If I have learned anything from our recent house move, it is that the great thing about appearances is that, true enough, they are deceiving.

If you visited our house, you'd think we have moved in. Oh, we live here. You can tell because the TV is set up, the computer is plugged in, and there is a pile of mail on the table. Well, two piles. Okay, three.

But don't be fooled.

We moved into this house three months ago. But we are not moved in.

We stopped moving in around the time that we got a table to eat at, a couch to sit on, and a bed to sleep in.

"Don't worry," a friend told me. "The last 10 percent always takes 90 percent of the effort."

So, what does the last, oh, 60 percent take?

THINGS DIDN'T start out this way.

After both moving vans left - Both? you say. Yes, both. As in two? Two, yes, two moving vans. And not just any vans, but those giant, takes-up-14-parking-spaces vans, packed to their metal roofs with the stuff of lives that collect clutter like the universe collects matter. And, like the universe's matter, it is a bunch of stuff I don't understand. "Why do we have this?" "Because we might use it someday." "We haven't used it in 10 years. In fact, we never used it. We never even liked it." "We might use it. I sorta like it." "Okay, okay, forget it. Throw it in the box."

Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, after the two vans pulled away from our house, we dug right in.

The first day, we were a furniture-
arranging, box-opening, kitchen-stuff-putting-away machine. A lot of that had to do with a consultant we hired. Actually, she's not a consultant. And technically, we didn't hire her, although I count the promise of a dinner sometime down the road as pretty much the same thing.