So, D and I met in Nashville late Thursday night, ready for the arrival of our movers the next day. I had spent the previous four days doing work stuff in Washington, D.C., so I was exhausted. D’s very busy settling into her new gig, too. And with so much going on, neither of us has been sleeping a lot. So we’re both pretty much wiped out.
Not the best way to start the official move. I mean, I’m too damn old to be moving boxes and furniture. Not gonna do it. So, we figured, the movers will take care of it all. They’ll pack us up on Friday, then load the truck first thing Saturday morning and be done by noon. Then we’ll relax in the pool, clean the house and drive down to Dallas bright and early on Sunday, ready to start our work week rested, refreshed and with hopes that soon we would be reunited with our stuff.
Well, D figured that, anyway. Having never moved to a different city before, and being generally good-natured and kind, she assumed things would go as promised. I, on the other hand, having perpetual wanderlust, have switched cities nine times since I got out of college, not including inter-city moves. So I knew that the chances of this move occurring as planned were approximately 1 in 349,129,023,347,612.
D had made an appointment to get her hair cut on Friday afternoon, knowing that things would be well in hand and she could leave me for a couple of hours. This was important because in a tiny little town like Dallas, there are no hair salons. So to prevent her from having to grow her hair out and become a Pentecostal, she left me about midday.
That wasn’t a big deal, either, because I was fully able to supervise the crew alone, being more than a tad OCD myself and having studied in-depth the geometry of proper box-packing. (See previous post on our box-packing effort for Second Harvest.)
I would have been able to, that is, had the packing crew actually been there.
I waited. And tossed some stuff in boxes ’cause I just couldn’t help myself. And waited. Then I waited a bit more. And after that, I waited. Then I packed a couple of more boxes, before waiting a little longer.
Finally, about 2 p.m., two young guys showed up to begin the packing. I know what you’re thinking: with all of that time to rest and relax, Laurie was in a calm, peaceful mood.
Heh. Heh heh heh heh heh.
Things worsened further when the boys told me they had to leave at 3:30 for an “important meeting at the warehouse.”
Now, picture this: everything in our house remained to be packed, except for big stack of boxes in the garage that I’d already packed over the past two months, usually about 2 a.m. (D thinks there are packing fairies that arrive and mysteriously manage to make neat lines of boxes in the garage before zipping off as dawn breaks, much like the shoemaker fairies in that kids’ book I loved when I was little.)
The stuff on the garage shelves. All of our glassware and kitchen stuff. (And since the kitchen’s my favorite room of any house, there was a lot of stuff in it.) The shed in the back yard. My home office, with computers and cameras and books, books, books. Clothes. The game room.
Lots o’ stuff, in other words.
We had a lovely conversation. It went something like this:
Me: “Uh, it’s 2 p.m. And it appears there are only two of you.”
Head Mover Boy: “Yep, just us two. Hahahaha. Gonna be tough to get this done by tomorrow.”
HMB: “Don’t see any way. I mean, look at all of this stuff! We didn’t know there was this much stuff. You got a lot of stuff, dontcha?”
Me: “Your sales guy saw every bit of this stuff when he did the contract! In fact, there’s LESS of it now, because we took a couple of loads down to Dallas already!”
HMB: “Oh, yeah, he sucks. He said there were only 50 boxes to be packed. This is a coupla hundred boxes, at least. Hahahaha! We’re screwed. Never gonna get this done. Oh, well. Hahahahaha!”
Me: “Did you just say ‘Oh, well. Hahahahaha”!?”
HMB: “Uh… yeah?”
Me: “‘Are you nuts? We have to leave tomorrow evening!” (Always good to tell them you have to leave a bit earlier than you really do, I discovered between my move No. 3 and move No. 4, back in the ’80s. I was only 4 years old, but I remember it like it was yesterday.)
HMB: “I dunno. Just don’t see any way. Hey, can I use your bathroom?”
Me: “No, we’re talking! You just hold it until we get this figured out. You need to get on the phone and get some more people over here.”
HMB: “Can’t do it. They’re all at other jobs. Then we got that major meeting at the warehouse.”
Me: “Have you seen these guns we’re taking to Dallas? Look at all of them, all shiny with pretty wood. We have lots of bullets, too. And our carry permits!”
HMB: “Uh, let me make a call real quick.”
They ended up staying until about 4:15 p.m., and packed really fast. I shudder to think what that means for the china and glassware. But we got the “full coverage” insurance, so I’m trying not to obsess.
On Saturday morning, the company sent the sales guy over. The HMB had gone back and told them how screwed we were, because there were so many boxes still to be packed. The sales guy (I’ll call him Tweedledum) looked around, then insisted there were indeed only 50 boxes to pack.
