Sunday, June 1, 2008

Packing Up the House

Over the course of two days, Brad and I spent 22 hours with our movers. On Wed morning, our movers were to show up between 0800-1000. At 0930, we receive a call that let’s us know that a 3 Star General bumped us. You see, they had packed him up that day before; and overnight, he decided that all that stuff that was supposed to be going on is dity move needed to PCS with his household goods. Alas, the movers returned to repack. At noon, our sight manager, Clark, arrived with Sam, a marvelous speedy and thorough packer. Clark began the inventory and Sam began packing up the bedrooms, saving the living spaces until more crew members arrived.

At 1500, two others arrived: James and Maurice. James was a talkative white guy who decided that the kitchen would be his territory. As I sat at the dining table, laptop in front of me, working on a document for the USAF, I watched him search each cabinet for the correct item to place in the box and fill it so no items would move during transit. His charisma charmed Brad and me as he told stories. Maurice simply packed; he spoke very little English. Sam had to translate all the items Maurice packed into a box for the inventory. Sam diligently assembled mirror boxes for all of my large frames—art and photos alike. He stuffed each with packing paper to ensure they did not shift in transit. Clark took on the challenge of packing our 400 books, including all my file boxes from work. Each had their own strengths, but they were slow, purposefully. They work for a new company who has just started military moves; they are trying to prove themselves as a firm that safely pack, load, and deliver our precious household treasures.

James, our loquacious storyteller, was taking his sweet time in the kitchen, so much so that the guys were late to another job that needed their relief. So, the owner’s brother appeared; and suddenly, the six men in our shoebox of a kitchen had packed all remaining items in 1.5 hours. They all left around 2100; and Brad and I headed to Ted’s for a late birthday meal. We popped champagne and celebrated not only his birthday but our house closing, too (we close Monday, but the money left the account on Wed).

Thursday morning came too soon. I rose early and headed to the ofc to complete that document I had worked on while being entertained by James’ tall tales. The loaders arrived at 0852; while Brad was out getting coffee. I raced across the street to greet three men named Jose. All three. For each item that was not boxed, they wrapped in brown paper. I erected my camp chair, plugged in the laptop, pulled out the cell phone and worked on another document while participating in conference calls. At one point a client remarked, “What’s that noise in the background?” “Oh, that’s the movers wrapping the legs of my dining table. I PCS tomorrow, sir.” “PCS where?” “Alaska, sir.” “What the hell are you doing on the phone with me?” “I have the con on your document, so about your revisions to the FONSI…”

Brad was in the campchair down on the loading doc, ensuring that our boxes and wrapped furniture did not walk off. At 1930, the men finished loading the ninth crate of goods. We walked upstairs, read and signed the paperwork. They headed out around 2030 once all was said and done.

Friday morning, I shipped my car from Baltimore and rode the train back to DC. I walked back into an empty apartment. That same morning, Brad received a Commendation Medal for his work at DHS. It greeted me on the cooler at the doorway. I have never been so proud of my husband’s work here in DC; as I read over the qualifying remarks, smiled as I recalled the stories that he shared over our dining table about each of those incidents. I looked over at where our table sat for the past two years. This was a first home together. I laughed out loud in the empty apartment as I remembered what he said Tuesday evening: “This place is as charming as funeral home without stuff of the walls. You really made this place a home.”

My heart swelled.


Mary said...

I have to giggle about the pink flamingos...when you get to your new house, your neighbor to the right (Andrew), has a pink flamingo in his yard. Every single day, Megan said hello and good-bye "mingo" whenever we'd arrive or leave.

Best wishes on your trip.

Who I Am said...

Enjoy your trip! I was going to say you will be in good company with your flamingos, but Mary beat me to it. The three guys named Jose cracked me up. You will find that here too, trust me.