Ian and I left Seattle yesterday morning, following my piano, about twenty minutes behind the guys from Can’t Stop Moving. We would’ve left sooner than that, but they forgot the ramp to their moving truck, which they’d removed and placed on the parking strip of 39th Street while loading our 500 LB, newly refurbished, thick old iron clawfoot tub. They had my cell phone number but I didn’t have any of theirs, and it was well before nine, when their office opened. I flapped around in a brief but useless panic while Ian strapped the ramp into the back of Nublu (thus doubling her length), carefully wedging scraps of Polartec fabric under the ropes he used, to keep the end of the ramp from sawing itself free on our drive up I-5, and tying some bright red scraps of warning nylon on the end. I left a breathless and quavery message on the voicemail at Can’t Stop—we had to meet up with the van and transfer the ramp before checking in for the ferry, so please . . . help . . . uh . . . somehow . . .
Making a move that involves riding a ferry boat to the San Juans is not an uncomplicated endeavor. In the summer, there are crowds of tourists and full boats to contend with and so timing is everything; in the winter, the boats are never full, but the schedule is spare and, therefore, timing is everything. For movers who can typically accomplish two jobs in one full day, our job—spending, because of the ferry schedule, 14 hours carrying a small subset of our household goods from Seattle to Hogan House—was essentially a day of paid vacation. The ramp was forgotten simply because it was still early dawn when we all left Seattle, and in the rush to make the boat two hours north, its low profile was easy to overlook in the dim, overgrown grass.
Aside from a small rainy squall somewhere around Marysville, the weather was clear and bright and gorgeous for our drive north, and holiday traffic was light. We met up just outside the ferry terminal in Anacortes, in the parking lot of the defunct Charlie’s, and transferred the ramp. The boat ride displayed the San Juans in all their glittering winter glory; and two of the three had never been up here. I felt the proud, proprietary satisfaction of introducing them to a new and delightful region, regardless of the fact that my “ownership” of this exquisite bit of nature is nothing more than unbelievable good fortune.
After a short stop at the House to leave the tub and then a brief, breathless moment with the piano on the ramp at Hogan, the guys rapidly emptied the rest of our core valuables into our temporary home. They were easily done with us by 2:00pm, which left them more than two hours (at $160 per) to lumber around central Orcas in their giant truck before returning to the late-afternoon sailing.
Here I am. Couch at Hogan. West Sound and Shaw through the window before me. Dog snoring blissfully to my left. My piano, the alembic through which I distill mood into song, on my right--the only piece of my soul that’s been missing up here. Ian, just off the phone, at work in the Dacha.
Seattle? What is that? Are there still tasks there? Responsibilities? Frustrations? Finalities?
Maybe. I wouldn’t know.