Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sometimes I can't quite believe it's happening

The last time I moved to a new city was when I came out to Seattle from Missoula. I had everything I needed/owned in the back of a car and there was still room in the car for my girlfriend. And all her stuff. And our friend Bob Knutson. We stopped at Senor Frog's in Spokane on the way. It was tacoriffic.

Well, that was almost 15 years ago. The girlfriend is now the wife of almost 13 years. A home got purchased. Kids got had. Old got got. And stuff accumulated. Up until lately, that stuff has been the big issue. Getting rid of the stuff, throwing it away, donating it, selling it. We seem to have found a moving method, though, that will be cheaper than the full on Van Lines and less shameful than attempting to fix friends' ruptured vertebrae with pizza and beer so stuff management does not weigh quite so heavily. More on that in future posts.

So as the stuff anxiety lifts, other anxieties now creep in. Because something must always fill the anxiety hole. Team Moe is launching this exciting new life in this new city soon. There will be cheaper bigger houses, friendly people (at Caribou Coffee and elsewhere), great schools, mind shatteringly cold temperatures, more and better career opportunities, less of a chance that I'll inevitably end up working at Microsoft. And we brought this all on ourselves. IT WAS MY IDEA with the full support of my employer. But now I think about what I leave behind. The relatives and neighbors who formed an astounding support network that we never managed to repay. The friends and colleagues. The fact that really most of the time a jacket will do.

I think it's easy to see the duality of destination and former home in stark terms: I left there and went there, that's old and this is new, I want that now and I don't want that any longer. But while I don't regret our decision to move (except when St Paul had a high of -4 the other week), I am increasingly aware that it's not a promotion or an escape or a copout or a triumph or anything. It's just a trade. We give up our veteran pitcher to get a hot young prospect. Swap our point guard for a center. We embrace change. And it will be hard and it will be easy and it will be confusing and it will be wonderful and it will sometimes be lonely as hell.

But we will go. In early March. On a train. The reason for the train is that we felt driving out there would be TORTURE and flying would be strange because you sit down for three hours and there you are in your new home. We want that feeling of transition. But something tells me a feeling of transition will happen no matter what we do.

Sometimes I think I get less funny all the time. Other times I feel like well hell I just don't need to be funny all the time. But that doesn't really change the first feeling.


Kate said...

It's okay to not always be funny. It is a huge change that you're making. Just because it's a good move doesn't mean it will be easy. Not that you don't know that already. =)

It sounds like the train trip will help with the transition. Plus, it should be a great time of year to see some amazing scenery.

Anonymous said...

OMG, one less celebrity in West Seattle? John! How could you? (Am I reading correctly from the various allusions that you are moving to Minnesota? Was posting a radio -related update on WSB tonight anyway and will have to include you, with any facts you care to divulge.)

Jennifer said...

I am truly going to miss knowing you're here in Seattle, even though I so rarely see you. But I'll miss you nonetheless.

I went to college in Spokane from So. California by train for that very reason. I wanted to see where I was going; I wanted to see what was in between.

The Moes shall be missed!

Scott Chicken said...

Two comments in one comment box:

First, we Chickens will definitely want a review of life on the Empire Buider so we know what to look forward to (and avoid) in June.

And second, know that no matter how far you fly you'll always be welcome to come back and sing with the band. Unless, of course, Gary Cherone returns our calls...he's wicked jealous, that Cherone.

Heather said...

Yeah, well, you can run but you can't hide. I'm still gonna take that workshop you're doing for 826. You've avoided me long enough.

Kimm said...

Yeah - change is... well, change. Now that you have listening totally figured out (made my husband keep his Starbucks #280 cup as a memento of our conversation), we can talk about change sometime too. :)

Our family still hasn't done our Great Lakes baseball tour and you seem to be part of a larger SEA>MSP migration happening, so when we feel compelled to re-visit the land of my childhood and my mother's family and early life, let's see if a quick visit might be possible.

I wish you the best in your new place, full of new possibilities. It may be more different than better right now, and yet, out of change can come a whole lot that's very good and couldn't happen otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I think you're funny, and so does my writer-friend Shannan. Now she reads your blog, too. You should see hers:

She's also going to buy a copy of your book instead of borrowing it from me. I guess now she can get it a little cheaper in paperback. See, just plugging the family connections down here in Georgia.

Yay for the liberal wing of the Helfrich clan! And best wishes on the move. Buy a thick coat. Or seven.

Asa Maria Bradley said...

Still plenty of Senor Frogs around in Spokane. Not sure how tacorific they are. Sorry you're leaving the state but good luck with packing and traveling.

If you're getting off the train for another stop in Spokane, let me know.

Glenn Fleishman said...

It's going to be a great move all around. Trepidation is normal. It's a big move up as you inevitably are on you way to becoming Garrison Keillor without, in fact, having to BE Garrison Keillor.

You'll be sitting in your Minnesota affordable mansion, smoking your pipe years from now, watching coverage of how the Eastern Cascade desert has spread across most of the lush western Cascades, enjoying the year-round balmy 60 to 80 degree temperatures, and wondering, what could have kept me there, anyway?