the gigging life
Gigging, not to be confused with jigging, is an American South and Midwest practice of hunting suckers, flounder or frogs with a gig, or similar multi-pronged spear. A gig can refer to any long pole which has been tipped with a multi-pronged spear.
Over the last week and a half I have done a lot of driving. Most people in the US would laugh at what I call “a lot of driving”. I’ve driven about 18 hours of long-distance driving, including one 12-hour stretch shared with my dad (Bubelah, Little Buddy and Pumpkin flew). I lived in Moscow and then Manhattan for a stretch of over eight years, and never owned a car during that time. I drove a car once in a while on a business trip, but for the most part I was car-less. During the course of the drive from the DC area to Jacksonville (which, if you’ve never driven I-95 on that stretch, is a featureless blur of trees and little else) with my dad, I had some time to consider what moving means. I had some more time to consider it once we arrived, but since the family showed up it’s been a blur.
Our move went well. Our house closing occurred flawlessly. Our movers were fantastic. One piece of furniture was slightly damaged, but otherwise we had no problems. The movers disassembled everything in Jersey and reassembled everything in Florida. They were fast, efficient and came in slightly under budget. My one piece of advice if you hire full service movers: hire a mover who will send an estimator to your house. Our estimator was very close to actual.
Our new house is slightly larger but much older than our townhouse in Jersey was. Older fixtures take some getting used to – I’ve been living in a never-before-lived-in house for the last four-plus years, and that newness is a real plus. The wear and tear on an older house is a minus.
Living in a house – instead of a townhouse – has been a slight adjustment. I was surprised at the level I enjoyed having a yard again. Our yard backs up on a golf course – the flag on the fourth hole is just behind the palm tree at the back of our yard. The kids love having a yard, though, and I do, too. I think there is a deep yearning in most Americans (and Russians, I guess, since I can only really speak for the nationalities of my wife and myself) for property. I never thought I wanted it, but now that I have a little patch of land that is mine – even temporarily, as a renter – I love it. The fact that it’s a patch of land bordered by magnolias, palm trees and a grapefruit tree make it more pleasant.
The negatives to moving? Cost – it’s expensive to move. Even if you forget the big ticket items like movers, all of the little expenses are a pain – $35 here to reconnect cable, $10 there to buy new cleaning supplies, etc. You can spend a lot in small doses. Inevitably you have expenses that you wouldn’t have if you stayed put. Another negative is the more intangible sense of disconnection. It can take a while to feel settled in a new environment.
The overwhelming positive, though, is simply a sense of making a change and hoping that the change is for the better. Feeling in control of your life is a powerful sensation. If you feel buffeted by events, it’s hard to maintain a positive outlook. Making a change – even if it’s something as relatively small as a change in location – gives you a sense of control.
I spent yesterday (Wednesday) taping my latest interview for Marketplace Money – the first time I didn’t do it in their New York studio. It was a good reminder that even though I’ve shifted locations, many things will remain the same. Just not the weather…