Today, I picked up a message from Brian at Moody Movers. He was FINALLY calling me back from a message I’d left on Saturday afternoon. It said this: “Hey, this is Jill Murray and I’m calling because I’m wondering if you might be able to help us with, well, a moving problem. See, my husband is trapped in the basement stairwell by a 350-pound treadmill, upright and tilted ever so slightly on its side, constricted by two hard walls and a railing, and roped to a large wooden pallet. Not my husband, the treadmill that is. (Nervous laugh.) Anyway, I could go on and on, gosh, but if you happen to get this message, well, soon, please give me a call. Much appreciated.”
Course, they didn’t respond until Wednesday morning, which doesn’t exactly inspire me to keep their number for future reference. “Gimme a call,” Brian said, “if you still need help with that treadmill.”
Yeah, okay Brian. Thanks a bunch.
So you’re probably wondering what the heck happened. Well, I’ll tell you: It’s amazing how the best laid plans can turn on you. On Saturday morning, I had it all figured out: I’d scheduled a hair appointment for 9 a.m. so I could be out of dodge, so to speak, when the Sears folks came to deliver the monster of a treadmill we bought the previous weekend.
Scheduled to arrive between 9 and 11, I said to myself, “Self, let your handsome husband deal with that.” (Heavy lifting is, after all, a man’s job. You know it is, don’t write me.) I figured my job was to look as good as humanly possible, despite all my middle-aged mishigas. You know, focus on better hair, better nails, better skin. Better day.
So imagine my surprise when, as I’m paying up at the salon register, my cell phone buzzes and it’s my handsome husband, calling to find out where I am. I immediately know there’s trouble since he NEVER does that. To the contrary, he’s always a little too pleased when I have a plans. That’s the only time (or so he says) he gets to watch monster movies and eat buffalo wings without my harping on him about his arteries bursting like a wild meteor or insisting we check to see what’s on Lifetime.
But not this time.
No, no, he wanted to know where I was for a reason. He NEEDED me for a solution to some massive problem. And so, I answered the call, reluctantly, preparing myself for a big one.
“Hi honey. Everything good?” I ask.
“Yeah, uh huh. Just fine.”
“Treadmill come?” I’m wincing now.
“Delivery guys gone?”
“Oh yeah. I let them go over an hour ago.”
Already a bad sign.
“Treadmill in the basement, where it needs to be?”
“Oh no. It’s stuck in the stairwell. Almost on its side. Strapped into a wood pallet. Say, what time do you think you’ll be home?”
And so, you can see where I’m going here. I always figured, by this time of life, this stuff would be, well, easy. Disease, death, wrinkles, aging parents, regrets, and hair in the most unimaginable places – that’s the stuff we’d have to figure out. But moving crap? We’d just pay people to do that for us. And if we got something from Sears, well heck: They’d have to do it. It’s part of their branding.
But what I didn’t bank on was this: That when I decided to leave my handsome husband alone with delivery men, he’d release them before the job was done. Had I been there, well, forget about it. That treadmill may still have been in the stairwell, but there would have also been two guys in a Sear’s uniform wrestling it into the basement.
Lesson learned: Never leave handsome husband alone with delivery guys.
Good to know, but of absolutely no use to me when, after much deliberation over whether to go home, I arrived to find my husband now trapped in said stairwell, captive in a corner on the first landing.
I can only imagine the look on my face when I find him.
“Now, don’t freak out,” he says. “All I need you to do is grab hold of the lower left part of the pallet and lift straight UP. When you do, be careful not to drop on your foot–and watch for splinters. Also, hold steady and don’t waver. VERY IMPORTANT. Keep it up and slightly pointed left. Like an inch or so on its diameter. And wait until I say ready…while you do that, I’m going to straighten out this middle part and pull ever-so gently out the bottom and towards this top step…” He points with his right toe since he’s steadying the treadmill with both hands.
“Are you kidding?”
“What’s ‘at, babe?”
“I just had my hair done.”
“I’m in three-inch Rocket Dogs.”
“It’s my day off.”
“Just lift it straight up? Honey, it’s 350 pounds. On a wood pallet that’s easily as wide as our Honda Element. Who do you think I am? Godzilla? And this Nordic Track is Faye Raye? How far do you think the delivery guys have gotten. Do you think they’re still in the development?”
“Aw c’mon. We can do this! Unless you think you can’t, because the last thing I want is for you to get hurt.” I did not miss the irony in that, with my husband, balancing the treadmill, sweating, looking like he needs either a small blood transfusion or, at the minimum, a bottle of Gatorade.
And so, after a few contemplative moments, I kick off my platform mules and give it my best shot. Who am I to run from a challenge? (After all, I did spend the better part of my life dating.) And after some moving back and forth (along with a few skipped heartbeats and intense palpitations), we get it off the top landing and onto the bottom, where my handsome husband assures me he can take it from there.
Of course, still quite concerned, at that point, I lay our health insurance cards neatly on the kitchen table and place a slightly hysterical call to Moody Movers just in case things didn’t go as well as Dan hopes. Then, I make him the world’s largest tuna sandwich WITH sweet pickles (very important detail). And in lieu of taking a Xanex, I proceed to eat the leftover hamburger in the refrigerator without even chewing.
“There’s a little something waiting for you once you get the treadmill on solid footing,” I yell to him, midway through my lunch, not wanting to check and see what he’s doing or if he’s made any progress or whether he’s broken a limb, digit, or anything else by now. “And I think you’re gonna like it!”
To which I hear him squeak: “Is it sex?”
“NO. A SANDWICH.”
He deserves that. I’d never have let those Sears guys leave.
And now, I’m off to do 20 quick minutes on that puppy, which we eventually do get into the basement without injury (took us eight hours), nestled between the PowerWave punching bag and the large sofa with the broken leg I got in Chicago some 15 years ago.
Better the couch than me or my husband.
Until next time!