A dash of HUMOR

In Which it was Moving Day

So the day came and went, but Darien is now officially moved to the cities.  Dari and I spent the entire day moving him yesterday, and although overall I was SO excited for him, it did not go without it’s hiccups.

Let’s go back a few weeks ago.  Previous to this new move, we decided to buy new furniture for Darien.  He needed it badly as the stuff he had in his old apartment had most definitely seen it’s better day.  Also, his old apartment was “old” and so somehow, his furniture didn’t seem as “old” either.  When we went apartment shopping in the cities, we settled on the Uptown Minneapolis area as it is central, and since Dari is just starting out and unsure where his current job, or future jobs will take him in the cities area, we felt this was a good central point.  So, Uptown it was.  In addition to that we decided that we wanted him in a nice apartment in a good section of Uptown, which meant swanky and sleek was the style.  Carrying in a couch that has had the arms sewn up, and that we bought used from someone’s garage years ago didn’t fit with the overall “feel” of his new place.  In addition, we thought it would be pretty cool to have all the new, big stuff delivered and set-up for us (aren’t we clever?).

Well, as with most things ‘Anderson’, nothing ever goes quite as planned.

The day before the move, the moving company called (automated call) with the time that they would deliver the furniture (sometime between 8-11).  Our first snafu, as the apartment management team does not get into the office until 10am.  We called the furniture company back and tried to see if they could deliver at 10am.  Nope!  Ours was the first stop of the day and they already had it scheduled.  However, if we needed to reschedule, they would be more than happy to re-deliver on the 14TH!  Umm, yeah, not going to work as he will have NO furniture!  The furniture gal says she will try to call the “powers at be” to see if there is anyway that we can work something out, and then call us back.  We never heard back from her (all I can picture is her hanging up, leaning back in her chair and filing her finger nails as she chomped on her gum).

Hmmmm……..okay.  Well, unsure of what to do, we decide that we need to be up there at 8am, because we are afraid the furniture guys will show up, because we NEVER HEARD BACK from furniture gal.

So, we load everything up the night before.  The truck (it’s a BEAST of a truck), and Dari’s car are both FULL!!!  I am wanting to be organized and have everything ready so that we can leave right away in the morning.  We leave just the items that we have to pack last minute (cooler with some food, Dari’s last minute clothes, TV, computer, etc -didn’t want those things outside overnight in hot, humid weather).

Okay, to bed we go (it’s after 10pm) and then I plan to be up at 5am (we need to leave by 630).  I wake up on my own tired, it’s mostly dark but starting to get just a little light out.  I think that I can catch a few more minutes as my alarm did not go off yet.  I lay there and think about dozing back off, but I think that it feels like there is maybe too much light for before 5am…….so I reach for my bedside alarm clock (which I don’t use, I use my phone) and through my blind vision and tired sleep, I see that it is 545!!  WTH?  I fly out of bed and go to see why my alarm didn’t go off on my phone, only to see that my phone is not there!  Well, wth?  I KNOW that I……..DAREK!  He was wanting me to put this new security thing on my phone, and I was stalling because I know that I didn’t need it and was hoping he would forget.  He didn’t.  He grabbed my phone sometime after I fell asleep and so yeah….I found my phone sitting on the kitchen counter.

I knock on the office door somewhat hurriedly.

Me:  Dari, it’s almost 6, get up!  (he being a boy was not going to get up as early…..)

So, needless to say, our morning was off to a hastier start than I was hoping for!  I quickly made us food, got in the shower and then we finished loading up what we could together.  Then I had to send Dari off ahead in case the furniture guys got the at 8am.

Dari:  Well, I don’t know what to do?  What do I do with the furniture if they show up early?

Me:  I don’t know son, punt!

Dari:  <blank look>

Me:  <right, he’s not a girl or a mom, he doesn’t know what “punting” means> If they get there have them set it into an empty stall (we could get into the “visitor” section of the underground parking but not into the actual apartment and building).

