2008 09 Jul

Moving Mother Nightmares

Author: Shawn Categories: Story Shelter

I knew she wasn’t prepared. Now, to my horror, we sit in a dirty little hotel room and she’s left me laden with the stomach-whirling truth.

“You haven’t found a place to live, Mother?” I asked.

“Well, no. Not yet,” she replies, unconcerned. “I have a few places in mind but haven’t called anyone yet.”

My mind begins reeling. Why must she always do this? Personally, I prefer to have all my ducks in a pretty V shape when I’m moving.

“It’s Wednesday. I fly back Saturday. What if you haven’t found a place by then!” I retort, trying to impress some sort of reality check.

“I’m sure I’ll manage.” She smiles sarcastically.

“Yes, I’m sure you will,” I relent, meeting her resolute gaze with my defeated face. The hard part was over and I know it. I also know better than to worry about Mom’s unpredictable objectives. We’ve both moved over fifty times in our lives.

Her trifling of the larger matters, e.g., finding a new home, renting a truck, planning the trip, setting up utilities, and those sorts of details comes from her familiarity with the routine. For such, one could fill a passenger seat with her guidebooks.

I walk over to the sink and prepare to brush my teeth. The sink smells and the water is not draining.

“Mother, the sink is backing up,” I sigh.

“So, go to the office and get some Drano or something,” she replies.

As I stroll to the front desk, I contemplate the scourges of moving and how it could be so much worse. The big details are obvious. The little ones are the nefarious buggers that get you. Mother excels at moving. To my fortune, she taught by example and thank Goddess I paid attention.

I’ve helped more people move than I can remember. I have observed that loading the truck is when flaring tempers can burn down the realms of sanity. I have moved everything by myself more than once. It can be done and my name isn’t Billy Biceps. I’m not even related to him.

My mother works like a brain surgeon when it’s time to load the truck. On this particular trip, she used every accessible slot and gap in the truck, the car, and the car carrier. The night before we left, we were jamming mops, brooms, the vacuum, and other cleaning supplies up behind the bulging back door of the Ryder truck. It was a very small space that mom left just for those things.

The trick is to have a mental picture of all your stuff and the size of that truck. Mom and I sit in it, imagine all our things in it, and let them put themselves in order like a Jenga puzzle in our minds. Mother has been known to halt the whole loading process until she can find the perfect doohickey to fit right there. I’ve not met anyone who can rival her in this area.

The big details, well, some of us plan them and some of us don’t. I say, why leave too much to chance. So many other things can go wrong.

But mother likes living in the moment.

I shake my head as I open the door to the dingy hotel room with plunger in hand.
“No Drano,” I mutter, and we both proceed to the foul sink. I cover the bad drain with the rubber, mom backs away, and I deliver one swift plunge. A geyser of reeking rotting food bursts from the pipes blanketing everything within three feet.

I am frozen.

My face starts convulsing.

“Oh, Gross! YUCK!” I stand there holding the plunger and look up.

Mother is doubled over, hands over her nose, tears flowing down her bright red face looking as if she might pass out.

I am covered in the most repulsive stinking stuff I have ever encountered and she’s laughing. I glare at her.

Never–never a dull moment with my mother.

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