I am more hot, tired, and sore than I think I have ever been in my life. One thing I would like to note right off the bat: whomever it was that coined the phrase “A good kind of tired” was an asshole. There is no such thing, and if there was, we shot right past it on the Tired Scale so quickly we completely missed the exhilaration part, and proceeded directly to the utter and complete exhaustion part.
Day 2 of the Moving Truck Unload starts soon, and I am just a couple of Advil away from total paralysis. After so many years in the restaurant business, clutching knives, pans, trays, and carrying plates and such, I have more than a mild case of Carpal Tunnel in my wrists; and after yesterday, my hands are swollen like a couple of Catcher’s Mitts. The last time I was this exhausted, both physically and mentally was five years ago when we drove a rental truck to New Orleans, packed up our house one day, drove back to Atlanta the next, and immediately jumped into several months of a 16-hour-a-day work schedule, as we took over operations of a restaurant we were thinking of buying. Then, like now, if someone were to have uttered the phrase, “but, it’s a good kind of tired”, I would probably have punched them in the nose, real hard.
We have had seven days of cross country car travel with a dog, a cat, and our daughter, along with all the obligatory equipment, suitcases, litter boxes, etc, that needed to be unloaded and reloaded every damn day. This was book-ended by three long days of loading a moving truck and cleaning a three bedroom house on one end, and now the unloading and unpacking over the next few days on this end.
The moving truck arrived on our tiny little street yesterday morning. After doing a nice job of tree trimming on its way down our block, the driver managed to dock it right in front of the house, and we were able to begin our excavation and damage assessments. Much like the overhead bins on the airlines, some shifting of contents had occurred, requiring us to remove items layer by layer, box by box, sometimes using the ladder which we had serendipitously packed onto the truck last, to climb up and over larger items, so we could gain access to the toppled mass of boxes and bins behind them. Despite years of seeing (and largely ignoring) all those safety videos at work, “Back straight, and use your legs” was just not a viable option.
And the cherry on top of all this back and forth carrying, twisting, reaching, clutching, lifting, unpacking and hand-trucking (the word for “hand truck” in Spanish is “Diablo” and now I know why) is not the 90° heat and 70% humidity. No, that much was expected. The real topper is that the air conditioning in our newly gutted and remodeled house is non-functional. Somehow our Home Inspection Guy missed the fact that our brand new heat pump was not hooked up to any viable source of electricity; so our house, which has been locked up tight for about 3 months, is roughly the same temperature as those little iron boxes they used to put POW’s in during the Civil War. And just for added fun, all the screens for our freshly painted windows are in a little storage room off the carport, not on the windows. So, unless we want to be the Noah’s Arc of flying insects, and have at least two of every one of the dozens of species that live here in the South, buzzing around every light in our house, the windows and doors have to stay closed. Plus we have a cat that needs to stay inside, lest he freak out even more than he did riding in a car and prowling strange hotel rooms every night over the last week. So, after a quick trip to Lowe’s for some screen installation materials, we managed to get a little airflow happening, albeit some very hot and humid airflow.
Being a huge believer in Extended Service Contracts, I do have a Home Warranty that, unbelievably, includes the air conditioning system. So the Air Conditioning Dude was called but, of course, cannot come out until the next day within the standard “One PM to Five PM” window. We gratefully accept our friends offer to sleep in the air-conditioned bliss of their house, so our first night in our new home is postponed.
The next day we begin the slow trudge of unpacking several dozen more boxes of crap than we actually have space for, get the beds set up, rugs unrolled, etc. The Air Conditioning Dude arrives to much fanfare and celebration, and proceeds to crawl around under the house connecting the connections and makes the pronouncement the AC is now live. He is thanked as the conquering hero, showered with rose petals, tipped accordingly, and then leaves. A couple of sweaty hours of box and furniture moving later, the system is not exactly roaring to life. If you put your hand directly in front of one of the vents, a mild, cool breeze is evident; move it 10 inches away, bupkus. The thermostat says it’s still 82 in the house and my body temp is about 102. So another call is made, another four-hour window is established, and we attempt to get some sleep in our steamy, new casa.
So, last night, as I was lying in bed wearing only my shorts and wife-beater and sweating bullets, I am listening to an approaching thunderstorm, anticipating its clearing of the air and the much-needed drop in temperature it will bring. I am gazing through our open bedroom window into the darkness, listening to owls and Cicadas, and watching the Lightning Bugs flit around in our back yard, flashing like Christmas Tree lights up in the oaks. I am feeling very much like Paul Newman in “The Long, Hot Summer”, remembering my love-hate relationship with this environment, and silently vowing to never, ever move anywhere again.