**Attention! Teen Witch is now available on Netflix! Teen Witch! Top that!**
Winter moves are never fun, but every winter I find myself skidding on ice with a mattress. Last weekend I helped my sister move from an apartment with steps to another place with steps. She’s in her fourth month of physical therapy from a workplace incident, so that left the majority of the heavy lifting to my insanely strong dad, also known as Mighty Man, and myself. For one person, she owns more than her share of bulky oak furniture. If there’s a shortage somewhere on 1960’s credenzas with sharp broken drawers, they’re now in her storage unit.
I had to ask what she keeps in all of them. “My piles.” Oh, the piles. We shared a bedroom growing up, which is probably why I found my seventh grade report card in one of her piles. My sister’s piles are the reason I keep nothing. That’s not to stay my living space has a single empty surface as my boyfriend is a piles person, too.
Piles are my lot in life and so is doing everything the hard way because the hard way is the cheap way and my family is frugal to the bone. If one of us ever wins the lottery, moving will still be a family affair only maybe we’d spring for a moving dolly instead of my dad’s ancient cast-iron dolly that’s heavier than the over-sized therapy chairs we attempted to carry on it.
I arrived at my sister’s last Thursday ready to take one last walk on the beach and maybe stop by our favorite coffee shop for a ridiculously overpriced coffee (looking at you, Rook). One look around her not-yet-packed-at-all apartment told me any form of rest was not to be. We stayed up until 4 am packing, ran out of boxes around midnight and had to use these thin trash bags for her clothes because we are nothing if not classy. We rolled her nice things in sheets, gathered at the ends and tied bindle-style.
I’ve always wondered how movers last more than a day. To me, this is one of the worst jobs around because every day is a slog and you never know how bad it’s going to be. David Sedaris has a hilarious essay in Me Talk Pretty about his days as a NYC mover and the silent rage he developed for book lovers. Me, I don’t mind carrying boxes of books. It was the nails sticking out of the plaster wall on the staircase I could’ve done without – and would’ve done without if we hadn’t packed and lost track of the hammer to remove them.
We lucked out in that it didn’t snow on moving day. Having passed out at 4 am, it would’ve been nice if our dad didn’t show up at 7 am caffeinated and ready to roll, but early mornings are a given whenever Mighty Man’s involved.
Her horrible landlord didn’t clear the ice from the broken front steps or driveway, so the actual move was slow going. We laid down a rubber bathmat, but it couldn’t grip ice and we slid all over. Nobody broke a body part or any of her wrapped-in-plastic-bags breakables so I’m calling the day a success.
Despite the conditions, this move didn’t leave me as sore as usual. I’m still covered in bruises from resting boxes on myself while opening doors, but my back is totally fine. Daily yoga gets all the credit here. Flexibility improves so gradually it’s hard to measure, but being able to keep up with Mighty Man for roughly 10 hours of heavy lifting – the apartment and attic took 6 hours alone – is a feat worthy of a tee shirt.
After we set up the bed in her new place, we went back to my dad’s house and I sat by the fire with a cup of tea. Just before my sister dozed off, a most maddening afterthought was shared. “I should’ve asked my bodybuilder friends to help. Next time.”
Rule #1 of DIY moving: If you have good friends who are body builders, ask them to help. OR do not reveal their existence after the fact.