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How we spent Saturday - Paint It Black
Living the American dream one heartbreaking piece at a time
How we spent Saturday
Got up early, went to a U-Haul where a reservation was holding a 6x12 enclosed trailer for me so lady_curmudgeon and I could help takaza and duncandahusky move their bed and various other belongings from Chicago to the new digs in the 'burbs. Got there at 0703 and was told the trailer was indeed reserved for me... which was too bad, because the wiring on it was shot and it wasn't road-legal/safe. Looking at this thing I could see why that might be... the trailer looked like it might have been made when U-Haul was first founded. The gal at the counter said another trailer was due back, but I was quickly disabused of any hope that I could rent it when the manager came out and told me that she'd misread the computer and while the trailer was due back that morning it had a reservation on it for somebody else.

Defeated, I returned to Curmudgeon's place and attempted some major black magic to find a replacement. As trailers are generally not an "impulse rent" item that are stocked I met with little luck -- most places were still closed at that hour of the morning and of the places I could get an answer at there were none to be had. I performed more black magic and got ahold of an incredibly helpful traffic manager at U-Haul, who somehow found and secure for me a 6x12 trailer at a storage place in Antioch. The day was saved! We arrived at the storage place (which I was familiar with, as it was just North of roho and enveri's house) and got all the paperwork taken care of by around 0930. Then it was time to hook up the trailer... and that's when I did something incredibly stupid.

I wrenched my lower back.

I had backed the Expedition up to the trailer and while Curmudgeon waited in the nice warm cab I went in back to get everything set up. The girl (she couldn't have been more than 17) at the counter of the storage place didn't know what size ball the trailer used, so I guessed that it was 2". I had a 2" on a no-drop ball mount so I decided to go with that and see how the trailer looked once it was hooked up. I figured hey, since the ground where the trailer and the truck were parked was level I'd quickly get a good idea if the ride height with that mount was correct or not. It is critical to the story that you understand from this point forward that the trailer did not have a jack on it. Most trailers, from generator sets to snowmobile/ATV trailers to the one your uncle used to pull his little fishing boat around ... those all have a jack mounted on it, usually somewhere along the tongue. This is a Good Thing because you can then use the jack to raise and lower the trailer tongue, which makes hooking up to the truck a great deal easier.

Not this one. Oh no, that'd be easy.

So, with the mount locked into the receiver I grabbed the tongue of the trailer, lifted it up and tried to set the coupler on the ball. The wheels of the trailer were chalked, something I didn't know because I was stupid and didn't check before starting. The chalks did their job and kept the trailer from moving so I applied force expecting a lot less resistance. Needless to say I was applying force badly against an "immovable" object and... yeah, a nice sharp pain in my lower back was my reward. I managed to get the lip of the coupler onto the ball and I called that "close enough" for the moment. Once I stood up and hisses breath through clenched teeth a few times I got my zen back and resumed my work. Being of particularly slow mind today I didn't learn from the experience I had gone through moments prior and, taking the tongue in my hands once more I tried to push it over. This succeeded only in aggravating my back further. Eventually I remembered how things worked when I was growing up on the farm and I just kicked the tongue of the trailer with one of my workboots... and the coupler slid over the ball and thunked soundly into place. Hooray!

That's when I found that the crank for tightening the coupler onto the ball was frozen. Luckily I was able to cooerce it into moving down the threads again with an application of elbow grease and one of my channel-lock wrenches. As difficult as this trailer was being -- and as much pain as it had already caused me -- I was glad to have this one versus the one I had originally been slated to get, as this one was clearly made sometime in the last decade versus the one with the bad wiring that looked like a relic from the 1950s.

We got to Duncan & Takaza's place only a few minutes later than originally planned. I was quite lucky in that they had a bottle of Naproxen there, which I dosed myself with in preparation for the rest of the day's work. Not long afterward Duncan, Curmudgeon and myself were enroute to Chicago and the moving got underway... though I didn't help nearly as much as I should have in the loading of the trailer, because every time I picked something up my body sent another lightning bolt of searing pain into the base of my spine. Thankfully linnaeus was more than helpful in getting their stuff out of the condo and down the porch steps and Curmudgeon stepped in to pick up a great deal of the slack I was creating by not helping.

Lunch was had at a tasty joint called "Charcoal Delights." I'd never been, but now that I know what they are I want to go back. That grilled chicken sandwich special was awesome and their fries were great as well. Thanks for the meal, Duncan!

Not long after 1400 we were at the new digs. We proceeded to be useless layabouts, waiting for Takaza to return with the incredible contingent of help he had assembled before any unloading took place. With my spine still telegraphing jolts of painful suckitude I didn't help at all once the unloading began, short of carrying two or three very light items from the trailer. Once I actually sat down again Curmudgeon and enveri made it very clear that I was not to move from the corner I had propped myself into.

At around 1700 there was sleet coming down, something I took that as a cue to leave. Curmudgeon and I got back into the Expedition and made our way back to Antioch to drop off the trailer... having to stop midway along the trip so that I could get out and find out why the trailer's electrical had suddenly ceased to function, leaving me on a busy road in the dark with a trailer that had no running lights, no turn signals and most importantly no brake lights. Once that was fixed we continued the journey and returned to Antioch safely. I jockeyed the trailer into a position that was relatively close to where it had been when I picked it up and then, with somebody waiting (im)patiently for access in the storage company's driveway, I used Curmudgeon as a counterweight and disconnected the trailer... although that was not without some difficulty, as the coupler's tightening crank was once again frozen into place. More elbow grease and a re-application of the channel-lock wrench solved that. So by around 1745 we had gotten the trailer dropped off and were making our way back to Kenosha. Dinner was had at the local chinese buffet, something that the Curmudgeon and I both agreed was tasty and made for an excellent conclusion to the day. Since we were both pretty tired we did a quick bit of shopping to lay in supplies for the upcoming "OMG SNOWSTORM" that is supposed to hit the area and then went to bed retardedly early.

hurt so good

Tags: , ,
Current Location: Curmudgeon Place
Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: Ambient / HBR1

5 thoughts or Leave a thought
duncandahusky From: duncandahusky Date: January 14th, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
In case we haven't said it enough, thank you so much for all of your help! Once we get the place unpacked and fully assembled, you and Pam must come by and I'll cook you up tasty dinner!
(Deleted comment)
asetwoman From: asetwoman Date: January 15th, 2007 07:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Lunch was had at a tasty joint called "Charcoal Delights."

Whoa, that's so weird. One of my best friends from high school had her first job there at the cash register. I remember the food was very good.

Hope your back feels better ASAP. If it doesn't, go to the doctor before we all kill you kthx.
ya_wot_aver From: ya_wot_aver Date: January 15th, 2007 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

One Word...


I freakin hate U-Haul. Most of their equipment is old abused crap! So far I've had very good luck with Penske.

Quote from U-Haul: Like all U-Haul equipment, our moving vans are designed from the ground up to move families - not freight. Not so sure about the families, but they are certainly right about the freight part.

Be good to your back.
tarinfirepelt From: tarinfirepelt Date: January 16th, 2007 01:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. I can relate. I was helping a friend move from a 2nd story apartment when I was in college. I had a huge box in my face and couldnt see. I miscounted steps on the way down, stepped out to go to the truck, and when I finally found the ground I turned my ankle. Thank god the box I had had unbreakables in it because I would have wrecked anythign inside if they were. Total water baloon ankle for the next 2 weeks. Fortunately the friend was an RN and the next day she gave me this neat ankle brace which had laces as well as spandex and velcro braces. Used that thing for years until the back end split. I need to find another one of those.
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