Moving Woes


Life Face First: Negotiating One Calamity at a Time

The horrible news struck us like a mascara wand to the eye: we were moving, and we’d have rather had our legs waxed.

We’d hoped to stay in our rental home for another year, but our landlord wanted to sell the house, and we had to get out. Since our lease was up, we were powerless to stop our landlord’s evil, nefarious, villainous, heinous scheme.

Reluctantly, we began planning for our move. The most complicated arrangement wasn’t the packing or finding a new place to live.

The most difficult part was scheduling time off work.

“I told the apartment company that we want to move in on the 17th,” I told my husband Brian over the phone. “Did you put in to have that time off?”

“I’m trying,” he replied. I could hear the sound of lab equipment running in the background. Brian makes eyeglasses for a living.

Brian continued, “I asked one of my employees if he could cover for me, but he already wanted that time off.”

I consulted a calendar. “We could reschedule our move to the 20th if that would help. Oh, wait no; we can’t do it that day because we’re supposed to be out by the 19th.”

“What about the 18th?” I asked him.

“I can’t do the 18th, because I’ll be the manager on duty,” he replied. “It’s got to be the 17th.”

I had visions of an empty moving van and me with no one to help lift our washer, dryer and piano over the threshold. I gulped and wished I’d spent more time at the gym.

A lot more time.

“Here’s something that might work,” Brian went on. I brightened hopefully. “My employee wants those days off, but he can’t remember if he requested them off yet or not.”

“Beat him to the calendar,” I interjected. “Don’t let him put in his requested days off before you! Pull rank! Kick him! Trip him if you have to!”

Brian sighed.

“I’m not going to kick or trip him,” he said. “Let me talk to him again. I’ll call you back.”

While I waited on Brian to sort his schedule, I made a list of people who owe me favors, so I could call them in if my husband couldn’t get the time off. I couldn’t move all our stuff on my own.

Unfortunately, none of the people on my list were Navy Seals or Army Rangers. Just my usual batch of friends who are as out of shape as I am.

My phone rang. It was Brian.

“I’ve got the time off,” he announced triumphantly. “I had to give up part of my summer vacation, agree to take the vacation in September instead of July and skip all my lunch breaks for the next two weeks to make it work out, but we can move!”

“Great,” I said flatly.

The good news was I wouldn’t have to move all our belongings on my own. The bad news was that our summer vacation would be cut short.

Oh well, I reasoned. I might not get to the beach as soon as I want, but when July rolls around, I’ll probably still be unpacking boxes anyway.


Nora Blithe

Nora Blithe is the author of the syndicated humor column “Life Face First.” Read her blog online at