Joanne Palmer: Peanut butter without jelly |

Joanne Palmer: Peanut butter without jelly

Joanne Palmer

I’m in the process of moving and in between two households. I describe this as being in a perpetual state of peanut butter without jelly – I am always missing one-half of the necessary ingredients. For example, I have an iPod but no headphones, a bicycle but no helmet, dirty dishes but no detergent, coffee maker but no coffee, dog but no leash.

I did, however, remember to pack toilet paper.

I love to move. What a wonderful opportunity to strain my back, friendships and bank account. The non-stop fun began by sorting through all the trinkets and trash I’d joyfully accumulated in the past 10 years. I found what I thought was a long-lost bracelet buried at the bottom of the laundry basket. And all the notes my best friend and I sent to each other in high school, written of course, in the dark ages of 1971 and 1972 before cell phones and text messaging. Lovesick teenage girls do not make very good writers. All the notes have the same desperate, hysterical tone: “He walked by my locker today. Does that mean he LIKES me? Please, oh, please, I’ll die if he doesn’t LIKE me.”


I discovered I owned hundreds of books but almost no glassware. It’s easy for me to loan a friend a book, but to have that same friend over for dinner would involve drinking out of jelly jars or a wine glass etched with a logo from some Steamboat event on it.

Really pathetic.

Recommended Stories For You

The great thing about moving is everything and anything can be blamed on the move. Frequently, conversations go like this:

Son: Why isn’t there anything in the refrigerator?

Mom: We’re moving. I don’t have time to go to the grocery store.

Mom: Why haven’t you done your homework?

Son: We’re moving. I can’t find my backpack.

Dog: Why hasn’t anyone fed me?

Mom and son: Moving.

Despite that I am in this perpetual state of peanut butter without jelly, there are major life decisions that have to be made. For example, do I line the kitchen shelves with shelf paper or not? If real men don’t eat quiche, do real women line shelves? Am I not supposed to be, as Oprah Winfrey champions, “living my best life?” Does that best life include shelf paper or not?

This matter caused me major consternation and a few trips to the Wal-Mart emporium. I was happy to discover that indeed Contact Paper exists, but sadly it has not made many advances throughout the years. There are still two types: peel and stick and do not peel and stick. This latter type is for people like me who are not good at wielding scissors. In the end, I chose a cheery red-checked, no-stick paper and persuaded a friend to do it.

To paint or not to paint also loomed large in my mind. A friend brought over brochures with color palettes. These brochures had headlines like, “Romantic!” “Playful!” “Calm.” Apparently painting a room “Clary Green” could transform it into an adjective.

I was, however, not in any of the moods the brochures described. My mood could best be described as: Exhausted! Confused! Stressed!

The last thing I’m going to say about paint is this: If there is truly anyone out there who can accurately judge a paint color by the postage-stamp size sample they give you, please raise your hand.


And the last thing I’m going to say about moving is this:

Where did I pack the jelly?