Monday, April 25, 2011

Little Blessings

I'm pecking away on the fiancee's laptop as I write this because there's not enough space in this house to wheel in my clunky desktop. So right away, I'm sacrificing some things in order to fit into her lifestyle. Besides, the computer desk which held my desktop just fine for five years decided to disintegrate en route to the moving truck. I mean screws started falling out, keyboard shelf took a leap...the damn thing committed Hari Kari or whatever right in front of my eyes. So I moved it all the way down here and then threw it out.

And oh, that moving experience. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but wow. This was a whole new experience. I've moved several times before, of course, but never to another state. The pressures of packing up everything I own in two weeks were massive. There was stuff I'd had for years that I had to contemplate trashing, stuff that I never wanted to trash, stuff that I knew I should trash but had to take anyway (like those hundreds of cassette tapes)...the whole project was as daunting as anything I've ever done. What I honestly should have done is take the whole last week of work off because I had enough sick days to do so, and just sat at home and packed. But I would have felt guilty skipping out on everyone at Chase like that. So as a result, my last blog post had me staring down a shitload of work the Saturday before I had to move, and most of it didn't wind up being finished until Monday when "Jacob" arrived. Most of the problem was my general laziness. But part of it was inviting "Drew" to the crib to hang out one last Saturday night, a night that didn't conclude until about 4:30A. That gave me about 3 hours of sleep going into Sunday. I accomplished a lot on Sunday, including giving a bunch of stuff to my play cousin that otherwise would have gone out to the already stuffed garbage can. The crash came when my cousin and I stopped to chat and say our goodbyes for about an hour and a half. Once she left, I decided that since I hadn't eaten since breakfast, I should make some dinner. I put those forks full of macaroni and chili into my mouth and sat upon my couch at about 7:30P. Next thing I knew, my eyes had closed and I had taken a siesta sitting straight up. Not lying down on the job, just sitting on the couch. When I opened my eyes, it was 10, and my body had become stiff and sore, and packing was no longer going to take place on this day. So I could only go to bed and vow to pick it up again when I woke up the next morning.

And that's what I did, at about 4:15A or so. My packing was briefly interrupted by meeting my aunt to take some cash she had for me to purchase my couch and tables, and by calling the utilities to get my name taken off of the bills. Jacob and his mom showed up around 8. We picked up the moving truck and came back home, then his mom ran my cable equipment back to the cable company for me. While we waited for her to return and act as the truck lookout, Jacob and I surveyed the scene. I remember vowing last time I moved from my Lakeview apartment to The Dungeon that next move, I was hiring professionals. I did that this time inadvertently. Jacob had so much experience packing trucks for Best Buy and moving himself cross-country a couple of times that he knew the best way to get this house packed and going. He and his mother kept remarking that my house wasn't that big to move, something that didn't make me feel much better considering the task ahead of us. But they knew how to pack it up the right way. My hands lost their muscle power early on attempting to handle the unwieldy mattress, so Jacob had to pick up the slack and move most of the stuff. I was ashamed of being so out of shape that I got tired early and couldn't help like I wanted. But in my defense, I had been packing up the whole house by myself for the past week. I had a right to be tired. It took several hours, but we packed the truck at about 1:30P and took off. I have to give mad props to my play cousin, who swept up all of the rooms as we emptied them and provided extra boxes and garbage bags, and even washed my dishes even though I didn't take them with me. She also arranged my tapes and CDs in crates and boxes so that I didn't have to sit and fuck with those items, which I thought was going to take me forever. The last thing I took with me was a chocolate cake that my play aunt--her mother--made for me. The couple of items that I forgot that were a little more important than cake: my pencil-drawn sketch of my mother, done by a friend, and my associate's degree, which is legit and not a sketch. My play cousin is holding on to those things until which time I can return to Chicago, whenever that may be.

The trip to Tennessee was both a very fun ride and stressful. Jacob and I had a ball yakking in the truck while his mom drove behind us. We stopped for dinner at Cracker Barrel, a place I should get used to living in the Dirty South. In the truck, we hooked up a cord and alternated playing songs from our respective iPods, a throwback to the days in which we would have MusicFests over the phone, playing our favorite songs on our respective cassette players. We shot the shit and had some real good male-bonding time. The stress came when it was time for Jacob to decide how to get into the Memphis suburb where my fiancee lives. He took a very roundabout path because he was adamant about not wanting to drive the truck into Memphis city traffic. So at midnight, when we hit the Tennessee state line, which is five minutes from Memphis on my bus trips and therefore 25 or 30 minutes from my fiancee's suburb, I texted my fiancee that we should be very close. But Jacob was on a totally different journey, and as a result, we didn't arrive at my fiancee's house until 1:30A!

