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The Move

In retrospect, we probably shouldn’t have taken the time to watch M/STR strap, with two leather belts and a bungee cord, twenty-five feet of guttering to the door handles on the passenger side of his Volvo. But how could we not watch? The gutters jutted from the front of the car like a jousting lance and trailed ten feet, hovering just above the ground, from the back, perilously close to scraping the ground as he drove away. As he did we sat on the porch and watched the gutters bounce on the street. At the end of the block, he pulled over and adjusted. I imagined his trip down the Herbert Hoover Highway, a road full of short hills, and saw the gutters bottomed out in a valley, bowing upwards, a Volvo sliding from end to end. We never heard whether the gutters made the trip intact.

The high Monday was 99 degrees Fahrenheit. In spite of the fact I was drinking water all day, I couldn’t stay hydrated by loading box after box after box after bed frame, table, chairs, file cabinets, desks, table, table, box and box down the stairs into the truck. At the end of the day my piss—I’m surprised I had any—was deep orange and thick. By 6 o’clock, when we broke for supper, the truck was only half-loaded, and already the new tenants had come by to gawk and ask us for our keys and inquire when, exactly, we’d be finished. “We’re going to use this as a three-bedroom apartment,” she said, “and turn the back porch into a living room!”

“It gets really cold in that room during the winter,” I said.

“But Landlady said it has a heat register.”

Had she been paying attention, she’d have seen me roll my eyes to the back of my head. We lived in the apartment four years—our very bodies have the steps memorized, the warm and cold spots coded. Every plant we had had to be moved out of that room in winter because it’s drafty and because the heat register is at the farthest corner of the house from the furnace. Its windows grow frost at night. And did I mention that, anyway, whoever lives in the downstairs apartment controls the thermostat?

Rent in this town is an abominable thing. Recently, there have been efforts afoot to build apartments for young professionals, and there are many, many condos available across town for the same. At the same time, however, students drive the entire rental market in this town, which means that 95% of leases begin and end on the same day, August 1, regardless whether a tenant is a student or not. Moreover, the student/professional divide makes for an equally divided rental market: there are few good apartments that aren’t exhorbitantly priced; there are few inexpensive places that aren’t extraordinary dumps. Our new place is clean, but it’s smaller than our old one, and it hasn’t much charm at all, and it isn’t that much cheaper than we were paying.

Bah! When we finally got the first load in the truck, it was 9 o’clock. We came over to the new place, and the previous tenant was still cleaning with a toothbrush every cranny. “I’m going to get my deposit back,” she swore. An hour we waited, until finally she and her mother packed up all the cleaning supplies, and we shoved the truck into the apartment. We headed back home to get the last, which was more than it should have been. The new tenant was waiting on the porch. “How much more do you have?” her parents asked. They waited a while. “Are you almost done?” We hauled out more. “We want to get her stuff in so we can go to bed,” they finally explained, and moved in, carrying up as we carried down. At 3 o’clock in the morning we left our home in the hands of strangers worse than we’d received it. At 5, we turned the truck back in to U-Haul and came to the new apartment, after 22 hours, and fell asleep.



Good to see you’re back among the human again, blogging and commenting…in other words partaking in action rather than labor.

I began to wonder today whether our category “meaningful labor,” which came with Textpattern, actually, isn’t a poor choice of words…

We’re still unpacking, though. The books are murder.

Yeah, B’s moving across town next weekend, and we’re already packing. The books always are murder.

the murderousness of books might just be why i decide never to leave my current place of employ, that is, should they want me to stay.

packing and unpacking two libraries is never a fun thing. well, i can’t speak from experience, i’ve never had two real libraries till now. before most things were crammed into one room (with the exception of the bookcase in the bedroom, dining room, and living room—which are all still in those places, despite having a home office with bookshelves and a school office with more)

then again, i am sure that confessions of a bibliophile isn’t what this is about… but sympathy for the schlubs who’ve just moved across town in a heatwave… well, make that schlub, since k is anything but.

When I moved in here, my predecessor rounded up two people to help me, Mr. Sheetrock and the head custodian at the school. The latter was heard to say, later, “She has a lot of books.”

Ah well. . . I am a librarian, after all. And I have moved all of my books, by myself, more times than I care to remember, including into and out of the basement of that pink house, in August and in December.

I’d send you cool breezes if I had any way to do so.

The cool breezes got here Thursday. It’s been downright temperate! We should all send cool breezes to England for JH & B to move in.

One good thing about moving is that the kitchen is in boxes (less so now) and we have plenty of excuses to go to our new favorite restaurant more often.