Dari:  okaaaay….. <unsure but realizing we have no other options>

He leaves, I finish strategically (okay, throwing and shoving the rest of what we need to pack in) loading the truck which is jammed packed full!  The truck we are using is my brother’s truck, and I am not used to driving the beast!  It is massive, it is Nissan’s largest truck.  I hate driving it.  I also hate moving things in it as I am always afraid the tailgate will fall open.  I don’t know why I think that, as it’s an irrational thought of sorts, but still I think it every time I am hauling something.

I get everything in and decide to walk through the house one last time.  Okay, I have everything.  As I walk back out to the truck, I check the tailgate.   I open it and close it again, and pull on it.  Seems secure.  Get back in the truck.  Maybe I should walk through the house one more time.  I get back out and go into the house.  Look everywhere Darien has been and the places that I hung some of his clothes (my closet, laundry closet), okay still nothing, I have everything.  Go back out to truck, decide to check tailgate again. Open it.  Slam it shut, pull on it.  Seems secure.  Check to see that I have my purse.  I have that too.  Okay……I’m ready to go but…..maybe I should check just one last time……I get out, walk through the house, still nothing…check the tailgate, open it, then slam it shut….pull on it, yep, still seems secure.  Get back in the truck, purse is there.  Okay…..maybe…..

I stop myself here.  Holy Christmas Carla, stop the neurosis!  You have EVERYTHING!  And if not, he’s just in the cities, NOT in Alaska!

I back out of the driveway ever so slowly in this huge beast of a truck, and notice my neighbor Melissa sitting outside.  Christ, she probably just witnessed my crazy OCD episode!

Me:  Hi Melissa!

Melissa:  <waves>  How are you?  <‘neurotic this morning at all?’ is what I envision her thinking>

Me:  Good!  I’m moving Darien to the cities.

Melissa:  Awww…..  <obligatory mom thing we do for big events like this>

Me:  <laughing>  Who are we kidding Melissa, he’s 27 but still a bit bittersweet as I believe this is where my baby officially moves on…..

We wave at each other and off I go.  I check the rear view mirror.  Okay, tailgate seems to be secure, nothing falling out.  I check out the rear view mirror as I drive the curvy road out of our division…. <yep, looks good>…I am driving like 20 miles an hour.  Christ this truck is HUGE!  I get out to Viola Road, checking the rear view mirror as I turn.  Okay, looks good yet.  I continue this all the way down 37th street with each new stoplight a new cause for concern.  Each time I stop and then take off again, I look back in the rear view mirror, comforted only slightly to not see a bunch of items strewn all over the road.  I reach Hwy 52, merge onto the highway, the whole time checking the rear view mirror.  So far so good.  Holy Christmas, this truck is HUGE.  I could just drive over most of these cars around me.  ‘Oh God, please don’t let me run over a Prius’, I think.  And so this continued for my ENTIRE drive.  Me thinking this truck is huge.  Me checking the rear view mirrors.  And each time telling myself that I am nearing a point of crazy that is even elevated for me!

As I drive I wonder what has happened with the furniture situation.  I finally hear from Darien that he is at the apartment (about 815).  I think ‘please do not have let them been there and gone already as seriously, this kid will have NO furniture’!  He said no one has called him yet and he is there waiting.  I wait another 45 minutes and try to call him as I near the cities.  No answer.  ‘Oh, oh’, I think… (he probably got mugged and my mind starts to wander down that rabbit hole)…..my anxiety is in rare form this morning!  My phone rings, it’s Dari (whew, he’s okay).  The furniture guys have been there, deposited the furniture in an empty parking stall and they are gone.

Hmm, crap.  Maybe I need to call Chad and have him grab Darek and come up (I was thinking we wouldn’t need them with the furniture guys there).  Well, I think…..maybe Dari and I can handle it.  I mean we didn’t get him that much stuff…..

I somehow make it to the cities still somewhat rational.  Truck didn’t run over any Prius’s and the tailgate stayed closed.  I wind my way into Uptown, and into the area where Dari’s apartment is.  I find him waiting outside in a neighboring apartment’s open parking lot.  We know we can’t park there long but we both have to use the bathroom.  We leave the vehicles and go to the visitor door and wait for someone to leave so we can sneak in behind them so that we can get into use the bathrooms.  It’s 915.  45 more minutes before the office opens and we can get in.  We check on the furniture sitting in the open stall in the visitor parking lot (under ground).  One of us stays there, the other with the “illegally” parked vehicles.  Finally, after what seemed an ENDLESS 45 minutes, the office opened and Dari got the key.

And that’s where the real fun began!

It is hard to explain but the apartment complex is about a full city block long.  It is about 5 stories tall at it’s tallest, with two lower level parking garages, (-1 and -2, they are called).  It forms a U-shape above ground with a central courtyard with a pool.  It’s big.  Also, as with most underground parking ramps for apartments, it’s very cramped with very limited maneuverability.  The visitor side of parking ramp was divided off from from the resident side of the parking ramp on level -1 by a floor to ceiling chain link fence, and then garage doors that will open as residents come and go, and is only accessed via their personal garage door openers.  The visitors can access the one side of level -1 but no one can get to the resident side without garage door openers or their keys.  

The furniture that was delivered was on one side of the chain link fence (POINT A).  The entrance we needed was on the OPPOSITE side of the chain link fence (POINT B).  We could stand on one side of the fence by the visitor entrance (A) and look about 130 feet over and SEE the entrance we needed (B).  BUT we had to get it around the fence and through the garage door, on the OPPOSITE side of the block so to speak.  So if you follow the above crudely drawn illustration, you can see that we have to move the furniture from point A to point B.  In a HUGE truck.  In a parking ramp designed for what feels like compact cars only.  Even when Dari parks his Honda Civic he has to maneuver it in to his parking spot if there are other cars on either side of him, it is that tight!

Okay, we think about this and come up with a strategy.

We decide to unload the back of the truck, so that we can place the furniture in it to move it around the fence (remember a block long almost).  To unload the stuff we brought from home was 5 trips (it was FULL) in the (very slow) elevator up to the FOURTH floor (the elevator was the ONLY way to access the upper levels from the garage (so no stairs from the garages), a security feature that is nice normally but not so nice when moving in), and then each time down a very LONG hall to his apartment.  We would load the elevator with as much as we could, unload it quick and then take our trips down the hall to his apartment.  We finally empty the truck, get in the truck, go around the fence and through the garage to where the furniture was “delivered” (easiest delivery for them for the day).   We realize that we can only fit the couch and the queen mattress in the back of the truck.  Okay, now to maneuver the truck…..back up, pull forward, back up again….pull forward again…..inch this way and inch that way…..(the back up alarm signal blaring almost every second).  OMG, I should’ve grabbed Chad, this would be easy for him and it’s a total nightmare for me.  I finally turn it around and we drive back around the fence and through the garage which is temperamental at best.  Dari has to sit in the back and actually hold the mattress down at times to clear pipes from the ceilings (only gas mains we have to worry about, nothing bad :/ ) and yell directions at me as we drive (to clear pipes, etc).

Dari:  Slow down, okay now go….wait, go slow….okay now go…..wait SLOW DOWN.….okay go again.  <clearly he is getting frustrated>

Me:  <I should’ve taken my Buspar today!>

The queen mattress is first up the elevator, it fits but not by much.  We carry it down the LONG hallway and into the apartment, then we go back for the couch.  Holy crap this thing is huge, we can barely get this thing in the elevator.  I mean it took like 3 times in the elevator, and out of the elevator, to figure it out (the elevator is not very big).  We have the couch standing as upright as we can manage in the cramped space and we just barely clear the shutting doors!  Plus, there was the added stress that this is the ONLY elevator for other residents to get in and out of the building in (parking garage and gym levels)…..so to say that we wanted to be in and out of the elevator as quickly as we could, to not tie it up, is an understatement!

We realize that emptying the back of the truck and carrying it up each time is time consuming.  So, we decide to just move all the furniture over from side A (guest side) to side B (resident side) (which as a crow flies is about 130 feet, as the truck travels it is about 1000, or so it feels) before we continue up to the apartment with each load.

FOUR more trips around the fence, loading furniture, trying to maneuver a massive beast of a truck around cars and poles to get around in a very tight parking ramp <load, back up, pull forward, inch around, back-up alarms blaring, unload, repeat> and BARELY clearing the ceilings and death pipes with each load, but we FINALLY accomplish moving the furniture about 130 feet.  Let me repeat, 5 times total to move this damn furniture 130 feet!

Now we start to carry it up.  8 more loads with just the furniture (I just HAD to get the very nice, very HEAVY coffee table that you can also pull up to table height to eat at!).  And then 5 more loads with the stuff remaining inside the cab of the truck, and the stuff from Dari’s car.

Confused yet?  Central thesis to the day is that our amazing plan to have the delivery guys DELIVER the furniture FAILED in our normal national lampoon’s Anderson style!

FINALLY, everything is in the apartment and it was not quite 1pm!  Not bad I think for just two people in a challenging situation!  As I look around the apartment, I want to literally turn back around and leave.  We literally have a path down the middle with boxes and half built furniture all around us.  Now we have to start unpacking, organizing and building furniture.  It’s a small space but even for a small space, and even though I love organizing, I am tired and overwhelmed!

There continued to be snafu’s.  We had to undo some parts of the bed that were already put together to be able to attach other parts.  Also, the drawers in the kitchen proved to be challenging (just two and one very narrow) where all of his silverware would have to go.  There was a  lot of improvising.  A Target run helped us to achieve some last minute storage solutions that I hadn’t foreseen.

We worked hard and efficiently all day only stopping once to walk to a close B-Dubs Express for a quick lunch.  It really is such a fun area to live for someone Dari’s age and there is so much within walking distance from his apartment.  Truly everything he would need without ever driving, except to work.  There are restaurants, a City Target, Cub Foods, a nice barbershop, the gym is just a few blocks also from his apartment.  “So cool” I think as we walk!  But still the mother in me…..

Me:  Don’t walk around after dark….

Dari:  <laughing>  Mother!…..  ( I can’t help it….too many episodes of watching CSI)

We worked well into the night.  As I hung the last ironed shirt up at about 1030 pm, I looked around impressed with what we had accomplished.  We made some smart choices in our furniture selection with the “dining table” being long and narrow (with two table stools) as it sits behind the sofa, which backs up to the kitchen.  We made great use of the ample closet space with storage systems for all of his clothes and household supplies, thereby saving valuable floor space.  Everything had a place, but Dari and I both looked like we had run a long distance marathon!

Still after all that, and after a very hard day’s work, and elevated levels of frustration, I am so elated for him!  And he is so proud!  It is time for me to leave and he walks me down to the truck and we load some extra now empty totes in it.  I turn to him and he looks so tired.  I am overwhelmed by how much I love this kid.  Yes, to me he is still my boy.  He may be standing before me with a full beard, and broad muscled shoulders that are strong enough to take on any conflict life can throw at him (he has already proven that), but he is also still my baby.  I want to hug him but I don’t.  I don’t want it to seem weird.  I can tell he thought I would, but instead I tell him that I am so proud of him, and that I love the apartment.

Dari:  Yeah, but it’s expensive.  (his way of saying he realizes and that he is thankful for mine and Bruce’s continued financial help until he is more on his feet).

Me:  Ah, (I say)….it’s only money (and I wink at him and climb in the truck).

