Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Irreconcilable Differences Part 2*

Click for Source

Click for Source

*or, Cluster Truck**

In Part 1, you read about the assorted problems we experienced as we dealt with moving our household, that is the headaches with bankers, lawyers, and buyers.

These were all minor glitches, however, compared to the irreconcilable differences between husband and wife.

He wanted to move the household contents himself.

She wanted to hire movers.

He: We’ll rent a truck and move the stuff to a storage facility a week before closing. That way we can unload at our leisure over the next couple of months.

She: A couple of months?! Let’s hire movers and get it done in one day!

He: Movers are too expensive. The house will be too chaotic with stuff all over the place.

She: And how much is it going to cost to do it your way? And who’s this “we”? I can’t help with my bad back, you know that.

He: It’s not going to cost as much as hiring movers. I’ll get Robert to help.

She: Have you done the math? You have to rent the truck, storage space up north, overnight stays and meals for you and Robert… Besides Robert works!

He: Don’t worry about it! I am perfectly capable of doing this myself.

She: [insert stink-eye here]

***   ***   ***

Up until now, I was the “administrative lead” for the move, and handled all of the related paperwork. By way of rebellion, I told him that this DIY plan was his baby and he needed to make all the arrangements.

But man, did it kill me to see each day go by when he hadn’t made any calls.

Around the middle of April, I called an agent from one of the big moving companies. She came to our house to take an inventory of the contents. He hovered at the kitchen sink while the agent and I chatted at the table.

“You’re not signing anything, are you?” he asked.

“No, of course not. This is just the quoting stage.” [insert stink-eye here]

After he left, I explained the situation to the agent. She didn’t think that all of our stuff would fit on a U-Haul truck, so we would need to make multiple trips.


Two days later, the quote came in – the better part of $6000.00.

Then I did exactly what I swore I would not do. I started to research the cost of moving the stuff “our”self. How was I going to win an argument comparing costs if I didn’t have the data?

Damn. He was right. The DIY route was about half the cost of hiring the pros.

But what about his time, his cost? Shouldn’t I factor in some sort of expense for the hours he’d spend loading, driving, and unloading? Of course, I should. Of course, I did.

Of course, he dismissed it.

You see, he was laid off his job in November. He claimed that since he was unemployed and therefore not making money, he was worth ZERO.

I tried, one more time to get him to consider the physical risk.

His reply: there was no risk. He had Robert to help.

He insisted on moving as cheaply as possible. If our stuff wouldn’t all fit in one load, and that meant a second trip, well, that’s what it would be. If there is risk to his health, or to the health of his helper, that’s a risk he was willing to take. It was non-negotiable.

He made all of the necessary arrangements.

***   ***   ***

Spring was lovely, but we had little time to enjoy it. We were busy consolidating mountains of stuff. “Pitch and purge” was our mantra.

I wrote to a friend,

He made a huge dent in the piles yesterday – it was trash day and seven contractor bags went to the curb, and a carload of crap to the dump. Then there was the bonfire at the end of the day.

My job was to pack the household contents, he looked after the sheds, the garage, and the basement. We both had full-time jobs sorting, packing, and stacking.

There were plenty of signs that the stress was building. For instance: Did you know that if you cut a tomato in half and put it in the fridge and then your wife comes along and cuts that half in half (perpendicular, so now there are two faces rather than one complete circle face) then that tomato is ruined, RUINED I tell you! and you cannot use it on your breakfast sandwich.

***   ***   ***

One evening, two weeks to “D” Day the conversation turned again to “what if” there is more stuff than the truck can hold. “No problem. I’ll rent another truck on moving day and you can follow behind in the car.”

“No freaking way! I am not driving that distance, on my own, with two hysterical cats on the highways!” Call me a slacker, but this is beyond the limit of my personal comfort. Others may not bat an eye at taking the 401, 407, and the 400, but for me, it was a non-starter.

Mildly panicked, I went to the garage, where by now, many of the household items were packed up, staged for the move. I tried to imagine the interior of the truck and panicked some more. How could all of this fit on the truck, besides the stacks of boxes and furniture that still remained in the house?

I asked him to help me measure off the interior dimensions of the truck inside the garage: 26 x 8 x 8. Maybe a visual would help.

It didn’t. I’m lousy at spacial reasoning. He said those hateful words, “Don’t worry about it.” He has moved households dozens of times. He’s made it work before. I could trust him, right?

I wish I could have said, “Right!” But I’ve also heard him make emphatic declarations that turned out to be bluster and BS.

