Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Moving (in) Narritive

Entry for 26 September 2006:

The movers arrived about 10:30 this morning, in a big lorry (truck). We had them pull the thing around to the back of our house, where it almost blocked the street. There were two guys, Paul and Ben, and they immediately set to work unloading things into our house. We are always interested in the folks that do these sorts of jobs. Paul, the driver, was probably in his 30’s, balding, and much more experienced. Ben looked to be about 20. Both were very polite, calling me “sir”; friendly and helpful. Ben startled me at one point by asking if he “could borrow your toilet,” an expression that I have never heard before, but one which generated a mental image I did not care for, especially coming from the mouth of a mover.

They finished unloading into the house in about 45 minutes, took a smoke break, then we climbed into the lorry with them and I navigated Paul to the University. This was the part I have been preparing for and rehearsing in my mind for months, as I sorted the things first in my lab and office and then at home, trying to figure out what I would need here in Scotland, what could stay in Toledo, and what would be thrown away. I don’t know yet how successful my triage will prove to be, but I will soon begin to find out. I have also tried to imagine the best way for them to get my 27 boxes to the 3rd floor of a 100-year-old building with one rickety elevator that is not in the right part of the building and only goes to the 2nd floor. In the end, I did the counter-intuitive and had them park their lorry in front of the Henry Wood Building (where the rest of the Counseling Unit is located, except for me), take the tunnel across to my stairwell, which is on the first floor (outside of America, the first floor is one flight of stairs up from the ground floor), and up two flights of stairs to my office. This was a clever plan and saved them both stairs and distance – except for one thing: We arrived just as classes were changing, and the halls and stairwells were absolutely flooded with young female students (the Jordanhill campus is primarly a teacher training college). Diane guarded the pile of boxes at the foot of the stairs, whilst Ben brought boxes in from the lorry on a dolly and I opened doors for him. Meanwhile Paul labored up the two flights of stairs to my office, getting increasingly red in the face and tired-looking, but managing in the end to carry up all but 4 of the boxes himself.

After another cigarette break, Paul and Ben drove us to the storage site, which is south of the river, in Kinning Park. Getting there was the most challenging part of this part of the delivery, because the lorry was too tall for the Clyde Tunnel, requiring us to go up river toward the city centre, get on the motorway for about half a mile, then tangle about in the area between the river and the motorway (which is like a river in itself, but wider and faster). In spite of having very little experience driving in Glasgow, Paul managed to get there without any wrong turns. Once at the storage facility, they were able to get our 4 pieces of orphan furniture into 50-square foot storage room that we had been concerned would be too small. All in all, we were very impressed these two men, and insisted on taking a photo of them proudly standing in front of their removal lorry. It was about 1:30 when we left the storage facility. The whole process, 3 stops and all, had taken no more than 3 hours. We walked across the motorway on the footbridge we had taken 2 weeks ago when we first visited the place, got on the subway (the man at the ticket office wouldn’t sell us a ticket and just waved us on), and took it to Partick. There was a train at the platform as we came up on the escalator, so we got on it without knowing where it was going. It turned out to be a Dalmuir train, so Diane got off at the next station in order to transfer, while I continued on to Jordanhill. I was at the my building by 2:10, in time for a sandwich before my meeting with the Dean... but that is a blog for another day!

What a relief to have our things! Contrary to my fears, it is very nice to be surrounded by bits of our Toledo life, and handy too. Diane spent a good part of the afternoon and evening in quasi-Christmas mode, discovering new treasures, while I set up the computer. We are quite cozy now, and many more pieces have fallen finally into place here. We feel more truly grounded here now and ready to settle in further and move on to the next phase of our life in New California!

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