Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Moving “Day” is a total misnomer. It took me two months to inform the world we were moving, three months to find the right boxes, and four months to pack. Nothing happens in a day, especially moving every one of your life’s possessions from a rental apartment to your first house.
For our actual move, Mr. Wonderful and I went local. I called several Los Angeles-based companies and got price quotes for our in-town move. This shopping around proved invaluable because 1) I discovered the going rate to move a mere 10 minutes/five miles away; and 2) I learned we wanted movers who communicated with us. Of the companies I called one was unavailable, one’s office number was disconnected and several others never bothered to return my voicemails. I know, how demanding, old-fashioned and just plain silly of me wanting a business to call me back to discuss me giving them my business. Get with the times, Girl!
In the end we chose a company who called us back and could move us on the date we wanted. Finally someone was speaking our language. Actually they didn’t speak much of our language but they were fluent in Russian. Our moving crew consisted of a Muscovite, a Ukrainian and one Kazakhstani who had immigrated to the City of Angels just one month before. I only know one thing about Kazakhstan so I asked our mover if he knew that crazy Kazak reporter, “Borat” and his tour of America. Right about then the Kazak broke my grandmother’s picture frame.
After that I decided to stop asking stupid questions and get out of the movers’ way, which definitely helped because they finished loading the truck without breaking anything else. As the sun climbed pushing the temperature close to triple digits, these men from a region of the world where Siberia is a vacation destination and “summer” is a foreign concept, were visibly wilting in the Southern Californian sun. To offset the heat they gulped down a bottle of water for every five boxes they put on the truck; in other words 732 water bottles.
Driving his car Mr. Wonderful led the way out of our noisy rental neighborhood, which lay in the middle of the Burbank Airport flight path, to The House. The moving truck followed him while I took a detour to pick up a dozen sandwiches from Subway. By the time I arrived the driveway, kitchen and patio looked like a World War II depot had vomited boxes. Then the Kazak approached me with panic in his eyes.
“Wh- where restroom?” he said shifting his weight from foot to foot in a universally understandable jig.
I steered him to the room off the kitchen then joined the others schlepping box after box after box. Boxes labeled “living room”, master bedroom” and “random junk I should have thrown out” soon filled the rooms.
Inside I bumped into the Kazak holding a box labeled “bathroom”.
“Where I put?” he asked.
I steered him to the room he already knew located off the kitchen.
“No,” he shook his head, “That ‘restroom’. This go to ‘bathroom’,” he pointed to the label I’d written.
“Bathroom means restroom.”
He tilted his head like a Terrier.
“They mean the same thing, they are the same thing,” I said wiping the sweat from my brow.
“Two words for same thing?” he grimaced. “So not practical.”
Practical? He’s talking prac-tical!? I looked around: the place was littered with boxes of stuff I didn’t need, a long scrape now ran across the whole wall of a freshly painted bedroom and our solid oak dining room table suddenly had two wobbly legs.
He’s right! It completely impractical to pack up all your life’s possessions, cart them to a new house, which you don’t fully own but are borrowing from a bank and for the next twenty years and must spend every month paying back. Packing, moving and not breaking anything in the process are absolute impracticalities I never should have embarked upon. Turn back! I want to shout to Mr. Wonderful. I’ve changed my mind! This is too impractical, messy and disruptive for me!
“What now?!” I wailed.
“The truck is empty,” Mr. Wonderful said. “You hungry?”
With the movers I pulled together a couple random chairs in the back yard and laid out the Subway sandwiches and drinks. The sun shone, a gentle breeze rustled our palm trees, a mockingbird perked on the fence and sang his melodious repertoire. I didn’t hear an airplane, or a truck not even a motorcycle.
The Kazak grabbed a turkey sandwich on focaccia bread and announced, “This good.”
I looked at the stacked boxes pouring out of the rooms like a disaster zone. I saw all the work we had to do just to make a cup of coffee.
“Yes,” I said looking at our first house, “It's very good.”