From there, we took most of the stuff out of the truck in an effort to free up the bed from the front of the truck. Then Jacob and I took my fiancee's bed apart and rebuilt my bed in our bedroom. This was a concession on her part to my desire to have my harder mattress set instead of her slightly softer one. (She's already rueing the decision because my set rises higher than hers, making her reach for her alarm clock in the mornings more of an Olympic competition.) It was an unusual evening in this normally very quiet town. Piercing the still night was a Penske moving van with two big, loud guys throwing furniture and boxes around. My fiancee and Jacob's mother kept each other company chatting on the front porch while we moved shit into the house as quickly and quietly as possible. By the time we finished, it was closing in on 4A. I thanked Jacob and bid him and his mom adieu as they drove to the hotel room that my fiancee reserved for them. Jacob had to drive in his car back home to middle Wisconsin the very next morning, plus there was a winter storm coming to his residence. So he couldn't stick around to take my other stuff to storage.

That had to wait until my fiancee's roommate, "Jody," was able to give me a hand. Jody lost her job a while back and has been living here ever since, but she is preparing to leave for several weeks to take a truck-driving class in Texas. But before she does, she gleefully drove my moving truck around town, gaining some experience with a larger vehicle even though the truck was a gnat compared to the behemoth big rigs she'll be steering. She helped me move my cassettes and computer and other assorted garbage into storage, then the next day she drove my truck to its drop-off point. I couldn't have completed my move without her because I'm not nearly confident enough in my driving skillz to attempt to take a moving truck anywhere, although I did slowly back the truck up one morning in an attempt to clear it as an obstruction away from the mailbox. I won't get into how much it costs to rent a truck and drive it 700 miles, but suffice it to say that if I had not received my tax return check, I couldn't have afforded it.

Our first day together as one big happy family had a dark and stormy ending. No, we didn't argue. I mean literally dark and stormy. A thunderstorm whipped through the area Tuesday night with such ferocity that tornado sirens were sounding and the power got knocked the fuck out. 35 hours of electricity-free livin' followed, not a fun thing for the fiancee to be sure but even worse for us unemployed folks. (Well, I was unemployed all last week. I start with Symcor tomorrow.) The fiancee had to throw out a big refrigerator full of food because here in Memphis, no power doesn't mean holding still in April at a chilly temperature, possibly salvaging some grub. It means the storm clearing out and 80-degree weather turning the fridge contents into inedible slop. If left to my own devices, I would've tried to eat the ribs. That's a lot of good ribs that went to waste. Oh, and speaking of fridge contents, let me rant on the racket that is milk sales here in Graceland. I insisted to the fiancee that we didn't have to pay $3.79 at Wal-Mart for a gallon of milk. We should be able to go to CVS or Walgreens and find it for much cheaper. There are many different brands for sale in Chicago across those various stores, and as a result, you can find one of those brands on sale any given week for about $2. Not here in Memphis. There appears to be only one motherfucking brand of milk available here, called Turner's, and I can't find it anywhere lower than $3.69 per gallon, which is what it cost at Walgreens. On the part of the sale paper where it has a picture of a gallon of milk and it usually has a sale price of $1.99 in Chicago, here it just says, "Everyday low price." Low?!? My fat ass! My fiancee says it's because Turner's has a plant here and that's why they can gouge like that. Whatever the reason, it really sucks.

Besides that, it's been a fun first week. We raced me over to SunTrust Bank on Friday and I opened a new account. (I would have driven there and to the truck drop-off if my back wasn't acting up--it wouldn't let me get behind the wheel of the fiancee's Toyota Corolla.) We ate at Steak & Shake on Thursday, Genghis Grill on Sunday, and grilled burgers on Good Friday, so already I'm eating much better. We've struggled trying to find the right time to get intimate since there's a third person in the house to avoid, but we'll figure it out over time. We've watched a lot of basketball, and the Grizzlies are putting on a show, hanging with the Spurs in the 1st round. And having me available Friday evening and Sunday worked out for my fiancee's church activities. I got to watch her play handbells at church both days. And the Easter service was wonderful. I was touched by the church members greeting me Friday and Sunday, telling me how glad they were to hear that I'm in town permanently now. I appreciated the warmth. And as always, I appreciated the sermon by the pastor. No matter what the occasion, her sermons always have a message of appreciating the big and little blessings in your life. Today was a very good example. The fiancee and I had a rough night because she wanted me to leave the bedroom and watch the game in the living room, but I didn't feel like it and she didn't tell me why she wanted me to leave, so I stayed in bed, and we went to sleep a little tense and upset. This morning, she explained that she was tense because she didn't know how to tell me that I was upsetting her usual routine of meditation and quiet time, and that's why she wanted me to leave. She also had been expressing dismay at my messy lifestyle and how she felt like she had to pick up behind me. So after she went to work, I was left alone to ponder how I was seemingly under her skin already after only one week. But she decided to text me without prompting, "I'm so glad you're here." Guess she decided to let me know before I could overthink things that it's still all good and she's still happy that I made the move. Well, she's happy for now, that is. Wait until the next time I pass gas in the bedroom! Muhahahaha!!

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