Tag Archives: Kindness

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Now that I’ve shaken off some of the soreness with aspirin and sleep, I’m able to write once again. Yesterday was eight hours of sweat and work, as I moved a trusted friend and his fiancée out from their apartment to a more affordable living space. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’ve hauled friends and family to and fro more than I can successfully count. If I were to guess, I think the number of times would be in the upper 20s by now. Not many non-professionals can say they’ve done that. I consider it a matter of virtue, and something that should be done more often by others. However, my life is not the only string in the harp.

It has, though, shown me the limitations of my body. I had to stop and rest a few times. Even though I’ve been in places with more flights, the stairs were a killer. No less than 30 times did I climb them, and that was with a team. I’m not as young as I once was. Maybe from my experiences, I could say a few things to people who are keen on moving in the future:

– If you have any considerable amount of books (e.g. more than one tall book case), take time in advance to pack them in lidded boxes. I consider “in advance” about two to three weeks. You can’t read the whole bookcase before then, and life most likely would dictate that you won’t read more than a couple. These are very heavy, but can be quickly transported on an appliance dolly if packed correctly.

– Closely related to the point above, if you’re having volunteered work come and help DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THAT DAY TO START PACKING. I cannot emphasize that enough. If you have a very busy life, start packing months in advance bit by bit. Nothing bogs down moving day like having little to move in the morning while people are fresh. By the time 5:00pm rolls around, people will be tired whether they started at 9:00am or noon. If you’re paying for the labor, then that’s a different story.

– Have plenty of garbage bags on hand. Why? Because you’ll inevitably be throwing something out, whether it be your leftovers in the refrigerator or the college essays you’ve tucked in the corner “for reference.”

– Add at least two trips to the number of hauls to what you think you might need. Over the course of my work, people often underestimate their hauling capacity versus the amount of possessions they have. Closely related to the first sentence, consider the possibility it might take you more than one day to move. If you can, which has happened for me on more than one occasion, start moving non-essential items in before the bulk of the possessions are to be moved. Cleaners, towels, and other housekeeping items will also come in very handy at the new location. Why not have them waiting when you get there?

The over-arching point to take away from this is don’t have your help walking in on an unprepared house the day you’re supposed to move. Nothing starts off a clusterjam like shooting from the hip. You will always run into obstacles moving possessions and will need all the energy you can muster to solve those problems when moving. It’s also a tip of the hat to your help that they’re working on the problems you simply cannot do alone. That’s why you need their help in the first place. The more you can focus their assistance on those problems, I guarantee you the smoother it will be.

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Peanut Brittle Family

Yesterday was Father’s Day, and accordingly, there were several meditative posts on people’s fathers. I had to think long and hard if I wanted to post anything on the subject. On a life’s scale, it could be far worse. He could be absent, unavailable, incapacitated with drink or other drugs, in jail, physically abusive, deceased, but he is not. He can be very hard to handle at times, though. I was concerned yesterday evening would be such a case. My muscles were tight and on stand by for the typical family meltdown, but I put on my best happy face and tried to make the best of it.

We made it off a rocky week. My father thinks acting like an ass to upset me is wildly amusing. Maybe private-time me would only be irritated, but to be difficult during business hours is unacceptable. Dragging feet or pretending to drag feet and being obstinate is out of the question. Saying afterwards, “I’m only joking,” is not enough. In fact, I’ve never found apologies meaningful. It’s true they may be sincere and valuable to the speaker, but I don’t find meaning in them. If you would like to apologize, help me out.

Sunday I made it out with only having my meal ruined, and when compared to other times in my life, I’ll take what I can get. My family set out for Port Columbus Int’l (CMH) to pick up my sister. She’s 38, but takes to driving in larger cities like cats do to baths. Something I take pride in is being able to drive, fly, or otherwise commute on my own. Independence has been my bride for years, and I have loved her as tenderly as I ever could love a woman. It makes me grouchy when I get whiffs of fecklessness in my peers. In turn, I get very sore with myself if I find it in me.

