Melina Gunnett

July 7, 2012

Every Circus Needs a Ringmaster

Filed under: Odd Thoughts — Tags: , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 3:37 AM

The first time I appeared in a newspaper I was three. I wish I knew where the clipping was packed so I could post the picture, I was a cute little thing back then. I was the ringmaster, proudly leading my preschool’s circus parade, in my big white hat, matching boots and swinging a sparkley baton. The hat wasn’t the traditional top hat you see most ringmaster’s sporting. It was more like something that would have been worn in a marching band, but that’s not the point.

That hat made me feel like I was in charge, in control, all I had to do was point my baton and things would happen. I could really use that hat (and any mystical aura of command it might be endowed with) because my life has definitely been a circus of late — and I think the elephant may have stepped on me.

I just moved down to Portland.( “Ah, moving!” you say. “That explains everything.” — Not really.) This should have been an easy move. I had several months to decide where I wanted to go and, since I had purged most of my possessions before I moved back to the West coast, everything I owned fit into a cargo van with room to spare.

I drove down at the end of May to look for a room. It looked like finding a place would be easy, Craigslist listed a plethora of choices within my budget. Then a friend came up with an even better idea. Their lease was expiring and they wanted to buy a house, so why didn’t we look for houses and I could rent a room from them.

We looked, but finding a house you want to own isn’t as easy as finding an apartment or room you are willing to live with for a while. I wish I had put more time and/or thought into it before I bought my house in Massachusettes. In the end we decided to do the sane thing, rent an apartment.

Finding the right apartment was another adventure. All we wanted was a place in good repair with three bedrooms and storage. All we could find were apartments that, at best, met two of the three criteria. We finally settled on a two bedroom that was at least big enough to hold all of their furniture. Actually, I rather like the place we ended up with but it won’t be home until we have everything here and put away.

Getting everything here has been an even bigger adventure than find the right place was. By adventure I mean PAIN IN THE BUTT! Actually, getting my stuff here went relatively smoothly. We drove up to where I was living and packed all my stuff in an afternoon. (The advantage of having few possessions.) When the apartment was ready I rented a cargo van, had a friend drive up with me and help me load it because I had pulled my back out and dropped everything off at the new place. My move went easy.

Oh, yeah – in the midst of all this I both managed to get sick for a week (The kind of sick where you don’t get out of bed unless it involves getting closer to the bathroom.) and injure my back so badly that I couldn’t even sit up for a couple of days. My back is almost back to normal now, but it was lousy timing. I couldn’t carry anything for most of the move.

Still, my stuff made it to the new house, now all we had to do was get my roommates things here. No problem, we rented a moving van and hired 4 people off of Craigslist to come do the actual moving.

Problem – None, that’s right NONE of them showed up. We had a truck and no one that could load it. Emergency calls were made and we got some help, but the truck had only been rented for 6 hours. It was a cross town move, that should have been plenty of time. Wonderful friends – let’s just call them heroes, because that is what the were, came and helped. We got about half of the stuff moved before we had to get the truck back.

Returning the truck was a mixed blessing. We really needed something to move the rest of the furniture in, but the truck itself was a mess. The roof leaked and dripped water all over my roommates mattress, the brake lights went out (Twice, the first time we took it back and they “fixed” it for us.) and the A/C shot out hot air.

To top it off my roommate left her phone in the truck and when we went back five minutes later, it was gone. They “said” they didn’t find it, but if that is the case who exactly was listening to her spotify and messing around on her facebook? Either way, it left us down a phone for the rest of the week.

I’ve lived on the road so much the last year that I am used to not having most of my stuff with me so, of course, I am the one who’s stuff was all in one location. The next several days were spent shuffling back and forth across town to get the things we needed one car load at a time while we figured out how to get the rest of the furniture to the new place. We couldn’t actually unpack either, because most of the storage furniture – shelves, cabinets, bookcases – was still at the other house.

In the end we ended up renting another cargo van to haul everything. Since it had unlimited mileage, it cost about the same amount as renting the truck and we got it for a full day. Already burned once by anonymous people on Craigslist, we hired some friends to help with the move. Did I already mention that we have awesome friends?

So most of the stuff is here now. There are still some small boxes and miscellaneous things that need to be brought over form the old house, fortunately we still have another week to do that and get it cleared out. The last two days have been spent slowly recovering from the move, if you call recovering trips to Ikea, building shelving units and unpacking.

Somehow in the midst of all this I did manage to turn out one short story and submit it, my book, sadly had been sitting – only 30 little pages away from the completion of the second draft – for almost a month now. I didn’t get to make any of the road trips I had planned either. I’m supposed to be at a convention right now, but I’m to tired to deal with it and really, really want to get back to writing.

Unfortunately reality isn’t done with me. I still need to go grocery shopping if we want to eat this weekend. Anyone have a spare time-turner so I can be in two places at once? While I’m out I might as well make one more Ikea run to get the last few things I need in order to put my stuff away and, oh yeah, pick up another load since we will be on that side of town and…

You get the idea. There is always tomorrow, but now you can see why I want a magical ringmaster’s hat. I want to be able to just point at what needs to happen, have a giant spotlight go on and watch as everything arranges itself just the way it should be. I bet I’m not the only one. If I can figure out how to make them, I’ll be rich!

In the mean time, since those errands refuse to run themselves, I better get going.

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