Friday, August 05, 2005

Packing

Given my ever-dwindling time in D.C. and my tight schedule in the few days between ending my job and starting the new semester, I am trying to overcome my natural tendency to procrastinate and get a start on my packing. I brought my stuff down here in an assortment of plastic bags and cardboard boxes, which I promptly threw away because there wasn't really anywhere to store them and the idea of living with cardboard boxes piled up in my room all summer made me feel claustrophobic.

Luckily, things have a way of working out in life. A new company moved into the empty suite on our floor of the office building this week. They've left sturdy packing boxes-- the expensive professional kind with handles!-- outside their door each night and I've nicked one every night and dragged it home on the Metro. These boxes are sweet. The first couple of times I moved, I flirted with the dairy manager at the neighborhood Kroger's and sweet talked him into putting aside the egg boxes after the next shipment. These boxes were great because they were thick and sturdy, had handles, and were just the right size: big enough to hold almost any household item, but small enough that they didn't get heavy. Then the dairy manager quit or got fired or moved to another department, who knows, and the new manager was not quite as susceptible to my charms.

Luckily, things have a way of working out in life. Hulio had started working for a grocery store and snagged boxes from the health and beauty section of the store for me. Good thing I'd outgrown that teenage embarassment over anything to do with menstruation, since a good many of these boxes had "ALWAYS" or "TAMPAX" on the sides, often in bright pink letters. The best part of the grocery store boxes is that they came in all sorts of sizes, so you could use smaller boxes for books and larger boxes for clothes and still larger boxes for pot and pans. The worst part of the grocery boxes is that none of them had handles and they all had to be re-taped along the bottom as well as the top, resulting in the use of far greater quantities of packing tape. But eventually Hulio quit that job to try and make it in the "Real World" and my supply of moving boxes dried up.

Luckily, things have a way of working out in life. I had been waitressing and when I mentioned to the bartender that I was worried about finding enough boxes to pack in, she left a note to the bar staff, and the next thing you know, I was leaving after every shift with an armload of liquor boxes. These boxes are good and sturdy, which is important, because by this point, I was already in the neighborhood of 500 books or so and they are heavy. The downside, as with the grocery store boxes is that they don't have handles, but as a general rule, the boxes are shaped for easy carrying, so it's not so bad. The funny side, of course, is that your neighbors could very well get the wrong idea about someone who carries box after box up the stairs marked "ABSOLUT" and "BUD LIGHT". However, I left waitressing behind for a more genteel occupation while I was living in that particular place and didn't really know anyone personally who was still working retail and lived in the same city as me.

Luckily, things have a way of working out in life. Finbar and I drove around to the local liquor stores and begged boxes from anyone we thought would give us even one or two. Occasionally, we would be turned away with the excuse that they needed the boxes for the paying customers. But most of the time, we would either be told that we could take a few (say five or six) or that we could have all we wanted if we drove around to the loading dock. So I once again moved into a new place carrying liquor boxes past my new neighbors and snickering over what they must have thought. Twelve miserable months later, I suppose they were thinking "suckers.", but I had no way of knowing what horrors the term of that lease would bring. The last couple of moves I made, I used the same technique and got tons of boxes reading "CUTTY SARK" and "MIDORI". Some of them come with little cardboard dividers that are perfect for packing glassware. Some were glued shut with industrial strength epoxy second only in sticking power to oatmeal left to sit overnight in the kitchen sink.

So I have a handful of these excellent professional moving boxes in my possession now and the ingrained habit born of moving eight times in ten years makes me feel like I have to get a friend and drive back to the office so that we can stuff every possible inch of my car with collapsed boxes, especially since these boxes are so perfectly sweet. I think I'll actually have trouble putting these boxes out to the trash when I'm finished and back in Our Fair City.

2 Comments:

At 7:45 PM , Blogger Megarita said...

I have a box fetish these days -- I'm going to the liquor store far too frequently to "stock up on cardboard" for all my books. Right....it's for the boxes...

 
At 8:33 PM , Blogger George said...

Inevitably this always catches up with you and usually at the worst possible time calculation . calculation

 

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