Traverse City Record-Eagle

Feature Columnists

September 22, 2013

Garret Leiva: Things get messy during life's moments

Life is full of moving experiences: weddings, the birth of a child, a friend lost to cancer.

Then there are the moving experiences that involve bubble wrap and boxes.

Our neighbor friends left this week. They sold their house — not easy in today’s real estate market. However, the hard part was packing up all the accumulated homeownership.

They had a week to vacate a house that was no longer their premises.

We’ve all been there at some point: moving day. U-Haul. I haul. We all haul a sleeper sofa up three flights of stairs.

Packing up your entire house can feel like an exercise in futility. It also does wonders for the thoracic vertebrae.

Helping move all the earthly — and ungodly heavy — belongings of others can put a strain on muscles and relationships. This is why I always lift with my legs while biting my tongue.

Moving a coworker or casual acquaintance can be awkward, especially if you spill open an unmarked “Fifty Shades of Grey” starter kit. When a move involves family or friends, however, decorum is tossed aside like a moldy bean bag chair.

I’ve unloaded garbage bags stuffed with frying pans, underwear and cans of WD-40. I’ve also carried colored-coded boxes into color-coded rooms. Moves can test friendships and crush fingers; like when you negotiate an 8-foot armoire through a 6-foot door.

When it comes to packing, men and women move in different directions, if not orbits. The female packer cocoons wedding china in four-ply bubble wrap. A man would use socks out of the dirty clothes.

While gender is a packing XY-factor, age also plays a role.

In my early 20s I traveled light. My life fit in a few paper bags. The hardest part of leaving for college was squeezing giant dorm room stereo speakers into my car.

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