Moving Tales (or, Tales About Moving, vice Tales That Will Make You Cry)

It's just about time to move again. This is our eleventh move in ten years of marriage, so by now moving has a bit of a nostalgic, good-timey flavor to it. It's challenging and unpleasant emotionally and physically, but it also yields a lot of interesting memories and stories if you do it enough.

Years ago, we moved out of a basement apartment in Provo, Utah up to Shannon's parents house in Idaho for the summer. This was the basement apartment that filled with poop over Christmas break, a story I'll definitely have to relate at some point. It's a doozy. And a poopy.

We knew that at the end of the summer we'd be heading to Syria, so we stored most of our belongings in a cheap storage shed in Provo. With only a small pickup truck, the move took most of the day. I remember I finally got the last, heaping load in the truck and drove the several miles to the shed. When I arrived, the sunlight was almost gone and, worse, the facility had closed for the night. The gates were locked and the fences were high. I couldn't just take the stuff back to the apartment -- our lease was up, and we still had a truckload waiting back in the driveway to haul up to Idaho that night. I had to get that stuff in the storage shed. Like Apollo 13's ground crew, failure was not an option.

Luckily, our storage unit was only a few doors down from a high chain-link fence marking the boundary of the facility. I backed the truck up to the fence. And I just started chucking boxes over the fence. Then I climbed the fence, unlocked the shed, and loaded the stuff inside. I don't know if I've ever told Shannon about this. She generally frowns on having her stuff thrown over the fence.

A few boxes were marked "Fragile." I reasoned that lobbing these boxes over the fence, breaking the contents, and then later pleading ignorance to the contents' fragility was implausible even for a known cretin like me. So I lugged one "Fragile" box at a time with my right arm and climbed the fence with my left arm and legs. At the top, I carefully balanced the box on the fence's pinnacle with one hand as I scrambled over, then climbed with the box one-handed down the other side. It was hard. But I didn't drop any of the boxes. This might partially explain my back problems. And it definitely reflects my mental problems.

During another move a couple years later, this one also involving the small pickup truck and storage shed, I was in a major rush to get the last of our stuff to the shed and get my mom to the airport in time for a flight. I had a big black office chair sitting upright in the truck's bed, but it caught too much wind when I hit 60 mph on Highway 89 between Provo and Springville. It rolled over the rest of the packed stuff, leapt from the truck bed, and I watched it smash and cartwheel across the road in my rearview. Good thing no one was behind me, or I might be typing this from Alcatraz.