Mid-Life Crisis Trip
Entry 5: Moving Wednesday
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
The Big Day--today all our stuff gets moved from here to there, and there becomes here.
The first order of business is the cats. We have two of them: big fat Mooch and teeny little Indiana. Neither of them will take kindly to people tromping through their territory and moving stuff (including all their hiding places). So, we figure the best move is to put them in solitary confinement in one of the bathrooms with food and water.
Robert has been carefully training Indy to show up at breakfast for some "Whisker Lickins" (but only the hard ones, she doesn't like the soft ones). This morning, instead of "Whisker Lickins" she gets grabbed, while Laura grabs Mooch and our surefire plan is almost complete.
We don't think it's a linquistic coincidence that "surefire" and "backfire" are very similar words.
Sure enough, as we're stuffing them into the bathroom, Mooch decides to exert his 25 pounds of fat at exactly the same time Indy wiggles loose with all claws deployed and launches herself across Robert. (Indy was named after "Indiana Jones" because of her acrobatic tendencies--actually, she makes the movie Indy look sort of geriatric.)
We're now bleeding, dazed, and arguing. What a delightful way to start moving day!
The cats have finally been corralled and confined and we move on to un-making the bed and more packing. It's already a two-bandage move and the movers haven't even shown up yet.
The movers show up pretty much on time (not something to take for granted when using the low bidder). We're going to call the moving company "Acme Movers" because we don't want to embarrass anybody (or get tracked down by them).
One of the advantages of knowing parents of teenage kids is that they know all the tell-tale signs of drug use, and they cheerfully pass that information along. Thanks to "E" (everybody gets a pseudonym today!) we know that one of the movers is probably a methamphetamine junkie (missing front teeth, skinny, nervous, talks and sweats a lot) but not hard core (no open sores).
Still, he likes to stay in motion, which is fine with us.
The other mover is a typical weight lifter guy who's doing this because he can get paid for working out.
Muscle Mover thinks it's going to take two trips for all our stuff, so he has a proposal: Acme Moving has a minimum of 4 hours. He'll tell them that it took only four hours, and we'll pay him and Meth Mover under the table (for less money) for the rest of the hours.
We're not entirely comfortable with this (it violates about 18 different ethical codes for contractors--and oh, look! we're contractors). When we try to find a compromise, Muscle Mover starts lowering his price to absurd levels. We decide that underpaying them is probably worse that paying them under the table.
Note to any IRS agents reading this: Haha! Of course this is just a joke!
Our first load is packed and ready for Truckin' Bob. True to Muscle Mover's predictions, only about 2/3 of our stuff fits into the 16- foot truck. Ugh. We still have 8 feet of crap to get rid of, but that'll have to wait.
For now--we're trucking!
Fortunately, the weather is lovely and there are no houses on the freeway, so all our stuff makes it safely to Greenwood AND there's a parking space right in front of the apartment house!
We are pretty much exactly on schedule. The first truckload was unloaded without incident. And the second half-load is now loaded up and ready to be driven over to Greenlake.
Laura is disturbed because Robert is starting to sing along to the country songs: "She wants a Big Ol' Man with a Big Ol' Heart to give her Big Ol' Kisses on her Big Ol'..."
Laura arrives at the Greenwood place, having driven the PT Cruiser over.
"Oh by the way, some of the car's electrical devices started acting weird and there was smoke coming out of the steering column," she casually mentions.
"What?!?!" says Robert as his eyes bug out.
"But the smoke quit after a while, so I kept driving," she explains.
"You had an electrical fire in a car AND YOU KEPT DRIVING?!?!?" hollers Robert as he tries to wrap his head around this concept.
"How else would I get here?"
Robert shakes his head and decides just to get the dang thing fixed. After some phone calls to information (our yellow pages being conveniently packed in some random box), he gets a phone number for a Chrysler dealer. It turns out that the dealer is about two blocks away on Aurora (yay!).
When he gets into the car, he discovers that Laura actually did have a strategy for dealing with the electrical fire: she turned on every single electrical device in the car, apparently in an attempt to starve the fire of electricity. (Kids: Don't try this at home. If there's an electrical fire, turn OFF all the electrical devices. Geez Louise.)
["I did not turn them on. They were already on." L]
["You LEFT them on, then." R]
Fortunately, no further flames erupt from the steering wheel during the two-block drive to the dealer. Even further fortunately, there's a rental car place here, so we can get a replacement car so we can retrieve the cats (remember them?). It takes some haggling to get a reasonably sized vehicle that can still carry the cat carrier (the lady tries to rent us a four-door 1-ton pickup as we try to explain that they're housecats, not mountain lions).
The 16-foot rental truck is returned, and Robert takes the wheel of the minivan. This makes three different vehicles Robert has driven today, which is beginning to confuse him ("Is this the one with the country music?").
We retrieve the cats and carry them across the lake in the minivan. Once in the new place, we open the cage door.
Mooch saunters out, checks that he has food and strolls into the living room. After a brief circuit, he proclaims that this will do nicely and lumbers onto the couch for a nap. Indy is pretty much totally freaked out and spends most of the next day cowering under the couch (except for waking Robert once in the middle of the night, glaring at him accusingly about two inches from his face).
Sometimes you'll see ads about couples who have moved into a new house or apartment. They are always sitting on the floor of a mostly empty living room, romantically toasting each other with champagne as they gaze into each other's eyes.
Here's the reality: We finally find the box marked "Booze." Every bit of floor space is covered in boxes other than where the couch is and Mooch is taking up most of that. We can't find any glasses, so we're swigging straight from the bottles, and our conversation is mostly about how well the bandages are holding up and whether any of the wounds will get infected.