Monday, July 18, 2011

The Fish Tank Standard

When Scott was in his first year of law school, we moved into a “gated community” apartment unit. The naivety of that decision I'll save for another post. All you need to know is that, by the time our lease was up, we had come to our senses.

We found a great rental, in what was probably the opposite of a gated community, close to the Toledo hospital.

The main move went very smoothly with a few different trips and various friends helping us out.

There may or may not have been a U-haul involved, because we really hadn’t accumulated that much crap in the period of one year – considering one of us was a full-time student and the other one of us worked the bridal registry at a department store. Ahhh…fun times.

The last item to be moved was the fish tank, which we could clearly handle on our own.

To be more specific…a 55 gallon rectangular fish tank, with an inch and a half of live rock and sand on the bottom that had to be covered in water for the “good” organisms to survive (Note to PETA: All fish were removed for the relocation).

So this tank weighs no less than 10 baby hippos and needs to be moved up to a second floor of a historic-home-turned-duplex. And did I mention there is a turn in the staircase that leads to said second floor?

Remember that episode of Friends when Ross bought a couch and he kept screaming the word “PIVOT!” like if only everyone listened to him it would magically make it around a corner that was much too narrow?

If you imagine that the couch was waterlogged and one of the people trying to move it has the upper-body strength of a fetus.

In this instance the stairway was plenty wide, so pivoting wasn’t necessarily our issue. Our issue was that Scott agreed to be the one that had to walk backwards. This sounds good until you realize the person walking backwards is going up the stairs first, so the person walking forward is baring the weight of 8 out of 10 of those baby hippos.

As opposed to repeating the same word over and over, Scott chose more motivational chants like. “JUST FUCKING DO IT!” and, “ARE YOU CRYING?” which I assume he only yelled to distract me from the fact that I was having a stroke, coronary, and panic attack all at the same time – but most definitely in a manner of love and undying devotion.

Needless to say the fish tank made it. It actually made it on three subsequent moves, but the “live” component was always left behind. (We sometimes learn from our mistakes.)

And now we have a moving standard:

1 Antique (read: broken) Pinball Machine Into the Basement + 4Grown Men + 1 Railing that Should Have Been Removed = 1 Fish Tank (it would have been 2 Fish Tanks if it hadn’t had quite so much “muscle” behind it)

1 New to Us Refrigerator In + 1 Old Refrigerator Out = ½ Fish Tank (nobody’s life was actually threatened by the object itself or the participants...more just an abstract pain in the ass)

1 Washing Machine Into Basement – 3 Grown Men + 1 Female with Fetus Arms = ¾ Fish Tank

There was actually no shouting. Definitely not as heavy. But anytime I assess the situation and ask “Wouldn’t you rather have Phil do this with you?” it’s not going to be pretty.

We had a dolly, so we could "easily" lower it one step at a time.

First problem...our back hallway is narrower than Ross's apartment building and the monster-truck wheels on the dolly would not allow us to slide it over, so we had to take the dolly off.

But because I had been below to supposedly just guide while Scott held the weight of the dolly, I again found myself on the shit end (sorry, short end) of this stick. After my first PTSD flashback tremor subsided, we squeezed our bodies through spaces much too small for us to switch positions.

Again we start moving forward and I can literally see me gently pushing the washing machine forward until it starts rolling on its own free will...down the stairs...crushing Scott beneath it...and I chicken out. There may have been pathetic begging involved.

At this point we realize that if we move it forward somewhat and balance it, we can put the dolly back on. Which we do. Then I have another tremor because now I imagine the added weight of the dolly and washing machine flattening him. Mainly because I can't get enough leverage to tip the dolly back until it's at the very edge of the stairs.

Take the dolly off. Switch positions. Put the dolly back on. One more horrifying glimpse of a possible bone crushing incident - this time with me underneath - and we're on the move. One steep, narrow step at a time.

Actual time for completion...a mere fifteen minutes. I repeat...¾ Fish Tank.

1 comment:

  1. OK, this one was laugh-out-loud funny! I also appreciated the trip down Memory Lane, as I remember both the gated community apartment and the beautiful old home in a semi-scary neighborhood. I recall being very envious of your built-ins, especially the glass doors on the cabinets.

    I'm glad Scott has an excellent career going in the legal world, since I don't think he'd be very good as a motivational speaker. He sounds like Rachel does when the two of us are moving stuff.