Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Things You Hear When You Are Moving

I've moved many, many times in my life, and I've helped countless friends and family members move as well.  Moving is not something that many people enjoy, and in fact I would argue it is probably just below a visit to the dentist on the list of things most people hate.

The thing is, I learn something each and every time I move, and I learn even more when I help someone else move.  This is a list of things I have heard while moving... and what those things actually mean.

"Here... I just need you to balance it".  This really means.... "get ready... I'm going to drop this on your head or somehow cause you to tear some cartilage in your left knee".

"It's not heavy... it's just awkward to carry".  This actually means it is really super heavy and would probably be best if at least four grown men helped to carry it, but chances are you will be stuck moving it with the guy who is trying to save face in front of his girlfriend and who would never admit that an item is above his lifting capacity.

"Hold on a second while I adjust my grip".  This is a tricky one, because it can mean one of two things.  The most common translation tells us that the person who said this is probably a weakling and is having trouble lifting their portion of the item, however it is also possible that they are just looking for a clever way to shift the bulk of the weight onto others via clever hand placement.  Either way when you hear this you had better prepare for the worst.

"We are moving from a small one room apartment into a house across town".  This means the one room apartment will probably be on the third floor of the building and there is no chance of an elevator.  There is also a good chance that they will have half of their belongings in a storage facility elsewhere... which they conveniently forgot to mention.

"The kids will help".  This one really depends upon the age of the kids.  If they are toddler age up through around age five, they will do a great job of unpacking the boxes that were just packed, and if you decide to lift a heavy item they will probably be underfoot.  If the kids are teenagers, you can expect they will move about as fast as a Three-Toed Sloth and they will never carry more than one box at a time, no matter how small that box may be.  If the kids are teenage girls, you can expect to see them carrying a makeup bag in one arm and a Abercrombie sweatshirt in the other as they pack it into the car... then they will need to spend at least 10-15 minutes in order to catch up on their texting between trips.

"Bring your truck just in case we need it".  This is a classic.  Often times they will mention that they already have several other friends with trucks or trailers and in some cases they may even claim they have arranged for a moving truck, but chances are you will show up to find their idea of a moving truck is their uncle's Chevy Astro Van so anything that doesn't fit will likely find its way into the back of your truck.  You can pretty much assume you're paying for your own gas on this one too... even if it is an out-of-town move.

"The only heavy items are a couch, a bed, and a television."  What this really means is the couch is a hideabed their grandmother gave them in 1982 and it weighs approximately the same as a small Volkswagen.  The couch is also spring loaded so every time you try to adjust it while carrying it, the mattress will start to pop open which will force you to stop and close it again. 

The bed they mentioned is a king size bed located in the second floor of the house, but nobody can figure out how it got up there in the first place because it doesn't seem like will fit down the stairs, and the television is a rear projection model that was the pinnacle of home entertainment technology in 1994 and happens to weigh somewhere just above 300lbs.  It is also located in the basement rec room and the only way out of the basement is via a staircase that is nowhere near current building code and that would make a Sherpa proclaim "wow... that's steep".

Did I mention if you show up three hours late you will notice that all of the light items have already been loaded and that they have saved the heavy stuff for you?  Yea... that's standard practice right there.

"There will be a ton of people to help".  This typically means the person you are helping will be there along with his 90lb cousin who has trouble carrying the ironing board.  It is highly likely that approximately 20 minutes before you are done, three other friends or family members will show up and each carry two items out to the vehicle.  These same three people will probably be asking about the free pizza they were promised within an hour.

"It's supposed to be a nice day".  If you hear this one and it is between the months of April and September, you can assume it will either be above 90 degrees or that it will be raining.  Possibly both.  If you hear this between October and March, chances are it will either be snowing or sleeting, and the temperature will be somewhere South of 15 degrees.  No matter what time of year it is, there is a high probability the wind will be blowing at least 25mph.

