As we had reserved a moving truck months prior for pickup and mere blocks away from our house, it got crossed off our “worry about it” list, replaced by getting the carpets professionally cleaned, filing a change-of-address with the post office, and transporting a 15-cubic foot chest freezer loaded with perishables.
When we finally got down to Week Zero, things changed. Our living room looked more like a storage unit, piled end to end with randomly-sized boxes. The contents of our basement were spilled onto the backyard, baking in the eastern Washington sunshine. We had to eat only takeout, lovingly delivered by our wonderful church pastor, in order to get the kitchen packed. We were making multiple thrift-donation runs. It was time to go, or at least start going. It was Wednesday. We needed that truck.
Then we got a call on Wednesday afternoon from the truck-rental company.You know, the orange-and-white trucks that let you haul it yourself…anyway, the message was that the only 26-foot truck anywhere around was 15 miles north of town, not actually in town. But, we could pick it up the next day. Probably. The rental agent would call in the morning to confirm the pick-up time.
Well, shut the front door! How wonderfully convenient! Not that we have anything better to do the week we’re moving out of our house of three years, when the temperatures are in the 90s and our tempers are in the 100s, than wait for an early phone call so we can drive out of town to pick up the truck. That…sounds…just…about…perfect. Your sarcasm detector should be pinging like an Oak Ridge Geiger counter right now…Fine, fine, that’s okay, Thursday morning will give us a good head start, let’s just keep schlepping and sweeping until then.
At 8 am on Thursday we call…and are told to call back at 3 o’clock. We do so. Three-thirty, he says, absolutely. We make ready and head out, getting to the small-town garage by 4:00. And what do you know? There it is; cleaned, gassed, and ready to go. We fill out the requisite paperwork and make the requisite small talk with the guy at the counter, mostly about how bad moving is, especially in the mid-summer heat. The shop is both cool and dark, a welcome contrast to the painfully clear sky and temperatures in the 90s that await us outside.
Dear Wife heads home in the old minivan as I climb into the big truck’s cab and go over the controls. Signals, wipers, radio…all check out. I fire it up and ease into traffic, windows open while the ventilation system clears out, and turn to go around the block. I switch the climate control to the air-conditioning mode and SWEET MOTHER OF JERRY BROWN THAT AIR IS HOT!!! I mean HOT! I could make toast with that air!
Back around the block to the garage I go, where the guy is sorry to say that he can’t help me, but maybe it will kick in on the way down to Pullman. It doesn’t. The air temperature does fall somewhat, but never dips below Uncomfortably Warm. At least the windows open. She and I discuss what to do, but it seems obvious that we need to contact the company and have them remedy the situation. Of course, we can’t start loading the truck yet, since we might switch trucks, so I make the call.
Apparently, a truck with broken air-conditioning in late July in eastern Washington is not a very high priority. Roadside Assistance bounces me back to Customer Service, who bounces me back to Roadside Assistance, and someone finally calls me back (and this is all on my prepaid cell phone, by the way, and nibbles away my minutes like a rabbit in a lettuce patch) with a plan. We can bring the truck up to Spokane (75 miles north and in the opposite direction of our destination), as early as 6 am, to get fixed or be replaced.
No. Not going to happen. I would take another truck in trade if someone drives it down to us so that we can continue to pack and clean the house…I get put back on hold, which is the menu of caller options-very confusing-for several minutes, then someone picks up. The connection is bad; I only know I’m on the line with someone because I don’t hear the recording any more. I can barely hear the woman…but she is talking…about pizza toppings!!! WTF??? They can’t hear me, whoever they are, so I disconnect. To heck with them, then.
We shall press on.
We shall endure.
We shall prevail.