The Move

Part One: Necessary Back Story

The initial cause of this saga was my forthcoming graduation from the University of Texas at Tyler. The attainment of my Bachelor’s degree necessitated, in my opinion, my departure from my parent’s house. I needed a real job and a somewhat less parasitic livelihood.

My brother, Chad, moved to Dallas in the beginning of 2003. Since it’s much cheaper to share an apartment than live alone, it seemed natural that I should move in with him. This, however, brings up two issues. First, he lived in a one-bedroom apartment so we would have to move. Second, I needed a means to pay my half.

Concerning the first issue, since we were both going to be moving anyway, it seemed a good time to find a nicer apartment. There was nothing wrong with his old apartment; it was a respectable complex in a good neighborhood. The difference between comparable one- and two-bedroom apartments isn’t that great, however. Since we’d both be contributing, we would be able to afford a much nicer place, for less each than he was paying alone. I made a trip up to Dallas earlier this year to look at new places. We checked out four but two really stood out. One was crazy wired up for computer networking and audio-visual delight. Its workout facilities were respectable, but somewhat lacking, though it did have a treadmill-style rock-climbing wall—very cool. The other place, the Villas of Preston Creek, is now our home. It has three pools, a tennis court, racquetball, and an excellent gym. We decided that it was important to exercise, an activity we both get far too little of, though our excellent metabolism and somewhat physically demanding jobs keep us trim.

As for the second issue, I was able to secure employment at a Bed Bath & Beyond. True, it probably qualifies as “underemployment,” since I do have a degree, but it’s enough to pay the bills, and now that I’m here in the metro, I can better search for a more permanent profession.

Part Two: Packing

I procrastinate. There’s really no way around that fact; I can use all the euphemisms I want but the truth is that I wait until the last possible moment, before hurriedly taking care of business. In the end, I always get it done (with the notable exception of studying for my Shakespeare final, a failure with consequences to horrid to detail).

Chad started collecting boxes for his stuff weeks in advance; I grabbed a few from work a few days before the move. So that our parents could help, the move was planned for a Saturday. Ideally, I should have had virtually all of my things packed by Friday evening. Much of it could have been packed much further in advance. Obviously, I wasn’t going to be needing any of my winter clothes in the blistering heat of a Texas summer. Alas, I did not bother packing. I was up until well after midnight packing my miscellaneous junk. I sorted through years of school notes; I’m keeping all of them. In retrospect, I wish I had typed all of them, at least the last year’s worth, when I had this notebook computer. Is this thought relevant to this article? In a way, yes. Just as I went off on a tangent writing, I went off on tangents while packing. Who knows how much time I wasted looking at my possessions? All I know is that it couldn’t have been more than a few hours, because I simply didn’t spend that much time total packing.

That Friday evening, my dad took home the big delivery truck from his work, which he had borrowed for obvious reasons. We began to put some of the stuff in it that night. The most problematic was the TV. Our dad had only days before purchased a new flat-panel TV. Chad and I, consequently, became the proud owners of a very not flat widescreen big-screen high-definition TV. My parents and I had to load it into the back of the truck. The weight was astounding; it wouldn’t have been so bad, but the base of it has rather sharp corners. Sharp corners plus crushing weight equals pain. On Saturday morning, we finished loading the truck and my car, which carried the more sensitive cargo.

We drove up to Chad’s apartment, where he had everything packed except for a few cleaning supplies. The vacuum cleaner, in particular, would prove quite useful. In the course of his more than two years in his apartment, Chad vacuumed approximately two dozen times. Most of this was early on. In the last year, he vacuumed maybe once every couple of months. With all his furniture moved, the disparity between clean and dirty became shockingly apparent. I wish we had taken pictures. Distinct lines showed where the carpet was covered. At first, we blamed him, but then noticed that it couldn’t all be his fault. Under the entertainment center, for example, was dark, even though we know he didn’t get any dirt there. It became apparent that there was something in the air. The idea of mold was thrown around, but we’re still not sure, nor too concerned, with the actual cause. Regardless, all of his furniture received a thorough wipe-down before it entered our new apartment. But I get ahead of myself. With everything out of his apartment, we executed a final cleaning. It is important to note that Chad never turned off the ceiling fan in his living room. It spun continuously, night and day, collecting the filth that permeated his air. The leading edge of his fan blades had an enormously thick layer of some possibly toxic substance caked on. I don’t just mean a little layer; I mean well over a quarter inch thick of dense, black sludgy dirt/dust. Our dad peeled off strips of it and fed them into the vacuum.

