Somewhere in the POD


“Kel, where are our passports and birth certificates?”

“In the POD.”

We both sigh heavily at what has now become the new cliché in our lives—in the POD.

Yes, in Franklin, New Jersey, there sits a 16x8x8 container with most of the contents of our lives. Yes, still.

I don’t know who came up with this idea (not the packing up OUR lives part—I take sole blame responsibility for that one—just the whole moveable container idea), but I must admit it is sheer brilliance.  It worked perfectly for our situation. We were moving across country to a place where our living situation would be temporary, so most of our stuff needed to stay in storage once we got there.

So the kind folks at the PODS company dropped off a container in the driveway of our rental house in Burbank…

…picked it up three weeks later after it had been packed with every last item we could force in with a crow bar and some duct tape, and then transported it across country to their storage facility in New Jersey where it still sits…

Now, as you can see in the photos, PODS stands for Personal On Demand Storage, which means, of course, that we can have access to our container when we need to.  We knew that we would need to get to some stuff once we got here, so Greg and I thought we were being smart about packing this thing. I got all anal and even numbered and catalogued boxes so that I could know where to find things.  I learned from past moves that simply labeling a box “kitchen” doesn’t really help when there are seventeen of them and all you really want to know is where’s the *&%$# coffee pot.

Anyway, our plan was simple: pack the things we won’t need way in the back and put the things we will need right away in the front where it’s easy to get to.  Then, when we and our container arrive in New Jersey, we will open our POD, easily retrieve the items we need, close up the POD and not think about it again until we find our own new home to which we can have the POD delivered. We can then unload all of our belongings where they will be put in the proper spot in our happy world of “a place for everything and everything in its place.”

You’re laughing now, aren’t you? I don’t blame you.

The packing started out just fine.  All was going according to plan. In went the boxes of Christmas decorations, the “good” dishes, Greg’s DVD library and my giraffe collection.  That part was easy. All the stuff we wouldn’t need was in nice packable, stackable cardboard boxes and plastic bins.  For the first few days we smiled proudly and patted ourselves on the back for our marvelous plan.

But sometime after the POD had been about a third filled, things started to take a turn for the worse.  Now we found ourselves needing to fit in things like patio furniture, oversized ride-on toys, a slanted writer’s desk, and a paper rack, to name a few—stuff that had the nerve to be shapes other than rectangular. Completely uncooperative this stuff was, and our packing somehow turned from building a pretty neat wall of boxes to a giant, life-size game of Tetras.  “You know, Hon, if we turn the desk on its side, we might fit these two benches there.”

Yep, who cared about where to put things; we just wanted to know how. Our new modus operandi became stuff-it-wherever-you-can-as-long-as-it-fits. Bedding was shoved in between table legs and soft-sided bags of clothing filled the spaces up top. The finished product looked nothing like the organizational masterpiece I had envisioned. It’s now just a sad and dangerous jumble of life’s clutter that kind of makes you want duck and cover. Just take a peek:

Oh, I should mention that this is our POD as it looks today, with the following already removed: crib with mattress, changing table, queen mattress and box spring, glider and ottoman, a jewelry armoire, Charlie’s outdoor slide, several boxes of clothes and other odd items.  So if I told you the first time we tried to open it, the door was jammed shut and it took Greg and my father prying open the top and my father jumping in from off the top of his truck into the top of the of the POD to get it open, you’d believe me, right?

Yes, our first trip there was an event of gymnastic proportions for all involved. We thought we got everything we needed, but it wasn’t long before the phrase “In the POD” became a stock answer to a question of something’s whereabouts.

As we headed off to the beach—Now where is my cute Paul Frank beach bag? Damn, it’s in the POD.

As I prepared for an interview—Where are the copies of my teaching credentials and my portfolio… Oh, in the POD.

We’d then have to weigh just how badly we needed [fill in the blank] to see if it was worth a trip to the POD. And keep in mind that such a trip would involve making sure someone was around to watch Muffin and that the weather would be cooperative (not good to unpack stuff with rain clouds threatening overhead!).  Also, we’d have to make sure we’d have, and the time and sweat equity to pull out (and later return) all the odd items up front in order to look for and get at the stuff we needed. Why, sure, I have my nice catalogued list of boxes, so I know that what I need is in box #42. Now if only I knew exactly where in the POD box #42 was, we’d be fine.

So far we have made about four or five visits to our POD. I don’t know how many more trips we have left in us. At this point, I think we’ve gotten almost everything we could possibly need that we can. That is, everything we can without moving the three dressers full of books or without risking being crushed by an avalanche of precariously placed boxes of kitchen utensils and office supplies.  Needless to say, we’re learning to live without some of our things.

It’s truly something one can only deal with by laughing. But even my sense of humor is beginning to wane. Or maybe it’s just somewhere in the POD.

Categories : journeys in life


  1. Irene Landon says:

    Ye Gads! our house is a POD!!!!


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