Moving Violations

How packing (and unpacking) reveals the true marital divide

Remember the final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, when the crate containing the ark is wheeled into a giant warehouse and vanishes into a sea of other crates? Welcome to my new garage where, for all I know, a box containing underwear and dishes and labeled "old meat" will be hopelessly misplaced for the next thousand years.

Aside from losing crucial items such as the iron—which we just found, by the way, inside a picnic basket—moving provides a true teamwork experience for a husband and wife. Through a half-dozen moves over the years, Lauren and I have intensified this partnership by handling the entire process ourselves rather than paying professional movers. Also we are extreme cheapskates.

For our recent move, Lauren used an elaborate packing system, noting the contents of each box, numbering it, and attaching color-coded index cards. So, for instance, if we want to find the antique glass sandwich plates, we check the master list, go to box 54, code orange. Upon carefully opening the box and removing the estimated 300 yards of bubble wrap and newsprint, we of course find: a rubber ape mask, all of my neck ties, and a box of floppy disks from a computer we don't own anymore.

This mixup occurred because packing the sandwich plates was my job. Lauren's boxes were orderly, meticulously listed, and logically packed. Which is why she did most of the packing. I was less patient, packing things that fit well in the same box—screwdrivers and Jell-O molds, for instance.

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May 25

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