Shit, I’m back in the beast again.  I roll the window down and yell to Dari to stop (he’s heading back around the fence through the garage on the opposite end of the block ;).

Me:  I need help backing this beast around

Dari:  <comes back toward the truck and starts motioning me around cars and huge cement poles> (Although I am unsure who would lose the battle, this beast I’m driving or the pole?)

I wiggle the beast this way and that…inch this way and that…back up and pull forward….wiggle some more…..back up down the parking lot, get to the end…a car is pulling in….damn it…..wiggle, back up and pull forward, back up again….. Dari has to open the resident garage door so I can have more room to turn around…..wiggle some more, inch around and finally face forward!  I am finally ready to go….

Me:  <through my open window> I love you son (as I wave to him as I head up the ramp out to the street).

Dari:  <smiling his little shy grin> waves back (one day this kid will say it back, because I know he feels it….just so stoic!)

I turn right and head SLOWLY down a street that is now limited to one lane (normally two lanes), because after a certain time people can park on both sides of the street (a driving NIGHTMARE).  At times I am taking turns as I meet cars in our new “one way” situation as I pull off to the side, squeak around other cars and have to fully stop at other times to allow cars to maneuver around me.  I finally get out to open road and I feel monstrous in Chad’s beast of a truck, but now I am too tired to care if a Prius gets in my way.  I glance back at the tailgate.  I am now over that as well.  If the cooler flies out, well then it does.  I am tired and heading home after a long day, feeling an overabundance of love and pride for my youngest son on the brink of a new career, and unlimited opportunity!

I have a weird thought as I drive, but I realize that somehow this day feels poetic.  27 years ago it was just Dari and I as I delivered him (Bruce had to be at home with Darek as we just moved to a new town, and we knew no one, and Dari came through the night, and in a blizzard).  We did that alone, and together as I brought him into this world.  Yesterday, there we were again, alone and together as I helped him ready himself for yet another launch into the world.  This time as an adult, blazing his own trail.

Here he is, I caught him leaving for work Friday morning before his shift.  Who would’ve thought that my t-shirt, bearded, jeans wearing boy would end up so modern and GQ?!

Today as I write this post my muscles are sore and my bones are achy (damn coffee table!), but I am thrilled for my son’s new life adventure.  I am elated that I could be there to help him, and more over, that he wanted me there.

I settle on a couple of thoughts tonight…..

One.  My son is a rule follower.  After we snuck into the apartment to go to the bathroom, he wanted back out quickly, as he didn’t want to get in trouble.  I’m thinking let’s lounge on the couch and wait (if our damn cars weren’t parked illegally and we had to watch them so as to not be towed, and watch the furniture (less of a concern was that though).   I realize that he is a bit more black and white than I am, I am most definitely a charcoal grey, leaning toward the dark side of rules 😉

The second is my usual thought….that life is funny in so many ways.  Sometimes it’s haha funny, sometimes it’s sad funny, at other times it’s confusing funny, and often, it is poetic funny…..yesterday was a combination of every one of those.  The thought I settle on most though is that for a long time now, truly since Darien left after high school, he has mostly been “gone”.  First to St Cloud for a few years, and then when he came back to Rochester to take a little time away from school, he lived with Bruce and I lived elsewhere, then when I moved back in, he went to Winona shortly after to finish college.  He is as far from me in distance as he as been for many of the recent years, but tonight it does feel just a little different, he feels just slightly more distant and out of my reach.  Tonight I am filled with just a little sadness that things will change just a bit more, and that there is ever so slight a shift to my backseat role in his adult life.   I understand this, and I both loathe and embrace this change.  Mostly, I am excited as he transitions into this new role in his life and I welcome all the life experiences he has yet to realize.

Moving day did come and go, and other than the normal ‘Anderson national lampoon’ feel of the day, I have to say it was pretty awesome overall.  Happy Trails my Ginger baby, this momma loves you, and is proud of the man you have become, beyond measure.  ♥  


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