Weekend, compressed
Waiting for Neil Diamond

Surveying the carnage

One of the things I find most amusing/annoying about moving house, either my own or someone else’s, is the plethora of bruises and other small injuries you discover on your person after the fact.

I have a two-inch bruise, rapidly fading, on my right forearm; several small bruises and two cuts on my left knee; and several more small bruises on my right knee. I don’t remember dropping anything on my left foot but one of my toes is nearly black from its own, also rapidly fading, bruise, and the nail on that toe is oddly wobbly, like the shock of whatever hit it has loosened it to the edge of slipping right off.

I don’t remember any of these injuries at the moments they happened. I don’t recall reeling backward from some sharp pain or jerking my arm away as a box corner stabbed into me or anything of the type.

But here they are, taunting me with my lack of memory.

Ah well, below the fold is the tale of Michelle’s Move, September 2005.

Michelle worked at the lab with Katharine and me. Our company also has a lab facility in Beaverton, OR, so when Michelle met a new SO from the Tualatin area, she decided to relocate to the Beaverton facility and make a new life in the Portland area.

And that was fantastic, except that their apartment didn’t allow dogs, and Michelle has an adorable and somewhat hyper dog named Jackie Brown, looks sort of like a mini Doberman pinscher, and within a short time the apartment management knew about the dog. So they started looking for a new place to live, and with luck they found it in the townhouse apartment complex right next door.

The move of about a quarter-mile took six hours and involved seven vehicles of varying sizes and configurations with somewhere around a dozen participants on I would conservatively estimate 23,000 round-trip convoys.

Katharine and I drove down Saturday morning with Sasha, another lab coworker and mutual friend. We left Bothell at 06:00 and arrived at Michelle’s old apartment at about 09:30. We would’ve been there at 09:00 straight up were it not for some dipshit roadwork on I-5, which roadwork ended at our Exit 289, but not before narrowing the three-lane highway to one lane for about a mile when the roadwork was actually happening on the last 150 feet of the blocked area, goddammit.

But I’m not bitter.

We spent those last 30 minutes sitting in traffic, not 1.5 miles from our intended exit. Would’ve been faster if we’d looped around I-205 and come from the south, since the southern I-5/I-205 junction is right by there too, but I didn’t realize the roadwork would be stopping us up. And it got us out of 30 minutes of the moving, which I guess was an okay trade. Though I sure could’ve used some coffee.

Anyway, when we got there, Michelle and Shannae and Shannae’s daughter and son were there, along with their friends David and Nick, and David’s father whose name I didn’t catch, along with Nick’s sister Rachel and another boy named Tim, whom I don’t remember beyond his name. It seemed like about every 10 minutes there was another person helping, but soon enough we had the vehicles loaded up for Convoy No. 1 and our crowd dwindled somewhat.

The vehicle phalanx was made up of David’s father’s minivan; David’s pickup; Nick’s Explorer; Michelle’s Xterra; my Escape; and Shannae’s Honda sedan. We also had Kevin’s pickup for a single load in the afternoon, but that merits peripheral mention only.

So we loaded up the minivan first, then my Escape, then David’s truck with larger furniture items, then Nick’s Explorer and finally Michelle’s Xterra and Shannae’s Honda, and off we went for the quarter-mile journey at about 7.091029 mph. This was mainly because their old apartment’s parking lots had Speed Bumps From Hell, the kind of abrupt bumps that no matter how slowly or at what angle you take them, your teeth rattle off your dashboard from the shock of the jolting vehicle.

The speed bumps at the new place were much more gentle, thank God, but we were faced there with a tremendous lack of useful parking spaces. So we just parked wherever, blocking the fire lanes and ignoring the WARNING NO PARKING EVER UNDER PENALTY OF END OF WORLD signs, and unloaded the truck(s) and minivan and SUV(s) and car as quickly as we could. Whereupon we convoyed back to the old place to load anew.

Somewhere in the middle there we stopped for a beer or 3 and a few pizzas from Papa John’s. I like their pizza, and they make good garlic cheese bread stuff too, and their garlic dipping sauce is quite tasty. Garlic rays shooting everywhere, when they weren’t overtaken by the Corona beams.

It was on the last load that I dropped the television, and as that’s mentioned elsewhere, I shan’t go into further detail now.

The final load moved, David and Nick and everyone else disappeared into the mists and Katharine, Sasha, Michelle, Shannae, and I dived into organizing the house. Mainly this consisted of tearing down the large pile of boxes/bedding/clothes/etc. in the living room and redistributing it to the even larger pile of boxes/bedding/blothes/etc. in the dining room, the better to locate the hardware to put together the beds and similar things. Bed assembly, including the hour we wasted looking for a wooden pole that had never existed and in any event was purely decorative and in no way contributed to the bed’s structural integrity, required a good chunk of the afternoon and more than half of the 12-pack of Widmer Hefeweizen (two of us drinking it), after which we moved on to Downstairs Piles Redistributed to Upstairs Rooms Mode.

Shower Time brought up the rear for a few of us. I was among those few and it was so nice to scrape off the layer of dust bunnies and whatnot. Of course I took a cool shower and ended up hotter afterward than I’d been when I went in, go figure. And then when I got downstairs, I was wearing jeans and a long-sleeve beige shirt and everyone accused me of being dressed up, and I was flummoxed briefly because that’s my casual look, also my usual workwear look, but apparently I wasn’t quite casual enough.

We’d had enough of moving and sorting and moving piles back and forth by that time, so we caravanned off to Outback Steakhouse for protein and additional alcohol. Though we didn’t drink much more, and I scared the hell out of the server and the hostess personages because we waited 30 minutes for a table and then 15 minutes after we were seated, we still hadn’t seen a hint of a server, and several hostess personages as well as the proprietor person had passed our table and ignored our flagging as well as disregarding our lack of beverage or other service items. So I went up to the hostess desk and informed them we’d waited 30 minutes and then nearly 15 more minutes and about 6 seconds later we had water and our orders had been taken.

I had a filet which, for the first time in my several Steak Experiences at Outback, was nearly perfectly cooked. I usually get the Alice Springs Chicken® for the very reason that they don’t cook chicken to degrees of doneness; they just cook it through and it’s finished. But I was in a steak mood and it suited me quite well.

Anywho. We returned to the new abode and grabbed up our stuff to make the drive back home. Sasha had to work Sunday, and none of us wanted to impose and be in the way as they organized the new place. We started north just before 22:00 and I arrived home at 01:20somethingorother. It was all I could do to shuck off my clothes before I fell into bed.

And I hereby declare: