Moving (like a graceful chicken)

After 8 moves in the last 10 years or so, I have decided there is no such thing as a graceful move. Moving, in and of itself, lacks all grace. Or perhaps, that has just been my experience.

It all started over a decade ago as my parents and I were driving a U-Haul containing all my earthly treasures (which amounted to a bunch of secondhand furniture and thrift store dishes; my wardrobe, much of which I had been wearing since High School and much of which I still wear today, some stacks of crap I still can’t seem to part with or at the very least lose in transit and the only thing of any real worth: my violin) to Washington D.C. where I had been accepted into graduate school. I should have known as the three of us were crammed into the cab together and the air conditioning stopped working in that muggy summer heat, and even more so, as we were broken down on the side of the highway, awaiting a tow truck to come pick us (and our U-Haul) up, that this was not going to be my very best adventure ever.

A few years (no grad-degree but one husband) later, I fondly recalled the U-Haul adventure as Kurt and I pulled a U-Haul trailer behind my old Ford Explorer, across the country to begin our lives together in California. We crossed our fingers and said a prayer or two to the automobile gods to forgive us for all our past transgressions and to please, PLEASE, get us over the next mountain range. We held or breath as Kurt held the pedal down to the floor and our truck still got slower….and slower…..and slower yet, sometimes just barely making it to the top and over the hill at 30 miles per hour. Somehow though, perhaps a belated wedding gift, the gods found favor on us and we arrived without incident, though a little too late to actually get keys to our apartment. After having to spend the night in a hotel that we would eventually come to realize would be the nicest place we stayed in the first few years or so of our marriage, we felt lucky to have arrived at all.

And so, a decade since that first U-Haul adventure, and with several other successes under our belt (like four kids in as many moves), Kurt and I moved back into our Midwestern home this past week. God bless my in-laws and the plane they came in on for being able to come help us. And for providing me with the humor of yet another U-Haul memory. It simply would not be much of a move without one.

Picture it: the house we were moving from was just across the street and slightly uphill from the house we were moving to. We rented a big truck with plans to pack and unload, pack and unload and we had several days worth of volunteers, to which we are forever grateful. Kurt and his father arrived with the U-Haul and proceeded to back it up into the driveway, and straight into the front gutter on the roof of the house. (“I was looking down….who’d’ve thought it would hit up top” Kurt explained, or something like that.) No biggie. Just a dent we may have to pay for…But it didn’t stop there….

We were about half way or so through the move when Kurt’s father went to drive the truck back to the rental house for one more load. In order to “expedite” the process, he decided to do the "convenient" thing and turn it around in our neighbor’s driveway. I can’t help but think all Poltergeist-like in the following scenario, as in, “We’re baaaa-aaack.”

He turned up into our neighbor’s driveway and started backing up and although the three other men directing from behind were all yelling stop, he backed that truck right into the street, grinding to a stuck halt in the middle of the hole he put in the middle of the road. I am almost certain the automobile gods were cracking up at the scene that ensued because well, I know I was.

As the neighbors all came shuffling out to watch, I ran in to grab my camera. If there was anything about the move worth capturing, four men trying to pick up a 24 foot U-Haul with a miniature hydraulic jack and a few pieces of plywood was definitely it.*

A special thanks to Craig and Jack D’Alessio and Todd Rosso for sharing this memory with us. And to my in-laws: we truly thank you and want you to know we don’t hold you fully accountable since we have come to realize a very essential and universal law of nature: U-Hauls are possessed creatures unto themselves.

*Unfortunately, in a purely Graceful Chicken gesture, during the move I set aside my camera’s firewire that enables it to upload pictures into my computer, so that I wouldn’t lose it, and now I can’t remember where I put it. Pictures will follow sometime in the next six to twelve months, I’m just sure of it…

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