Category Archives: moving

Carry On, Wayward Son

One of our former library interns, Ben, is leaving town. He’s moving to Wichita, Kansas to take a job. Albany is a tough market for a new librarian because there’s a library school here, and moving away is often the best option. The folks in Wichita had called and I gave a positive reference for him.

He had asked his friends whether he should stay or should he go. I advocated for his departure, not because I was getting rid of him – as he [kiddingly?] suggested, but because his life was simple enough (no house, no spouse, etc.) that leaving was easier than it might be later in life.

Last night, he had a BBQ/auction. Well, not everything was auctioned, only “the most prized and valuable items” were auctioned. Other items were sold in a more traditional manner — “priced and sold to the fist taker”. I think he meant “first”, for there wasn’t anything worth fighting over.

He is a lapsed blogger who may get back to it after he gets settled in his new job.

Ben leaves for Wichita tomorrow. Good luck.
The Marvin Gaye segment of American Masters premieres on PBS, starting May 7; check your local listing. Also being shown this week, the American Masters piece on Aretha Franklin.
Gin, Television, and Social Surplus.


Moving Is Easy, Unless It's Your Stuff

movingA couple months ago, I helped someone move a harpsichord, a secretary (the furniture variety), and a couple other pieces. No big whoop; I’ve helped, conservatively, in over 100 moves, excluding the 30 or so moves of mine. But he was so appreciative that he sent me a card thanking me.

Let’s deal with mine first. “You say 30 moves, really?” Surely, I exaggerate; I do not. And all but one was since I was 18. But I’m getting more settled: 7 years in my current place. Before that 1 year in the house Carol had bought before we met, 4.5 years in an apartment. Before that, mucho moves for all sorts of reasons. Like this guy.

And like many folks, I hate moving my own stuff, for all sorts of psychological reasons.

Moving other people’s stuff, however, I love. I love it for a number of reasons:
1) It’s good exercise
2) It becomes an interesting anthropological study
3) People are grateful that you’re moving their stuff
4) It’s not MY stuff

I’ve helped one guy move six times, so often that my accomplices, Allie and Tom, and I called ourselves RAT Moving (or ART Moving, or TAR Moving). I’ve helped people I’ve known two weeks.

But I have rules for moving other people’s stuff, having done so many times:
1) Pick a time. Stick to the time. I want to get there, do it, and leave.
2) The movee (or his/her designee) must be in charge of the move, especially the unloading. I don’t care if the movee picks up a single thing as long as that person can say: what goes and what stays when we’re in the old place; and where the things go when we’re in the new place. One good friend of mine was so distraught about her move, it fell upon a committee of the movers to decide what to do. Yuck.
3) Have extra boxes. Inevitably, the movee thinks he/she is done packing, but forgot the stuff behind a piece of furniture or in a closet or in the refrigerator. Seldom have I been in a situation with too many boxes.
4) Don’t pack your books, records and other dense items in large boxes. I may be, as one friend calls her roving moving crew, of “strong backs and small minds”, but we’re not looking to end up on the disabled list while doing one a favor.
5) Highly recommended: extra packing tape, and markers for labeling boxes (oh, PLEASE, label your boxes so that we don’t have to open the boxes and decide what’s in them). Bungee ropes can be useful. Once, I helped carry a sofa down a flight of stairs. It turned out to be a sleeper sofa, and the sleeper sofa came out. I kicked the sleeper part back into position, on my back, on the stairwell, and tied the sleeper part with my belt.
6) If possible, contact the authorities about blocking off the moving spaces so we can load and unload at the actual addresses rather than from a half a block away.

My Back Is Killing Me

On Memorial Day, I was carrying Lydia’s not-so-little red wagon down the back step of the house. I stepped down on what should have been the penultimate step and ended up on my back, the wagon on top of me. I discovered that step was lower on the left side by about an inch and a quarter than it was on the right.

You might think 1.25 inches isn’t much, but when you can’t actually SEE the steps, it’s like a chasm. Falling down these stairs, at least in this case, is somewhat like sliding into second base. One starts vertically, and ends up horizontal. The difference is intentionality; I didn’t plan to land on my backside carrying the wagon. (Also, no one in Major League Baseball seems to slide feet first anymore.)

Immediately after the fall, I thought, “I need to sue the landlord.” Then I had that annoying realization: I AM the landlord. When you’ve lived in housing owned by others for the vast majority of your life, home ownership, even after eight years, is still a bit of a foreign concept.

The house I grew up in was owned by my maternal grandmother, which, as I think back on it, may have contributed to the tension between her and my father. My parents didn’t buy their own place until shortly after I went to college.

So, I’ve been a renter most of my life. This means I’ve moved a number of times, some number north of 20, maybe as many as 30; I forget. Given the fact that I didn’t move from the time I was six months old until I went to college, that meant about once a year in my adulthood prior to being a homeowner. Since I stayed some places longer than a year, other places were much shorter. 1977, e.g., I was in Charlotte, NYC and New Paltz. In 1978, I was at three different addresses in Schenectady, four if you count the four days I spent at one location.

But the rate of change has slowed, I spent 4.5 years in one apartment before I got married. One year in the house Carol bought before we met, and now seven years here.

The downside of moving so often are that it’s harder to peg time. “Oh, that happened when I was living on Madison Avenue; must have been ’82 or ’83.” the other downside is that the ability for stuff to clutter up certain rooms is so much easier. But I’ll deal.

Oh, and the back is still sore, as is my left knee, which I seem to have hyperextended. I say “seem” because I haven’t gone to the doctor, yet. I will if it isn’t better soon.
And speaking of stuff, we have an overstuffed chair and a pull-out sofa bed that we’ve been trying to get rid of (i.e., give away if someone would just haul it off) for weeks. The chair’s going on the curb this week, the sofa next. The street entrepreneurs, I hope, will pick them up before they end up in the landfill. I’ve tired of having two stuffed chairs and two sofas in the living room.
Things I like about June: music on PBS. Alison Krauss live and also a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald on Wednesday. Later in the month, the Gershwin Award to Paul Simon, with a whole bunch of folks singing Simon songs.