Moving is such sweet sorrow.
An old address is left behind and new doors are opened, unlocking a new world with fresh paint and clean bathrooms.
Moving used to be so easy. You called four or five friends whose minds were weak and backs were strong -- preferably fellows that you had helped move in the past.
Furnishings were simple: A hand-me-down couch and two or three chairs that didn't match. A small TV set that sat on a cheap table you bought at Walgreens. A kitchen table that you got from your parents' house. A double bed, a nightstand and a four-drawer dresser. If you owned a bunch of books, you stacked them on 2-by-4s that rested on stacks of bricks.
There were a few unwritten rules. Sleep sofas were outlawed since they weighed more than a Volkswagen Bug. Appliances and pianos were strictly forbidden. Upstairs apartments were deal breakers, unless the person moving bought the crew a nice lunch.
Payment was never an issue, but a couple of cases of cold beer were expected. Domestic brands were accepted. Chips were optional.
Friends who owned pickup trucks were friends for life. Their friendship was coveted. I ignored that rule years ago and made arrangements to borrow a large truck from my bosses at the Ledger-Enquirer. On my way to return the vehicle, I foolishly tried to drive the high-flying truck under a low-hanging underpass, pealing the top of it back like a can of sardines. Needless to say, I have not borrowed a company truck since then.
Cheap labor eventually went the way of company vehicles. As we got older, friends quit showing up when it was moving day. They always seemed to have something important to do on that particular Saturday and the promise of a case of beer meant nothing.
At my house, today is moving day. We've moved the small stuff ourselves and this morning the professionals will do the heavy lifting. There are even appliances and a piano. The movers will expect a check and it will be up to them to avoid the underpasses.
We have learned that we are too old to move. Our backs ache and our joints are stiff. We have discovered muscles that we long ago forgot. We just want this to be over.
A handyman has put up the curtain rods, installed new toilet seats, and hung several light fixtures. He has become our hero.
With his help, the new house has begun to look like home. Some time tonight, with our belongings under one roof for the first time in several weeks, we will collapse into our old beds in our new bedroom.
And I definitely won't need a case of beer to go to sleep.
-- Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.