One would think that since I have moved so many times that I would have it down by now. In February, I systematically detailed each month's list of things to do in order to be fully prepared to move this weekend. All seemed to be going well: Visa received in plenty of time, the pets safely moved to Bangkok two months ahead of time, furniture sold, things in storage (OK, that didn't work out so well), and with two weeks to go, the apartment looked emptier, but for some odd reason did not look like I was on the brink of completing the packing. Each time I performed a task that should have brought satisfaction of getting closer to my goal of an empty house, the place still had lots of STUFF everywhere.
After several days of frustration punctuated by long stretches of helplessness, it occurred to me that I was witnessing a rarely understood phenomenon, something I call the Half Life Theory of Moving. It is quite complicated with lots of mathematical equations that explain everything (Sure it is), but in short, the theory explains the strange lack of progress as one works faster to clear a home. It is similar to radioactive decay--The time it takes to complete half of the moving preparations is equal to clearing half of the remaining stuff. According to this theory, one should never completely finish clearing one's house for moving: There's always half left to do. That's why one always ends up either leaving stuff behind while speeding away to meet the deadline, or have someone else finish the job. In my case, it is my sister--bless her charitable heart--who unwittingly flew from Florida to help me and my daughter finish the task, and will also be the one who cleans out the refrigerator, sweeps the balcony, and turns the keys into the management after I leave.