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Wednesday: July 27, 2005

What I’ve Been Up To

Filed under: — site admin @ 9:00 PM GMT-0500

Sorry about the long silence. I’ve been moving all my stuff from Baltimore to North Carolina for a new job. I’m proud to say that at 52, I can still move everything I own with nothing more than a rented truck, a two-wheel dolly, and a gallon or two of Gatorade. That may not sound all that impressive, but:

  • I own roughly five tons of stuff, including 200 boxes of books, 18 real-wood bookshelves and CD shelves, 16 ornamental cinderblocks to make (with 1x14s) eight shelves worth of very solid two-sided bookshelves, three 4-drawer file cabinets, 2 armchairs, and a futon. It took three round trips in a cargo van, stuffed to the gills, including the front compartment, and will take two more trips in my car for the odds and ends.
  • All three truckloads were loaded in 90o+ heat with no shade, and it was 96o in Raleigh when I unloaded the first and third on Friday and Monday afternoons. (The second was mostly unloaded after dark Saturday, which helped.) And cargo vans don’t come with ramps. I did make sure to rent an apartment with only one step to get the dolly over. The gentle slope down the front walk to the front door didn’t hurt.

Can I call myself a Self-Moved Mover, or would that be too Aristotelian? I do have a slight urge (call it a demi-urge) to hire someone else to do the work next time around. On the other hand, I did all this for a total cost of $800 or so – maybe $900 with food and the gas for the car trips, which is hard to beat.

Things I learned along the way:

  1. A new route: On Sunday, since the radio warned of construction delays on I-95, I took the scenic route back to Baltimore up U.S. 15 through Farmville, Orange, Culpeper and Leesburg, then across the Potomac on White’s Ferry and on to Baltimore via various back roads. Total miles: 340, none of them on an interstate and most of them two-lane. Very scenic and relaxing, with hardly any traffic before Loudon County.
  2. Occidentalism: On the third trip, I circumnavigated the D.C. beltway, the western half in the morning, the eastern half late at night. I prefer the west: all the construction was on the east side (at least this week), and seeing the Mormon Temple always cheers me up.
  3. Penske rules: My brand-new cargo van came with a CD player and much better sound system than my car, also much less highway noise. I’ve never been able to play classical music in my car, but Monday morning’s southbound trip allowed time for a full hearing of the Matthew Passion, among other things heard going to and fro. I’ve never had a bad experience renting from Penske – unlike at least two competitors I could name.
  4. Floor mats for computer chairs are usually annoyingly stiff, but leaving one out in the sun for an hour or two while loading other stuff made mine amazingly limp and flexible. Of course, after wrapping it around a couple of bookshelves to protect them against dents and then stuffing some boxes in around it, the mat developed a couple of ugly bends that even cinderblocks won’t suppress. That should be easy enough to fix: I’ll just lay it out in the sun for another hour or two.

Irrelevant question: Do Richmonders find ‘Powhite Parkway’ as amusing as I do? I imagine it’s an Indian name, like Powhatan, but it sounds like the road to the trailer parks where all the po’ whites live.