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Sunday, January 18, 2015


Arriving back at work, midweek, has a degree of advantages, as well as disadvantages.  I had unpacked my cases, but not put the contents away.  There were piles of clothes, food items and miscellaneous gifts all around my bedroom.  Little did I know that this was the prequel to what was in store at the weekend.  I decided on the Wednesday of the week of my return, to take myself off to Joe for coffee, before having my nails done.

Being in possession of my vehicle, on the very same Wednesday, I drove home from the office, and despite promising Dana that I would take a nap, I set to getting the bedroom into some sort of restorative order.  Clean clothes were put away, snack items were stored in their ‘storage’ boxes, and the miscellaneous gifts were sorted into recipient piles.  By the time Dana arrived home, I had done very little about getting dinner ready, so he very kindly offered to take me out!

It did not take me too long to get back into routine, and by Friday the house was cleaned from top to bottom, dirty laundry had been washed, and I was ready for my weekend.  However, Dana had agreed to the dog coming for ‘sleepovers’ on Friday night, as the kids had one week left to empty their apartment, and move everything over to their new abode.  Edward was stressing that it was going to be impossible to have all their possessions packed, loaded and transported, by the time they needed to hand over the keys.  I promised that I would lend a hand on Saturday, and assured Samantha that I would put her husband’s mind at rest.

After doing a little bit of shopping and hoping to obtain the ‘Mother-in-law’ of the year award, by buying Edward a piece of pizza for his lunch, I drove to the north side of town.  Samantha was waiting at the door, and I climbed the stairs to their living room.  Edward’s stress levels were through the roof, and I did nothing to quell the fear, as I looked, surveyed the surrounding area, and muttered, "There is no way you are going to be out of here in a week!"  However, I am my mother’s daughter, (albeit not in all areas, but I try to remind myself when organisational skills are required,) and I quickly regained composure.  Edward was ordered to sit and eat his pizza, while I started to remove boxes from the lounge area down to the garage.  After the third box, I realised that I had not exercised to any degree for a while, and I was not used to climbing up and down stairs continuously.  My legs started to ache, but there was a mission to be accomplished and I could not tarry! 

The bags of rubbish were almost as numerous as the packed boxes, and Samantha and I made the trip to their ‘trash compactor’, which had not recently been ‘compacted’.  I threw the bags as if I were competing in an Olympic event, and they sailed across the metal container, and slipped down the other side, where it could be retrieved by beast, but not man.  Laughing rather loudly, I turned to walk down the slope, and was confronted by a stern faced man who was sitting in a golf cart. It appears that he was the ‘man who does’, and he was not happy at my hurling bags out of the compactor area, and into no man’s land.  However, as always, I smiled sweetly, jumped in Samantha’s car, and waved for her to hurry up!

Box after box, and bag after bag were once again taken down to the garage.  Having cleared as much as I could from the living room, I decided to venture further afield.  Of course it was a mistake!  Edward was sitting at his computer, and not packing!  “What is he doing?”, I asked, despite this being none of my business.  Apparently, he was booking a truck, so that they could load all the boxes, to make room for more! 

The truck finally arrived.  Having had more than my fair share of exercise, I was, in the most ladylike fashion, glowing!  The phrase, 'working up a sweat', would sound rather amateurish in comparison to what I had 'worked up'.  This would have brought forth praise from many a gym instructor, but it was paving the road to potential disaster.  Not realising how cold it was outside, (just below freezing, with a strong arctic breeze,) I started to help carry boxes to the removal van, wearing no more than a thin cotton shirt on the upper part of my torso.  No hat, nor gloves, adorned my person, and although I did have a good hearty pair of boots upon my feet, with my jeans tucked in, the wind started to penetrate, and after a few minutes, I was feeling very cold.  As my hands turned blue, I thought about retreating back into the apartment, but alas, the path through to the stairs was blocked, as Edward was taking advantage of the newly created space in the garage, and had sealed the exit.  Entering through the front door was also not possible, as it was blocked by un-compacted trash! 

Samantha was loading the boxes into the back of the truck.  I advised her to put the heavy boxes at the base of the pile, as she would find it easier when unpacking, but she pointed out that the more weighty items secured those that were lighter, and she was in control of the situation.  I resigned myself to the fact that I didn't always listen to my mother's advice, and smiled inwardly in the knowledge that, perhaps, one day my daughter would be handing down the same suggestions to her offspring, and receive the same response. 

Finally, my ancient bones could take no more, and I reluctantly announced that I was going to have to leave them to their own devices.  I had to do my grocery shopping, and at some point spend some of the remaining weekend with my husband.  This was accepted as permissible, once I had made the further suggestion that the dog could spend a further night away from home, and they could collect him upon completion of their activities, on Sunday evening.   With the pathway to the apartment now somewhat clear, I climbed the stairs for the final time (at least for this weekend) and retrieved my hat, coat and gloves, along with a couple of items that I had promised to take home, so that they would avoid ruin in the move!  Surveying the progress, before I departed, led me to be void of any guilt in leaving the youngsters to complete the task alone. 

My car appeared to look slightly forlorn, as I walked across the road with my small box of fragile things.  It seemed to be sagging to one side, and upon closer inspection I saw that my front tyre was almost flat.  Considering my tyres are what are known as 'run-flats', this was most concerning.  Edward came to the rescue, with his 'fix-it' apparatus, that plugged into Samantha's car and, in theory, would be able to pump air into the depressed rubber cylinder.  The tyre remained flat, as did my attitude.  From the tyrant that entered the apartment at noon, I melted down like a chocolate teapot having been filed with boiling water.  I was cold, tired and completely unresponsive.  In short, I became a gooey mess that liquefied across the driver's seat.  Pulling myself together was an impossibility as the draw strings that normally drag the offending parts back into a state of normality, had simply disintegrated.  Crying was too much of an effort.  I could categorically state to anyone who opposed that there was such a word as 'Can't'!  I couldn't! 

