Cardboard Bloodshed


Life Face First: Negotiating One Calamity at a Time

Moving feels a bit like living in a war zone: everything’s jumbled, basic needs aren’t easily met, and skirmishes break out frequently.

After our recent unwelcome move (which was foisted on us by a landlord who doesn’t possess the communication skills of a potato) things had been tough and cardboard-y. All our possessions were ravished by hasty packing and newspaper dust.

“Where are my socks?” my husband Brian asked.

I looked around. Our home was a fortress of boxes, and I felt a battle brewing.

“There weren’t in your suitcase?” I asked him.

“No,” he replied.

“What did you pack them in?” I asked.

I didn’t pack them,” he told me. “You did.”

That stumped me.

“I remember packing…” I started slowly.

He snorted. “How could you forget packing? It’s all we did for the last two weeks.”

He was right. I remembered packing our photos, my office, the pantry, odds and ends from the attic, a knife sharpener, the laundry detergent and a vinyl LP of Elvis singing Christmas carols that neither of us bought or knew we had. We weren’t even sure where it came from.

I did not remember packing socks.

I stared at him blankly.

“Where were your socks?” he asked trying to help me remember.

“In my suitcase,” I replied uncertainly. “I mean I think they were in my suitcase. I’m pretty sure they were.” I began to worry my memory might be a casualty of the move.

“That’s no help,” he muttered.

I stopped suddenly not because I remembered where his socks were, but because I had the sinking feeling we’d done this before.

“Are you getting a strange sense of déjà vu?” I asked him.

“Like we’ve lost my socks before?”


“In a move?”


“Like when we moved a year ago and couldn’t find my socks then either?”

“Oh, yeah,” I replied flatly. Then, I brightened. “That gives me an idea!”

“Look for them in the same place we found them last time?” he replied. I believe he meant it rhetorically.

“Exactly! Er – where were they last time?”

“In a box,” he said morosely.

We looked at the boxes. Stacks and stacks of boxes. Boxes that hid whole walls. Boxes.

I wanted to cry. Brian passed me a box cutter.

“Back into the fray,” he said dully.

I slashed at tape and forayed with him against the cardboard nightmare, bent on a sock crusade.

Moving is hell.


Nora Blithe

Nora Blithe is the author of the syndicated humor column “Life Face First.” Read her blog online at