Mostly whimsical reflections on life
Why go to a fat farm boot camp when you can volunteer to help someone move to a new house. If you are a glutton for punishment, pick someone with a big house.
Moving is a nonstop, fat-losing, sweat-inducing activity. You bend, climb and lift. You fetch, trot and teeter. You twist, turn and occasionally tumble. If you are fortunate, you don’t have to go the emergency room.
There are boxes to pack, lift and unpack.
There is furniture to lug to a truck, squeeze into tight space and unload to carry up flights of stairs.
There are appliances to unhook, wrestle through doorways, struggle to get into a truck, only to repeat the exercise in reverse at the new house.
Food has to be stuffed into coolers and unstuffed into a waiting refrigerator or freezer, assuming the food arrives at the new house after the refrigerator or freezer arrive. If not, there is ice to buy and food to cool.
When there are kids, there are toys. All shapes of toys that defy neatly packing into a box. Toys that keep you on our toes when they whir and buzz unexpectedly. Toys that give you a surprise goose if you aren’t careful.
There are clothes. The clothes people normally wear, and the clothes they haven’t worn for years, but are too lazy to throw away or take to Goodwill. Dresses, suits, shirts, blouses, slacks, pant suits, underwear, socks, lingerie, leisure suits, Halloween costumes, night costumes, Christmas sweaters, jackets, heavy coats and shoes. Lots of shoes. Often lots of smelly old shoes.
There are junk drawers. Don’t deny it. Everyone has junk drawers, sometimes multiple junk drawers. In them, there are pens, pencils, paper clips, post-it notes, old stamps, scraps of paper, crinkled candy wrappers, miscellaneous pieces of metal, expired coupons, tchotchkes, forgotten to-do notes, crumbs, calculators, string, playing cards, dead insects, fingernail clippings, chewed gum in a wrapper, broken scissors and other unidentified horrific objects.
It is too daunting to sift through the rubble, so the contents of the drawer are poured into a hefty bag and hauled to the new house. No sane person wants to deal with the transported mess at the new house, so the Hefty bag is tossed into a vacant corner. If you are lucky, it is mistaken for the junk bag and tossed into the trash. If you are unlucky, the Hefty bag is still sitting there unattended weeks after the move.
For people who buy new furniture for their new home, there is much to assemble. It takes an engineering degree to figure out to extract furniture from their shipping boxes. Then comes the challenge of deciphering the directions and counting to make sure you have all the parts. There are three-legged stools, but few three-legged tables.
There are people who assemble furniture for a living, then there is the rest of us who contort our bodies to get the right angle to insert and tighten a screw in an awkward place or spend inordinate amount of time trying to snap together molded plastic desk drawers.
Packing up kitchens is a cathartic experience. What should make the trip or be left behind. Where to put everything in the new kitchen. Complicating this conundrum is trying to remember in what box you packed the spatulas, paper towels and dish soap. And discovering that you forgot to pack the cooking pan drawer at the old house.
Laundry rooms offer an otherworldly experience. In addition to wrangling washers and dryers from one place to another, there is the unexpected thrill of discovering a missing sock that may have become the comfy home of a mouse.
After much labor, sweat and a few chipped walls, there is the exhilaration of seeing the new house take shape, as unpacked boxes disappear and the slightly mangled flower arrangement sprouts on the kitchen island. There is utter relief when the furniture goes where it is intended and you finally have a place to sit, rest and admire your handiwork.
At least until you see that Hefty bag looming in the corner.
[A few exaggerated perceptions from a week when Carole and I helped our daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren move into their new Scottsdale house. Lots of work. Lots of fun.]