III. Moving Day

(Eagle River, WI. October 16, 2013) After all the anticipation, the waiting, the list checking, when the day finally arrived it took on a life of its own and there was no stopping. I’d finished packing the car to the hilt that morning. To get everything in and still be able to see out the rear view mirror was a challenge. Did I really need all this stuff, I wondered.

I’d been told there’d be a small truck coming since mine was the only move. Instead a semi-sized truck backed up the narrow gravel road and parked. The lead mover told me they now had three moves but my schedule was still the same. He also explained he was late because he had to travel some distance to find a scale to weigh the empty truck. He’d then go back and weigh it full in order to determine the cost.

Two other men showed up right after him. One walked in with a suitcase that he opened on the floor and plugged in. He warned the men they couldn’t touch anything until he’d done his work. He took out a hand held calculator similar to those I’d seen used by grocery store clerks taking inventory. I heard his innumerable clicks as he walked around the entire apartment. Click, click, click. Everything I owned was a click. Then the printer in his suitcase produced multiple sheets of small yellow tags with the same three digit number and long inventory sheets for my signature.

Each man took a sheet and started tagging my belongings before carrying them to the truck. I could see their minds calculating where each piece should go, how to prevent damage and how to conserve space. They’d done this many times before and that made me feel calm. It was odd to just stand there; my job was to stay out of the way.

In forty five minutes, my entire world was packed into the truck. Mountains of paper were produced from the little printer. I had to sign as they started and sign again as they finished. They drove off and left me alone in my now completely empty apartment. It was spooky. There was an echo.

I stood for a moment at the sliding glass door that opened to the small patio. The back yard was lined by trees. I’d loved the privacy. No more leisurely mornings sitting in my chair listening to the loons fly by. I took one more walk around, left the note for the landlord and keys on the counter, locked the door, got into my car and drove down the gravel road surrounded by trees for the last time.

Driving through Eagle River, the five or six blocks that was the main street, it could have been any small town. I passed all the familiar sights, the grocery store, theater, medical clinic, restaurants. Funny, I had no real feelings about leaving this place. Maybe it had never really been home to me.

Then began the five hour drive to Betty’s house in Waukesha where I’d spend the night. Next morning I checked in at my new home, got my keys and unloaded my car. I was finished by noon and then nothing to do but wait for the truck.

The movers called a couple of times throughout the day to assure me they were on the way. They’d picked up a last minute move or two so that put off their arrival time. Finally, around 3:00pm they pulled up and it took less than an hour to unload. Another round of signing papers and we were done. The actual cost was within $20.00 of the estimate. Nothing broken or bent.

I sat in my new living room and thought it surreal that all my furniture and belongings were now in a new place that looked so much like my old place. Maybe unconsciously, I’d had the furniture placed in the same configuration as I’d had in my Eagle River apartment. This was comforting. That night I was unconnected with the world. No phone, TV or internet. That felt strange. I went to bed and slept well. Next day, the cable and phone guy came and connected me.

The move turned out to be so quick and easy, it almost felt like it hadn’t happened. But it had. That first morning, I sat in my chair looking out the window toward the soccer field across the street. The trees and the park were a comforting sight. But I knew it was time to finally and fully approach my newest adventure. Retirement loomed ahead as an unknown abyss. What was next and how would I manage it. Time for a new list.




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