Today packing was postponed because I had two meetings with students who had what we academics call “milestones.” One had a proposal meeting at 11:00, another had a comprehensive exam meeting at 3:30. Before the 11:00 meeting I parked intending to go see what was up with the registration on the Subaru. It expired in January. I had a vague recollection that I’d paid to renew it, but had no evidence of that. Then I remembered that I was going to sell the Subaru in a very short time. I decided to forgo the renewal and instead took a bass guitar to Morelock Music to have it put back together and trade a couple of empty cases for some guitar strings.
I had removed my University parking permit from the Subaru last week when I thought I was going to return it to the people who had borrowed it and were going to buy it. When I returned to the car after the first student’s defense I’d received a $32 ticket. And it was my second this semester because I’d done something very similar a couple weeks ago. The University will give you one free pass on parking tickets a semester. I don’t know just how hard it is to get a second free pass.
I went to lunch with a colleague, after returning to The Rental to get the parking permit. I was very late returning, so I had him drop me where the meeting was and drive the Subaru, with Thor, to Lot 9 in hopes that he could find a spot in the shade. As I walked around the Information Science building in search of the place that the meeting was, I talked on the phone to MF Auto to see whether I might get Walden back. It’s been a week. Last I’d heard, a tech pronounced it good to go, but the owner wanted to check it out before it was released. It was 3:30 and I was anxious to get stuff worked out before their 5:30 end-of-day. There was no real news at 3:38 when the student flagged me down as I walked aimlessly up and down the halls looking for the wrong room. Said student flagged me down after only about 10 minutes.
By about 4:40 the student had passed with flying colors. I was at my Subaru-buying friend’s house. I was hoping that I’d get the green light from MF Auto to pick the car up, get a ride from my friends, and seal the deal on unloading the Subaru. Just as I was arriving, I got a call from Chris, whom–I remembered when I saw his name on the incoming call–I’d asked to help me carry stuff to the storage unit when he got off work. Chris was already at my house. He asked if there was any beer there. There wasn’t. (That’s not quite true, but he’s not a fan of stouts.) I told him I was on the way, stopped at the end of the street to get a six pack of his favorite beer, and sped home in the Subaru.
It was a beautiful day. Chris and I had a beer and took a load to the storage unit in his pickup. We got back to The Rental, had another beer and loaded the truck up again. When we got back, it was still a beautiful sunny day, but there were a few spurious rain drops. Predictably, it turned out that there was more stuff to move than I’d predicted. This load had the ping-pong table and more other stuff than I care to mention.
As we drove away, it started to rain. Really. Hard. It was comical. It appeared that the rain would last for a while (which, as it turned out, was not the case). We unloaded the truck in a torrential rain that included marble-sized hail. As it turns out, torrential rain does not make for sensible loading of a storage unit. I’ll find out more about that later; perhaps you will too. We finished unloading, laughing hysterically at the absurdity of it. It was sort of fun. There was nothing to do but to laugh. It had been a fantastically beautiful day up until now. It was very happy that I had the 10×10 storage unit.
On the way home Chris and I, drenched, decided to take the main Pike home rather than the somewhat shorter, but more complicated, back way. Within about 10 seconds, it was apparent that we had made a bad decision. The street that I usually take was impassible, presumably due to a downed tree or an accident. Apparently this storm was a problem. Chris managed to make a U-turn, and we started home the back way. Another downed tree. Another route. Another downed tree. Another route. Another downed tree. And on. And On. And on it went. When we finally got to where we could get a visual on The Rental, The Boulevard was blocked by a tree at the next-door-neighbor’s house. This was great news, since it meant that we wouldn’t have to drive past my house and make a u-turn to get back to the house. I had to get out of the car to drag a limb out of the road so that Chris could pull up to the driveway.
The bad news was that my driveway was completely impassible, on account of a whole bunch of vegetable matter covering the bulk of the front yard. This included the driveway. Chris parked in the middle of the street in front of my house. The 4-foot-diameter tree downed across the road just next door meant that he would not be blocking any traffic.
There was a huge tree across the lawn. Chris and I blazed a trail to the house where I administered beers. We checked out the back and found that a fairly large tree was resting on the back side of the house. It appeared that the house was fine. There were another five or so trees down in the back yard. Three of them went down with a root ball ten feet high and twenty five feet wide. Back in front, I noticed that one of the trees had given the Subaru a glancing blow, breaking its back window and denting, I think irreparably, its hatchback. Poor Super-roo. This was not his first experience with falling trees. It’s conceivable that a hatchback with window could be purchased at a salvage yard, but I’m thinking that poor Super-Roo’s life is very close to its end. So much for selling it.
The rain stopped. It was again a beautiful day. People in the neighborhood were milling about asking whether everyone was OK. Tragedy seems to bring out the best in folks. A parade of rubber-neckers traversed the single passable lane of the Boulevard in cars, on bicycles, and on foot, many armed with cameras, and later, flashlights. Chris and I had a couple more beers.
It was difficult to get from the street to The Rental on foot. It was clear that I’d not be making any more trips to the storage unit any time soon. With the number of trees that were down, it was conceivable that the driveway could very well still be impassible on Friday when the insurance company is scheduled to come get their furniture. At least, I mused, I’d have nothing to do except pack.
A while later, Mencer’s Tree Service (“We’ll go out on a limb for you!”) was next door removing the very large tree from the neighbors driveway. I asked one of the guys if they could come check out my driveway. A few minutes later Mr. Mencer himself was surveying my situation. I put him on the phone with my landlord. He wanted $1250 to make the driveway passable. He wanted another $1250 to get the tree off the house. He didn’t bother to make estimates for removing the other five trees down in the back yard. I’m hopeful that Mr. Mencer will be back in the morning to make the driveway passable and that I’ll be able to continue moving stuff to storage.
All of a sudden it was 8PM and Chris really needed to get home. I started thinking about dinner. I could cook on my propane stove if I hadn’t just taken all of my propane tanks to storage. Chris offered to run me to the store. When the first street we turned up was impassable, I had Chris just drop me at home, it was clear that running out out to the store was impractical.
I found a flashlight, a can of dolma, and sat outside with my laptop during the remaining daylight.