A Lighter View . . . Moving Day

A Lighter View . . . Moving Day

By Karen M. Morris

By Karen M. Morris

Freelance Writer

When our firstborn left for college, all of her belongings fit in the minivan. By spring break, she’d doubled her load, and I’m not talking classes. She quickly outgrew our transportation, and introduced us to the exciting field of rental and disposable furnishings. By the time she graduated, we were buying her cardboard furniture that you could fold up and mail home in an envelope.

When Leslie married Patrick, we rejoiced. (We thought this was the final time we’d have to move her waterbed and armoire.) But two years later, they were ready to move again, and bought a condo in downtown Chicago for just a little more than what we paid for Alaska. To save money, they invited their families to a “relocation” party…a BYOB (bring your own boxes).

On moving day, Patrick’s folks, Bill and Katy, arrived in an 18-foot truck from “Pine Floor Rentals,” and we showed up with Morry and Leo from “Morris Originals.” Leslie and Patrick’s tiny 15th-floor apartment had enough furniture to furnish Buckingham Palace. It looked like a warehouse with a maze of boxes stacked to the ceiling. And some man was frantically waving at us from behind some boxes on the balcony.

“Who’s that?” I asked.

“Oh, that’s Evan. He’s been trapped there since last night,” Leslie said, grabbing some tape. “Don’t worry, he should be freed in an hour or so.”

We divided into groups… packers, haulers, loaders and loafers. Except, I guess there wasn’t really a loafer category. I mistook a neighbor sneaking off to the pool as a helper and started calling him worthless before Leslie could stop me. The women packed, taped and labeled. The guys hauled. Bill loaded the truck. And Evan was liberated from the balcony.

“Now, here are the directions to the new condo. Do not lose these,” Leslie said, passing out maps with written instructions. “We have the service elevator from 5-8 here and from 2-5 at the condo.”

“Isn’t that backwards?” I asked, mentally calculating the time frame.

“It’s all I could get!” she barked. “So, let’s not talk about it.”

For the next six hours, everyone worked tirelessly, and asked Leslie every five minutes what the elevator times were again. A box marked “Take Last” was the first one loaded along with several labeled “Throw Away.” By 3 p.m. the truck was full, and it was time to head to the new condo.

It all seemed so simple until we had to figure out who was going in whose vehicle and how many vehicles were needed. We had nine people (not counting the neighbor); a truck that held two; a van that held seven; and two jeeps that held 5 people each. Scrambling around the parking lot like field mice looking for shelter, we ended up driving all the vehicles and leaving two people behind. Did I mention we had two CPAs in the group?

“Where’s Pink Floyd?” Wayne asked, swerving onto the interstate.

“WHO?” I asked.

“Bill, in that Pink Floyd truck. I was planning on following him.”

“It’s a Pine Floor Rental, and he’s long gone. Just follow the directions Leslie printed for us.”

“I think they got packed on the truck.”

After circling O’Hare Airport three times, Wayne finally succumbed to my laser beam stares and stopped for directions. “Do you know how to get to this address?” Wayne asked, flashing a piece of paper in front of an Air France sky-cap.

“Oui…take this road until you get to the road that merges into the other one. Take a left at the exit by that one street, and then keep going till it ends by the other road and turn right.”

Wayne slid back into the van. “Well, what did he say?” I asked.

“He didn’t speak English. Check the glove-box for a Chicago map.”

“The only maps we have are of Canadian fishing sites,” I grumbled, digging through oil, tire and food receipts. “So, unless we’re in Snake Bay, Ontario, we’re busted.”

We waited like rejects by a toll booth and hoped someone would rescue us. Finally, Patrick drove by and waved. Wayne gunned the van, and tailgated him till we got to the condo.

Standing in the empty truck, Bill greeted us with a smile. “Well, slowpokes, the good news is that almost everything fit on the regular elevator.”

“And the bad news…is?”

“We have to carry the water bed and armoire up to the 14th floor, and we somehow left Morry and Leo behind at the apartment.”

To celebrate the first day of the move, Patrick poured champagne for everyone. Wayne could barely lift his glass, but I had three refills.

I’d just realized this was only the beginning. I mean…how long will Leo be happy living in the basement? We’ll be moving our children until we’re 90.

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