Though I am not easily persuaded by conspiracy theorists, I still found it peculiarly coincidental that all four of our grown and married children decided to move into new homes during the span of only four-and-a-half months.
Of no surprise, one-by-one a communique was received calling upon “The Big Cheese,” the endearing and pasteurized nickname bestowed upon me by our offspring, to bring my weakening back and weak mind to labor in the exhilarating work of their sequential and respective relocations.
By the time I was alerted by our youngest son and his wife of their mid-April plans to move, the note from the doctor who had performed my hernia surgery and colonoscopy back in the mid-February had sadly expired. I no longer possessed nor could I present the invaluable ,“By order of my surgeon, I am not allowed to lift more than a gallon of milk” get-out-of-moving free card.
Hardly an excuse remained, which resulted in me doing what any loving, supportive father would do when called upon for help by his children. Yes, I dutifully cleared my calendar of any and all previously scheduled appointments and events and made arrangements with my travel agent to be out of the country come moving days! Just kidding.
Then it happened!
With all the spontaneity they could muster, coupled with unrestrained excitement to get settled into their new digs, the first move transpired. Eager to transfer from their rented home to a home of their own in greater Toledo, our youngest began to parade loaded and emptied pickup trucks back and forth for a number of days. Their timing was less than impeccable as they opted to officially pick up roots during Holy Week and, more specifically, Good Friday. Had they forgotten I was still on the clergy roster and pastoring a local church? Regrettably, I requested and was granted an excused absence. Booyah!
Given the brief distance of merely 1.3 miles between locations and a paltry five minutes’ drive, they could have made the move on foot. Well, maybe that short distance is a bit of a stretch.
Next up was our No. 1 son and his family, who were moving across town in Greenville, a whole 2.5 miles and nine minutes away. Captivated by visions of grandeur, they purchased a fixer-upper that would have had Chip and Joanne salivating with eager delight. It was the sort of locale, when we had our initial tour, such that I was thinking to myself, “Not in my lifetime, baby!” Knowing our son’s current carpentry talents and home renovation skill set, I was confidently convinced the place would be uninhabitable for most of my remaining lifetime. On occasion, I still take him to Lowe’s and Home Depot for “tool identification” training.
Wonder of all wonders, but a marvelous transformation occurred. Given well-qualified contractors, we were informed the livability threshold was surpassed, and the move transpired the days leading up to Memorial Day weekend. Since we already had plans to visit them for a Memorial Day cookout, we had to miss most of the heavy lifting. Yippee skippy!
Just prior to their second wedding anniversary, our daughter and her husband gave up their apartment mid-June for a home about two-and-a-half miles away, also in the Toledo area. Given the proximity to the remembrance of their nuptials, our son-in-law called it a bit of an anniversary gift. Who was I to crash the party on such an occasion and ruin the romance of such a major purchase and relocation? We sent a card and a restaurant gift certificate instead. It’s the thought that counts, anyway!
If there were a prize for moving the furthest, our second son and his family would have won the award. They chose to relocate the weekend after Labor Day and hightailed it across most of Ohio, from Streetsboro to Archbold, a distance of about 175 miles. Surely they should have known that Labor Day was in the rearview mirror, and I had already taken a day off with no work. I had suggested a van company, but they chose the do-it-yourself route and rented a truck and so would be unavailable for the “Tetris Puzzle” of packing all their belongings into a limited space, even with the bonus of “mom’s attic.”
Before the outcry of “shameful” hits the internet and my cell phone and Facebook Pages blow up, let it be known I haven’t been sitting idly on my hands all this time.
Though I managed to navigate around most of the ins and outs and ups and downs of pickup trucks, moving vans, dollies, appliances, furniture, boxes and toys, I still determined to place a measure of “skin in the game.” Every move has stragglers, and I was around to “pick up the pieces” and helped transport the multiple remnants that remained. Additionally there were trees to chop down, sidewalks and driveways to edge, yardwork to be done, multiple construction and landscape tools to be lent out, grandchildren to babysit, wall trim to cut and nail, trash to be hauled out, accessories, furnishing, supplies and tools to be bought, and even a little wise counsel to be thrown in for good measure.
Thankfully, all four, or in actuality, all fifteen are safe and sound and thoroughly enjoying their new quarters, even given my meager contributions.
Someone once opined that moving is quite the adventure. At my age, however, I am somewhat inclined to call it a “miss-the-adventure” instead.
Ken Pollitz moved to Ottawa in 1991 as mission-developer/pastor of New Creation Lutheran Church. His biweekly column provides insights and viewpoints from Putnam County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org