The move is done. Well, there are still boxes. And the books aren’t in the shelves. But it’s amazing just how many things you can do without when you’re tired enough.

Maybe that’s a good test. What matters when I’m exhausted? What are the essentials? Hmm . . .


Glasses. You need glasses. Drinking out of your hand is useless, fabulous opposable thumb notwithstanding. I had to find that box quickly.

That’s what I mean. Life stripped to the essentials, a bare house waiting, what really matters?

Beds are nice. But not necessary, as I proved on the first night in our new house.

The movers didn’t show. Something about a dog bite and an emergency room. It’s not that I don’t feel for him but after picking up everything I own and staring at my wife, Mom and dog in a cold, empty house, I had other priorities.

What we think moving will be like . . .


The only hotel within thirty miles wouldn’t take dogs. Two signs. One on the door. One on the desk. The night clerk asked. They really must not like dogs.

So, Suzie and Mom got a room while Nessie and I went back to the house. We shared a floor. She alternated between me in the darkened bed-less bedroom and the den where I left a light on. Mostly, she preferred being with me. It was nice.

In the morning my back felt great. The back that just picked up everything it owned. I was surprised.

So, no. Beds aren’t necessary. Dogs are.

A Fence

In the morning Nessie explored her new house and thought a home without furniture was wonderful. More room to run. Then I opened the magic glass wall and let her discover the back yard for the first time.  She thought we’d moved to a dog park.

The fenced yard was  a necessity. Not for Nessie but for Mom.

With a lot of hard work and miles of walking, Mom has recovered from the toxic effects of a drug reaction remarkably. She can do almost anything but leash walking a one-year-old Lab puppy with four wheel drive and a bird fetish is a step too far.

With the fence, Mom can just open a door and Nessie’s problems are solved. Necessities are always attached to people.

What moving is actually like.

Needs Not Desires

Sorting out needs concerning Suzie is more difficult. Not that she’s needy. That’s one of the things I love about her. I want to give her the wildest desires of her heart but the things she desires aren’t things at all.

That turns the Christmas list upside down. It’s not about what I buy her; it’s about how I love her. It’s about who she loves.

That’s harder than things. It requires time and thought. The pursuit of things can actually get in the way. No wonder she’s always trying to throw things away. Even things that I think are important, like that favorite old shirt or that tool for the thing in the place that I might use someday.

Things Are For People

People are more important than things. That’s easy. Use things and love people, not the other way around.

But the practical application of this clear principle is not so clear sometimes. Why do I spend so much time on things? When is a thing important enough to matter? What things are important enough to haul to another city? What things matter enough to take up space in my life?

These questions are easily avoided until you’re standing at the back of an empty moving truck.  In the end, I threw away some things and kept some as essential and stored some to put off the decision. But the priorities became clear.

The people in my life that I love are the reason a thing is important or useless. If a thing helps someone I love then it matters. If not then it’s just cluttering up my truck.

Now, if I can just remember that when I’m not moving.
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