I missed my goal of coming in under 100 boxes. The loom bench was number 101.
The movers were fast. It was a father-and-son team, Garry and Jason. Garry proudly told me he has a bunch of kids “all from different ladies.” Their accents sounded like they were from Newfoundland, and they play fiddle, but it turns out they’re from Greely. They worked hard and fast and accomplished in five hours what it took the last movers six hours to do, and there were three movers last time.
It was a relatively uneventful move, but still stressful. There’s nothing like watching two big burly men forcing your still-new, still-flawless, expensive leather furniture through a doorway which is too narrow for it. They couldn’t take the feet off the couch because they didn’t have “the special tool” so it came down to a matter of sheer determination and brute force. I was standing at the top of the stairs, watching this battle, and thinking “Oh god oh god, maybe I should tell them how much the couch cost, but how tacky would that be?” I just stood there watching and feeling acute pain for my poor couch, too polite to even say “Please be careful.”
This is a couch I’ve been babying for 8 months, and suddenly it’s being violently squashed and rammed and crammed through a dirty jagged doorway. The weather stripping around the doorway gave way as the couch finally burst through the door. My heart was in my throat and I kept repeating to myself “It’s only a couch, it’s only a couch.”
It survived. There’s a sort-of scratch on my leather ottoman, but it didn’t break the skin.
When the apartment was almost empty I was overcome with an almost overwhelming urge to vacuum. But I didn’t, because there wasn’t time and besides, Dave X is cleaning the apartment in return for 8 days of shelter from the elements. God I’m a terrible housekeeper. The carpet was carpeted with fur, feathers, bird seed and autumn leaves. Every time I vacuumed over the past 8 months I thought to myself “I’ll just make it look better today, but next time I’ll actually move the furniture and vacuum under it.” Ha. I can’t believe I still fall for that one after all these years. But at least it gave Dave X something to sink his teeth into.
After everything was all loaded I glanced in the back of the truck and saw all my worldly belongings stacked and ready to go, with my brand-new leather Van Leeuwyn’s chair balanced precariously on top.
We all climbed into the truck with the movers’ giant plastic lucky lizard, and rumbled five kilometers to my new home. Did you ever notice how badly potholed Carling Avenue is? Me neither. But it’s atrocious, and with every pothole I worried about that chair balanced on top of the whole rickety pile of worldly belongings. I was distracted briefly by Garry’s story of moving a truckload of someone’s stuff into a house in my new neighbourhood, only to be stopped by the cops and told there was a woman being held captive in the basement of that house, and the cops went in with guns drawn and Garry had to leave the second load of belongings on the front lawn.
Sam spent moving day with my mom and her dog Kenya, and came to the new house that evening. He got through the first night, but not peacefully. All night long I could hear his toenails going clickety-click on the hardwood floors as he wandered and paced around the house. He had a lot of trouble with the hardwood stairs in the dark. I lay in bed listening to him trying to get back upstairs: Clickity-clickity-clickity-click, THUMP, bumpity-bumpity-bumpity-bump. And again. And again. Eventually he made it to the top of the stairs, found me, laid down for a minute, and then went back down the stairs: Clickity-clickity-click, THUMP, bump-bump-bump-bump-bump-bump. (At least getting down the stairs didn’t require multiple attempts.)
Dave X phoned me the morning after the move to tell me he was going to need more vacuum bags. Two wasn’t going to be enough. Hmph. Was this a thinly veiled criticism of my housekeeping skills? On the plus side, he seemed pleased with the food I left him. “Can I really eat the food you left, or are you coming back for it?” he wanted to know. “Eat it,” I said “and throw away whatever you don’t eat.” He was happy, I could tell. I left him peanut butter (his favourite) and chips and gin and olives and snack bars and crackers and pickles and some juice. He’s a man of simple tastes.
The unpacking’s coming along nicely. It’s funny how boxes are like gold in the lead-up to the move, but they’re just annoying after you unpack them. There’s still a week to go before I can throw them in the recycling.
This morning I took the bus right past my old neighbourhood on the transitway and I had my nose pressed up against the window trying to get a glimpse of my old apartment and the dog park. I couldn’t quite see them, but almost. I felt wistful and nostalgic. I do like my new house but I miss my old neighbourhood. There’s no place like Chinatown.