07 March 2010

Moving day for my mom

We helped move my mom yesterday and holy crap did I forget what moving was like. She was moving from her two bedroom apartment in one building to a bachelor suite in the retirement community of an adjoining building in the same complex. This retirement community sounds really neat actually, they have a linen service, light housekeeping, lunch and dinner in a common dining room, 24 hour nursing staff, and various activities to join like Bingo, health and wellness, and a movie night. The great thing to me is that you can either join in the activities or keep to yourself or both. That way if you feel like being sociable you can but you don't have to. It's something I envy in retirement communities and that I can't seem to find for the middle aged bracket. Right, maybe I'm supposed to have my own friends to be sociable with by now.

Anyway, it was only me, S, and T helping my mom move her stuff out so we picked up the truck and headed over there in time for when she had the elevator booked for moving. Now, it's been a decade since I moved anyone and longer since I moved myself so I don't know what I was thinking when I thought it'd be easy. It was hard. She didn't have a lot of stuff and it was well organized (she had a clear idea of what was going down to the garbage area and what was coming with her) but it was still a lot of work. I mean, every box had to be physically moved by someone. We did very well though and got almost everything into the truck in one load. Next time, I rent a truck one size larger than I think I need.

Since my mom was moving to a much smaller space, a lot of her furniture was going to the garbage area. This was easy as the elevator stops on the ground floor right in the loading dock/garbage area. So we just packed it in and tossed it off. Easy enough. Except the couch. I simply cannot fathom how they got that couch into the apartment in the first place - and I helped them move in! We tried to get the hinges off the door, but the hinge pins were absolutely not moving at all. After wedging it in the door frame, gouging the wall opposite the door, scraping the paint on the door and frame, we gave up and just left it in the suite. And it just occurs to me now that if we'd fought with the hinge pins more and removed her mirrored closet doors behind the front door we might have had room. Well f*ck it. Maintenance can move it now.

The other problem was the computer desk that my dad built before they moved into that apartment. The two wings came off easily but the main unit is U shaped and would not come through the door. Even when the door was off the frame it wouldn't fit. So I asked (or maybe told) my mom to take the top off the desk while I get some little stuff moved into the elevator (S was waiting down at the truck and T would load the elevator with all the stuff that I piled in front of it and take it down to S). After a bit I asked my mom how it was coming along, and she said there were too many screws to take out. I looked, and she was right. And they were painted over when my dad painted the desk. So how did they get it in that room if they didn't take it apart when they moved in?

I asked her how important was the desk, she said 'very', so I looked at the window and said "ok, we are putting it through the window, out onto the balcony, back in through the patio doors in the living room and then out to the elevator". Considering that my mom is very overweight with bad lungs and getting over a wicked flu/cold, I told her that all she had to do was go out on the balcony, I would lift the desk up into the window frame, she would hold it steady while I rushed out behind her and lowered it onto the balcony. I had no clear idea of how I was going to lift this awkwardly shaped, heavy, hand made, plywood desk up three and a half feet into the window frame. Luckily I didn't have to find out.

While I was contemplating the logistics of this, my mom went out to the living room and encountered two men. They had the elevator booked for 1pm (it was indeed, 1pm) and were wondering if they could have it for their single load of stuff. I heard them and damn near broke something tripping over myself to get to the living room where I burst in, smiled, and said something like "hey, could you guys come in here and give me a hand with this?" and took them into the computer room. I told them that the only way to get it out was through the window and that since they were guys and strong it should be easy for them to just pop it out and get it into the elevator for us...please? And they did, with a smile :) They also got the elevator from us right away and told us we could use the rest of their booked time (until 3pm) to finish our move. This worked well because the truck was full and I had to switch my boys out right about then anyway.

We got the desk to the loading dock and gave up the elevator and got ready to move the truck to the other building. Did I mention the truck was full before the desk made its way downstairs? I'm looking at the full truck and the desk and my car trying to figure out how to get the desk to the new suite. I didn't want to leave it there because people were coming and going and dumpster diving.

As I looked back into the loading dock I saw a couple that was picking through the garbage. They'd already taken some of my mom's furniture that we'd left for garbage (like a perfectly good futon, two large tables, end tables, bookshelves, a desk, and lamps) and they had a little homemade dolly to transport the stuff. I'd talked to them already as they'd been picking for a while and knew they lived in my mom's new building. So I went up to them and asked if they could please, please, please help us move the desk to the loading dock of the other building on their little dolly? And they agreed :) So S drove the truck around the corner, I went to the office to get the elevator booked for the new building, and the couple took the desk on their dolly. I get to the office where they said they'd be out in about ten minutes to get the elevator on service and I remembered that this couple lives in my mom's building and they have the magnetic key to get in so maybe I could get them to take it right up to my mom's front door. I raced back through the parking garage that connects the two buildings, caught up with them in the loading dock where my mom was waiting, and saw the elevator was already on service. Then I remembered that my mom has the magnetic key as well (duh, it's her new building) so I just made sure that they got on the elevator ok and left with T. S stayed to help unload the truck.

