Yesterday, I helped my brother move into his third apartment in three years. I don't think he has a yen for the transient lifestyle, but his roommate situation has shifted slightly enough each year that a move was required. First he lived in a two-bedroom with B., then he and B. moved into a three-bedroom with Sy, then B. got engaged and moved in with his girlfriend, so Sy and WS had to move to another two-bedroom.
I have moved three times myself in the five years I've been out of college, so I know the drill. Forage for as many boxes as humanly possible, pack smart (that means "don't put all the heavy stuff in one box"), recruit many friends by bribing them with cookies and/or pizza, and make sure you're at the moving truck rental place when it opens.
Oh, and clean the apartment you're leaving till it shines.
But, wait! I forgot! I'm talking about moving my brother.
This is how it went down:
I arrived at his apartment at eleven in the morning. WS had gathered a small crew: our parents, Sy, Teddy, and N., a friend of ours from summers past. When I entered the apartment, everyone was standing around looking vaguely shell-shocked. It might have been the piles and piles of unpacked stuff.
Or the massive amount of crumbs, Cheez-Its, change, dust, and various other unidentifiable particles on the living room carpet.
"Wow, when was the last time you guys vaccuumed?" I asked, wrinkling my nose in disgust.
WS looked at me blankly. "We don't have a vaccuum," he said.
"Ah," I said. "Um.... how are you gonna get all this crap off the floor?"
Grinning, Sy hold up a mop-- yes, really, one of those metal-handled, sponge at the head mops. I remember my mother using one of those to clean the kitchen floor every Saturday morning when I was growing up. She poured Mr. Clean in the sink and mixed it with water, stuck the mop in every so often to rinse it. It squeaked when she ran it over the linoleum, but it did a fine job.
Something tells me a mop like that wasn't meant for carpet. Especially a carpet as grossly maltreated as WS's.
"You're gonna... mop it up?"
WS grabbed the mop from Sy and began dragging it through the ungodly mess. "See?" he said. "I make piles and then sweep it onto the balcony."
"Don't you mean mop?"
The rest of their apartment was the same. I found enough change on WS's floor to pay his first month's rent. When he and Sy turned their air hockey table upside-down to carry it down the stairs, quarters rained out. (I, er, collected them and kept them for tolls.) None of us would go near either bathroom, especially after my mother enquired after their Scrubbing Bubbles, and WS's response was, "Oh, yeah, I've been meaning to buy some of those..."
See, the thing is, I'm no priss. I lived in a pretty run-down dorm in college. The shower stalls in the bathrooms were a special disaster all their own. I'm talking mildew, mold, and crazy amounts of rust. I took four years of showers there with my arms squeezed tightly to my sides-- so I wouldn't touch the stalls-- and my eyes closed-- so I couldn't see the stalls. Sometimes I dream about those shower stalls; I'm usually flailing wildly yet scared to death some tiny part of me will come into contact with the decades-old rust.
The showers in my dorm were the things of nightmares. But WS's old apartment? Way, way worse.
However, his new apartment is shiny and bright. Well, it was when I left yesterday afternoon. I'm a little afraid to think what WS and Sy could have done to it in 24 hours.
Ugh. I need a shower just thinking about it.