I asked if he were crazy. Like, certifiable, with a certificate of intake from a local mental hospital. Or if he was just really, really bad at math. I don’t think that helped the situation much, to be honest.
Soon after he left, HMB showed back up with a crew of four other guys, including the truck driver, who kind of becomes the crew boss once he gets there. I think that’s written into the regulations when you get your CDL. He walked slowly through the still-crowded house with a faraway look in his glassy eyes, jaw slack. I saw a little bit of drool leak from the left corner of his mouth.
Truck Driver Boy: “You’re kidding, right? All this stuff goes? Surely there’s a family of five remaining behind, and this is their stuff?”
Me: “Nope. Our stuff.”
TDB: “But… but…”
Me: “Our stuff. Our stuff! OUR! STUFF!”
TDB: “But… We’re never going to make it. Maybe by Monday…”
Me: “No! Not Monday! I lost two weeks of vacation in this job switch! I can’t take Monday off! Besides, Tweedledum knew about this stuff. Tweedledum came out and crawled all over this house before making his list. Oh, and did I mention the storage shed down the road, with the furniture and a four-wheeler in it?”
His crew rallied around him, though, and they got to work like it was nobody’s business. Pack, pack, pack, load, load, load. Really hustling. I was also packing, so we had a crew of six of us. D wasn’t there because she’d made a dental appointment for that morning. In Carthage, Tenn. An hour from our house.
(Is anyone else seeing the pattern here?)
There was one fun moment in the day, though, when Tweedledum came back by. TDB lit into him, and they got into an argument in the driveway. Polite people would’ve walked away and given them their space, but it was me there instead. I moved closer so I could hear better. Turns out TDB was supposed to have the afternoon off to play in a pool tournament. And it was glaringly obvious that none of them would have any time off that day.
Tweedledum argued a bit, but TDB won. Always bet on the guy with the keys to a BIG truck.
A little while later, I called the owner of the company, and firmly explained that Tweedledum’s incompetence was no excuse for us not getting to leave for Dallas on time, and that I was sure he would take care of it. And, if he didn’t mind, perhaps he could keep his employees from having any more knock-down-drag-out fights in our front yard. He agreed.
So we kept packing. It was blazing hot, about 97 degrees. The doors were open because of the loading, so it was almost that hot inside. Miserable. Open a box. Stuff stuff inside. Close box. Tape it shut. Cart it to a pile of other boxes. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Several friends stopped by to relax with us. Soon we had them relaxing out in the shed, moving crap to the front yard. And relaxing while carrying big 160-pound pots of plants to the driveway. And relaxing while shoving drill bits, saws, painting supplies, three bungee cords, seven S-hooks, four baseball bats and some scuba gear into boxes. They had a great time.
We finally finished packing and loading the semi about 6:30 p.m., with only one more dodgy moment, when Casey almost drove the Harley off the ramp of the truck as they were loading it. Two of the guys ran up to try to catch the damn thing, a purely reflexive, if moronic, action. That things weighs a ton, and would’ve crushed them like bugs. I was already spotting a place for the Lifeflight helicopter to land. Luckily, the tire managed to grab onto the side of the ramp, and he gunned it onto the truck. Then the crew went off to tackle the storage shed. They were joined by another crew of guys who’d finished with their job, so that didn’t take too long.
I crawled into the shower and laid on the floor, washing off the dust, sweat, frustration and anger. I mean, c’mon, this shouldn’t be this hard… come see the stuff, figure out how long it will take to pack, and allot that much time. The water didn’t seem to help my neck and shoulders, which felt kinda like those little knotted rope dog toys.
However, a Flexeril and a Vicodin did help. As did dinner, which was very welcome even though it didn’t occur until about 9 p.m.
The next morning, bright and early, we set off for Dallas, driving D’s mom’s pickup, pulling a small U-Haul of stuff the movers wouldn’t take or that we didn’t want them to take: Propane tank. Guns. Plants. Antique dishes. And two dogs. We were quite the sight.
But we made it with no troubles, unless you just count the suckiness of 11 hours in a truck with two dogs, who got into a snarly fight just outside of Dallas and almost made me drive the truck right off an overpass. (Given the propane and the guns, that could’ve been exciting.) Still not recovered yet. The neck’s still stiff, and the Flexeril and Vicodin are still my friends. At night, anyway. They make me stupid at work, so I avoid them during the day. I mean, I work at a hospital! Heaven forbid I make a typo in a news release.
So now we wait, again. The stuff will arrive on the big truck tomorrow. Or Thursday. Or maybe Friday. Then again, it could be Saturday. Or Sunday. So until then, we stay in the 800-square-foot apartment, three people and three dogs.
I think I’m going for a couple more Vicodin.