Moving Days

At the beginning of the summer, I looked into the future. All three of my girls would be moving into three different apartments at the end of August–all in the same city, but THREE DIFFERENT APARTMENTS. As I gazed into my crystal ball, I saw a U-Haul truck. I envisioned each girl’s furniture and boxes, arranged in order of unloading, all organized in succession for three brisk and snappy moves. I got on the phone and booked the truck.

Most of the girls’ larger furniture items were stored at Daughter #2’s townhouse from the prior school year. As her rent was paid up until the end of the summer, she offered the space to her sisters, and we borrowed my dad’s truck one night in April and made several trips to get all the stuff over there. The rest of it–clothes, computers, etc. came home. There was enough stuff to make the door into our garage a thing I did not want to open too often.

The summer went by in a flurry of bank appointments to arrange financing for the girls’ university, lease-signings for their apartments, back to school shopping, trips to my school to start preparing for September. The usual time in the laundry room and at the grocery store continued on, unaltered for the added busy-ness. On the news, I heard that U-Haul trucks were in huge demand, and impossible to get. I allowed myself to be smug.

One day, toward the end of August, I escaped for a day of shopping with my mom and sister-in-law. As we sat in a little cafe with our drinks and butter tarts (that was my second butter tart of the summer…and well-deserved), my cell phone rang.

“I just got a call from someone at the townhouse, and I have to get everything out tonight, or they’re going to throw it all out,” said Daughter #2.

Whether these landlords were going to follow through or not, what the lease said or what it didn’t say, I knew that if the girls were going to keep their stuff, it would have to be taken out of there. Daughter #1 unjustly lost an entire apartment of her furniture and valuables after her second year of university, when the landlords got their wires crossed and emptied the place out prematurely. I did not need or want several more trips to a lawyer’s office, not to mention several trips to the Landlord-Tenant Tribunal. Or the challenge of rounding up enough furniture and necessities to furnish three apartments…

We hit the 401 and headed back. My sister-in-law and brother offered their truck. We set off for London. As the sun set and the stars came out, we loaded cars and the truck with beds and dressers and desks. My husband took stuff in loads off to various locations. A skunk wandered out from behind the dumpster that I was pitching things into and raised its tail in salute to me. “Not even you could make this any worse,” I snapped at it.

Daughter #1 rented in an apartment building. As we loaded stuff into the elevator at midnight, there were some disgruntled tenants. I know this because they threw baloney into the truck bed. Her dad had spent several hours refinishing an old roll-top desk she found in a yard sale. I wasn’t there when one of the legs snapped off in the move….and I can’t say I’m sorry I missed that.

We were able to get all of Daughter #1 and Daughter #2’s furniture into their new places, but Daughter #3’s stuff had to come home for a few days. Her apartment was being cleaned and painted and she wouldn’t get the key until Labour Day. Still, I saw no reason to keep the U-Haul. I called and cancelled it. So much for smugness.

Daughter #1 moved on the following Saturday. I cleaned out the fridge and freezer while she loaded the car with clothes and boxes, and then we headed off. After several trips, the car was empty, and off we went to the grocery store. One thing we help the girls with (besides moving!!!) is groceries. While we were there, I got all my groceries for the next week (school lunches loomed). Then we said our good-byes and I drove home for an evening’s respite.

The next day, it was Daughter #2’s turn. While she loaded the car, I cleaned the house and did some baking. I took her for groceries on the way. We unpacked her groceries, got all of her stuff into her place and then went to dinner. She was the last girl on my date list. I had taken the other two out for a meal already, but hadn’t found a window to take this one. As I sat at the table, I thought of the happy conversation we should have been having. But I barely had the energy to keep my eyes open, let alone have a lively conversation with my daughter. I left her organizing her room, and once more, headed home.

Next day. Daughter #3’s turn. While she brought her stuff downstairs, I cleaned the other two vacated girls’ rooms. My husband went back to my brother’s and got his truck again. We had also promised to deliver a couch to Daughter #1. The only problem with that was, we couldn’t fit it all in the truck. Two trips, I thought. We’ll have to make two trips….it was like being told I would have to have two surgeries. Luckily, we were rescued again, this time by our neighbour, who lent us his van. With the two vehicles, we were able to get everything on the road.

Daughter #3 was also moving into an apartment building. So was another group that we met with their truck in the circular drive. All afternoon, we shared the elevator with them, waiting in the lobby with desks and dressers and beds and boxes. It was Labour Day (you think???) so there weren’t any grocery stores open. I gave her some money and a bag of food grabbed from home, and left her there, as she wondered how she would get the curtains up that she had bought when there were no brackets or rods on the windows…

I brought burgers for three home for supper, and posted on my Facebook. “Corrina is enjoying 8 hours of summer holidays!”

I would be starting back to work the next morning.