*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.
Tags: daily prompt