If the cool breezes get moving now then they just might make it here in time.

When we pulled up to the new place, the landlord was here. He was rather irritated with the woman moving out—her lease was up at noon, and it was nine already. We opened the door to the truck, and he said, “You’ve got a lot of stuff.” Then Drunk Neighbor came over to look. He said, “You’ve got a lot of stuff.”

We replied, “Most of it’s books.”

actually, worse than the books, i would have to say, are: futon mattresses (that’s right, we have not yet upgraded to regular mattresses), boxsprings, ancient/giant file cabinets, and cedar chests, not necessarily in that particular order.

i am now known as Schlub With Many Bruises.

The big file cabinet is a bear, true dat, but I agree about the futon mattresses…

Is K talking to herself in the comments section or did Greg forget to delete K’s name and put his own?

I’m confused.

greg is the schlub… k would never do that, nor would she use an urban spelling of that…

unconfuse thyself!

Consider me unconfused, thou braggart of library size.

Now for thread hijacking: Do any of you know anything about swans? B and I saw a swan tonight which swims by her place often, but this time it was making a sort of honking noise. Does this mean it’s about to die? Or is that an urban (rural?) legend?

are you sure it’s a mute swan and not a whooper?

and, you know, i presume, that if it is a mute swan the queen owns it…

honking? that doesn’t sound melodically beautiful to me, so maybe it’s not close to death.

but, it is an omen of good luck and true love for you and B


1) greg did hijack my identity.

2) i’m thinking the honking before death thing is a rural legend. it could be either a trumpeter swan or a tundra swan, both of which supposedly make calls that sound like honking. both of these sites have pretty swan pictures, and on the Cornell site you can listen to the calls for each bird:

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The Swan Sanctuary (UK)

The question now is, how do you know that was K?

You would think you two would have more important things to do than play identity games on the internets, but I guess unpacking boxes isn’t exciting enough for you.

As for the swans, B and I have never, in almost three years, heard these swans make a sound, so I think they’re mute, but as the Cornell lab of orinthology points out (thanks k!), mute swans are not always mute. Also I am happy to report that said swan is wagging it’s tail and happily eating algae, so I guess it’s ok.

I did learn about that J, from one of my teachers. She used it as an analogy from ancient Mesopotamia. Apparently lions had similar status then and there as swans have here and now, and could only be killed by the king, a custom which often yielded tragi-comical results.

wait…you have futon mattresses AND boxsprings? that sounds classier than our futon setup has ever been. i sympathize, though…when we moved cross-country, we gave away a futon and a mattress/boxsprings (which easily predated the Nixon administration) so we wouldn’t have to move them.

i guess we just haven’t managed to assemble a real bed after all these years…a bed with a futon mattress feels pretty much like a regular bed. of course, greg recently announced that he’s no longer into springiness, so i’m afraid he’s going to try to talk me into a foam mattress, which i doubt would match up well with my inclination for violent tossing and turning all night. that’s where springiness come in handy.

actually, our bed frame and headboard probably predate the Nixon era, or at least fall right into that timeframe. strangely, and creepily, i might add, ‘tis the old bed of one of our good friend’s parents.

The cool breezes definitely arrived on time.

The comment system stripped my html. That was meant to have this link.


Good to hear that it wasn’t a hot day to move. That made the day, I hope, bearable?

(Links are made with “quotes around the text you want the link to be” followed by a colon [no space], followed by the URL [no space]. It’s real easy for typing.)

Not only bearable, but cold!

Fortunately however, nothing left but inside work at this point.

Inside work! We’re still doing inside work. (Sigh.)

inside work never ever ever ends.

just when you think it’s close to finished, you realize all the books you took out of boxes willy nilly shouldn’t remain willy nilly, and the dishes can’t take up all the cupboards, and you don’t have enough hangers for all your paintings and framed photographs, so you have to run to ACE to buy some, then you come home to find the cat dropped a dingleberry on the kitchen floor, and so you clean that up, and then it’s back to the pictures, which you hang in lieu of rehanging the closet door, but you get halfway finished and then it’s already bedtime, and what have you done? You’ve cleaned up poop and spent money at ACE. And then you have do the same thing tomorrow!

hopefully minus the poop part.


i’ll just call you mr. frey or mr. burroughs, for that matter since you are exagerating about poop! are you hearing the voice of god in this poop?

I am not exaggerating at all. This morning I came home after my hesitating jog only to find a dingleberry smack in the center of the kitchen.

Dude, I’ve been here five and a half months, and I still haven’t hung half my pictures, or organized my books. I have picked up cat poop and made trips to Ace, though. . . .