"...it's like Will Rogers, Jean Shepherd and some grumpy Jewish man all rolled into one."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Moved To Tears

A few weeks ago on a Friday the high in Boston reached 99 degrees, the hottest day of the year so far (in fact, the hottest day of the 21st century to date in the Hub). What better day then could there possibly have been for us to move into our new apartment?

The moving crew arrived shortly before 8:00 am (only a balmy 89 at that time). We hired the same company that moved us from Boston to Cambridge four years ago; the high that day only reached 97 and we wanted to give this company a chance to top itself. Four strapping young men showed up, ranging from a mere 6’ to a towering 6’ 9”. One of the lads was from Ireland, and the other three from Lithuania. The tallest, a blond and muscular hunk named Darius (at least, that’s what it sounded like to us), spoke the least English (except for the guy from Ireland) and answered “Yes” to nearly every question Carol asked him: “Would you like a cold drink? -- Yes…” “How long have you been in this country? -- Yes…” “If I can get rid of my husband for a little while, will you have your way with me? -- Yes…” Shortly after his arrival, Carol sent me out to look for her high school diploma which she insisted was in the car and I was not to come back until I found it. Christ, I looked everywhere and no luck… I came back inside some time later and was sure she’d be mad at me, but she was smiling and didn’t seem to mind at all despite the obvious flush on her face from the heat that day. She’s such a doll!

The crew raced up and down two flights of stairs all morning long. I was impressed by their stamina (Carol agreed), so much so that I attempted one such sprint myself and spent the rest of the day hobbled and limping. Darius also had a bad knee (recovering from an ACL tear). Carol, being a physical therapist, graciously offered to examine him closely in another room and told me afterward that the injury hadn’t slowed him down one bit. Remarkable! I guess they have some excellent surgeons back in the “old country”.

After they packed all our belongings in the truck, it was time for a lunch break. Carol wanted these fellows to know how much she appreciated their efforts on this brutal day, so she suggested I go pick up lunch at a nearby Greek place. Even though it was just around the corner from our apartment, the walk there was challenging in the heat, plus I had to turn around and go back several times because Carol kept texting me to change their drink orders. Poor lads – I can only imagine how desperately they needed to slake their thirst that day.

After lunch we were ready to head to our new place and unload everything, so I told the crew, “It’s time for you to do it all over again, backwards!” Right at that moment, Carol must have choked on a bit of her meal since she started coughing and turned beet red. I hopped in the car and Carol prudently suggested she’d ride in the back of the truck along with Darius in order to make sure nothing shifted during the brief trip to our new apartment. There was some mid-day traffic as we drove into the tunnel leading us to the highway, and I lost sight of the truck among the surge of other vehicles.  I continued to drive to the new apartment and got there before the movers. I guess they must have hit another knot of traffic along the way, because it was a solid hour after my arrival before they showed up.

Our new place is smaller than the old one. While we’ve moved several pieces of furniture up to the lake, we still have a lot of of stuff and it was quite a puzzle figuring out what would go where. I looked around and complained, “This can’t possibly all fit in this tight space!” Carol and the crew got quite a chuckle from my outburst, with Carol replying, “Oh, you’d be surprised!” The crew found her response hilarious; I didn’t get the joke but laughed along good-naturedly.

Again, the crew hustled like mad men, bringing up boxes faster than we could direct where to put them. The new place has two small porches, front and back – those quickly turned into storage areas for the overflow. At one point, I was actually blocked off in the back porch with boxes stacked all around me and no way to reach the door back into the apartment. I called out to Carol for nearly 45 minutes to come rescue me, but I guess she couldn’t hear over the constant din of activity. It was actually the Irish lad who came along to let me out. I was quite frazzled by being trapped in the small space with no fresh air on such a hot day, yet he apparently found my experience amusing since he was laughing uproariously as he cleared a path back into the apartment.

Finally, some ten hours after getting started, all of our things were now in their new home. I’d planned to give the crew generous tips and had gone to the bank the day before to make sure I had enough cash on hand. However, Carol thoughtfully suggested that due to the conditions we should double the amount, so I went off in search of a bank which, since the neighborhood was largely unfamiliar to me, took quite a while. But I wasn’t worried since Carol had told me not to rush; she’d keep the boys occupied until I made it back. I returned some time later to find everyone obviously exhausted from the day’s vigorous activities. I handed out the tips, telling them they’d been worth every penny. Such a good-humored group of guys; they found that innocuous comment amusing as well! Carol was so appreciative of their hard work that she gave each fellow a lingering hug and warm kiss of thanks. She is just such an affectionate and caring person.

We are still unpacking; it’s been a busy few weeks since the move and Carol has had to work more late nights than usual and comes home exhausted. Funnily enough, I saw Darius in the neighborhood several days after the move and mentioned that coincidence to Carol. She told me she was treating him for his ACL injury but, since he didn’t have insurance in this country, had to sneak him in to her department after hours for massage and other touch therapies. She said he was responding very well but treatment would need to continue indefinitely. That woman is a saint, isn’t she? Brings tears to my eyes...

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