” So, uh, yeah alright, where do ya live?”
It was ten thirty on a sunday night. Lenny and I were in his office. I’d followed him back there through the used furniture showroom, glancing around nervously, eyeing his tattoos, feeling very vulnerable.
There at her desk, his assistant sat chatting on her cell-phone, painting her nails, a cigarette balancing on her lip. Somehow the sight of her put me at ease. But what kind of moving guy has an assistant working at this hour? On a weekend?
She told me my purse was nice, then back to her conversation that had nothing to do with moving.
Earlier that day I’d left my home with a maniacal purpose. We were moving. From an apartment to a house. From downtown noise to a family filled neighborhood. And best of all? I was finally going to get some damn furniture.
You see, three years earlier I’d melodramatically abandoned my life in New York, my job, my then boyfriend and my living room set, my bedroom set, my brand new dining room set, to flee back to my hometown in Maine in search of I don’t know what….. but I sure didn’t find any new furniture.
After a short stay with my sister and a whirlwind courtship, I moved into my new boyfriend’s-now husband’s- bachelor pad ( or cell as I liked to think of it) where I lived for a year with nothing more than a bed and two wicker chairs. I am not kidding. He had a bed. He had a t.v. He had two scratchy, old, worn out deck chairs. That was it.
A whole year.
Unless you take into consideration the terrific couch that I’d finally ordered after months of arguments and speeches about not focusing on material things and listening to crap like, “We’re happy Heather, this should be the only goal” and other such infuriating bits of wisdom, that I then tearfully watched roll away, back down the road, after an hour’s worth of unsuccessful attempts to fit it through the door of our lobby.
Who knew you had to measure the entrances of a building for furniture delivery?
Next, we moved to an amazing apartment. Big, right downtown, garage parking, a pool upstairs and fully furnished. But with someone else’s furniture.
Okay, I was grateful to finally have a couch and a coffee table and even the useless, never sat in other chairs and desks and whatnot, but I didn’t like the stuff because it wasn’t mine.
So, when we found the house- a rental with the option to buy, an option we fully intended to take after doing reconnaissance for a month or so and ruling out any paranormal activity or Texas Chainsaw Massacre style neighbors- I was on a mission! A mission for furniture.
About two and a half hours into the hair-brained five hour drive to the store from where I was planning to joyfully, and yes, somewhat feverishly furnish my new home, I thought I’d better call to make certain that they offered shipping.
In desperation, I’d called several moving companies from the road- you know I wasn’t turning back- and Lenny was the only guy who got back to me. So Lenny it was.
And there I sat, alone, late in the evening, in a back office of a used furniture shop with what appeared to be a teenage “assistant”, who was clearly not assisting with anything, and a middle-aged man covered in tattoos and, this was the part that really worried me, a missing ring finger.
How the hell do you lose your ring finger? I mean, it’s kind of tucked in there safe between the more vulnerable pointer and pinky, right? Visions of a drug deal gone wrong played in my head- Lenny screaming for another chance, his hand held down by a thug named Johnny Two Feet, as the “Boss” says something like, “next time I’ll take a finger you’ll really miss” and then the blood and the screeching….
But who was I to pass judgement like that? So the guy had tattoos? So he’s missing a finger under mysterious circumstances? He has brochures for goodness sake! He has an office! Clearly he’s on the up and up. He was just trying to get ahead like anybody else. Lenny was a hard working, even an enterprising man, just trying to provide for his family. I was ashamed of myself. I paid him the deposit.
Lenny stole all my furniture.
Yep. Stole it all. Career criminal in fact.
In the end there were police, a very handsome detective by the way, so that was bonus, a trip back to Lenny’s “furniture shop”, which was deserted(!)- completely empty like the whole thing had never happened- an investigation, and miracle of miracles, my furniture found!
Phew! What are the odds. And just FYI? My husband’s reaction to what appeared to be the loss of a lot of money, money his furniture-averse self had really not wanted to spend? He said, “We’re still healthy Heather, that’s all the matters. Money comes and goes.” He’s kind of amazing like that.
We moved into the new place. We filled it with furniture.
Two guys moved us in. They were nice. They were hardworking. The younger one intrigued me. He was pleasant and well spoken. So helpful and respectful. He was such a gentleman and kept reassuring me that they were there for me, whatever I needed them to do, whenever I’d nervously apologize for asking them to move the seven hundred pound sofa to yet another location in the living room.
He was missing some important teeth. He wasn’t educated, but look how hard he worked. Look at the dignity he comported himself with. I offered him a beer, he declined. So professional! He didn’t come from money or privilege, but he wasn’t looking for handouts, just a hard working guy, making ends meet. I really liked him.
He was a burglar.
Yep. Was arrested two weeks later and charged with a STRING of residential burglaries. So, was he “casing”our joint the whole time he was here? Had he penciled us in on his burglary calendar?! How close had we come to being robbed or worse?
Pardon my french, but what the f*#k?
Am I not supposed to have furniture? Is that even a thing? Can someone be not supposed to have furniture? What did I do, burn down a furniture factory in a previous life? Steal furniture from children?
And that great house? The one whose rooms and doorways I had specifically measured my (enormous) new furniture for? The big one, in the family neighborhood, that sits right on a park, that is just down the street from the grocery store and the highway and downtown, but is still tucked away and quiet and enjoys the sounds of wind chimes drifting through the windows? Where Luka would have played on the jungle gym across the street while I watched from the window above the kitchen sink? That house?
Three days after we arrived, the owners changed their minds. We have to move. Soon.
Know any good movers?