A New Room of My Own
May 25, 1998
We found a house we liked, hunted it down like an animal and bought it. That's when the fun really began!
We started packing the day we put our house on the market. Cute little boxes with our names and its contents written on two sides. The items were arranged and sorted according to some grand scheme we thought we'd be able to sustain because we had a plan, some boxes, and a schedule.
Although I've never given birth, I think moving is a lot like childbirth. There's a lot of sweat, screaming and lots of breathing. The other thing that makes them so alike is that after a few years you forget about the pain and do it again. The main difference is that I didn't have someone coming by every couple of minutes checking to see if my cervix had dilated.
So, there we were, signing papers during the day and packing box after box after box at night. In between, we pretended to work at our jobs so we could afford the pens to sign all the papers and the boxes to pack all our stuff. At one point I wrote, "photo albums, coffee table books and misc crap" on the side of a box.
"Be ruthless with your discards." It was a line from an Erma Bombeck story. It kept ringing through my head and I'd repeat it like a mantra in my sleep. After a few weeks of this, the whole thing began to wear on me. I can admit it: I cracked. I decided that if we hadn't used an item in a long time ( 5 minutes) it was garbage and needed to be eliminated. Leslie had to restrain me from throwing the stereo out the window.
We decided, rather wisely, to hire some movers. On the appointed Saturday, three guys and one big truck came to get all our boxes and furniture. I think it was one of the best things we have ever paid for. They didn't destroy anything and put most things in the right house. The only real disappointment was our desk. It's a huge 3 foot by 5 foot by 2.5 feet cube (that's 37.5 cubic feet) of oak. It must weigh two-hundred and fifty pounds, at least. The guys saw the narrow staircase and looked at the desk and said it was a mathematical impossibility.
It's a real mistake to tell Leslie and me that anything is impossible. It only makes us more determined and a little crazy. After the guys left and we shuffled all the boxes to the right rooms, Leslie started to measure things. She measured the desk, the stairs and all the doorways. She figured that if we took the legs off, we had almost a quarter on an inch to spare. Well hell, that's as much as a mile!
My mother once told me that women, on average, have bigger brains, butts and legs than men and we need to learn to use all three together to make up for their upper body strength. My father is a strong, compact guy that can lift and shove like a bulldozer. Give him a shovel and he'll dig a hole the size of a VW in 10 minutes. It's an amazing sight. The problem is, he's about as controlled as the bulls of Pamplona. If my mother asked him to move some furniture, he was happy to oblige. He's grunt a little, pick up a six foot couch and then proceed hit every wall, door jam, and table within a one mile radius, making sure to chip paint, tip vases and scrunch up the carpet under his feet.
"Watch the table!" My mom would yell.
"What table?" Dad would yell back as he swung around to see what my mom was talking about, scrapping the paint off the wall.
"Jesus! The paint!" She'd try to wedge herself between the couch and whatever looked the most likely for my dad to bash into next. "Just put it over there." She'd point to the other side of the room and he'd go abling over, mumbling about her hysterics and that he's only trying to help her.
"Besides, I really need to get back to the yard." He'd say, looking at her over his left shoulder.
Too late, he misjudged the distance and ran right into the door. It startled him so much he droped the couch, denting the hardwood floor.
Finally my mother stopped asking. She came to realize that with good planning and a few essentials, she could move almost any object with little or no damage. To move the same six foot couch, she placed a heavy blanket under the legs and cleared a path and then leaned her butt against it and scooted it across the room. I'm pretty sure, using a big enough blanket, my mom is capable of moving Stonehenge. As far as we know, my dad is still in the back yard happily digging ditches for an elaborate watering system involving interlaced water fountains, soaker hoses and thousands of feet of copper tubing he bout at home depot.
So, there we were ready to move the desk up through the "impossibly" skinny corridor. We put the desk on the stairs and I started pushing as Leslie guided it. I put my head down and dug my feet into the carpet and pushed, slowly and steadily, until the desk started to move. So much for professional, male, movers and their impossibilities, I thought to myself.
I pushed and pushed and Leslie pulled and pulled and together we started to move the big behemoth of a desk.
"Push! Push! Push!" Leslie was yelling from the top of the desk.
"AUUGGHHH!" I said and then I started breathing, "HEEE-HEEE-HEEE, WHOO-WHOO-WHOO."
"Keep pushing!" She sounded far off and annoying.
"AUGGH-AHHH." Was all I could say through the sweat and the pain.
About half way up, it got stuck. The stairs narrowed just a smidge and that was our margin of error - a smidge. I panicked at the thought that it might need to go back down, so I reared back, let out and animal-like sound and rammed my shoulder into the desk. There was no movement, except perhaps in my shoulder. I kept thinking, "there is no C-section for this."
I heard my mom, just like Luke heard OB1 in Star wars, say, "Remember, use your big butt." I got into a crouch, like a football player at the line of scrimmage and while Leslie pulled with all her might I plowed into it. Something gave a frightening CRACK! and then the desk popped through.
The only thing missing from the whole experience was the doctor, the nurses and the morphine drip. Oh, and the baby of course.
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Copyright 1998 by Laura Jiménez.