize the presence of an impromptu sporting event. 

The hockey stick was followed by a three-foot-tall plastic replica of Santa Claus with a power cord trailing out of it for an internal light that hadn’t worked since Rudolf was young. Santa had come to our town, and more specifically, our attic, when my mother-in-law (clearly a member of the second of the two groups we defined earlier) purged her home of all things having to do with holidays, old photos and any other knick-knacks that had somehow escaped previous purges. Her gain was clearly my loss, and Santa joined the hockey stick and a host of other misfit toys in the container. 

And so, my Tico friends, if you like playing hockey, displaying decrepit Santa replicas or leafing through yearbooks full of people that neither you or I know or remember, you’ll want to come over to our place in around six weeks. Please wear something form-fitting as there won’t be much room to move about between the boxes and hockey sticks, and please remember that if you express an interest in something you have become its new owner. I will happily escort you and your new treasure out the back door, and all I ask in return is that you hide it whenever my bride comes over to your home.

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