We had just bought our first house together. We were out of school but hardly rich yet, so when we asked for help moving from our second story apartment to our new-to-us home, our friends and family volunteered.
Gracious help, graciously given. Priceless.
One of our friends, let’s call him Keith (a total pseudonym) offered to bring a truck to make the move happen. He worked for a local pizza company that has since closed, driving huge delivery trucks that carried pizza ingredients, large bags of flour and the like, between the stores. But the trucks weren’t used after work hours, so our move was scheduled for the evening.
When you’re young, you don’t have as much stuff; but I’ve never been involved in a move that didn’t have more stuff than you initially estimated. Stuff was everywhere, surfacing from nooks and crannies, popping out of the backs of closets, and spilling out of the remote corners of kitchen cabinets. I had not had time to box it all, not even close.
But there were at least 20 people there, some of them finishing packing and some shuffling boxes and furniture out the back door and down a fifteen-foot ramp to the parking lot and then hoisting things up into the truck. 20 people is a lot of people and very quickly I was scrambling to just cram things in boxes and tell people “yes” when they asked if this or that could go. Wasn’t long before nobody was asking permission, and everything was flying out the door.
I took the five mile ride up I-5 in the pizza truck, most of it between five and thirty miles an hour. Not because traffic was bad, you understand. While this was Seattle, it was 1981. Traffic was moving. Everybody else was doing sixty or more and zipping around the monster truck, blatting their horns just to make sure that we understood we were in the way. Keith was just struggling to shift, as he hadn’t driven these trucks much, and we were busy trying to ignore the wrath of everyone else who was trying to get home.
When we finally reached our 40’s bungalow, the opposite happened very quickly: stuff flew out of the truck, got hauled up the stairs and carted up the hill into the house where it went … somewhere. Much of it happened without a lot of supervision, but then it mostly went fine.
Toward the end of the evening, after almost everyone had left, I stumbled into the kitchen to find my family busily cleaning kitchen and unpacking dishes. What a lovely gesture! But they lived at least ninety minutes away, and I started shooing them out, thanking them profusely, but begging them to go home and get some sleep.
That’s when someone said, “You know, Merilly has spent the last couple of hours washing your refrigerator and everything in it.”
What the hell?
My darling sister had undertaken to repair the chaos generated by my friend, Keith, bless his heart. Keith had taken the initiative to move the refrigerator… WITHOUT packing up the contents. He had just strapped it to a dolly and humped it down the ramp and into the truck, up the stairs, bent it completely over to pull it up the hill and into the house.
It might have worked, actually…except we had a Costco-sized jar of pickles in the fridge, and it broke. The pickles, the juice, the glass: everywhere. On everything. Inside and out, refrigerator and freezer, absolutely everything. Nothing else broke, but everything else was coated and sticky and smelly. Until Merrily took it on herself to clean it all up, an act I could never repay.
My refrigerator was cleaner now than it had ever been. Priceless.