“That’s what people used to do…move in the middle of the night to avoid paying rent.”
My Mom said this after I mentioned my neighbour asked if there was a moving truck in front of our house in the middle of the night…or was she dreaming? Yes, it’s quite a story how we moved my daughter, Monique!
I had ordered a 26’ long truck from U-Haul for the move. Monique’s boyfriend, Matt, a mover, suggested a truck at least 20’ long. None was available at the closest U-Haul location, but they had 26’ long trucks. I arrived at 7 am when they opened to pay for it. I wanted to beat the rush.
It was Halloween and the end of the month. I assumed many people would be moving today. That there’d be a line-up. Ha-ha! What was I thinking? I was the only customer there! Silly me. I never get up at 6 am if I can help it.
Matt and Tom were to do much of the move. The heavy lifting and the truck driving. Tom was an expert truck driver whereas no one else felt comfortable driving such a large vehicle. Tom was tied up until shortly after 8 am. I met them in the parking lot and the three of us drove to Monique’s current spacious one-bedroom apartment.
A lot of packing needed to be done. We had Tom leave for a while and Matt and I helped Monique.
It was overwhelming…she was moving to a smaller, one-bedroom apartment that in her words was “the size of my current living room”. Some belongings were to be stored at Matt’s place, some to my home, and the rest to her apartment. A fourth pile of items was headed for the dump: a broken washing machine which Whirlpool was unable to fix; and a leather couch and loveseat once used by mice as their home. Lists were made of what items were going to which location so Monique would know where to find them later.
We had two deadlines: 6 pm for the dump and midnight to be out of the apartment. At 9 am, it all looked doable. However, progress was slow. Finally, the truck was filled with things for the dump and for Matt’s place.
Next, two problems arose. First, the dump closed at 4:45. Even though on-line, it stated it was open until 6, as did the answering machine when we called there! The “dump” items went to Matt’s garage for now.
Secondly, Tom had a meeting for a job offer at 6:30. He expected it to last until 9:30. This day appeared even longer than planned. Why’d I get up at 6?
Tom told me to just drop him off at the Tim Horton’s where I planned to refuel with caffeine. His meeting was at a bar two minutes away. Hmmm… I bought coffee and food and headed back to the apartment.
Matt had retired for a power nap. He couldn’t do the move without Tom. I wanted him to rest. He had already had a heart attack in his twenties. And, I’d noticed an inhaler lying around, too. At least, my CPR was up-to-date.
It was all good. We’d finish packing, Tom and Matt would return and we’d be done.
At 9:30, I wondered why Tom hadn’t called yet. Matt was loading boxes alone into the truck. I craved another Timmie’s and was certain Tom would call any minute for me to pick him up there.
Tom texted Matt that his meeting was done however he had to cook dinner for his girlfriend, who had a broken hip. Then, Tom stopped responding to Matt’s texts.
Matt was not pleased with Tom. I reassured Matt that I had enjoyed talking with Tom all day. I really didn’t know what was up with him, but I would remember the other great points about him.
Then, the OMG moment hit…we had no driver! Even if I drove, who’d help Matt carry the heavy items? Especially, down a long, steep flight of stairs. I could pay for an extra day’s truck rental, but I didn’t want to leave the truck there overnight plus Matt had to work in the morning. The last resort would be to call my hubby, Guy. It was late, and he needed to work in the morning, too. (He said later he would’ve come, no problem.)
I remembered Guy mentioning our daughter, Giselle was driving to town late tonight with her husband for an appointment here tomorrow. They were on the highway now. I didn’t want to ask but this qualified as a family emergency!
I called Giselle and told her to ask her husband, Stephen if he’d drive and help with the move. That they could talk it over and call me back. I didn’t want to put him on the spot.
Giselle returned my call quickly, “Stephen said to tell you he will do it because he loves you.”
I know Giselle married the right man! They reached Monique’s apartment close to midnight. We were at the “throw it all in a bag” point of packing.
Matt and I were getting antsy after midnight. There’d been no love lost between Monique and her landlady. The landlady lived below her but hadn’t been home most of the day. Would she show up now? Or would the police because Monique’s apartment was to be vacated by midnight?
A neighbour had let Monique in on a secret. Her current landlady was reporting to the new landlady about the “inspection”: the condition in which we left the apartment. We had requested an extra day to clean the place, but it was denied vehemently. I had cleaned up while Monique packed.
I had originally planned to leave one cupboard filthy with mouse droppings to show her the true condition of the place. That Monique scrubbed her dishes with bleach each time before she could use them. But, I changed my tune after hearing of the “inspection”. Now, I wondered if I’d have time to sweep up—after everything was packed—before the landlady or the police arrived!
It was close to 2 when the apartment was finally empty. The last two items to go were difficult ones. Monique had a yard lamp in her living room, two metres tall that needed to be disassembled and was awkward to carry. There was also a heavy cockatiel cage. Plus, large planters from the very back yard.
I realized after the lamp was gone how difficult it was to see to sweep the floor! We didn’t want any evidence of bird seed or feathers left behind! I swept by the light of my phone.
We almost forgot the fridge and freezer contents. Matt went ahead to drop the food off first. Unfortunately, he left with the truck’s key. It could be worse…Tom could’ve had it!
We were an awesome team unloading, like an assembly line, at Monique’s place. I loved the ramp on the truck but sometimes I just jumped up or down from the truck. Had to have fun…I’d been awake over 20 hours now. I was giddy. I told Stephen I was happy he was driving although I’d convinced myself the traffic would at least be light at this hour if I had to do it.
As we pulled into our driveway to drop off the last load of belongings, my hubby was walking down the driveway towards me. While I’d normally find it rather odd for Guy to be wandering outside after 4 am, it made sense when I saw later he had texted me and assumed I was on my way home.
With one additional person, the loads into the house were completed quickly. I was so proud of everyone for not complaining about the late hour or the tiring work at all. Many times, during this day, I heard, “Let’s do it!” I knew that Matt must ache everywhere from loading and unloading so much. I knew Stephen probably figured he’d drive to Windsor and hit the hay shortly afterwards, not be involved until close to 5am with heavy lifting. These men were stellar people. I was so proud of them.
And, of Giselle, too. She was practically sleep-walking on trips to the truck. As well, I told Monique a couple of times how proud I was for her “keeping it together” on such an emotional day. How she turned things around for the better.
Guy followed Stephen, driving the truck, to the U-Haul to drive him back to our place. Giselle was passed out face down on the sofa-bed. Monique didn’t want to spend her first night in chaos at the new place and chose to sleep on our couch. I told her first to get Matt something to eat before he drove home. Maybe, some ice-cream?
I wondered what Matt thought of all of this… We acted like it was perfectly normal to be up for 23 hours and then sit down to a bowl of ice cream.
Things didn’t go as planned…and that makes for great stories! But, we coped and the best words I heard were from Monique at the end of the day, “I have such great people in my life! Thank-you everybody!”