Monday, April 19, 2010

I Thought I Had Downsized But I Must Have Been Dreaming

Don't know if the pine table will remain at this end of the room in my new/old house, but it made a nice place to read the morning paper on a rainy day.

It was 79°F the day I moved from my little place to my parents' home. After an incredibly long and exhausting move, during which I repeatedly cursed the human desire to own things, I managed to locate the bed, fell into same, and slept soundly.

In the night, I heard the sound of the gutters gurgling. And when I finally arose at 7:30 a.m. it was 52°F and raining. I found the coffee pot, made the coffee and built a fire in the fireplace. The fireplace end of the living room was reasonably well-organized and cozy on a rainy morning.

As far as moving goes: I've decided that men should not be allowed near the furniture of a lady. The packing part went reasonably well, but the unloading part involved the same challenges I've seen repeatedly. The moving men bring in a piece of furniture, look at it as if it it something from an alien planet, and then say some version of "Hey lady. Wheredjawant this?"

I'm convinced that a woman would look at the item and if it were, for example, a small chair covered in white damask, say something like: "Do you want this chair in the living room or the bedroom?" Logical! Or, when unloading a box that has the word "office" written in large letters on it, would place the box in a room with filing cabinets, not in the center of the kitchen floor.

Oh well. That is how it went. For seven-and-a-half hours. And it ended with me in a house that looked like it could double as a used furniture store or a jumble sale. How I got all that stuff in my much smaller place, I'm not quite sure.

The movers were interesting. Miguel was the supervisor and he was from Guatemala. He was the brains of the outfit and also a very kind man. When I was outside at one point, he came down to tell me he had accidentally smashed a bookcase into the wall of the place from which I was moving and he was afraid I would tell his boss and he would get into trouble. I went up to look. It was a pretty bad smash which, though it didn't damage my furniture, might cost me some of my security deposit.

Oh, please, let me not see another one of these trucks with anything belonging to me in it for several eons.

So I did what my mother used to do when my sister and I would come home having dented the car. "Was anybody hurt?" She would ask, while our father fumed. If nobody was hurt she would say: "Okay, then it can be repaired."

I did the same with Miguel. I told him if he would arrange to get someone to come and repair the considerable ding in the wall, I'd keep the secret from his employer. He was my new best friend after that. I hope he keeps his end of the bargain.

Antonio, mover number two, was not the brains of the outfit. And though I did not learn where he was from he had the long nose of a Conquistador: so, he was from some Central or South American country where his ancestors wore that mental armor and those half-moon shaped hats with the plumes. The Japanese used to call the Portuguese traders "the men with the long noses" and Mover Number Two fit that description. Put him in 16th century military clothing and he would have frightened the locals. His moving ability frightened me a bit. Delivering boxes to my kitchen, he put them in the small area between the sink and the island stove, so it was impossible to get to the faucet. "No mas," I told him and Miguel had him move the boxes to a more practical locale.

The most interesting of the three was the curiously named Helton from Colombia. He had the almost-Asian face of an indigenous American and though he was about half my size, he could lift about twice what I could. And when he worked he made a curious whistle that sounded like an exotic bird. It was the strangest tweeting kind of whistle and curiouser and curiouser, he didn't move his lips to do it, so it seemed as if it were coming out of the top of his head.

Perhaps it was exhaustion and low blood sugar, but I started imagining him running barefoot through the wilds of Colombia, signaling his indigenous friends with that chirping. It sounded as if it could conjure up the spirits of those long dead and work all kinds of magic. Helton was very mysterious. Like a camel, he subsisted the entire day on one small glass of water.

My German shepherd Rommel sat on the lawn and eyed the men as they worked. He has a nice fenced yard out back, and since he has the manners of a gentleman, I know he will like his new home. My friend Ben arrived carrying takeout and he and Rommel tidied up the place as I limped off to try and find someplace to dispose of my body.

Speaking of my body, it has mentioned to me several times that it absolutely won't do this again for quite some time. All I can say is that I should certainly hope not.

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Florida Beach Basics said...

you have a dog and you have not blogged about him? for shame! pix and history, please.


Devon C. said...

A dog?!

Robin Chapman said...

I don't blog about Rommel the German shepherd because he is shy and likes avoid publicity. He was trained by the Army for deployment in Iraq, but when we started downsizing our troop strength there he was mustered out and that is how I found him! He is so smart it is like having another person around: plus, he growls if he hears noises in the night and I don't like to advertise this aspect of his character.

Lena said...

Did you seriously get a dog?

Robin Chapman said...

Yes and Rommel is a very serious dog, too.