I wrote to a friend

Worse is his argument for why our stuff should fit. He purchased cardboard boxes and calculated the volume. He figures they should fill a third of the truck. Fine, but not everything is in those boxes. MOST of our stuff is like lawn mowers and snow plows and mattresses that don’t fit together very well. What then?  See how I am raving? I don’t trust myself, and I don’t trust him. It’s a tough place to be. Especially with a full moon! 

Three days before the move, Reiner woke after a sleepless night trying to figure how to fit all of the stuff into the truck.

That day, he created a spreadsheet and, applying his geology experience, he used it to calculate a 3D model of the interior of the truck. He mapped out which item would go where. Judging from the positive exclamations I heard from his side of the room, it sounded promising.

***   ***   ***

D-Day arrived. Reiner picked up the truck, and Robert’s son who was our helper – a strapping able-bodied young man named, aptly, Abel.

There was some fuss getting the truck into the yard – the slope of the driveway meant he had to drive it in, rather than back in so that the rear door opened to the garage. No biggie.

The three of us spent the day loading the truck. I mostly stayed out of their way, but helped where I could, keeping them fed and watered, and basically keeping an eye on progress, as if by my simply willing everything to fit, it would.

And it did. So help me god, it did. Every last square inch of that 26 x 8 x 8 space was filled.

Everything but the lawnmower, that is, and he was happy to leave that behind, because it was a clunky old thing anyway.

Just like that. Anticlimactic, or what?

***   ***   ***

Well, not so fast. One more hiccup.

It’s now dusk and I’m upstairs getting ready for bed. The guys want to get the truck out on the street while the coast is clear. I hear the gears of the truck as it drives forward, and the “beep-beep-beep” as it reverses, over and over again. I hear Abel hollering directions to turn this way, to turn that, to “STOP!” I hear some mild, and then less-than-mild profanity. I peek out the window, afraid for what I might see.

There was the truck, leaning at a precarious angle, as it slowly inched its way diagonally across the slope of the front lawn. It turns out that under full load, they could not back the truck straight out of the driveway.

***   ***   ***

Would you forgive me if I said it was all downhill from this point on?

Suffice to say, I owe him a life-time of gratitude for not once even hinting “I told you so.”

I had the house to myself for the next few days. I rounded up the dust bunnies and cleaned a surface or two. It finally started to hit me, now that the rooms were empty, and the daily routine was no longer: a sense of loss kicked in. Which was a good thing. I had feared that I had buried my feelings too deeply. So yeah, bittersweet was the mood. That, and a stupendous, overwhelming sense of relief.

The stuff fit on the truck.

**Thanks to my friend Stephanie Martin for suggesting this term, and for lending an ear when I need to vent.

Categories: Husband


35 replies

  1. Cluster Truck, slicing a tomato the wrong freaking way and more than one stink-eye??!! Oh, Maggie–please tell me I am laughing with you. This was a riot! And he didn’t say, ‘I told you so.’ Damn. I hate when people get so high and mighty like that. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am amazed that it all fit in the truck! Seeing the $$ quote for using professional movers is why I never have, but there are always trade-offs. I’m glad the two of you got through it OK. Now, about ruining that perfectly good tomato by – gasp – cutting it… how could you?

    Liked by 2 people

    • The cost to hire the pros is not cheap, especially for a long haul move. But I kept “awful-izing” the situation – what if he hurt himself? Then what? He’d be in traction, our stuff would be somewhere in limbo, and I’d be in an empty house caring for an invalid. See how my mind works?

      As for the tomato. Yeah. I know. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. …and they lived happily ever after – as long as no tomatoes are incorrectly sliced and they don’t ever move again! Masterfully told, Maggie.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Laughing, more or less. Because I’m pretty sure it wasn’t funny at the time. But what a great story now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Carol – I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Yeah, it still stings a bit to recall those times. I kept marveling at how, with all those moves under my belt, I wasn’t able to cope with this one. It was by far the worst in terms of my emotional well-being.


