Another Moving Day

In the end it took five adults a little over seven hours to pack seven boxes,  one chair , one authentic Amish built remote-controlled fire place-space heater that is on wheels, and one wall unit,  into the moving truck.

Seven hours.  Seven long hours. Seven long hours like giving birth hours, or SAT or LSAT or GMAT  hours.

Not to be confused with seven  Napa hours, seven beach hours,  seven brunch hours,  or seven,  watching all three The Lord of The Rings Movies in one day, hours. 

After seven such  hours with one,  well-meaning but silent husband,  and three retirees,  two of which were men who always knew with unshakable certainty  the one and only correct way to pack every single item, and all this taking place in a trailer of less than 1000 square feet, its only natural, isn’t it, to have lost it?  Anyone would have, right?

They arrived an hour early, fresh,  fed, rested and ready to go.  The in-laws best friends an ancient force of nature complete with rope, string, paper for wrapping, and an absurdly positive attitude.

I am exhausted just looking at them, still in pj’s and coffee cold again in my hand. I have zapped said coffee three times already in the micro, I retreat to dress, give up on a hot cup of coffee, pour it down the sink, and ask for patience for the day… patience and kindness that’s all I need.  Ok,  maybe patience, kindness,  and a smile would be helpful…..but I would really settle for patience, that should cover all the bases, right?

My husband Gary is here, Mr. Best Friend drives him to pick up the moving truck, I watch them leave already using a portion of my patience pie, calling him a traitor under my breath as this was not the plan, and if ever I needed to stick to a plan it was today. Like a master chess player I realize this opening move has left me vulnerable.  This was something I had wanted to avoid at all costs, being alone with Mrs. Friend. I will need to change my game plan. All I can think of is either an extended mental escape or a feigned instant bout of a mysterious stomach ailment which places me in the bathroom until the moving truck arrives….

Mrs. Friend, a grieving mother in her own right, fragile, one with a burning need to busy her hands, busy her mind busy her heart. I have already had an entire day with them filled with mourning, hand holding, tears and sopping kleenex, lunch and right hand only turn driving. I will not survive another. 

“Whats first?” she asks.

” Well… we don’t really have any room to do much until we have boxes to put it in…until they get back with the truck and boxes….Jackie is coming up this weekend to close up for the season, so….there really isn’t a lot of stuff, he is only taking a few items that will fit in his  bedroom, and that wall unit in the other room”…

Griff appears on cue, with a pile of glass wear from the wall unit. “These are going to Texas.. .” the tartan embossed shot  and whiskey glasses held aloft, I close my eyes unwilling them to look any further. My house is already filled to the brim with crap. I have secret dreams of selling it all and moving to a barn filled with books, a kindle or an iPad, and nothing else.  Ok maybe food,  a kindle or iPad, but absolutely nothing else. Well  maybe a bathtub, food, a kindle or iPad…but nothing else not even a fucking television.

Authentic Tartan embossed glasses are not part of  my imaginary barn decor.

“And you are taking these photos right?” she asks.

Soon the kitchen and dining room table are covered. They stack and retrieve items,  a pair of ceramic clowns, glass sun catchers, Norman Rockwall authentic print plates in two convenient sizes, an incomplete encyclopedia set missing both the L-M-N  and W-X-Y-Z issues, an atlas of the United States from 1973,  countless ancient trip tic road maps from AAA , authentic tribal beaded horn and rain stick from South Africa,  various power cords to god knows what, surge protectors, extension cords and my personal favorite, old tech manuals  and proofs of purchase receipts for electronic items broken and tossed long long ago.

Little boxes,  little boxes made of  ticky tacky …

I close my eyes and take a breath, I don’t need folk tunes rolling around my brain today, thanks…. wait maybe I do. A kindred spirit, Miss Malvina,  even if  she is singing in my head it does seem to quiet the pounding pulse above my left eye, and it stops the twitching too…

I let the tune silently wash over me, 

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.

Slowly I realize the song is working…I wonder if I could ever hear such moving work live in concert,  wonder if my tears would well on the outside and spill over as the air carried the soft vibrations over me…I know I would interrupt others…kinda like when I eat and moan at the same time.

“Griff do you think you need to look in the shed for those tools you what to take..?”, distraction my first line of defense.

There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

“Oh yes… I need to do that…”, He happily goes to the car port and starts piling up the patio table full of flotsam and jetsam from the shed.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there’s doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

I bring in a box of newspaper for Mrs. Friend, busy hands my second defensive maneuver, it means the chances of her tears falling are lessened.  She wraps and rolls  the glasses, pictures, and chats.  An hour passes before she pauses, and then whispers,

 “I can’t believe they are both gone”. 

Please let her be talking about our husbands taking fucking forever picking up the truck…I don’t want to look up, but shitcrapfuck I do.

 Tears are falling. She takes her hanky from her pocket and wipes them away, I am empty, I have no words to fill the gap, instead I place my hand on her arm, it’s all I can do. It’s not our husbands, its her daughter and Best Friend  Hilda she is talking about, dying four days apart.…. keep singing, keep singing…

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

“I’m calling them to see whats taking so long….” I offer.

The phone call was short stern and offered no explanation other than, “We are almost done, I’ll tell you about it when I get there..” click…

Oh no he didn’t.

Instantly I am a wound up tin toy, the kind of toy car that pushed backwards, with a series of  click click click almost siren sounds,  revs  up tightly ready for forward motion…  I fear for the husbands  survival upon his return and at the same time silently select the series of colorful adjectives I shall hurl in his direction.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Thank you Miss  Malvina Reynolds…it helpes …

” you are welcome darling”,  she answers with a smile.

The sing-song folk concert in my head successfully distracted me and the husband survived in the end. I simply looked at him and mentioned I didn’t like being left with a grieving mother, and if he ever repeated his… shall we just call it a  supremely brief phone  communication style?  If ever repeated…I would not be held responsible and  I know in my heart a jury of my peers would  never ever convict me…

The one only true loosing of the temper came at the very end, in the shed as father and son were tossing paint rollers into  the last box,

 “just filling it up because there was room”.

I knew intellectually that the more familiar the setting, the easier Griff would adjust. I had packed his breakfast spoons, worn thin with everyday use, thought the wall unit in his room filled with familiar and sentimental objects would lessen the shock of such a drastic move. I understood the reasons for biting my tongue and letting things go, and  all of the mornings painful events, watching friends say a long good-bye. Now…. I didn’t like it, but I understood.

But packages of paint roller sleeves? The fury was fast and fiercely executed.

“You gotta be shitt’n me! ” I exclaimed in unison with my long dead father,  “do you  realize I can’t even get my fucking car in the garage right now… don’t you?! Fucking paint rollers? … are you shitt’n me?!”

Yes,  I sinned. I said fuck many many many times, and to tell the truth it felt good. 

They just blinked at me. Kept the rollers in the box, and simply ignored my exsistance…I left the shed deflated, shoulders slumped, and  sulked off to seek refuge in internal folk concert.

Defeated and deflated I wasn’t able to escape another lunch date,  the return drive using only right turns and parking lots, nor witnessing a  few more tears, but armed with  the actual Malvina singing in my ears and my heart, I survived  another moving day.

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Filed under Elder Care, Family, Griff, Life, motherhood, Multiple System Atrophy, My Husband's Parents, Sandwich generation, Shy Drager Syndrome, Stories, Story Telling, True Life, Writing

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