Moving Michael: It Takes a Village


Oh dear what a day it was!  Took an early ferry home- Daughter Dear, who lives next door to Joanie and Dear Paul, is moving to the upstairs portion of the house she has lived in for over 6 years, and Michael the Male Mental Hospital Attendant is moving into her basement apartment as he is experiencing some “money trouble…”  Talk about a recipe for disaster.  So, Dear Paul announces to me “Michael called and he’s ready to move- why isn’t she ready?”  Well hells bells I have no idea, since she has had weeks to prepare.  Bottom line is she isn’t ready and neither is he, and housekeeping skills are neither parties’ strong suit.  Sister Janis says that Daughter is a throwback to Mom and Aunt Mary Ann, neither of which would win any prizes in the “Clean House” category.  And of course, it is my sorry task to assist in the move.

Daughter has been in her place for a long time, and Michael has only been in his area for  a year, but Boy oh Boy what one human can do in a year is incredible.  Stink, funk, cat litter, stains and junk everywhere, and the house is ENTIRELY full and not a single thing has been packed for the move, including about 100 dead plants and huge freaking full fish tank- where’s the pit bull, Michael?  That’s about all that is missing to make this nightmare complete.

So, now envision Michael, who is huge and sick and keeps leaning on things and muttering “Sara” this and “Sara” that- who who in the heck is Sara?  Oh lovely- Sara is the half bald manic depressive bipolar cat that somehow managed to escape from the downstairs bathroom (her room) and then promptly ran upstairs to the open attic door and hid in the rafters somewhere.  Good.  Lock her in.  She’ll die eventually.

So, somewhere between hacking up a futon upstairs with a hand saw to get it down the stairs, heaving bags of complete rubbish out the upstairs windows, hauling a SLEEPER sofa out (those things weigh a ton), and the moving of Daughter’s piano… Son declares “Mom this isn’t a move- it’s a United Way project!  An eviction!  Where do you get these people, Mom?”  Oh boy I wanted to smack him one but needed him to continue to help so held myself back.

So, as we are wrenching every muscle in our collective bodies moving the piano, who do I see?  Oh yes!  I see Dear Paul and Michael, lounging on the sleeper sofa we had just hauled into the yard, munching contentedly on sandwiches, shooting the breeze like neither of them had a care in the world.  Michael stops chewing for a moment to ask if there is any Coke left and you can only imagine my answer.  We could have stranged both of them with the dirty pair of Jockey shorts I was hauling down from his compost heap of a bedroom, along with his stained sheets, comforters, “Jugs” magazines and smelly socks.

Oh and you can just imagine the refrigerator- new a year ago- full of condiments from KFC and did I mention the awful sheets he tacked up over all of the windows to see the TV better?

Thank God for Sister Janis and hubby or Dear Joanie would have had a stroke- they came over after work and helped for a couple of hours with the worst of the mess.  Sister Janis took one look upstairs where Michael was wheezing while slowly leafing through what he referred to as “paperwork” and “personal items” and she promptly instructed Dear Daughter to bring up more garbage bags and just started right in, loading them up around him.  She is quite decisive and Thank God for that!  She would have been a great Army general.

Ok, now the move gets even sweeter:  Daughter has to work the next two days.  So who gets to finish for her?  I bet you, Dear One, can guess the answer to that.  The entire house looks like a hurricane hit it and I can  tell you that it was ugly. Hurricane Michael is alive and well in Upper Whiskey Gulch.

Did I forget to mention that we also were contending with Molly the dog that barked for the ENTIRE day?  Someone, get Joanie a hatchet please because she is going to self inflict a head wound like Auntie Mary did, AFTER she kills the dog!  But there is a silver lining to every cloud I guess because when we let Molly back into the house since it looked like a thunderstorm was about to hit, she ran in and promptly ratted Sara the bipolar manic depressive half bald cat out of the attic.

So, Michael got his cat back.  In the meanwhile the thunderstorm starts and most of his belongings are in the yard.  “Oh well”, Michael said, “I’ll get it eventually… I’m pooped!”