  5. Obviously love outweighs everything in your case Maggie. I can’t politely share here what it would have been like in my household had this been our story.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reiner was right about the tomato 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. OMG THE LOLZ! Hahaha! Shame on you cutting a tomato in half like that! What were you even thinking?!?
    As I mentioned, I don’t move things. I have arthritis. Moving house means that I lose my hands for days and the auto-immune crap settles in somewhere-wherever-randomly and makes me sick for weeks, and well, no one wants to read about that.
    I don’t move things. This last time, even The Mister didn’t move things. It was AWESOME.
    But lemme tell you, my husband is also genius spatial person, and I have seen him do things I didn’t think were actually possible, so when he tells me stuff will fit, I watch him do it and then I brag on him, because it’s amazing.
    And I don’t let him slice a tomato, ffs.
    Thank goodness you’re settled now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you about the auto-immune crap – I had an episode of what I can only describe as delayed immune reaction to the stress of the move, including the daily drives to the storage facility. Never, EVER again.

      So, I wasn’t able to stick to my guns, like you were hoping. This is one time when his anxiety trumped mine.

      I have never been able to look at a tomato the same way since. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ll bet that every evening, he scoops you up into a big dramatic hug and says something like, “Baby, you’re the greatest!”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m radical like you, Maggie. I will cut a tomato in all kinds of odd ways and strangely enough, I can’t tell the difference in the taste. I’m blessed … Gilles doesn’t care 🙂

    …but if we were moving? Oh, it could get ugly … Yeah, I’m not good at the whole spatial thing either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are my tomato comrade!

      Back in the late 90’s when Bell down-sized me, I took a battery of aptitude tests at Fanshawe College, in London. You know, to figure out what I should do next in my life. I managed to score high in every area except spatial reasoning. I got something like 17 out of 100. The counselor was careful to point out that while I was able to answer only 17, I got all 17 correct. I get it – eventually, with lots of effort and time.

      Now, the question is, would I have felt any better about hubby’s declaration to trust him if I had remembered my poor aptitude?


      We were both too caught up in our anxiety spirals to listen to each other.


  10. Smiling and sighing at the same time.We did the U Haul thing once, moved 2000 miles away with 2 dogs, but we were motivated, and 20-somethings. The last move was less than 2 miles up the same road, we/he decided we could do it ourselves with a few friends…all of whom were over 40 yr. old. It was not pretty, but we got it done. Never again. I’ll pay anything to those professional movers. Love your telling of the story…and that picture is amazing. 💘
    p.s. I never let anyone near my tomatoes.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I saw this last night Maggie, but I was too tired to give it the required attention. Packing a moving truck is somewhat of an art, and your hubs seems to have the touch. I have moved and moved others in these things and you reach a point, early on, when you just know it’s all really going to fit. I’ve also been the recipient of the dreaded stink-eye, and I’ve ruined a few tomatoes in my time 🙂

    I am glad it worked out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny – I was going to delay this post until this morning, figuring there’d be folks who’d have more time to read and remark in the morning! I appreciate your dedication to promptly replying!

      It did work out, thank you, and for that I am grateful!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This is hilarious– and the absolute wrong message to send husbands everywhere. They must not be encouraged to believe they have things under control, even if, as in this specific situation, things worked out ok. Gracious, the whole story gives me pause. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I cannot think of another conflict wherein we were so totally and vehemently opposed. As a matter of fact, hubby usually plays the “whatever you say, dear” card. So I even had to process that little element of surprise.

      Thanks for stopping by to read and remark!

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Still…he took a big risk. Guys who are not used to moving big things can get hurt. Glad it all worked out. Your tomato story reminded me of the time some friends came for dinner. The wife kept wanting to help so I asked her to slice the tomatoes. She cut them in big chunks (?). There were to go on hamburgers. I calmly made a side salad rather than offend her but I learned a lesson. Everyone cuts tomatoes differently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • THANK you! He did take a big risk and I lived in high anxiety about “what if” for weeks.

      Good work around with the tomatoes there – I had no idea that there’d be so many people who would respond to the vegetable portion of this story!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I loved both parts I and II. Even if it sounds like it was a frazzled hassle on your end, you reported it blithely. May the move serve you both. But did you really move from Paris, France? Or was it another Paris altogether?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. You never told me you were the Beverly Hillbillies. Next thing you will tell me is that you don’t live in a mansion in Beverly Hills.

    Liked by 1 person


    for me 🙂

    It’s hard to pack up a life and transport it all that way…because you’re stuffing more than just things in those boxes – you’re packing your personal energies as well. They don’t do well when they’re scattered all willy-nilly in a ton of different boxes – they like to be out in the fresh air so they can spread their influence in a space.

    But…it does sound like the Mister survived multiple stink-eyes, and you survived the opportunity for him to say “I told you so…”

    so now you can go back to adding to that life in your new space.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Irreconcilable Differences Part 1 – The Zombies Ate My Brains

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s