Wednesday, May 19, 2010

With a little help from our friends (part I)

A week and a half ago, P's older brother A, his wife T, and son little A came to help us move our belongings out of their storage locker and into the house. 

They were an enormous help--A pretty much single-handedly loaded all our belongings into and out of the U-Haul while P arranged them to "optimize usage of space."  I'm told that this was a very important and difficult job, but it sure looked like A was doing all the work.  Then again, I'm not in a position to point fingers--I loaded some of the lighter and funny-shaped items into the truck (lamps, drying racks, kitchen chairs, etc.).   I didn't even lift a finger with unloading the truck.  I unpacked some of the kitchen items, and just pointed at where I'd like the men to put things. 

This was by far the best moving experience we've ever had, and not just because A was doing all the work.  We're used to having to deal with stairs, too-small apartment doors, lines for elevators on moving day, either sub-freezing or tropical temperatures, rain, etc.  This time, the weather was lovely.  And this is one of the times when it's great to live in a ranch.  A and P tied up the tree branches that block the front of the house, and backed the truck right up to the front door until the truck ramp connected directly to the top of our little porch landing.  Everything could be wheeled right in on a handtruck--very little heavy lifting required!

So now we've got all of the stuff in the house, but we haven't decided where we want it to go, nor have we completed work on the rooms.  So we've just turned our living room into a new storage locker.  Still, it's really nice to have everything in the house--we can begin to unpack boxes and place furniture as spaces get prepped. 

It's also really helpful to be reminded of what we have, and to see it's current condition.  We have an oak dresser that used to be in P's brothers' room.  A was eyeing it fondly as we about to load it into the truck, and we agreed that they just don't make furniture that solidly anymore--it would be worth my time to refinish it so we could enjoy it for many years to come.  Then A loaded it on the handtruck, and we discovered that the dresser now had a softball-sized hole punched in the side.  Not sure how that happened--the side is made of plywood, not particleboard.  I was pretty surprised and annoyed that I hadn't noticed that when the movers dropped it off at the storage locker--we could only make damage claims at the time of receipt.  Anyway, now I just need a floor plan that places the dresser into a corner.  I'm not ready to give up on it yet.  :-)

A also brought us a used lawn mower from his landscaping business.  We knew we were getting one from him, but had a five week gap between closing on the house and his visit.  In that five weeks, we got away with only hiring someone to mow the lawn once.  (He did charge us extra because we'd let the grass get so long.)  Anyway, the lawn looks a lot better now--we're well on the way to no longer being a blight on the neighborhood!

The weekend wasn't all work; having a very active nineteen-month old in the house with us ensured that.  We hadn't seen little A since Christmas, so it was fun to see how much he had grown and changed.  He's starting to use a few words, and is super-cute when he says "cracker."  I love seeing the things that we take for granted but that totally fascinate kids.  He and I spent about twenty minutes opening and closing our front storm door--him on the outside, me on the inside.  Once he closed the door and admired his handiwork for a few moments, I would unlatch it for him, as he can't yet reach the doorknob.  (Thank goodness he can't leave the house on his own!)  Then he would do all the rest of the work of opening the door fully, swinging it around a little, and then swinging it closed.  Again and again and again.  As my mom says, who needs toys?

T was a big help behind the scenes--every time I turned around, she was doing dishes or helping to clean up.  When I came back from helping the guys load the truck at the storage locker, I found her washing dishes in the right well of our double-well sink, while little A stood on a chair so he could scrub out the left well (which we've designated our construction material well) with a sponge.  It certainly needed a cleaning!  Thanks, kid!

Most of all, it was nice to have family around.  Since T is a mom, and Sunday dinner is a big thing in P and A's family, I figured I had better do an actual Mother's Day dinner.  If it had just been P and I moving, we would have just grabbed something at Chik-fil-A.  Instead, I threw a pot roast and some potatoes in the oven first thing in the morning, and didn't worry about them until whenever the guys had unloaded the truck.  (I love how forgiving pot roast is!)  Toss a little broccoli on the stove, and look--dinner!--in hardly more time than it takes to drive to Chik-fil-A and back.  I don't know why I don't do this more often for just the two of us, but having more family members around the table definitely makes the event more special and fun.

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