I woke up with mixed emotions on my parents’ moving day. Relief that something I’d worked so hard for was coming to fruition. Sympathy for my Mom who didn’t want to leave her home. Peace that my parents would go to sleep that night somewhere much safer and more secure than they had on the previous evening. Oh and a boatload of anxiety about the details of the move.
I hit my parents’ front door a little before nine. My sister, Susan, and her husband, Larry, were not far behind me. Bill, my husband, was supposed to get there about 9:45. The movers were supposed arrive between ten and 10:30.
My job was to pack up all the last minute stuff. Larry and Susan were to deliver Mom and Dad to Whiterock Court. And Bill was supposed to help me get the mattresses covered. The moving company officially disclaimed any responsibility if the mattresses got dirty, unless I gave them mucho dinero for mattress boxes. No gracias.
When the movers arrived forty-five minutes early with my parents still at the house and Bill no where in sight, I knew it was going to be an interesting day. I shooed Mom, Dad, Susan and Larry out the door and got about the business of moving.
Except for those few last minute items, I was ready for the movers. The boxes were lined up in the living room. Each piece of furniture wore a huge sign saying “Stay” or “Go.” “Go” tags went on to tell where they would be placed in the apartment. In no time at all things were flying out the door.
Since the movers were early and Bill was caught in traffic, they kindly helped me wrap the mattresses at no extra charge. Bill showed up as the last few items were being loaded onto the van. I felt like I’d just been through one of those Texas Twisters.
By eleven, we pulled up in front of the retirement center. Mom and Dad were already safely ensconced in a borrowed apartment. Larry, Susan and I hurried to open up for the movers, while Bill directed the the set-up downstairs. Bill led the way as the first load of items straggled up the elevator. after the furniture was put into place, there was a long lag.
I asked no one in particular, “Should one of us be down there to direct things? I’d be glad to go, but I think I’m more valuable up here.” Bill went to find what was holding up the progress and then we waited another long stretch.
Suddenly, things started appearing, but in exactly the wrong order. In a perfect world, the movers would have unloaded the way I told them to – furniture first, boxes last, because there wasn’t enough room for the furniture if the boxes filled the space. In a panic, I threw my body in front of the door so the movers would stage the boxes in the hall.
Then Bill showed up with wild eyes and his very curly hair proverbially standing on end. Management was barring the movers from using the elevator as the residents wandered towards lunch. Our move was coming to a screeching halt, but the meter would keep on running.
The next report from downstairs was even crazier. In their urgency to get the furniture up to the third floor, the movers overloaded the elevator. Now our furniture was stuck between floors and the residents wouldn’t be able to get to the dining room. The dining room wait staff would have to deliver meals to the residents apartments without the benefit of an elevator. Whoever designed the building obviously hadn’t thought through our moving day.
In the delays between furniture deliveries, I’d already begun to unpack the boxes in the hallway. Larry found a quiet corner and began to build the IKEA dining table. Susan carried messages of our progress to my parents. Bill set the movers to building bed frames and fine tuning the furniture placement, since they were paid by the hour, not the job.
Thankfully the elevator didn’t stay down long. Soon the final pieces of furniture were in place and Bill paid the movers. It was almost two o’clock and my help was starving. Food was the last thing I was interested in, but even though my laborers were free, they weren’t slaves. We took a lunch break.
One of the strengths of my marriage is that Bill and I look at things from differing perspectives. It’s also one of the more frustrating aspects. As we drove to a nearby restaurant the conversation in the car reflected these differences. I was all about getting the beds made, the phones hooked up and the rest of the IKEA furniture built. Bill was all about returning to my parents’ house and loading up decorative items to finish the look of the apartment.
Decorating had not been on my schedule for the day. My only goal was to have my parents sleep in their own apartment that night. So what do you think happened next?