Monday, May 19, 2014

Moving couches, stealing babies

The regular reader(s) of this column might recognize this one from 2008.  Had to take a break last week to deal with a sick kid (all better now), snapping our record-setting whole-family-healthy streak of ten days.  I don't remember writing this one, so hopefully it'll be new to you, too!  Back with new programming next week.

When you have kids, besides signing up for a lifetime of being a caregiver, mentor and science-fair-project-completer, you also, as a reward for surviving their teens, get to carry their couches every year from one apartment to another. Your kids won’t have their own couches, though, so you’ll actually just be picking up the couches that used to be yours and lugging them to an apartment where the shower rod falls down when you turn on the fan.

My parents probably thought they’d gotten out of the business of moving my stuff around the country many years ago, but last weekend they started the enterprise up again, driving nearly four hours each way to deliver their pre-owned couches to our house. They did this because, besides being exceptionally generous people who pass along only the finest of furniture and genes, they saw the state of our previous couch, which was of course also their previous couch, and which had served for many years as a ferret burrow for our late varmint Chopper, making it rattier than a scratching post and holier than the Pope.

So when my folks ordered their own new couches, they volunteered to rent a trailer and bring their old couches up to us. Incidentally, did you know that U-Haul won’t let you hitch one of their trailers to a Ford Explorer?  The problem is apparently a legal remnant of the Explorer’s issues with exploding Firestone tires in the 90s.  You’ll probably never need to know that, but you also don’t need to know what Beyonce’s baby’s name is, which makes it even worse that little Blue Ivy now occupies the shelf space in your brain where the quadratic equation used to be.

My wife Kara recently became a bit of an expert on hauling things herself. Before going to her cousin’s wedding a couple of weeks ago, Kara decided that we should go purse shopping, which is my favorite thing to do when I can’t find a grease trap to clean out.

“Ooh, what do you think about this one?” Kara said, holding up a large black bag with buckles or something on it. I can’t really say for sure what it looked like because I was staring off over the racks, wondering which video games my single friends were playing. There’s only so much purse shopping a man can be expected to handle. It’s like looking through someone’s photo album when you know there aren’t any pictures of you. One can only stay engaged for so long.

“You don’t like it?” she asked.

“Oh, no. It looks like it could hold stuff,” I said.

She ended up purchasing a purse so big that our friend Anna dubbed it a “baby-stealing bag.” The theory was that Kara could put her wedding flip-flops in the purse to carry around until the reception. Apparently, the shoes that women wear to wedding services are just the starting pitchers. They have a whole lineup of middle relief that they call in after the reception begins.

As we drove to a recent wedding with Kara’s family, she set her new purse in her lap.

“Oh, can I put these in there?” her sister Jill asked, holding up her own flip flops. Her other sister Sarah and her mom looked at the bag and their eyes grew bigger. Pretty soon, every female member of Kara’s family began producing flip-flops that had been hidden in jackets and, presumably, ankle holsters and throwing them into Kara’s bag. By the time we got there, Kara looked like she had enough provisions in her bag for a through hike of the Appalachian Trail. At least she had comfy couches to rest on once we got home.

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