Saturday, May 5, 2007

"Moving Pains"

By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate

As loving and devoted parents who would do anything for our two daughters except pay their cell phone bills, my wife and I can honestly say that over the years, we have had many moving experiences with our children. The latest one occurred recently when we had to help our younger daughter, Lauren, move into a new apartment.

I am at the age, which is listed on my driver’s license as "old enough to know better," where I shouldn’t be lifting anything heavier than a bottle of beer. That’s what I needed after lifting a couch, a couple of bureaus, a bedspring, a mattress, a kitchen table, a hutch and other massive items that collectively weighed as much as either my car or Luciano Pavarotti, whichever is more.

My wife, Sue, who is exactly my age and half my size but is in much better shape, which isn’t saying much because some dead people are in better shape than I am, contributed muscles that get a regular workout from picking up after me.

Lauren was moving because one of her neighbors, a real creep, had given her so much trouble over the past several months that she decided to transfer to another apartment in the complex. Unfortunately, her new place is not far enough away from her old place to have justified renting a truck, which would have made moving the heavy stuff easier, but it’s not close enough to have significantly cut down the number of steps Sue and I had to take while hauling all of Lauren’s worldly possessions.

We stuffed a lot of stuff, which is why it’s called stuff, into the back of my SUV and drove it diagonally across the parking lot, from Apartment No. 66 to Apartment No. 12, where we unstuffed it and, speaking of steps, carried it upstairs.

I forgot to mention, possibly because of a ruptured blood vessel in my head, that Lauren’s old apartment was on the first floor and that her new apartment is on the second floor. This added the maximum amount of exertion to the move. I wouldn’t have expected anything less.

In fact, it reminded me of two of the worst moves of my life:

1. The time we moved from an apartment to a condominium that was exactly 23 feet from the back door of the apartment. I must have made a thousand trips back and forth, once just to get a cookie jar. It would have been easier to pack up and move to California.

2. Any time we moved our daughters into and out of college. Four years per girl and two moves per year for each one meant we had to move them 16 times. They both had enough stuff to fill the Taj Mahal. One time, the elevators weren’t working. Every time, I was elected to carry the big stuff. I’m lucky I wasn’t hospitalized, which almost happened anyway after I got the tuition bills.

This latest move, which came less than a year after we moved Lauren out of the house and into her old apartment, had the worst elements of both. What Sue and I couldn’t cram into my car, we carried, slowly and awkwardly, across the parking lot and up the stairs of Lauren’s new place. Once, while lugging a huge box containing cups, saucers and plates, I tripped on the steps and banged my knee. It began to bleed. At least I didn’t fall down the stairs and break my neck.

While carrying a bedspring with Sue, I also sliced my finger. The only thing that held it on was one of Lauren’s Hello Kitty Band-Aids. Sue suffered her share of scrapes and bruises, too. Fortunately, we had help from Mike and Heather, who live next to the jerk who was bothering Lauren, and from Lauren’s friend Stephanie and her boyfriend, also named Mike. Lauren pitched in, too, although mostly she supervised. She was very good at it.

It took 10 hours, from 1 in the afternoon until 11 at night, to move Lauren in, but it was well worth it because her new apartment is bigger and nicer than her old one. It also overlooks the water. Best of all, the cuts and bruises have healed and the aches and pains are gone. And Lauren is very happy.

As for her creepy former neighbor, I have filed a formal complaint against him in the hope that he will be evicted. If he needs help moving, he better not call me.

Copyright 2007 by Jerry Zezima

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