It’s been a while. I know.
Maybe you’ve noticed I haven’t written in some time. Most likely you haven’t. But I have a good excuse.
Recently, my family and I moved to Marysville, Ohio. It wasn’t a something we had planned on doing — moving — but it was something that just sort of happened.
Within days of each other my wife and I received job offers for opportunities we didn’t seek (in Columbus and Marysville, respectively) and after a good deal of thought, discussion and prayer we made the decision to take the jobs and move. It was a ginormous leap of faith and a major step outside of our comfort zone, but we walked out on that limb.
So, here we are nearly two months removed from the home and the community we had come to love for the past five years. And I’ll just say it – it wasn’t easy.
It wasn’t easy physically or emotionally.
We had put our home up for sale with the intention of moving closer to Hillsboro (where we spent the majority of our time) and within a matter of days we received the job offers. So, the plan of selling our house and moving closer to town changed into a massive move of a comfortable-in-their-place family.
Three days later we had a contract on the house. And nowhere to go. No home to go to.
Thankfully, my wife’s grandparents have a home in Mount Sterling that we were able to stay in during our “without-a-home” period and we started to pack. But, before we started to pack we took out pre-planned vacation the week before we were to close on our home.
Then the odyssey began.
On Monday, the reservation for the moving truck was screwed up and we ended up having to drive to Seaman early in the morning. We scrambled to hunt down a few of my (now former) students and friends to help us load the truck. Several hours later the truck was loaded and it looked like we still hadn’t even made a dent in our belongings. After the angel-like helpers left for the night, we slept on the floor and waited for the move the next morning.
On Tuesday, my wife and I drove the moving truck and a filled-to-the-brim SUV to Marysville with the plan of unloading the truck into a storage unit, driving back, loading the truck again, going back to the storage unit and dropping off the truck. That’s not what happened.
Being the middle of a weekday none of our family or friends were available in Marysville and none of our friends or students from Hillsboro could make the trek up north. So, it was up to my wife and I to unload the truck into the storage unit. All 26 jam-packed feet. Alone.
After nearly four hours we were successful and we stopped to gaze at our great accomplishment. We felt good. As we locked the unit and prepared to head back for the second load my wife suggested I try the lock “for the heck of it.”
The lock didn’t open. It was broken. And we just realized my phone was in the unit. Locked up like a Russian who talked bad about Putin.
We contacted the person who owns the storage unit and she told us she had mistakenly given us a lock they put on units of people who haven’t paid their bill. She could get it unlocked, but not until the next day. So, our plan of a second trip was shot. We returned the truck and headed back to the house. Now, with no plan to get the rest of our stuff to the storage unit.
Wednesday morning, 9 a.m. The phone rang and my wife answered. It is the owner of the storage unit who proceeded to berate my newly wakened wife by claiming the lock had been damaged and it was our fault. This continued for about five minutes before my wife hung up. She was furious and in tears. We had already been stressed and now add to it being accused of tampering by an apparently unmedicated mad woman didn’t help.
I called her back and we had words. Not kind words. And by the end of the conversation she told me that we had to remove all of our stuff by the end of the day. I tried to reason with her, but it wasn’t working. Now, we had no idea what we were doing. This was a crazy person and dealing with a crazy person is worse than dealing with the supporters of a presidential candidate.
The storage unit owner told us she was getting a locksmith and that we needed to meet her there. I took my wife’s phone and head to Marysville. Our best and most reliable friends in Hillsboro come to help my wife finish packing and loading stuff (on their trailer) to take to our temporary home where we would just store our remaining stuff.
As I got to the storage unit I saw a beat up mini-van outside of the unit so I hesitated and pulled off to the side of the road. A few minutes later the van was gone so I drove up to the unit and started taking pictures of the lock (advice from our lawyer) when the van drove back around.
The van pulled up to me and the window rolled down. In a grumbled voice an older woman said to me, “Are you the locksmith?” No, I answered. “Are you the guy with the unit?” I shook my head affirmatively. “Well, I’m going to get you!”
That was our first interaction. I never spoke any other phrase than the following during the next minutes of beratement, “Ma’am, I used the lock you gave me and did nothing.” She continued to literally spit her venom (evidence on my window) at me as did her husband. I just kept repeating that phrase.
At one point she laughed the laugh only a Halloween clown can laugh, yelled as loud as she can, “I don’t believe you!” and laughed again with a laugh that would would freak out Stephen King. The van peeled out and got about 20 yards away and stopped. I immediately left the property and parked on the street.
Have you ever seen the movie “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”? This woman was like Large Marge. No flippin’ joke.
When the locksmith arrived I drove over to see what the fuss was about. It took the locksmith 30 seconds. He handed the lock to the woman’s husband and said that there was no way we did this, that the lock wasn’t damaged, but was put in the locked position (as she had stated the day before).
The husband shook my hand and said, “Maybe we got off on the wrong foot.” Ya think, Jack?
Large Marge and her groom tried to make small talk but I was spent. She told me we could leave our stuff. I told her my stuff would be out by the end of the day because I wanted nothing to do with her business.
Now, during this whole ordeal my wife had been talking to a Columbus storage business. They were coming in two hours with four professional movers and would unload the storage unit into their storage pods and take them to their facility for temperature-controlled storage.
Less than 24 hours after filling the unit I watched four movers pack all of our belongings from one storage unit to another. That hurt. But at least that was done.
By Thursday we still had nothing more than a trailer to get the rest of our stuff out of our soon-to-be former house and find room to store it in our temporary home. We worked night and day and stared at a deadline of Friday afternoon of being out of our house.
Long story short … we had to ask for an extension on getting the final bits of our stuff out. We even crossed paths with the new owners at the home, after closing, in the dark, as they brought their first things in and we took our last things out.
This odyssey continues and I will detail the emotional toll in the next edition of “Moved to Tears.”
Jarrod Weiss is a former New Vienna resident and teacher in the Hillsboro City Schools district. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.