I bought lunch, but not enough drinks for everyone. All I wanted to do was get back to the family. Everyone was really hungry, it was already 3:30 PM and the building superintendent had given us until 5 PM to finish. Curt ran to the store to buy more drinks. I stayed with the family and wolfed down my food.
The salmon was overcooked and the veggies undercooked, but I didn’t care. From the looks of things, neither did the others. We got right back to business after the last fork full.
It was tough to gauge how much work remained, so we stopped trying. Our only collective thought was to get it out.
The clock crept toward 6 PM. There was still a fair amount of stuff to move from the apartment to the basement, and from the basement to the truck. Our clothing was damp from intermittent rain, but we were too focused on finishing to worry about it.
I was the only person in the group with a valid driver license and there we were with a U-Haul van, my minivan and six bodies. There was room for three people in the cab of the truck. The late hour dictated that I stop working, drive my cousins home and rush back to help Curt finish loading the truck. I did that.
Traffic was ridiculous. It took maybe an hour to make three stops along a ten-mile route. I drove with the sense of resignation that comes with trying to get around New York City.
Curtis had the truck nearly loaded by the time I got back to the building. We still had a sofa and hutch to move. Neither could be loaded into the elevator, so Curt and I had to lug them down the stairwell. The stairwell does not lead to the basement, but we had the super’s permission to carry the things through the lobby. It didn’t matter. We were going to get these things out if we had to secure them with rope and lower them out a window.
The building’s doorman made sure there was no thing or person to obstruct our path. We walked the objects out of the building and loaded them on the truck with surprising ease. The sense of relief Curtis and I felt at having loaded the last pieces on the truck was akin to having walked away unscathed from the Gunfight at the O.K. Corrall.
Miller Time was still a ways off. We had to make stops at three homes, unload selected things at each and drop the remaining cargo at a storage facility. Oy vey!
Curtis and I returned one last time to the vacant apartment to double-check our work. I asked him to take a picture of me before we shut off the lights and closed the door.
I’ve known the doorman for many years. I could not leave without saying to him a proper, emotional farewell and giving that big ol’ lobby a last once over.
It was now 7:30 PM. My mother and Curtis were waiting in the cab of the truck. I climbed into the cockpit, started ‘er up and we hit the road.