In addition to the barking it now appears that Molly the Dog’s nasty habit of biting men has resurfaced.  Well, since this is her 11th foster home, Dear Daughter is trying to “make it work.”  We hadn’t planned to put her to sleep but did discuss it, and Dear Paul helpfully offered to put her in a box and “smoke her”- “won’t feel a thing” and I took the opportunity to remind him that that’s the very reason  Sister got divorced the first time- her also helpful (and cheap) husband offered to shoot her horse rather than spend the money to have the vet come out.  You can guess the outcome of that little skirmish I bet- Sister 1, Husband 0.  Molly made the cut- no smoking this one today…

So, on Saturday of Move Weekend, Joanie was at her house, fetching, no doubt, another gallon or two of cleaning products,paper towels, rags or garbage bags, when one small Granddaughter comes schreeching in, dragging a wild-eyed, panting Molly by her leash-  “Grandma- she screams, breathlessly- Molly bit the neighbor!  Molly bit the neighbor!”  First I told her to loosen the leash a teensy bit as Molly was looking somewhat limp, then turned pale and asked her which neighbor- the nut job down the street that likes to point her security cameras at everyone- the one that has a fondness for restraining orders and calls the local finest each and every Fourth of July to report our fireworks, or the guy right next door whose cars were run over in a “mishap” caused by our son- the same man that calls the cops when people turn around in his driveway?

“No, Grandma, Michael” she said “Molly bit Michael!  And he says send alcohol, Grandma!”  Does the man not stock a freaking cupboard, I mutter under my breath, but, thinking lawsuit I sent over a bottle and some bandages.  Well I can say we did warn him- we did- that Molly hates big men (big men especially in dark pants), Really Hates Men and has a hefty track record to prove it. Well she snapped at him and there is oh yes, a scratch on his huge hairy leg.  Apparently he was kicking at her at the time so I didn’t really blame her, and he himself admitted that he does deep fat fry a lot of chicken so maybe that was part of her issue, but in any case, now not only is he half hysterical, wheezing, short of breath and in bad physical condition overall, now he’s INJURED!  Great!  He’ll never get moved!

So, Michael gets patched up and we attempt to get back to work.  The space he is moving out of has a big sun room which was filled with hundreds of dead and dying plants, and rather than haul them downstairs he suggests that I hand them out one of the windows to him- a full story down, and he would reinstate them in the yard.  So, he clambers up into the planter area and heave ho, away we go!  I hand them all out until we get to the great big ones, which I hesitate to hand out, but hey, he’s insisting, so what choice do I have?

Pots filled with spiders, dirt, old leaves, termites, gunk- thar she blows, Matey!  And that’s not counting the old crates, tables with teetering legs, milk jugs filled with murky fluids and potions.  Guess what?  He gets those too!  I must admit I hesitated again when taking stock of the now empty and huge and heavy fish tank, but hey, he’s game and so I am too.  He stumbled a little as I tipped that one out but he should be ok soon.

Soon we about finished up except for what I have dubbed the “widowmaker”- a large flat box which apparently contains a particleboard computer desk that weighs approximately 400lbs. which he didn’t want “But it’s a good one”, and an old TV set and a nice little antique table with the veneer peeling off from all of the plant water.  Michael, who is tired OF COURSE, announces that although he dropped the TV as he was moving in “I’m pretty sure it works, Miss Joan, and you can keep it if you want it. It’s a nice quality item.” Right.  Oh hell no we do not want it, and he must have seen my eyes roll in disbelief because he then suggested to me (I must have looked like a linebacker or weightlifter to him, right?) to “Go ahead Miss Joan and throw it in the back of my truck if you don’t want it.”

As Joanie walked back into her house that evening, dirty, tired and desperate for something liquid with preferably a lot of alcohol in it, Dear Paul looked up from his book-  “Hey, there you are-what’s for dinner?”

Have a wonderful week, my Dearest of the Dear.  Amen and good night.



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7 responses to “Moving Michael: It Takes a Village

  1. Holy crap I got stressed out just reading this post. I’m amazed you survived.

  2. Jani Grll

    OMG!! The funniest yet. Especially the Molly part!

  3. hefe'sbride212

    You’ve done it again Joanie…brilliantly written!! Surprised you didn’t have Dear Paul mix you up an adult beverage early on in that scary process.

  4. Judy Dufresne

    Wow well described..along with much work…Oh my some people are such “pigs” actually from what I understand pigs are pretty clean…J

  5. ruby

    Joan. this sounds like an episode of Hoarders. LOL

  6. Capt. Sherry

    Funny my Joanie!

  7. Capt. Sherry

    something’s amiss in the reply section…it reads I left the comment on January 23rd … hey, it’s still the 22nd where I live (which is just a few blocks away!) and the time here isn’t 2:50AM, but only 6:53PM. Is there a time wharp? Different planet? Different Lat & Long degrees? What’s happening? Am I part of an episode of “Back to the Future?” and you didn’t tell me? Apprise me please.

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