I recently sold the house that had been my home for the last nineteen years. I won’t go into the litany of reasons, it was just time to move on. My house was clean, mostly updated, and well-maintained - a realtor’s dream. I figured it would probably sell itself. Still, there’s a lot to do in getting a house ready for the real estate market. I de-cluttered rooms and listened to my realtor-brother’s suggestions as I prepared the house to be shown. I even listened to my friends who kept saying things like, “Are you sure you want to move? This house is perfect for you!” Or “But you just got through remodeling this one!” They were questions I kept asking myself as well, as I prayerfully considered this move. I certainly wasn’t going to give the house away, but I was committed to seeing the process through.
I spent most of February and March preparing to put the house on the market. “Spent” is exactly the right word, as my pile of paint and hardware receipts will attest. My house listed in early April and was shown a dozen times in the first week and a half. I soon had a contract with a buyer, and immediately commenced to packing up in time for a mid-May closing and consequent move. Thankfully, the same friends who questioned my sanity also brought me tons of great boxes to pack my things in.
“There’s no business like show business,” goes the popular song. And there’s no trauma like moving trauma, either. It’s such a royal pain to move that no one’s bothered to set the sentiment to music, as far as I know. Think about it - everything you own has to be wrapped, stuffed, bagged, boxed, padded, taped shut or otherwise secured, labeled in way you can actually find anything again, and finally carted out of your house and into a large truck by professional movers. At my age you hire professional movers because your friends are too decrepit to haul armoires and couches in and out of buildings. Besides, I’d rather be upset with the movers than my friends, should something go awry. I did all the packing myself - my preference - but I did get help from friends wrapping up cumbersome items with that extra-wide plastic wrap. It only clings to itself, which is great, but it is still no small feat to wrap couch cushions with a hand-held roll of plastic film, let me tell you. Imagine three people playing Twister with Glad Wrap and you get the idea.
I closed on two houses - the one I sold and the one I purchased - on a Wednesday, and moved on Thursday. At eight-fifteen in the morning, the movers arrived and got right to work. There were three young men - one linebacker-sized and two lean and wiry ones. After an hour’s work, my three-man hourly rate dropped to the two-man hourly rate because Linebacker suffered a nasty gash on his forearm when a bungee cord popped back on him. “Ma’am, do you have a band-aid or something?” Apparently, professional movers do not keep first aid supplies in their truck. “Uh...here, rinse that off in the sink, I’ll look.” Band-aids, band-aids....I have packed all my band-aids, naturally. Aha! I remembered the emergency first aid kit in the car, complete with sterile wipes, gauze, and tape. Narrow tape, however, so I wrapped his beefy arm again with blue painter’s tape. “Do you think I need stitches?” he asked me. “I don’t know, but you should definitely get it looked at. And here’s four Ibuprofen.” That was the last I saw of Linebacker, so I guess he took my advice. Wirey Men continued working.
After everything was in the truck, Wirey Men announced they were going to lunch and would meet me at the new address. “Ok. See you in a little while.” I looked around the empty house wistfully, taking a moment to appreciate the years of enjoyment it had given me. I ran my hands along the granite counters in the kitchen, admiring the way my remodeling plans had turned out. I surveyed the stone backsplash, the stainless steel appliances, th....DANG! The movers forgot to take the refrigerator! How did I overlook the refrigerator, for pete’s sake! I realized I had no cell phone number for Wirey Men, but I knew they were going to Firehouse Subs for lunch. So I off I rushed to find them before they were already in route to the new house.
No worries. Wirey Men were still parked, sitting in the cab, and having a post-lunch smoke. “Uh, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you forgot the refrigerator. I figured you’d want to come back and get it before you got all the way to the other house.” Wirey Men studied me quietly for a brief moment and replied, “Yes ma’am.” I don’t want to know what they were thinking.
Moving other people’s stuff is about a thankless a task as there is, even if you are being paid for it. Wirey Men put in an honest day’s work, to be sure. I asked one of them, “So, do you see a chiropractor?” “No, ma’am,“ he said, “I just take Goody’s Powder and Monster drinks.” Right. At least Wirey Men didn’t have to reassemble beds and tables inside the house that afternoon. All my worldly goods went straight into the garage for storage at the new address, and I moved in temporarily with a good friend while some renovations are being done at my house.
Moving is about as much fun as having a root canal; it’s just exhausting in every way. There’s simply nothing enjoyable about moving except the part when you’re finally done with it all, and I’m not quite done with it all. In a few weeks the movers will be back to haul most of my stuff again - out of the garage and into the house. I can hardly wait.