"I'm ready to move so just show up when you can".  This actually means they are half packed and don't have enough boxes to hold all of their stuff.  They are also running short of packing tape, and they only rented the truck for three hours so you need to get going before they get charged extra.  Chances are if you aren't onsite by 7:45AM they will be calling you every five minutes on your cell phone wondering what is taking you so long... and they will ask you to stop by Walmart on the way to pick up some packing tape and then see if you can find some boxes behind the store.  You won't be reimbursed for the tape.

"If you help, I'll give you all of the pizza and beer you can handle".  This is a common ploy to convince friends and family members that they should help, but when you show up you soon realize the only beer is a six pack of Coors Light that expired four months ago, and the only pizza is a frozen Totino's Party Pizza that is sitting in the freezer. 

"I didn't realize it would take this long".  This usually means they thought it would take all day, but they didn't anticipate you would still be carrying boxes at 11:30PM.  With that being said, they will ask you to follow them so they can drop off the rental truck and then you can give them a ride back across town.

"Thanks for all of your help... I'll return the favor the next time you need to move".  Chances are when you do need to move sometime in the future, the person who said this to you will have to attend a funeral for their girlfriend's aunt somewhere in Wisconsin that weekend.  Count on it.

"I'm never moving again" and/or "I tell you what... I'm not moving for a long, long time".  This means they will break their lease early or find their dream home across town in approximately five months.  If you're smart you will schedule something every weekend for that entire month well in advance... just to be safe.

Like it or not, moving stinks.  It is examples like these that have taught me there are times in life when having a bad back might actually be a good thing, but if nothing else it has taught me no matter how much a professional moving crew costs... it is probably well worth it.  Always remember, professional movers charge a lot less per hour than a therapist, and the movers won't make you come back every week for six months.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Art of Precrastinating

Some have said procrastinating is an artform, but what those people fail to understand is there is a select group among the human race who actually plan ahead to ensure their procrastination is as effective as possible.  I have decided this incredible planning shall be called "Precrastinating".  I thought about "pre-procrastinating", but that is just confusing, so I'm sticking with precrastinating.  Try to keep up.

It takes a special kind of person to precrastinate.  Anyone can keep putting things off for as long as possible so that really isn't all that impressive.  Congress has been procrastinating about how to deal with our exploding national debt for decades while they convince us it is one of the most significant issues impacting the future of our nation, so should I really feel bad if I postpone doing laundry for a week or so?

Hell, Hugh Hefner has been putting off death for at least ten years and he does it is his pajamas so how hard could it be to procrastinate?  My three year old daughter has discovered it is much easier to simply say we will take a bath later than it is to actually take the bath, so it seems clear that almost anyone from the very young to the very old is capable of procrastination and it doesn't even require practice to be good at it.

The real visionary actually plans ahead when it is time to procrastinate.  They don't get backed into a corner and then grasp for some excuse on how to put something off but rather they prepare well in advance to have ample excuses at the ready.  In effect you could say they plan to fail rather than fail to plan, and even though that seems like the exact opposite of what you would expect, it just happens to work.

If procrastination is considered an art, then precrastination is considered a science.  A well-versed precrastinator will make sure everything is in play long before the big moment.  If the task at hand involves painting a house, the precrastinator will check weather reports to determine if the days ahead are suitable for painting, and when they discover the forecast involves sunshine and warm weather, they will suddenly determine it is a perfect opportunity to visit uncle Ralph over in Toledo for a few days.  Only a novice would dare wait until the day in question to put something off that could be put off much sooner.  This requires forethought.  This requires skill.  This requires the energy to develop a plan which can then be put into place ahead of the task or event which is to be pushed off.  Perhaps most importantly, this requires the foresight to anticipate any potential problems and have additional backup plans in place to counter them.

It surely isn't a one-dimensional problem.  The skilled precrastinator sees everything on levels.  They are like a grandmaster chess player who sees three, four or five moves ahead.  They aren't shocked at the events that occur because they have already planned for them, and as such a true precrastinator is both a planner as well as a procrastinator... something very uncommon with the community of lazy people.