Kansas Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - November 27, 2015

It's their time now

Daughter Mariya and her girlfriend Miriam spent most of Saturday moving from their duplex to their new house. I stayed away - not because I didn't want to help, but because if I'd gone, I might have been tempted to pitch in and my back says I should stay away from such adventures. Ever since I herniated a disk in my spine four years ago, I have to be careful not to lift heavy objects or twist suddenly. It makes me frustrated, but if I've learned anything as I've gotten older, it's to listen to my body.

Their adventure reminded me of when my first husband Jerome and I moved from Jardine Terrace Apartments on Kansas State University's campus to our home near downtown Manhattan. I was Mariya's age - 29 - when we decided we were tired of apartment living and wanted a home of our own. But we didn't consider how much work was involved in a fixer-upper. My folks, Jerome's parents Ken and Rita, and other family members spent hours helping us clean and remove clutter and take down the lathe-and-plaster walls and replace them with sheetrock. Multiple other jobs kept us busy for many more months: painting walls, installing new door frames and a drop ceiling, replacing windows and putting on a new roof.

In contrast, this house is live-in ready, although they already re-painted one of the bedrooms because they didn't like the color. I'm sure they'll make other adjustments to suit their tastes as they go along.

They rented a U-Haul for the day and they had help - our youngest daughter Katie, Miriam's brother Alex, and friends Kylie and Lukus. Alex drove the U-Haul, Kylie and Lukus carted miscellaneous stuff in the trunks of their cars, and Katie hauled some larger items in her pickup.

Katie was a real trooper and was there for most of the day. She described what happened:

I think we made three trips with the U-Haul - one for the couches, TV stand, TV stuff, desks, and one of the mattresses. Trip two was for a bunch of kitchen stuff, armoire, the washer and dryer, and a bunch of other random smaller things. Trip three was the last trip and involved the fancy mattress, the table, and a few other random things. Everybody was super helpful. Lukus and Kylie were there earlier and helped move a lot of the really heavy stuff, like the big-ass couch, which needed four people. Alex came by a little later and it was obviously really great to have him there. Most things were already packed, except for the kitchen, which Miriam worked on after she got off of work. Mariya had done a great job of packing all the books, desk stuff, and the clothes by putting black trash bags over the clothing that was hanging up.

Art was there at 2:30 when the group stopped long enough to have pizzas and Cokes.

"They fell on those pizzas like they hadn't seen food for days," he told me.

Katie asked him if he was there to help. He told them he had moved often enough in his life and had helped move many friends and family members over the years, so he was there just to observe how things were going.

He did chip in some when the group was convinced that the large couch would not go through the door because it was too wide in its normal position or sitting on its back. The others were contemplating removing the sliding glass doors when Art suggested they turn the couch at a 45-degree angle. That did the trick. They also thought the smaller couch wouldn't turn the corner into the basement, but he suggested they set it on end and turn it through. That worked as well.

Art said while we may not have the physical abilities we had when we were younger, we do have experience on our side!

I asked for updates throughout the day, and I dropped by with a loaf of fresh Friendship Bread at about 4. No one was at the house, so I left the bread on the back steps and went to run a few errands.

By 6, I thought everyone would be ready to quit for the day and get some dinner. I texted Mariya and Katie to see where they were in the process and to offer to take them to eat. Katie thought they'd be ready by 6:30, but Mariya thought it would be closer to 7. I met Art in town and waited for word from the girls. By then, it was dark.

At 6:45, Art got a call from Mariya. The moving truck wouldn't start and the girls weren't sure what the problem was because the lights came on. Art asked what happened with the lights when they tried to start it. The report was they flickered out.

Art told them the battery was bad and said we'd go over to jump it. We headed over with his old Topaz, which had jumper cables in the trunk. Alex held a flashlight while Art hooked up the cables. The truck started right away, but Art told the kids to be sure to keep it running for their last trip.

That one involved a mattress, a bed support and some odds and ends. All went well until Art and Alex tried to move the bed support downstairs. It got stuck as they tried to round the corner from the kitchen door to the basement door. Art kept telling Alex to push, but it wouldn't budge far enough to make the corner.

Meanwhile, Mariya and Miriam left to take the U-Haul back to the rental place, and Katie and I escaped to one of the bedrooms to wait out the drama. Finally, after pushing and pulling, Art decided it just wasn't going to fit and Alex pulled it back into the kitchen. They set it up against one of the walls out of the way. Art tore off the bottom covering and discovered the support was nothing more than a bunch of not-such-great-quality wood pieces covered by a cardboard top and a cloth bottom. Dismantling it to get it downstairs and re-assembling it in its final destination will be a project for another day.

Art and I were amazed by all the furniture and boxes strewn around the house. I told the girls it seemed they have as much stuff as we do - and we have 30-plus more years of collecting than they do! Mariya told me if she moves again, she'll consider burning everything and starting from scratch.

But she said she's super excited to be in a new house and starting a new chapter in her life. Although I wish I could help more, it's their time - their time to be exhausted ... and their time to be exhilarated ... both at the same time.

Left: Katie carries out a desk leg while Mariya opens her tool bag; center: the living room filled with items to be put in their appropriate places; right: Mariya and Miriam take a break while Miriam's brother Alex and Art - unseen on the other end of the bed support - attempt to move the support into the basement.

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