I joke about suicide a lot and occasionally make threats so I can sneak 11 items through the express line, but moving is genuinely one of the few things I’d rather die than do. (Okay, I guess not technically or my head would already be in the oven, but you know what I mean.) I am not neat, patient, organized, or efficient, and generally have none of the Boy Scout virtues that the task requires.
We simply couldn’t avoid moving. The place we’re leaving is technically too much apartment, but I’d be willing to swallow the cost had we not had repeated landlord/other tenant problems, including but not limited to: the electric company threatening to break open the sidewalk because the downstairs tenants wouldn’t let them in to fix the meter; water seeping into the downstairs apartment that we got blamed for until the handyman spent three hours flushing our toilets and pouring jugs of water on the floor to see where the leak was and couldn’t find it; “Sweet Home Alabama” karaoke every night of the week downstairs (you think it’s an easy tune to carry, but you’re wrong); and, the topper although we were already leaving, last night the contractors redoing the floor downstairs set off the fire alarm with a power sander, somehow, solved the problem by disconnecting the fire alarm, which is both unsafe and causes a loud beep every four seconds from the hall control box, and then kept sanding until one in the morning.
My last apartment hunt was terribly easy, and even though the landlord and neighbor situation has been awful, it’s a fabulous apartment. This one, however, was a living hell. I called eight or so realtors one day, and most didn’t even answer the phone. Not one returned my phone messages, and of the people who answered I got one “we’ll call you this afternoon” and one “I don’t know if we have any apartments or not, I’ll call you Friday.” They did not. Of the realtors I did manage eventually to reach, one canceled my appointment half an hour before and never returned my calls to reschedule, and another rescheduled my appointment so he could show the apartment, which p.s. was crappy, to eight people at the same time. Now ordinarily I have the work ethic of a ninety-year-old narcoleptic Spaniard, but don’t realtors work on commission? Don’t they kind of have to show apartments or… you know, starve?
Remember my inventory of weird shit in the apartment from my eccentricity post? Tip of the iceberg. I have a really hard time giving away anything someone gave me, which explains the eight pounds of Mardi Gras beads. (This is the only time you’ll hear me imply that a stranger is a person.) I’m also really easy to shop for, so I still have most of the birthday presents I ever got as an adult (rocket ship lamp, plush pig in a flapper costume, and the pirate mug). Giant Camel also used to buy clothes for fun, which is terribly alien to me. I have a long torso and short legs, so anything more tailored than a muumuu fits me weird. Buying a pair of pants for me is usually at least a three-Goddammit job for me, but somehow Giant Camel used to fill his days buying what must be forty pounds of Technicolor polyester man-blouses. I also brought along, inexplicably, my one family heirloom – a large, technically ugly cedar chest upholstered in Naugahyde (yes) that my parents got for their wedding. They got married in 1975, which is reflected in the architecture of the chest. I love it. I also keep every letter anyone ever writes me (any person, not old gas bills and shit. Yet.)
So I bought plastic tubs at Target, and I packed everything I could figure out how to pack and I was really proud of myself. Dishes interspersed with clothes so no one tub was too heavy, all cooking stuff together, spices in one bag, etc. For one glorious moment, I looked competent.
The kitchen was my first setback. (Well, first after “being born with ADD” and “being a loner so no one is helping me do this.”) After my big false-alarm heart scare last winter, I bought all this salt-free crap that I now got to throw out, including Salt-Free Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning. The salt substitute they use it a powder, not a crystal like real salt, so when I poured it out (why?) and got a wafting face-full of a secret spicy blend. Snot everywhere. (It’s no diarrhea story, but it is embarrassing and does deal with a human fluid.) I also had a tub of expired plain yogurt I’d bought mistaking it for vanilla. I had the SUPER clever idea to flush this down the toilet so it wouldn’t sit around in the trash bag and spoil and smell. I reasoned that toilets have to deal with worse. There’s probably some scientific specific-gravity reason why toilets will suck human waste away perfectly and send it straight to the Schuylkill while not doing the same with a quart of yogurt, but I don’t know what it is. What I do know is that bits of yogurt kept floating back into the bowl for about two days, and since yogurt is essentially made of bacteria, some weird, flourishing colony of some kind has established itself in the toilet.
So now that all the stuff that packs is packed, I’m left with a stratum of What-the-Hell items. Free lint roller I got for Christmas from the dry cleaners. Where does that go? Should I fill GC’s various overnight bags with actual stuff or with each other? Bowl that’s supposed to be a pear but looks more like a bedpan goes on the curb, but what about the Ugly Plastic Leaf Plate? One loose Ambien I found on the desk can go in my stationery box until thirty minutes before I leave for tonight’s internship board meeting, but canned goods? Can’t I just leave the dented-so-half-off can of sauerkraut for the next tenant? And, God above, TWO BOXES OF AUDIOCASSETTES?
All the movers I called had already been booked until well in advance, so I’m forced to beg my friends for help. My local friends are a lady construction worker and a Marine with a bad shrapnel injury. Add to this my generally modest physical talents and we almost add up to one mover.
And so of course just this minute I got called into work. Maybe while I’m gone the house will burn down and I won’t have to pack.