Sunday, May 18, 2014

Nearly Unmoved: In Which Superman Fails to Help

How do you move a six-thousand pound car that’s split into several large pieces and has no wheels?
A.  Put it back together
B.  The murder weapon was a giant icicle
C.  It represents mankind
D.  To get to the other side!
E.  A lot of hamburgers

If you selected choice E, you’re correct, and yet likely still confused.  

This story begins almost seven years ago.  I was a senior in college and becoming essentially too cool for school, insofar as I was dating a very sophisticated older man with a job.  That sophisticated older man is, of course, the gent you know as Husband.  And that man had meaningful disposable income for the first time in his life.

I’m not one to begrudge someone a few indulgent purchases upon entry to the real world and the drudgery of work - I myself made some pretty ridiculous purchases upon law school graduation.  So when Husband bought stuff like a backyard hammock complete with stand, or $250 cowboy boots (? seriously, ?), I didn’t say anything. 

But then he bought the Buick.

To be precise, he bought a 1956 Buick with enormous fins, an airplane hood decoration, and such serious rust damage that you could watch the asphalt rush by underneath your feet as you drove it.  It literally had holes in the floor.  Like a Flintstones car.  Seriously.

It wasn’t going to be the first car he had restored; he’d restored an old mustang in high school.  But I was still skeptical when Husband brought the Buick back to the house that he was then sharing with two other dudes (before the mold was known).  I had questions.

Liz:  I mean, how long is it going to take you to finish restoring this car?
Husband:  I don’t know, like a few years probably.
Liz:  A few YEARS?  Are you kidding me?  That’s forever!
Husband:  No more than four, I mean.
Liz:  FOUR YEARS?!?!?

Flash forward to six years later.  The Buick was not done.  The Buick was not only not done, it was not, in any meaningful sense, ASSEMBLED.  I had unwittingly enabled this state of being when I helped husband build two work benches.  He used those work benches to set the body of the car on after he removed the body from the frame.  I had never personally realized that you could take the body of a car off the frame, but you can, and I was reminded of this afresh whenever I went to the garage to do laundry and rammed my arm into a tailpipe hovering five feet in the air. 

THAT state of being had been achieved by bribing fifteen of our friends to come over and pick the body up off the frame and move it six feet to the left on to the tables.  The bribe had been a barbeque.  

This strategy had evidently worked not wisely but too well, because now, when it came time to move the entirety of the vehicle, Husband was of the opinion that all we needed was our friends to pick it up.

To move an entire two thousand pound car, which notably did not have wheels attached to it in any sense whatsoever.

I thought we should rent a crane, or commission an army of sherpas, or perhaps sell the entire vehicle piecemeal on Craigslist before we moved.  But apparently none of that was an option.

Husband sent out an e-mail to literally everyone we know who still lives in the area, and some who (as husband knows perfectly well) live several time zones away.  In exchange for helping to dead lift an entire automobile, carry it onto an auto trailer, carry it off an auto trailer, and up a driveway into a garage, we offered... burgers.  Including veggie burgers for those inclined.

I did not think that was a particular attractive option.  I thought we would have no takers.

But our friends are all spectacularly giving and wonderful people - so much so that I felt even worse about how we were abusing them.  When the appointed day came, we had around 20 people show up to lift.  

The first task was to back the car trailer onto the driveway in a suitable fashion.  I did not think that was an achievable goal: it was a 20 foot long trailer, the wheels of which were nto controlled by a steeing wheel, and the only way to back it was by pushing it with the car it was attached to.

Husband assured me that he was "good at backing things up."  I gave him a look that attempted to convey my lack of certainty that that was a thing.  At all.  That anyone was good at.  

But it turns out even after seven years in a relationship with someone, he can still surprise you.  It turns out that Husband is actually really good at backing things up.  He navigated that trailer backwards into the driveway perfectly.  It was truly impressive.  Everyone applauded.

We then crammed everyone into the garage as best as possible and tried to figure out how to lift something that was designed to be picked up only by tow trucks and machinery in factories.

"Okay, let's get enough people on each side."
"But we need someone to direct!"
"Okay, Jam can direct and guide, and everyone else lift on one side."
"We need someone on the back!"
"Two people on the back.  The rest lift."
"Do we have any more gloves?"
"No, but use these rags?"
"Do we have any more rags?"
"Well, here's a shirt of Husband's that I don't like anymore, no, it has holes in it, stop looking at me like that."
"Okay, does everyone have gloves, or a rag, or a shirt?"
"Let's lift on three."
"Lift on three, or lift on one-two-three THEN lift?"
"One-two-three lift."
"Should we do a practice lift?"
"No.  It's time to lift.  Jam?"
"Ready everyone?  Here we go - One.  Two.  Three.  LIFT!"

It's now that I should mention that our garage wasn't exactly spacious: there was the frame of the car, the washer and dryer, Husband's workbench, a bunch of boxes, etc.  So the grunting and narrative shouting that ensued as 22 people tried to move in concert while carrying the heaviest thing imaginable was NOTEWORTHY.  

Spectacular, in fact.

By which I mean we caused a spectacle in the neighborhood.  The neighbors - many of whom we still had never met - all came out of the house to stare as we awkwardly waddled this car onto the trailer. 

Then it was merely a simple task of driving the trailer to the new house and unloading it into the new garage.  And that couldn't be any harder than getting out, right?  

One, two, three, lift, carry up the driveway, lift to set on the work tables and...

Husband:  "Uh, okay, everyone set it back down on the driveway."

The work tables that had been the right height for the car body to fit in the old garage were not the right height for the new garage, which we discovered was in fact shorter than the old garage.

When Husband and some other individuals broke out the saw to start cutting the tables down, I gave up and started getting the burgers ready.

We eventually did get the car lifted and into the garage, and we did get the burgers on the grill, and we MAY get our friends to forgive us someday.  But I told Husband that if we move again, either the car drives to the new place or it doesn't go at all.  We don't have enough friends to get an entirely separate batch to lift the car again.

We did find one upside the next day to having a giant auto trailer at our disposal, though:

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