Why Do You Have So Many Chairs?

Well, we did it! I still have to put all my stuff in a much smaller space in Baton Rouge, but there’s a storage shed out back. If I need it, I’ll use it. I think I needed a bigger truck. I made my best guess based on the amount of furniture I had, and the 16 ft. truck ended up being too small. My semi-professional movers, Ryan and West, spent an inordinate amount of time standing in the back of the truck looking at things. And, they did a fantastic job. On the way up, Ryan told me he was an expert at using every possible inch of space, and he did not disappoint me.

We didn’t get started packing until 5 PM on Friday. I had to run over to FedEX to pick up a check, and we had to pick up some laundry appliances at Tara Mae’s house. They did the walk through and proudly announced, “We can probably do all of this tonight.” Sweet….. I thought. This will be a piece of cake. We worked until 8 PM, and it was obvious that there was an issue. I kept hearing some muttering about chairs but they never said what that was about. I cleaned and packed what was left while they hauled things out to the truck and stood inside the bed looking for space.

At one point Friday night, I walked outside and looked into the truck. I had asked these guys to help me because I knew I needed some young brawn to help carry things. It never dawned on me that there was an art to packing a truck. Most of my household moves – and I’ve had a lot – either included a husband or a professional moving company provided by a company relocation package. I’d never had to worry my pretty little head about packing a truck. I had moved a couple of times on my own, but they had overlapping time frames and were local moves, so I moved most of the little stuff in my car, and I rented one truck for the furniture. But, not this time. It was a God thing that these guys took me up on my offer. I never even asked if they had moved anybody before until the trip up, and Ryan said he used to work at a furniture store. When I looked at that truck and saw how they were packing it, I realized that God had done for me what I couldn’t do for myself. I would have needed 6 trucks to get all of my stuff moved if I hadn’t gotten these guys. I am so grateful and blessed.

I dropped the guys off at the Crowne Plaza for a night out in downtown Memphis, and I took off to stay at a friend’s house in Collierville. She and her husband told me about their last move and a move precipitated by a fire in their condo. We laughed about how horrible moving was and how you never realize what an ordeal it is until you’re standing in a sea of boxes and furniture that you wished you’d never bought. Dennis, who is a bit like me, I think, and lives life in a bit of a creative dreamland remarked that if God gave him a choice of dying tomorrow or living 10 years and moving, he would have to think seriously about it. I said, “Yeah, I’ve had a good life. The next 10 years probably aren’t going to be that great anyway!” Friday night and Saturday morning were low points emotionally. I was already aware that there was a problem, but my movers didn’t put that on my shoulders. I was dog tired from driving 5 hours, running around Memphis at rush hour on a Friday, dealing with an issue with a carpenter that caused a lot of financial worry and cleaning that damn refrigerator. Luckily, they had not informed me that there would not be enough room in that truck.

I talked to my friend Nancy who is living temporarily in South Korea. She told me about a time that she moved a household, and she was still recovering from surgery. She couldn’t lift more than five pounds. She packed everything in plastic grocery sacks. She felt so bad for the people who helped moved her carrying 5000 small grocery sacks. It’s fun to laugh about moves after the fact. It’s not quite so funny in the middle of it. But, there’s one thing I know about moving. Eventually … it may be months .. but, eventually, it’s over.

I picked up the guys on Saturday morning, and we were all hopeful. I had managed to put my camping storage box on the top of my car and my kayak, so that freed up some space. My friend Trisha and I spent the morning packing Pursy full of odds and ends and fragile stuff. I was going to put my bike on the bike rack, but I didn’t think about that stupid tire that’s on the back of the Rav 4. I don’t think my bike rack works on my vehicle. So, I stuffed that in Pursy as well. “Nothing else can go on that back seat,” I proclaimed. I didn’t want my very expensive mountain bike to get damaged. Famous last words ….

By about noon, it was obvious there was a serious problem. There was more standing around looking in the truck than there was moving going on. Ryan called a meeting of the minds. “We’re not going to have enough room,” he said. He asked me to start deciding what could be left. I started thinking of ways to come back with a pickup to get what was left over in a week or two. I went back in to look at what I had left, and something magical must have happened while I was inside. All of the chairs and things that were lined up outside the truck were packed. There were a couple of garden chairs and some odds and ends left, but most of the stuff was now on the truck. I looked around, and, I proclaimed that I wasn’t coming back. I’d leave what was left for charity, and we’d be done. There was a scurry of activity getting the last little necessities jammed into my vehicle – and, yes, we put lots of stuff in that back seat. I even have a computer mouse, a mouse pad and cup with pens in the side compartment of my door. There was no space in my vehicle that was empty except for where my ass was going to be.

When we stopped for lunch, we were all happy and lively. The magicians told me about the problem they had. Ryan asked me why I had so many chairs. He said chairs are hard to pack because they are odd-shaped, and you can’t really stack them. That’s why the street beside the truck looked like an airplane with all of my chairs lined up neatly in rows for so many hours. I buy chairs for seating instead of big pit groups and sofas. I don’t watch TV. When I have friends over, we talk or we eat – or both. It’s just easier to sit face to face in a chair, and you certainly can’t pull a sofa up to a table to eat. So, I have lots of funky, wacky chairs in my house. One year, I invited my friends over every Thursday night for dinner. It was an open invitation, so I never knew if we’d have two or eight that would show up. It was from 6 PM – 7 PM, and you had to show up early, or you were taking a chance at not having a dining room chair or food. I would feed you, but if I ran out of what I cooked, you’d get whatever I had in the cabinet or refrigerator. What a blessing it was when I ran out of food … and chairs!

For my 50th birthday, that group of women figured out where to get more dining room chairs for me, and they bought me two more dining room chairs so I’d have a set of six. They signed them on the bottom, and now I have these wonderful dining room chairs with these ladies’ signatures and love scrawled all over them. Why do I have lots of chairs? Because I had a houseful of friends in Memphis. I left some garden chairs and some camping chairs for the new owner. The realtor said this was his first house, and he’d probably appreciate anything I left. All in all, I left 6 chairs, but I have no idea how many I packed. I’ll bet Ryan and West can tell you. They probably had nightmares about those chairs last night.

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I’ll unpack my belongings today in my new house. I’m looking forward to it. This is the start of my new life in this little house in Capital Heights. Everything is done now in this relocation except closing on the house in Memphis. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I hope it all goes well. My biggest wish is that I need to get more chairs while I’m here. I hope that I have so many friends over at my house that I have to run out and buy more lawn chairs, dining room chairs, living room chairs and chairs for my front porch. More chairs mean more people want to spend time with me in my space. I hope that the new owner of my beautiful 100 year old house in Memphis has to go out and buy more chairs after he’s used what I left for him. I hope that when Ryan and West start their new lives on their own, they will need lots and lots of chairs for their friends who’ll play music with them and celebrate their lives – wherever they are. I hope this is not the last time that any of us spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to pack chairs into a moving truck. As I saw all of my chairs lined up in the street waiting to be packed, I thought of all my beautiful friends who had laughed and cried in those chairs. I am blessed to have every single one of those chairs. I can’t wait to fill ’em up in Baton Rouge. Come on over, y’all! I’ll be unpacking today. There will be plenty of chairs to go around. And, if we need more … they sell chairs in Baton Rouge, I suppose!

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