Pleasures of moving

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 27, 2003

We just moved, an activity that ranks somewhere between painting and self-immolation on my list of favorite things to do.

My wife, Cathy, enjoys it. In almost 17 years of marriage, this most recent transport marks the 13th, that’s an average of moving every 15 months and 21 days. That means I’ll probably start hoarding boxes sometime around July 2004, in preparation for the approximately Oct. 15, 2004 move to God knows where. It’s good to have a plan.

Some of the moves have been across town, some across state and others halfway across the country.


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And it’s been exciting. I’ve seen a lot of wonderful parts of the country that many people don’t get exposed to except on the occasional driving vacation. But it’s more than being merely exposed, for me the thrill lies in being a part of a community, living there, working there, making friends. In northwest Georgia, lower Alabama, western Arkansas, eastern Kentucky, northern and eastern West Virginia and central and eastern Virginia, it’s been while not a geographically glamorous odyssey, at least an intriguing one. And working at community newspapers at every stop immediately immerses you in the vital life and workings of the community.

I’d like to be able to say that my frequent moving has been directly connected to the fast pace at which my career has advanced, but that would be delusional. Many times the moves have been for better jobs and more money, but some have been for less responsibility and less money. Nor is that the Prutsoks are merely representative of today’s mobile society.

It’s more likely that, as my mother has often suggested, we are just never satisfied with anything – jobs, houses, schools, etc. – and choose not to deal with bad situations. It’s been easier to just run away.

While that certainly stings, there’s likely at least a grain of truth to it. Regardless, who wants to settle for being satisfied? I want excitement an adventure, or at least that’s how I’ve always rationalized it.

But rather than being an exciting adventure, this last move was more akin to an Uday Hussein-supervised torture session. It’s amazing how much more difficult it is each time. Some six moves ago, I’m guessing August of 1996 by the Prutsok moving calendar (6 x 15.9 months), we made the calculated decision to start lightening our load, to stop being pack rats and to rid ourselves of the clutter in our life. Nonetheless each move has become more difficult. Apparently a significant amount of age-related physical deterioration can occur in 15 months.

But while I wear down, Cathy thrives on the challenge and opportunity a new house presents. Perhaps her greatest thrill is decorating a home and she does it well. She says she is gifted in that regard; I tend to believe it’s more a matter of the amount of practice she has had.

Either way, the house is beautiful. My mother also contends that the decorating is central to our frequent moving, that once Cathy gets a house decorated she gets bored, starts finding fault with it. I know when that happens when she starts reading The Virginian-Pilot’s Saturday real estate section from cover to cover.

And when it does, I’m dropping my subscription. I’m not doing this anymore. I’m going to take a stand. If the job starts to be a grind, I’m going on a long vacation. If the roof leaks, I’m putting on a new one. If we can’t deal with the schools, we’ll continue to home school, and if Cathy absolutely has to decorate something, I’ll carry all the furniture out on the lawn and let her have at it.

Maybe there’s something to be said for simply being satisfied.

Andy Prutsok is editor and publisher of the News-Herald. He can be reached at 934-9611, or via e-mail at