As I am only too aware, there are times when a daughter's advice can be taken by the mother.  Kindly, but firmly (also in some areas, she is her mother's daughter; another Mary Poppins in the making) Samantha bent down next to the driver's door, and suggested that we take the vehicle to 'Discount Tires', which was about a mile away.  She would lead the way in her car, and we could be in telephonic communication throughout the trip.  As I continued to wail that driving would be impossible, she continued to gently convince me that I was capable of doing this, and she would not let anything bad happen to me!  Finally, and to the relief of a rather perplexed Edward, I agreed that this would be the best course of action.  Slowly, I put the car in gear, and allowed my vehicle to hobble along the road.  Forgetting her phobia of talking to strangers on the telephone, my daughter called the store to make sure they would be available to do the required surgery upon the little car, and for a minute I was driving unaided!  Admittedly, once I had started the journey, I became more sane!  I managed to retrieve composure from the depths of my being, knowing that if I was alone in this situation, I would not have a problem.  It is when I have anyone around to share the burden, that I go to pieces!

Once 'checked in', and it was surmised that I was now able to be left alone, Samantha bid me farewell and went back to continue her arduous task.  The nice young man at the centre, checked the three remaining tyres, confirmed that he did not have any run-flat's in stock, but would fit a suitable replacement, and relieved me of an acceptable amount of cash.  The process would take about an hour, as there were several customers ahead of me.  I nodded and smiled in the appropriate places, and then helped myself to a cup of complimentary coffee which warmed the cockles.  

The experience was quite underwhelming in comparison to the day that had already transpired.  The organisational structure of the store was excellent.  Everyone appeared to be working in-sync, and everyone appeared to be happy in their work.  I took the opportunity to sit and relax, and survey my surroundings, as it seemed to be the 'thing to do', on this particular Saturday!  A couple arrived to collect her vehicle, and I watched as they smooched their way to the counter.  About my age, the pair appeared to be liaising in a manner that was not completely legitimate, and I was curious as to whether they had been caught short by having to visit the facility.  However, not being a fictional fantasist, I watched from afar and disallowed my mind to surmise what I did not know to be true. (Although, obviously the scene has not been erased from my mind!)  As the amorous couple left, another couple entered.  I began to wonder if I had in fact been victim of the freezing temperatures, had fainted and was now in a soap opera dream.  The second couple were as un-empassioned towards each other as the first couple were connected.  When the mechanic called the name of the female, the male looked as if someone had mentioned a sworn enemy.  I can only imagine that the car was originally brought into the facility, no doubt many moons ago, by the previous partner of the lady.  She emphatically announced that this name should be removed from their records, and then appeased the current partner.  All this in public!  Where was Jeremy Kyle! (Or Jerry Springer for those that are post 50!)  I continued to watch the saga, as the front door was locked, and no more candidates were admitted to the waiting area.  My eye was caught by a man sitting in the neighbouring set of chairs, and he enquired as to how many tyres I was having fixed.  Looking around for the cameras, but espying none, I answered that it was 'just the one'.  He was rather upset that he was in need of four, and was adamant that there had been a conspiracy to 'sell him more' than needed.  From his account of the proceedings, it would appear that this was a mere suggestion, and that he had agreed.  My mind, again, wandered.  What an asset such a susceptible mind would have been to clearing out the apartment!  I tried not to laugh at my own audacity! 

Finally, my name was called, albeit that I was the only one left in the waiting area, and I walked out, through the workshop, and watched as the mechanic reversed my car into the parking area.  I was most grateful, not only for their excellent service, but also that I was on my way home, after a very stressful day!  I am not sure what severed my energy levels more, the strenuous exercise, or the mental meltdown! 

Dana and I went out for dinner, and returned to a very happy puppy, who was delighted that he had not been abandoned!  It had been a very eventful day, and I was looking forward to doing 'not a lot' on Sunday.  I fell asleep, exhausted, but quite satisfied that I had at least helped relieve some of the pressure from the kids, even if I added a slight amount towards the end of the day, by becoming a casualty, rather than a healer! 

I didn't do a lot on Sunday.  It would not have been possible, although perhaps the 'hair of the dog' would have been a cure to my stiff muscles.  I could barely move, and found it almost impossible to walk up and down the stairs.  Dana was quite convinced I had 'pulled' something in my leg, as the inability to move was a little more than just strain.  We kept the dog overnight again, on Sunday, as by the time the truck was returned, and decorum was maintained, it was extremely late.  Samantha admitted that the advice to put the heavier boxes on ground level was indeed sound!  Yes!  1-0!! (Although perhaps the incident with the car would put us even!)  The flowers that I received on Monday from my grateful daughter, were most welcomed, and the lack of stairs at the office, was even more welcome!  The week continued with the humdrum of normality, and that was probably the most welcoming concept of all! 

The move is coming to its conclusion, and the keys to the apartment, their first home together, are to be handed back at 5pm today!  Although most of the large items, and the majority of boxes were taken to the new house after my departure last weekend, the major task was still to take place.  A long weekend, as Monday is a holiday, gave me the mental agility to take part in stage 2 of the manoeuvers, to wit, cleaning.  A military operation?Admittedly, this is something in which I can proclaim diploma status, thanks to the expertise of my mother, and her mother before her, but the task which lay ahead was beyond my wildest dreams.  Walking into the flat this Saturday, was truly .......... another story!

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