Joanne Palmer: Letting go and moving on |

Joanne Palmer: Letting go and moving on

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

— In a pinch, a padded bra can double as bubble wrap for packing purposes. Who knew?

I made this startling discovery last week while standing in a storage unit sorting through boxes of my mother's belongings. It was cold. It was dark. I was wearing a wool hat and trying to wrap some fragile wine glasses when, as Law No. 3 of moving physics clearly states, I ran out of bubble wrap.

There is never enough bubble wrap. You can buy a roll the size of a steamroller and smugly think to yourself, "I am so smart, I have enough bubble wrap to be like Christo and wrap the James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge." But guess what? You will not have enough. Here's why: We use too much of it because it's easy and satisfying to make a vase feels snug and safe at a time when we feel exactly the opposite.

Physics, I think, is the study of matter through motion. Sir Issac Newton (the dude who saw an apple fall out of a tree on his mother's farm and started thinking about gravity) developed the Three Laws of Motion. The Law of Gravity defines the attractive force between all objects that possess mass. I think that's scientific speak for "a padded bra might think a wine glass is cute and beg to be wrapped around it."

At any rate, I decided to develop my own Laws of Moving Physics to help any of you facing a move in the near future.

  1. Something will break, something will go missing and something will never be found.

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  2. Flat-screen TVs have made heavy entertainment centers the furniture equivalent of 8-track tapes. No one wants them and they are impossibly heavy to move.

  3. You will run out of bubble wrap.

  4. Books, unlike pandas, breed easily in captivity.

  5. Movers are rarely on time. When they do show up, they will hoist things you struggled with as if they weigh nothing.

  6. If you pack away the umbrellas Tuesday, it will rain Wednesday.

  7. After a day of standing in a cold, dark storage unit, it's OK to go to bed at 7:30 p.m. It just is.

  8. Never wrap a light bulb.

  9. Even though boxes are taped shut and labeled, you will find yourself reopening them "just to check." Or "to add one more thing."

  10. Grocery and liquor stores have free moving boxes.

  11. Do not post things for sale on Craigslist unless you want to laugh yourself silly about other "for sale" items, such as: Two burial plots, message with any questions. Live rock for sale, $1. One extension cord, still in packaging, $4.99.

  12. Packing tape is right up there with plastic wrap. It sticks and tangles and eventually you have to throw it against a wall.

  13. Do not start looking at old photographs or journals. Otherwise you might discover a terrible poem written by yourself in 1969: "Long hair beauties would rather emerge short hair cuties, and short hair cuties would prefer to be long hair beauties." I think there is a profound truth in there somewhere.

  14. Grace happens. At the end of five backbreaking days, it was clear that every time we hit a roadblock something miraculous happened. We ran out of moving boxes only to find a neat pile stacked in the neighbor's recycling bin. When we thought we couldn't face another day, a friend appeared and organized like a kindly drill sergeant for eight hours. And after two days, two guys in a neighboring storage unit agreed to haul away the entertainment center.

  15. Last but not least, the wine glasses arrived in Steamboat Springs to toast the end of a long week and welcome the liberation that finally comes in letting go.

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