It is moving time. Thankfully, not for me, but for my son, Not What's-His-Name, but The-Other-One. He and his family have set something of a record for the most moves in the shortest time. He just barely moved back to his hometown, and now, his company is moving him again.
I feel sorry for him—well; at least I would if I weren't so angry at his company for moving him again. It is unfair of them for exploiting our well-known family weakness: they waved more money under his nose. So he gets a promotion and a transfer to another state. I wouldn't mind so much, but he insists on taking his wife and my grandchildren with him. Hardly seems fair!
Moving—the whole packing, loading a truck, unloading the truck, and so forth is just about my least favorite activity. And for some reason, every time my son moves, it seems to be raining. If you have never experienced the pure panic of pushing a large refrigerator up a wet slippery ramp without near enough help...
Perhaps this is why The Doc and I no longer move. We are as stationary as stalactites. My goal is to eventually be buried in the back yard with all the pets I told the boys had gone to live in the country at the Happy Farm. We've lived in the same location now for 30 years, and as far as I'm concerned, the house and I are having a contest to see which of us can last the longest. While we both have a little dry rot in the attic, my plumbing is better.
Moving for The Doc and me has always been a nightmare. We own books. Thousands and thousands and thousands of books. About the only thing of value the two of us possess are books. Once, several years ago, we bought the entire contents of a book store. The house is filled to overflowing with books, and they are a total nightmare to move.
In all these years, we have only lived in one house that was actually suited for our collection. While we lived in Galveston, we lived in one of those old Victorian homes that look so picturesque, but are actually a total nightmare to live in. The ceilings were 14 feet high, the floors were masterpieces of wood, and the impossibly high stairway to the second floor was wrapped around three walls. The house looked great.
It was also an ancient, drafty old barn with almost no heat in the winter, with a thousand generations of inbred mice, and a plumbing system that had been installed by people who had personally fought in the Civil War. Once, in an effort to repair an electrical short, I opened a section of wall only to discover that the wiring was wrapped in cotton cloth. Equally surprising was to discover the walls still had the pipes that had once supplied the house with gas lighting. Trust me, museums are more fun to visit than actually live in.
One feature the house did have, to its credit, was a library. On the second floor, there was an actual room intended to be a library. Beautiful built-in wooden bookcases, eight feet tall, lined all four walls. It is the only house my wife and I have ever lived in where every book we owned could be displayed all at the same time. Sure, we still had bookcases in several other rooms, but the vast majority of our books were in the library room.
Good seafood and that library are the only things we really miss from living on that island. Mostly.
When it came time to finally move to New Mexico, we did something we had never done before—we called a moving company. This time, I would not have to rent a Uhaul truck: I would not have to load a truck because we were going to leave the moving to Bekins. I called the moving company and it sent a representative.
I am still not sure exactly what that guy was doing. As I led him from room to room, he made little notes on his clipboard and made enigmatic remarks like, "Living room, plus two. Kitchen, upright freezer, plus one."
Finally, I led him up the long twisting stairs to the second floor. We started with my pride and joy, the library. The man from the moving company stood in the middle of the large room, silently staring at the bookcases that covered every inch of the four walls. After a long minute, staring at the thousands of books the room contained, he turned back to look at me.
"Fuck you," he said. And left without saying another word.
We eventually found a moving company that would move us, even though we had a library on the second floor. Bekins never called back.