We lived a little more than a mile (1.2 miles, to be exact) from the high school in La Grande, Oregon. For some reason we didn’t qualify for bus service, and I wasn’t always able to get a ride with Dad on his way to work. So, during those years before I got a drivers license and that rad little Datsun pickup truck, I had to walk those 1.2 miles on foot. Through snow. Uphill both ways. (I kid you not, there was a hill AND a viaduct). Carrying a bassoon. A BASSOON!! Every day, usually midway up that second hill (snow or not), I found myself ruing the day my thirteen-year-old self thought that becoming a bassoonist was a good idea. I’d try to console myself with tales of the trials and tribulations of my pioneer ancestors — but I couldn’t recall a single faith-building story involving pioneers and bassoons. Singing as they walked, yes. Abandoning mini-pianos, also yes. And even some narcolepsy. But no bassoons. Which is how I could tell that my sufferings were beyond the pale. All I could do was stand there, shaking my fist at cruel fate and wonder: Why (oh why!) had I not taken up the piccolo?
I shook my fist in a similar manner on Saturday as I lugged the 517th box of books around my new apartment. Why (oh why!) do I collect books? Why couldn’t I collect something like cotton balls, instead? Of course, there was no answer to that question–other than the obvious, which is that I did not have sufficient exposure to cotton ball collectors as a child. (Thanks, parents.)
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here I am, shaking my fist ruefully in my new apartment, and I haven’t said anything about how I got from the old apartment into the new. Rewind, a few hours to Saturday morning:
I got up early on Saturday and set about finishing the remaining tasks that needed to be done before the movers arrived at 3pm. I bought some more boxes from UPS, dismantled the dining room table and desk, cleaned the bathroom and kitchen, vacuumed everywhere. Then I went over and checked into my new place, which was all pristine and ready to go:
The movers showed up promptly at 3pm and loaded up the truck. The three burly ment were friendly and professional, and very good at moving things from Point A to Point B. Once they got to Point B, however, things kind of broke down. I first discovered this when I went down to the loading dock after the last load left my apartment. I had expected to find them loading in the last few items, on the verge of driving away. Instead, I found them standing in the midst of an array of my belongings, looking perplexedly into the back of the truck and wondering aloud how they were going to fit everything in. I took one look and realized that the problem had nothing to do with the quantity of things and everything to do with poor loading skills. I mean, if mon père had been loading the truck, all of my things would have been inside and there’d have been a good third of the truck left over. After a few minutes, the movers turned to me and said that I didn’t need to hang around — they’d likely need another hour or so to figure out how to get everything in. Conscious of the fact that I was paying them considerable hourly rates, I reminded them that I was only moving a block away and suggested that it might be faster for them to go unload everything and come back, rather than redo the bad loading job. Clearly, on a scale between brains and brawn, these guys were more on the brawn end…
And so I spent the next hour or so sitting on the loading dock with my stuff waiting for the movers to unload and come back. Surprisingly enough, it turned out to be an interesting hour. Some woman came by and we ended up having a lively discussion about the building and our respective flooding experiences. She was properly horrified by mine, and I was aghast at hers: Apparently a couple of months ago a pipe had burst and flooded the lowest level of the parking garage with about 4 feet of water, completely destroying this woman’s brand new custom-ordered Mercedes (and every other car that had been parked on that level).
When the movers returned, they quickly picked up the rest of my things and we headed over to finish the unloading. At which point I received confirmation that these guys were really not good at handling Point B. The apartment was in complete disarray! Honestly, dizzy blind aliens couldn’t have unloaded my boxes and furniture in a more random manner. Most of my book boxes were in the closet. Book cases, lamp shades, and end tables were scattered among little clusters of boxes. The movers hadn’t even bothered to put the cushions back on the couch! Surely, even if the men had never heard of organization before, they might have recalled the orderliness of my original packing? Apparently not.
That’s right. It was a COMPLETE DISASTER. But nothing was broken or otherwise destroyed. What a blessing. Still, it was so chaotic I could barely think straight. So I paid the movers for their time and set about imposing order. Which, let’s be honest, is something I’m really good at. Especially when I know that (1) I have to go back to work in a few short hours, with no guarantee of a break at least until the following weekend, and (2) in a couple of days Amanda would arrive for a prolonged visit and really ought to be welcomed with someplace more hospitable than a stretch of cement on the balcony. By the time I went to bed Sunday night, I had made some decent progress:
There’s still plenty of work to do before I get on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens (you should see the stack of boxes on the balcony!), but at least it resembles a civilized person’s house (pre-tornado).
The jury’s still out on what I think about the apartment itself. I knew it was going to be smaller than my last place, but it feels A LOT smaller — to the point of feeling cramped. I’m definitely going to have to get rid of some furniture, and I’m completely mystified at how I’m going to store any amount of food in the kitchen cupboards when I can barely get my dishes to fit in them!
Also, there’s the question of the wall color and lighting. I loved my last place because it felt extremely light and fresh. The walls were a cool off-white, with my bluish accent wall and floods of natural light. In this apartment, everything is yellowish. The walls are yellowish, the lighting is yellowish, the carpet is yellowish. And there isn’t enough natural light to tone it down. It’s alarming, actually. I can’t repaint the entire apartment, so I’m going to have to see what I can do with a few of the walls. But that’s a project for another day. Hopefully Amanda and I can spend some time painting after she gets here. In any event, once I get the place to a presentable state, I’ll give an official tour.