GETTING READY FOR MOVING DAY
During the month of August about a year ago, I moved from my hometown to an apartment in another city so that I could attend law school. I wish I had known then what I know now: “A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” (John Steinbeck). It would have helped me realize that no matter how hard I tried, I could not control everything regarding my moving.
Early that summer, I started a detailed list of the stuff that I needed. I shopped for my stuff, arranged to rent a truck, and recruited friends and relatives to help me on moving day. I wanted to make sure that I had everything arranged perfectly. I worked all summer to accumulate the things that I needed for my new apartment. I went to rummage sales, finding stuff—chairs, bedroom set, rugs, supplies, etc. I used my aunt’s garage to store my moving-away stuff.
When my big moving day arrived one hot August morning, my perfect plan was set into motion. I went to get the truck that I had reserved, but quickly realized it was not big enough! It was full after we had loaded only half of my stuff. So, many phone calls later, the lease manager finally found us a larger truck.
Three hours later, after we had packed all those items from my aunt’s garage into the second van, we went into her house to get the last item, a green couch that she was giving me. I knew the color would look great in my new apartment. However, when we tried to get that couch through the bedroom door, no matter what we did, it did not fit. (I had forgotten to measure.) So, we called a furniture mover to come and help, but his price was $200!
So, we took off for St. Paul, minus my couch. By “we,” I mean the seven people whom I had recruited to help me move: two uncles, two aunts, a cousin, and my mother and brother. We had a caravan on the Interstate—three cars and a white truck. About 15 miles from my apartment, we spotted a sign: “Cheap Furniture: Going-out-of Business Sale.” That was what I needed, so we went stopped. I bought a microsuede tan couch for $150! The manager said that I could pick it up later that afternoon after we had emptied our truck.
Four hours later, after all the stuff from the truck was neatly arranged in my apartment, my two uncles, brother, and cousin went to get my new couch. I was excited because that couch would really update my apartment. However, when they got back to my apartment, we encountered door-problem number two. Four of us carried my brand-new couch up the two flights of stairs. But, that couch would not go through that apartment door, no matter what we did! (I had forgotten to measure the couch to see if it would go through the apartment door.) Now, couch number two was stuck in a doorway.
After laughing and moaning from sheer frustration and tiredness, we debated whether we should return the couch—if we could wedge it out of the door frame. But then my cousin devised a genius plan: Remove both the door and its frame. My uncle, a finishing-work carpenter, easily took off the door and frame. And unbelievably the couch almost fell through that doorway!
By the time we got the couch in place, it was 8 P.M., so my friends and family left. I was alone, but that was okay. My day’s journey had been exhausting; but before I fell asleep, I decided that when I move again in two years, the couch will stay in that apartment; I will donate it to the new tenants.
WHAT I LEARNED
A result of my journey is that I now understand Steinbeck’s quote—I can’t control a situation. There will always be problems in any situation. Nevertheless, I now realize that I have the ability within me to resolve the problems that I do encounter.
I have learned that a journey is not about control, rather it is about the memories and the laughter that we make along the way, given the problems. My friends and relatives still laugh about that moving day, fondly remembering the things that did not go well—especially the two couches. Our laughing has helped us to see problems as funny, rather than just frustrating.
When I make future travel plans, I won’t try to do them perfectly because I now know that just won’t work. Rather, I will plan trips, knowing that I will be able to handle any problems that do occur.
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