During all this, J was working at a ski hill doing his community service and T had to get to work later in the afternoon. So I took T to pick up J, dropped T off at home so he could get ready for work, and informed J that he was helping us move his granmummum. J is also getting over some kind of massive flu/cold (wet sticky cough, fever on and off for a week, vomiting (possibly from coughing), stuffiness, painful skin, and nausea/dizziness when he moved his eyes too fast) but I figured even his limited help was better than just S and I.

The plan was to take my car to the old building and load it up with all the little stuff that was left over and that we couldn't fit into the truck. Again, I will remember to get one size larger than I think I need. Remember that the two men that helped get the desk out said we could use the elevator until 3pm. It was 230pm so we had time. We get there and the elevator is on the wrong floor. We go to the floor it was on and find someone moving in with it. I found out it was their pickup truck parked in the loading dock next to where I parked my car. They said they just had one more load to bring up from the truck, then they had to go across the city to get the next load. They also said they had the elevator from 230pm-430pm. Hm. I asked them if I could take the elevator for one load as that's all I had left. They weren't happy about it but they were leaving anyway and I told them I'd have the elevator waiting on the loading dock for when they got back. They grumpily left and J and I took the elevator to my mom's floor to finish.

When we got there we could see that this wasn't one carload of stuff and we still had to move the treadmill. My mom had bought a new treadmill before Christmas but had no room for it in her new place...so she gave it to us! Yay! All we had to do was get it on the truck so we could get it to our house before returning the truck. J and I loaded the elevator with as much as we thought we could get in the car (it looked to be about three carloads of stuff plus the treadmill left over). I thought that if S could unload the truck by himself at the new building than it wouldn't kill me to drive three carloads over there, it was just more work is all. When the elevator got to the loading dock, the door opened and there was S sitting in one of the discarded chairs! He had the now empty truck with him. I asked how he could have emptied the whole thing himself and he said my mom hired the couple with the dolly to help. Awesome! It also turns out that guy is a handyman and agreed to help my mom with whatever she needs as they are in the same building. Double awesome!

J and I got everything else out of the suite (including the treadmill) and down to the loading dock for S to get on the truck. Then it was just a matter of getting it over to the new building and unloaded. I saw how tired S was (we hadn't stopped to eat at all and we were all tired and fading fast) so I told him to sit tight while J and I got it all up to my mom's new suite. I was pleased to see that all the larger items were mostly in place and her bed was set up and made. I wanted her to be able to rest because moving is stressful and I didn't want my mom to feel overwhelmed, so having the bed done was a big deal.

After everything was in her suite, we got ready to leave her to shower and have dinner before I lost momentum and melted into a puddle on the floor. As it was, S was puddling into my mom's chair (he'd come up with the last load, I think) as J and I unloaded the elevator. On our way out my mom told us the freezer package had some spare ribs in it for us (now that she didn't need to cook dinner or lunch any more) and some money for our help. The amount was more than the cost of the truck and boxes we bought so I asked if she was sure about the amount. She said she wanted to pay us for our time as well so I didn't argue and instead was thankful :)

We took the truck to get the treadmill home where we discovered that teleportation didn't work and we had to get it in the house ourselves. It. was. heavy. The treadmill is equipped with a hydraulic unit to easily lift the belt up for storage and lower it for use. When we set up the treadmill for my mom the belt was strapped to the base so it wouldn't suddenly unfold itself. My mom let us keep the strap because S thought it would be useful for his miniatures in some way. We didn't bring the strap to my mom's during the move. Every time we tried to lift the treadmill into the truck the hydraulics would pop the base away from the belt, making it so that it would not lay flat. We eventually figured out how to get it on the truck and S remembered the strap when we got home. So we strapped the belt to the base to get the treadmill from the truck through the yard, down the stairs, and into the exercise room. We got it downstairs partly by sliding it down and it managed to reach the bottom before the hydraulic system overrode the strap and it suddenly popped open. Luckily, no one was hurt.

After returning the truck, eating dinner, going out to do some food shopping, and setting up the treadmill we finally got to relax. I'm used to a full day of heavy lifting but S was not. He started to stiffen up during dinner while I managed to stay reasonably limber until I sat on the couch. Once I was on the couch my muscles went from tense to relaxed to rigor mortis. Getting up to go to bed I walked like an old woman in need of a walker.

Today I'm just going to relax all day. Well, after I'm done the six or seven loads of laundry, bake a Flapper Pie, and prepare dinner for S's birthday. Then I'll relax. Yes. Really.


Anonymous said...

You and your crew were simply awesome! You can be my boss anytime :)

love, Mom

Forbidden Regrets said...

Being lonely in a crowded room. Feeling sad and not knowing why, not being able to sleep, waking up in the morning not being able to move, giving up your life out of no choice, crying for no reason, making a demon appear in your head. Listen to its horrid world making your life spin in circles not knowing what path to take. The dead end of a road. The coffee black peice in your soul, not resting till the end of time, never leting it forget you, eating your soul, mind and heart. Try to run as you will, you life will be taken. Draging you one foot at a time into hell. The suicide you wish you could have just to end the pain. Pity when you hate others sympathy. Self hatred, sadness, anger, darkness, deadly, lonely, sorrowing, regreting, perpetual, and killing. Giving up your dreams to be stuck in the enternal force of demonic gravity. It is a world. It is my life.