Monday, August 20, 2007

Portland to DC, day 3: Denver - packing day

Departure time: N/A
Arrival time: N/A
Dead deer: I should hope not!
Penske Trucks: Just us
Wish I had brought: Men folk (not)

When we were at the storage place in Portland packing up the truck, it was like we'd stepped into a 1950's time warp. First the woman in th storage space a few doors down from us (who was working by herself), asked us, “How come you're moving it all yourself?” in a tone that clearly said, Can't you find some nice boys to do that for you?

I replied, “Um, because it's our stuff.” in a friendly tone that I hope still managed to say, here's a ticket to the next bus headed for 2007.

Later, a new group showed up, two men and a woman, all over 40. The guys asked us how many more loads we had in a tone that said, How soon before we can monopolize the elevator on our floor? And we said we had a lot more loads to go in a tone that said, Did you not see the sign that says ALWAYS CLOSE THE ELEVATOR?

We exited with our load and they went in with theirs. As we loaded the truck, which always involved moving the ugliest chair on the planet that Traci has insisted on carting back and forth across the country twice now, the woman who was with the two guys said, “You girls don't have any menfolk to help you?” Yes, she actually said, 'menfolk.'

Never leave home without your flux capacitor
, I thought. We told her no, we didn't and continued loading.

The next time we came down with the mattress and box spring. They were too big to fit on our small carts, so we'd just hauled them to the elevator without one. When we got downstairs, I ran to open the truck and when I came back, Traci was moving the bed spring by herself by turning it end over end. The guys were heading into the elevator so I told her to leave the box and come get the mattress so they could head up. We each took an end and hefted it without fuss up and out of the elevator.

“Strong girls!” we heard one of the guys say as we left, which set us both laughing. I've been told that some straight girls make a point of hiding their strength from guys so they won't have to actually do things for themselves. Maybe that's why these guys were so astonished that we could move our own stuff.

I doubted we would have the same commentary in Denver and we definitely wouldn't have any help. At least I got to sleep in.

We went to IHOP for breakfast and I couldn't play my usual game of count the black people because there were too many! I lost count almost immediately. We definitely weren't in Portland anymore.

When we got home, we split up. Traci worked on packing up the rest of her stuff in boxes, while I opened up the truck and repacked it to make room for the new items. Not only was it not as bad as I thought it would be, but I kind of enjoyed it. I spent two holiday seasons working as a UPS loader in days gone by and my training came flying back to me in no time. After an hour, I had a nice space opened up. I went and helped pack up the rest of the boxes, and take apart shelves and by 3:30, we had it all laid on the lawn. Then I went to work, telling Traci which items to hand in and fitting all together like a jigsaw puzzle with just enough room left to throw our travel bags in the next morning.

Packing a truck is a lot like Tetris
When we were done, we ate the leftovers from dinner the night before, showered and then headed out to play. My reward for packing was a trip to the REI flagship store in downtown Denver. We were confused about the flagship label, since the first REI is located in Seattle and is also considered a flagship store. An employee enlightened us that the label is based on the size of the store, not the order in which they were built.

The climbing wall was impressive. After I signed up, I got a pager so I could roam the store while I waited for my turn. It didn't take long to get called. In checking out the walls, I wasn't sure what route to take so I asked, John, my belay partner, for help deciding. Climbs are generally rated 5.6-5.9 but I had no idea of the rating of my other sporting goods store climbs. Medium hard was the best description I could come up with.

John described a few of the climbs and the choices seemed to be a medium climb that looked so easy as to be boring—and a 5.9 route that looked well beyond my ability.

I decided to take the challenge.

(Note: Traci made a video of most of the climb which doesn't seem to have made it onto my hard drive. If she survives her first week of law school and sends it to me, I will update and include it ~K)

After the climb, I just had riding the mountain bike trail to cross off my list. Time was running short, but it wasn't very busy and I found someone to help me right away. My hands and legs were still barely working from the climb, but I figured biking is something I could do in my sleep.

I had to fill out a waiver first though and my hands were shaking so much that my handwriting looked more like a that of a four year old on crack. But I managed five fun laps around the single track trail.

Feeling satisfied with my adventures, we left and headed to Little Shanghai restaurant to have dinner with my friends G & B. I haven't seen them since the 90's and we had a nice time catching up over delicious sizzling rice soup.

When we got home, there was a lengthy and stressful search for Traci's phone. I looked all the places she had already looked with no luck. Finally, even though she swore she hadn't packed it into a box, I went and opened the truck anyway and called her from my phone to see if I could hear anything. I didn't, but I heard a shout of glee from inside the house that meant she had. It had fallen off her desk and into a garbage bag. We didn't think too hard about what a disaster that could've been.

While I was trying to get into the truck, it came to my attention that I wasn't exactly sure where my keys were. I borrowed Traci's and wondered if this was just our day to lose everything important. But I found them in her purse of all places, while she swore she didn't put them there but she has been a little scatterbrained on this trip at times.

Finally with all our essentials located, we could get some sleep.

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