I wish to apologize for all the f-bombs I’ve dropped in Cumberland County.
I just moved. Here’s the story: My house goes under contract after just four days. But—I got this.
Packing begins immediately and continues through six weeks of “just-gonna-relax-this-summer.”
I carefully coordinate movers, pickups, cleanups, volunteers, finances, a storage unit and packing methods, all neatly detailed in a notebook labeled “MOVE.” I decide I’ll use up the stuff in the fridge and freezer, congratulating myself for efficiency.
I advertise items for sale online. I phone a charity who agrees to pick up larger items. At a nearby storage space, Shanna patiently answers all my questions about a 10-by-15-foot unit and listens to my life story until I’m boring even myself.
“I’m gonna go ahead and save this unit for you?” she hedges. “That way you won’t lose it.”
“Well, I might lose it anyway,” I say.
Crunch time nears. I continue massive packing, cursing our (OK, my) culture of consumption. Daytime temps are 90-plus degrees the entire week, just the scenario one hopes for when sorting and packing a non-air-conditioned four-bedroom sprawling farmhouse to fit a storage unit and a tiny one-bedroom apartment. All those years, my stuff had been reproducing itself in closets and drawers.
“Mom,” texts my older daughter. “The movers can pack stuff for you.”
Three days before the Big Move, I wait at the new apartment for the cable company that advertises a one-hour arrival timeframe. Oh, hahaha! Despite my reverence for the Hallmark Channel, the crucial thing is getting internet installed to avoid losing all my old internet-company-connected emails, needed for my work.
The afternoon of the supposed hook-up (not that kind) I call them repeatedly.
“The truck is on the way.”
“You’ll see him in the next half hour.”
“I’ll have dispatch call you.”
“Four hours of waiting? Let me check on that.”
Then a text from an old friend: “Just passing through Maine. Can you put me up tonight?”
My brain is melting.
I chat with amiable Tammy, Bonnie, Lakisha, James, Fernando and several supervisors from this terrible, horrible, satanic corporation (not that I have any feelings about it) who promise “a ticket will be submitted—you’ll hear back shortly.”
Finally, a rep tells me it won’t happen today.
“They went there, but you weren’t home. They called, but you didn’t answer.”
Friends, I am no genius. But I know they never showed up at the right address. I know this because I am not at “a white apartment building.” And the previous dozen-plus calls giving them my correct phone number hasn’t made a difference, because when I give it for the 20-f#%^&^th time, I hear: “That’s not what we have. Hmmm. We’ll send someone tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” I ask. “On July 4th!?”
“They work on the Fourth,” she says, “and dispatch will contact you in the morning.”
No, they won’t. And they don’t.
On moving day, the imagined four-hour move takes eight, on the freaking hottest day ever in the history of heat. The “charity” arrives and refuses the large items. My nice mover calls a junk man to cart the stuff away. For $220. Yes, I’m paying to give stuff away. My “MOVE” notebook has gone missing, I’m dumping the weeks-long untouched contents of the refrigerator and freezer into trash bags, wondering where I’ll dump it (other than my car) and my careful moving preparation has failed to anticipate that I’ve slept only 12 hours in the past week.
I didn’t know a human being could sweat so much. It’s possible I’ve turned into a raisin and that’s not a good look on me. Niagara Falls is pouring from my temples down to my sandals—only warm and slimy.
Finally, we head to the new apartment. While movers are bringing stuff in, I get a Facebook message: “Is the five-drawer bureau still available?”
It is. At the back of the jam-packed storage unit. And my new apartment is now just as stuffed.
Just when I think things are falling into place…you know that fabulous Gorilla packing tape? Well, it reaches out to my shoes (still on my feet) and like the monster plant in “Little Shop of Horrors,” pulls me down. Hard. Which really is a treat the next day when I have to repeatedly get up and down for three hours while putting together the wires behind my TV because yes, the cable guy finally has shown up, in the middle of the move.
But I’m in. It’s done. And I won’t ever have to do this again.
Until the apartment I’m hoping for opens up next month.
Kathy Eliscu, a retired RN, has received two Humor awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (2012 and 2018) for her “Lightly Roasted” column. Her humor novel “Not Even Dark Chocolate Can Fix This Mess” continues to be a “top seller” at Maine Authors Publishing. She blogs at kathyeliscu.com and lives in Scarborough.