Sometimes when things are hard, reeeeally hard, I make myself step away and look over at my ridiculous self and try to convince her (me) that this will be funny, in a few days or weeks, from the perspective that time will mercifully provide.
This week I helped daughter number two move out of her graduate school apartment (not the one over the bar) and back home for a few months before she starts her career. We severely underestimated the size of the U-Haul we would need. A few f-bombs, tears, and sweat were required to survive the 18-hour ordeal.
Picture this. Me trying not to cry. Me trying to convince myself that this might be funny in about five years (or maybe after I’m dead). Daughter number two oblivious and vacuuming for the first time in two years while I face the itsy bitsy U-Haul. It is ninety degrees outside. We are parked in the full sun. It is 110 inside the rectangular hole. And a pile of stuff surrounds me up to my waist while I stare into the 80% full rectangular hell before me.
The pile still waiting to board this train includes more than: A kitchen butcher block (put together without all of its screws so it can only be tipped and lifted from the wheel side or it falls apart), a freaking heavy TV (too heavy for me by ten pounds) (which I do indeed lift more than a dozen times over my head in the course of two hours), a favorite bike, a mound of clothes and pillows and sheets and towels (which, when stacked, are three times the height of the U-Haul), a trash bag of two disassembled IKEA floor lamps, a GIANT garbage bag of shoes, a TV stand, and a chuck-full open box of carefully aligned plastic and wire hangars (probably a hundred of them). All to fit into ~50 feet^2.
Haha? Not yet.
In the course of a tearful discussion (prior to the vacuuming), while we come to terms with the idea that something won’t fit, I decide to forego the TV stand. Daughter is relieved. She cannot fathom leaving her bike that Santa brought.
The bike will only fit if I take off the front tire. I’ve never removed a bike tire before. The wrench is 4 inches long. My physics training convinced me decades ago of the value of a LONG lever for leverage. This little wrench gives no leverage. I have to jump on it with all of my weight to budge the nut. I do it, of course. It takes twenty sweaty minutes and two phone calls to the husband for encouragement that there was really no “trick” to this. Only muscle is required. Apparently I have some muscle.
Nuts off, the tire is still stuck. Haha? Not yet.
Brilliant me sees that the brakes are pinning the tire on. Cannot figure out how to disengage the brakes. Call MacGuyver husband who tells me to let the air out of the tire. (The guy is a genius.) Tire off. Bike fits only if standing up on its rear wheel, leaning against the bookshelf/microwave/box wall.
I shove in everything else. Continuously test if the door will close. Shove the bag of shoes into a narrow shelf on the butcher block (each individual shoe, all fifty of them, catch a heel on the edge and have to be convinced to cooperate). Balance the huge TV on the butcher block and squeeze in towels and sheets and pillows all around it. There is no air in the U-Haul. Only solid matter. I’m relieved as hell when I turn around and the only thing on the sidewalk is the orphaned TV stand. Yippee!
Then I close the door. Pull it down with all of my weight because the rectangle is filled to the ceiling and rubs against the door on the roof.
The damn door hits the corner of the butcher block.
Are you kidding me?
I try brute force. I slam it down (and chip a little off the corner of the butcher block). It gets stuck. I have to shove it back up. Down again. Damn. Up again. Analyze. Why won’t it close?
It’s the bike. It fell off its balance and pushed everything toward the door. I can’t reach the bike but I can tell even if I could, the stuff I piled on top of it is making it impossible to shift. Gravity. Curses.
Finally, finally, I concede that I’m gonna have to unload the rear 20% and retry. No crying. Keep it together. Sweat drips down the middle of my front. And my back. Gross.
I take down the TV. The butcher block. The mirrors. The bag ‘o shoes. The crap and more crap. The bike falls on me but I catch it before I am beheaded. I rotate the microwave, reposition the bike, finagle the butcher block back in and note the extra two inches I’ve gained. Yippee, it will close. I hope.
That’s when the box of hangars tips over and entangles themselves on the bike tire.
A sane person would have just covered that up and drove home and dealt with it then (at 1 am). Not me. Entropy is my enemy. I cannot even maybe drive four hours through the mountains pulling this reluctant elephant of weight knowing the hangars are snared in the tire.
I take out the butcher block and everything else, trying with all of my clenched eye muscles NOT TO CRY. You will not cry.
I do not cry. (Well, maybe one furious tear.) Instead, I let leash the swear words. One for each *%^#-ing hangar I fling backwards out of the U-Haul over my shoulder into the grass.
After I reload it AGAIN and pick up the hangars, daughter finishes her vacuuming.
I hope, hope, hope that someone was watching and got a giggle from the crazy woman with the mini-U-Haul. If not, you go ahead. But it’s still not funny to me.