Final Days

Sunday

We got about seven inches of wet snow. People keep telling me the winters in Colorado are hard, but I’m not seeing it. 

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I went to Jewel to buy City of Cary blue garbage bags, and as I walked through the aisles, I came upon this, which seemed picture-worthy.

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One of the hardest things about moving is going through old stuff and deciding whether to keep it or throw it away.

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Monday

The moving van showed up mid-afternoon. We went with ABF U-Pack which drops off a trailer and then picks it up when you have it loaded. When I arranged it, I told the guy that my driveway slopes. He looked it up on Google Maps and said there should be no problem. There were problems. First, the guy couldn’t get the trailer up the drive because his wheels kept slipping on the little bit of slush on the curb.

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He finally got it up there, but when he tried to pull out, he dragged the trailer with him. The slope of my drive lowered the front end so much that it wasn’t disengaging from the cab. At one point, the driver (who was a very nice guy) said he couldn’t do it. I told him he had to—I had no Plan B. He pulled down nearer the bottom of the drive so the jacks on the front rested on the sidewalk and managed to pull away—barely. Even then the trailer started to drag and then lifted up before coming off. 

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Tuesday

Four guys from Moving Staffers came around 9:00 to load the truck. The three young guys who worked inside wrapping stuff and carrying it outside were nice and seemed to care. Vlad, the older guy who ran the crew and loaded the truck was something of a jerk. He came in and told me I needed more tape and more blankets. Sally went out to Home Depot got the tape but couldn’t find blankets that weren’t very expensive. I went to U-Haul and found some for $5/half dozen. That seemed reasonable. I asked for four dozen. I was about to pay when I asked the guy when the return date was. That’s when he informed me that that was a per day cost. Oh. 

I bought some paper sheets there, then went to Home Depot and bought out all the expensive ones they had. It was barely enough to finish the job—with the help of some old sheets, blankets and sleeping bags we had. It was 11° out, with a wind chill of -1°. The first thing the guys did was remove the front door. It quickly got cold in the house and stayed that way. 

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I didn’t spend much time watching Vlad. But in the few minutes I was looking, I saw him take the plastic frame pieces from our sleep number bed out of the boxes I had put them in to protect them so he could stuff them in to fill spots. I know he had to maximize the space, but I’m pretty sure some of our stuff isn’t going to make the trip well. That’s our antique cane-bottom rocker stuffed up in there. I asked one of the guys to wrap our saddle-maker’s lamp. When he lifted it into the truck, Vlad ripped off the blanket and stuffed the lamp up into a space against the ceiling. 

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Because of the way he packed, we stuck some extra stuff on at the end that we weren’t planning on taking. Our stuff filled 25 feet of a 28-foot truck. The job took four-and-a-half hours. When it was done, the house was empty. Sally and I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening cleaning. Beth came over and hung with us for a bit.

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Wednesday

We went out to breakfast at Richard Walker’s Pancake House. At 11:00, we went to a title company and signed our papers. Christine, our lawyer, who we never met, had informed us that she didn’t like closings where the buyers and sellers were both in the room “because they get to chatting and it turns into social hour.” Jesse, a notary, handed us the papers and signed them while Christine explained them to us via conference call.

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We finished up cleaning the house. We left it so nice. Sal had saved the paint from all the rooms. We spackled the holes and painted, then scrubbed the mud and skid marks from the mover’s boots, mopped the floors, vacuumed—it was immaculate. There wasn’t anywhere soft for the cats to sit, so I spread a couple towels on the floor and …

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Another cab came by mid-afternoon and took off with the trailer. I had warned them, so they sent one that had air bags that could be lowered so they could get under the front end. As I watched most of my worldly possessions being driven off by a perfect stranger, I figured I’d never see them again.

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Sally drove me to Enterprise in Crystal Lake to pick up a cargo van.

Beth came over again for our final evening in the house. She brought two lawn chairs with her since there was no place to sit.

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I put out the red chair for some final photos. Lucy wanted to be in one of them.

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One of the last things we packed, for reasons I am totally clueless about, was a Santa hat. Which led to this picture. I was amazed that they were so cooperative. 

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Thursday

I began the day by almost dying. Snow had drifted off the roof onto the driveway. I picked up a large, heavy plastic tote and stepped up into the cargo van with snow on my shoes. I slipped and almost went over backwards half out the van door with 80 pounds on top of me. But somehow I stayed upright and slid down the length of the van until the tote and I hit the seats. After I put down my load, it was all I could do to pull myself back up the van and climb out. I put some floor mats down, and that helped with future loads. But it took me a while to fill the van.

It was garbage day. I had the can filled to the brim and nine blue bags on the curb when the truck pulled up. I ran out with a 10th bag. The garbage man was tossing the bags into the bucket on the front of his truck. He grumbled at me that I needed to watch the weight in the bags. I told him I was moving and he’d never have to worry about my garbage again. I helped him toss in the final couple bags. He asked when I was moving, and I said, “twenty minutes.” He was very friendly after that. He asked where we were moving, and when I told him, he said we were lucky. I walked up the driveway to find Sally standing there with one more box of garbage. I chased the truck down the street and motioned to him that I needed to toss it in the bucket. He smiled and waved me on. All of this occurred in -4° wind chills and me in shirt sleeves.

And that was pretty much it. The buyers were coming at 10:00 for the final walk-through, so we wanted to be out of there by 9:30. We didn’t miss it by much, but we didn’t have time for a tearful farewell or anything. We got an email a couple hours later that the closing was final. We were officially homeless. 

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