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I haven’t put up a new post in a week and a half, so people have been wondering when I plan on getting back to my blogging ways.

To answer their questions: I’ll be writing new posts consistently starting next week.

To explain my absence: My wife and I agreed that the holidays aren’t quite busy and stressful enough, therefore we logically decided to schedule our move into a new house, six hundred miles away, for Christmas week. This seemed like a good idea at the time. We had a reason for doing it this way. A compelling reason. I can’t remember what it was, but I remember that it existed.

In any case, it all went how you might expect.

Here’s a brief rundown of our last 12 days:

Leave Kentucky, drive to Maryland. Arrive in Maryland a day later. Briefly stop in new house. Head to see wife’s family. Drive down to visit with my family, see my sister Beth’s new baby. Exploit male family members into helping us move heavy boxes and furniture into new house. Drive to Virginia to drop Christmas presents off at my sister Joan’s monastery. Drive down to see my family for Christmas Eve church service/Dad’s birthday celebration. Wife’s mom’s house for Christmas morning. Wife’s dad’s house for Christmas afternoon. Wife’s mom’s house for Christmas night. Destroy wife’s family in Settlers of Catan. Wife’s sister’s birthday. Drive down to see my family again. Christmas shindig with my family. Nephew’s baptism. Drive back to our new house to start unpacking boxes. Back to Virginia to monastery for visit with sister Sister Joan. Back to new house. Unpack. Visit wife’s family again. Breathe. Get some new furniture. Move more things. Unpack more things. Continue working on house. Back to my family for New Year’s Eve. Destroy my family in Settlers of Catan. Try to officially finish the house because… Tomorrow through Saturday night: Philadelphia for wife’s sister’s wedding. Also expected to attend: a snowstorm.

I have spared you the dirty details of this holiday/moving/birthday/Baptism/wedding two week extravaganza. I choose not to flesh out things like the unexpected challenges of attempting to find a place to stop and sleep while driving through West Virginia in the middle of the night with cats and kids in the car. I won’t bother you with stories about the humiliation I endured when the manager at the Hampton Inn caught me attempting to sneak the pets into our room. (Rock stars get kicked out of hotels for having wild parties, I get kicked out of hotels for harboring illegal cats.) I won’t tell you about the budget motel with the bullet proof casing around the reception desk, which, apparently, is the only lodging establishment in West Virginia that accepts felines. I won’t get into the “For your own protection: keep door bolted at all time” sign on the door of the motel room, or the brown stains in the tub, or the strange smells, or the cops with the drug sniffing dogs visiting a nice gentlemen a few doors down. I won’t tell you about how all of these factors prompted me to remove my wife and children from the premises, keep the cats in the room for the night, and walk across the parking lot to a hotel that didn’t feel like a crack shack from The Wire. (So yes, in effect, we booked a room just for the cats. We are not wealthy by any means, but we had no choice. Or, at least, we couldn’t see any other choice in our tired 2AM haze, with the babies crying, and 400 miles of road still ahead before we reached our destination.)

I likewise will forgo explaining the scenario that ended with us calling the fire department and evacuating our home on the day we moved in — literally minutes after we’d hulled the last box from the truck into the house.

It’s probably for the best that I refrain from expounding on these things. I’m well aware that moving and “the holidays” are only stressful in our pampered society, where, lacking access to real suffering, we’ve invented these pretentious First World Problems. In fact, these are probably the two most prominent, most obnoxious, and most egregious First World Problems on the entire list.

Waaaah I don’t like moving because I have so many things! I have so many possessions that the act of transporting them from Point A to Point B takes the sort of money and manpower that, if more appropriately allocated, could probably build 27 wells in impoverished African villages. Also, waaaah, the holidays are difficult because I have so many family members who greatly desire my company! Waaaah I have to drive to several different locations to eat pie and drink wine! Lord, why hast thou forsaken me?

Yeah. I know. That’s what I just did. I’m not proud of it, but there it is.

Maybe, if I could find a lesson in all of this, it would be the following:

If you are thinking about moving, remember to carefully gather together all of the items in your house — and burn them.

Burn them all. Just throw them into a pile and burn them.

Travel to your new location with only lint in your pocket and a dream in your heart.

Burn everything you own and dance around the fire like wild Indians.

I can’t promise that this will be safe, or sane, but it will certainly be easier, more enjoyable, and possibly more psychologically healthy than packing up all of that junk, hauling it across the country, and clumsily unpacking it, making sure to leave dents and damages on all of your most cherished items.

I think this country would be a better place if there were less moving trucks, and more crazed, anti-materialism backyard bonfires.

This is my advice. I did not take it, because I am a hypocrite, and I also have a wife who has long held fast to a strict “don’t set the furniture on fire” policy. But it’s not too late for you. Godspeed.

As a final, cheerful note: I’ve lacked the time or energy to shave these past weeks. My beard, in case you were wondering, is now manlier than it’s ever been. Someone stopped me on the street today and said, “I notice you have a beard. You must be a lumberjack or an eccentric novelist.” I’m told that these are the sorts of flattering comments that the bearded receive on a daily basis. I think I’ll keep growing it — at least until my wife makes good on her threat to slip Benadryl into my dinner and then shave me against my will while I’m sleeping.

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