Moving Chad out ended up being much easier than moving him in. The most important factor was the additional help provided by his friend Jeff. Furthermore, we benefited greatly from the strategic knowledge gained in the first move, most notably with regards to the proper path for his big black leather couch, which we were able to move without dropping this time.

Part Three: The Move Proper

Eventually we finished at Chad’s apartment and bade it farewell, forever. We then all headed over to the new apartment complex, which is in Plano. Chad had to make a slight detour to the mailbox at his old place, so I led the way for our parents. We had given them the directions, which weren’t hard, but they still had never been there before. Since they were in a big delivery truck with woefully inadequate acceleration, and probably slow breaking too, they weren’t going that fast. It was painful to try to drive that slowly. Eventually, however, I made it through a light that they did not. To get to the main entrance to our apartment from the road we were on, we needed to turn right on the road just past the apartment, then right again. They missed that first right and ended up about a mile up the road. With a little cell-phone coaching, they eventually made it to the entrance. We filled out some paperwork, got the keys, and started moving in.

Our new apartment is on the second of two levels; this has one major advantage. One of the benefits of our new apartment is the large balcony. Chad had only the porch at his entrance, whereas this balcony can be accessed only from the living room of the apartment. As such, belongings placed there are secure, unless someone scales the walls. Were we on the ground level, this security benefit would be completely lost.

The disadvantage of living on the second story is obvious. As a consolation, the stairs at our new place are perfectly straight. We unloaded the truck right in front of them, then carried things straight up the evenly spaced steps to the large landing, which leads opens to our apartment and three others. Contrast this with Chad’s old place, where we had to exit his porch/landing, turn around the side, then make another turn at a mid-level landing before heading down to the sidewalk, but not before navigating a bizarre bottom step of irregular height. These may seem like minor things when you’re just walking up with a bag of groceries, but when you’re trying to maneuver large pieces of furniture and you cannot even see your feet, it becomes somewhat problematic. The added presence of Jeff made moving our new TV a breeze. He, Chad, our wonderful father, and I all took a corner. It was so much lighter with the four of us working in concert. It practically flew up the stairs.

The rest of the move was as boring to hear about as it was laborious to perform, except for one tragic accident. It is worth noting that I am as much of a klutz as a procrastinator. Our new apartment has a one-car garage, which Chad gets. He was parked in the garage and I was going to help him carry some clothes up the inside stairs. He grabbed a giant stack of shirts from his back seat and passed them over the back car door, which was open between us, to me. I took the shirts, turned around, and took two steps toward the stairs. “[Unprintable exclamation]!” Suddenly I felt almost unimaginable pain in the pinkly toe of my left foot. I screamed and hollered into the mass of shirts in my arms while I hopped up the stairs into the apartment. I assure you it was a sight to see. I put down his shirts and hobbled into the bathroom to inspect the damage. I had a rather substantial (considering the size of the toe) cut, and blood was pooling under the toenail. Downstairs, Chad was witness to the residual aftermath. Apparently, I hit my toe on his car’s tire well. Upon impact, blood shot out onto the concrete. I couldn’t get down there to see it, but thankfully, he took pictures. I spent my time holding a washcloth tightly to my toe and suffering from the pain. The big toe of my left foot was subject to a falling-plate accident in the 9th grade, an event from which it has still not fully recovered, and never will. Mercifully, it seems that this other toe will eventually return to its normal state. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a maximum of only one affliction per foot.

Aside from this painful, but ultimately temporary injury, the entire moving process went remarkably well. No electronics were dropped and nothing was left behind. We found a nice place in an excellent location; we are very pleased.