Being the considerate, I drove most of the trip. Being it Father’s Day, we decided to have dinner at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus. As a gift, I paid for the four of us. I thought it better than a stupid gift card to a home improvement store. Maybe I was mistaken?

After the arrival at CMH, spirits were rather high. While we waited for the Frontier gorillas to mash the luggage a bit more, I was entertaining myself by riding up and down the escalators like a simpleton. My sister had her little escapade in Pennsylvania, and was being pleasant. My parents seemed happy. We tried to take our luck to the restaurant and ride the fumes out through the night.

Here’s where it started to unravel. With my mother a might peckish, she became irritable. The 45 minute wait was not well received by her, but I was firmly against going to something like Bucca Di Beppo.  We patiently waited, and I decided to anesthetize myself with a 22 oz. beer. Not only did it do the trick, it made me louder. I was told to keep it down more than once by my mother.

After seated, we headed for the dinner buffet. I generally dislike buffets for the clientele it attracts, but will always make an exception for this place. Filling a couple of plates with delightful food, such as bratwurst and German potato salad, I overhear the light squawking of my mother about two pans being empty. Tuning out the first-world problem I went to the red cabbage.

By the time I reached my table, I witnessed the tail end of a “discussion” between my mother and the server. It wasn’t an amiable discussion either. From what I gather, my mother said something about food not being available and assume the server said  it wasn’t her problem in a round about way. In truth, it wasn’t. Those trays are the problem of the line cooks in back. They are the ones to be nagged. She was less than impressed and entered her icy, withdrawn, silent treatment mode with the waitress. Things got ugly after the server left. When we were alone, she turned to me and said, “don’t you dare tip her.”

She couldn’t have struck me harder if she used a monkey wrench. What balls she had telling the person buying her dinner how to pay for a meal. I am her son, yes, but this damn near broke my heart. My willingness to eschew the small irritations of having a good meal for the family went disregarded. My parents are the type of people to stiff the help, if they got a bug up their ass. I am not. I am firmly not. My father chimed in with, “she’s not getting any money from me.” Does anyone truly pay attention in my family? I was… uh… I was picking up the tab for this, Dad.

We made more small talk. All the while, I began to plot. I plotted on how to get them out of the building in order to pay for the meal. The more I thought, the less I tasted my dinner. What a waste. I finally settled on trying to pay at the cash register. A few minutes passed, and I thought we were out in the clear.

My sister, in the stupidest move of the night, unexpectedly cut in with “I wonder at what point she realized she was screwed.” In a very, very hurt fury by now I kicked the leg of her chair and barked, “eat your food!” The usual heavy blanket of silence fell upon the table. A fuse was lit, and I waited for the explosion. My father started in with his usual old man bitching with, “this wasn’t a good idea.” Fuck youFuck all of you miserable assholes. My insides were torn apart. I wanted to be anywhere but there at that point.

Looking at my phone, I found out how much time had passed between our seating and our departure: 30 minutes. 30 minutes. That’s how much time I was given for a family dinner, on my dime, and with nothing but pissy attitudes with it. Everyone was so cross, I couldn’t finish my second beer. It had to be left behind to get these assholes on the road. Fortunately for me, I was feeling some of the beer and it didn’t hurt as much.

I got everyone out of the building to the best of my ability and found the server. With my speech a little on heavy side, I explained to the young waitress I didn’t care what was said, but it really pissed my mother off. It was also stated there was a healthy tip with my payment, because I don’t believe in stiffing people. Ever. Not being able to process English, the girl tried to tell me her side of the story. I ignored her. What part of “I don’t care what happened” do you not understand? Take the fucking grace, dipshit.

On the way home, I kept everything to myself. That’s my only recourse. Do not add fuel. Be courteous. Be brief. I wanted to escape in the worst way. Reflecting in a bar that night, the problem came to light. I’m not an adult in their eyes. I’m nothing but the small boy with the He-Man figures. I’m their little boy… to control, dismiss, and scold. I may never have an adult dinner with my parents for as long as they live, and that’s painful.

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