Wednesday, June 29, 2011
We are all Joads now
One of the main reasons I have wanted to own a pickup truck was so that I wouldn't have to make five trips to Home Depot to haul home the fluffy pink insulation I installed in my uninsulated 1922 bungalow attic in my Memphis house, which was almost as good at keeping in the cold as our 1928 house here is.
I want a place to throw composted manure and peat moss and all that other stuff you feed your garden. I wanted a place for flats of petunias.
The main reason I don't want a pickup truck?
Because I don't want to help anybody move.
I know that's what people who own trucks do because I, myself, have called upon truck-owning friends to beg their assistance.
In my defense, it has been many, many years since that has happened. Over 20. The rest of the time, I have either been moved by a company found and paid for by my employer (the only way to go), by my now-husband and Penske, by Two Men and a Truck or by U-Haul (and some friends, all of whom got as much beer and pizza as they wanted but in retrospect I realize that still wasn't enough).
By the way, has anyone ever gone to U Haul and gotten the truck they actually reserved? What is the point of their reservation system if not to guarantee that a 12' truck will be available at 9 a.m. on Saturday? No I don't want to upgrade to a 20' truck unless you are willing to give it to me for the same price as the 12' and no, I do not want to go to a location across town to get the truck there.
U Haul operates on the funeral industry philosophy, which is that you are in desperate dire straits and not exactly in a position to be negotiating. You'll take the truck we give you and like it. You'll pay $6,000 for a casket and like it and oh yes, you'll pay for a liner, too, even though NOTHING IS GOING TO STOP A DEAD BODY FROM DECOMPOSING so why don't we just use a corrugated box that costs about $50?
SH has instructions to ask if there are any cheaper caskets in the back. You think I'm cheap, but he is supposed to use the savings to make sure the food at my funeral is really, really good.
Which would you rather have? Me in a fancy casket or a rocking good party?
I pick the party. So should you.
Back to the pickup. I don't want to help people move because I am lazy and selfish and I hate doing that kind of thing for myself and really don't want to do it for other people. Plus now I think about things that I never thought about before, like back injuries and liability and who pays if SH hurts himself getting that sofa out of our friend's basement.
But when our super-nice neighbor who has been so good to us asked us to help her move on Saturday - our neighbor who has shoveled our walk and driveway when we're out of town so burglars won't say, Hey! An empty house! Let's rob it! and who has fed our cats and who has gone over and made sure the windows are closed before the storm hits when I have called her from 60 miles away - when she asked, what could we say but "Yes?"
Plus there was that tiny little bit of moving karma debt I still owed from when my friend Bruce drove his estate sale van here from northern Illinois in 2008 and made three trips from the storage unit that contained most of my furniture to the house, loading and unloading almost everything by himself and refusing to take a penny of gas money. That's a big deal. That's a huge favor for someone to do for someone when there is no [wxyz] involved.
I needed to pay that forward.
But all week, I was dreading the day. SH was more sanguine. "She's our friend," he said. "She has been so nice to us. It will be fine."
I accepted it. He was right. She is our friend. She's been so nice to us. She's a good neighbor. Ex neighbor. Grrr.
On Wednesday, our neighbor emailed me. The other three men who were supposed to help had cancelled. It would be SH, her and me.
Now I was really cranky. But she was even crankier. To bail on a friend three days before she moves? That's pretty low.
Then a miracle happened.
On Friday, my neighbor's friend's husband came over with his work van. They were going to move a few boxes to her new place, which is about a mile from here.
At 9:00, she knocked on our back door.
"Good news!" she said. "I'm all moved!"
What was this? What good words were striking mine ears?
"We fit a lot more in the van than we thought," she explained. "All we have to do is the washer and dryer and maybe you guys could help with that tomorrow?"
Well sure. That's a piece of cake.
Off the hook. Off the hook without one single one of my whiny words reaching my friend's ears. Off the hook AND WE GOT CREDIT FOR BEING WILLING TO HELP.
That's the best part of all. We got credit but didn't have to do a darn thing. It's like when I offered to host the baby shower for my friend Leigh but then Margie really wanted to do it and I had never really wanted to do it at all but had offered because Leigh is my friend and I love her and I wanted her to have a great shower and it's better to host the shower yourself than not to have a shower at all.
It's just that after the bridal shower where Nancy's dogs peed on Leigh's presents and Nancy still didn't put them out, there were some people I just didn't want in my house.*
I should have realized that Leigh would not stay friends with someone like that and there was no danger of Nancy being in my house, but there you go.
I got credit for offering to have the shower but didn't actually have to do anything. We got credit for being willing to help our neighbor move but didn't actually have to do anything. All the benefits of doing a favor for someone with none of the drawbacks.
Does that mean it's safe to get a truck? Or do I still owe the universe one move?
* And the fact that Nancy presented me a bill for my share of the expenses of the shower, which I co-hosted, even though she had never consulted me about any of the planning or budgeting. It wasn't a lot of money, but considering I wasn't expecting anything as my repeated offers of help had been rebuffed and considering I had brought food, I was not pleased.