The empty barrel (well, almost empty; it had some aromatic remnants sloshing around in there for the first few months before they either soaked into the wood, evaporated, or one of our teenagers figured out how to put a bendy straw in there) came from Woodford Reserve bourbon distillery in Kentucky. It was a gift to my husband, and like all of my surprises for him, it was awkward.
Getting it home was a feat. Luckily we had a pickup truck (did I mention that we lived in Kentucky at the time?) so I had it loaded into the back and very carefully drove it home. Bourbon barrels are big. And heavy. I had to wait until my son got home to help me get it out of the back of the truck and then we put it on a dolly and took it over to the back stairs to the basement. Then we bumped it down the steps and walked it to the corner of the storage room, where I put the Barbie dream house on it. It remained undetected until his birthday.
The bourbon barrel made two moves with us. From Kentucky to Florida, where it went onto the back patio. The move from Florida to California, however, was another story. The barrel was one of six pieces of furniture (I know, I’m using that term very loosely) that would not fit through the front door and up the main staircase.
Which brings me to today’s moving lesson: If someone tells you that something that you own cannot be moved to your new house, refuse to accept this. Don’t take no for an answer and somehow everything will work out.
In the case of my my move, the six items were: Two box springs, two couches, a baby grand piano, and the aforementioned bourbon barrel.
The confrontation with my moving crew went something like this:
Mover-who-I-nicknamed-Joe Mantegna: “This black couch won’t fit.”
Me: (Nothing) (Not saying anything) (Smile)
Joe: “Yeah, so it gets through the door but when we get to the top of the stairs, we can’t make the turn. It’s too long.”
Joe: “We tried.”
Joe: “Um, yeah, so . . . (Sigh!) Hoo-boy. That’s a tough squeeze there. That is one long couch.”
Me: (Still smiling but my look is becoming a vacant stare. I am becoming bored with this conversation and I’m not afraid to show it.)
Joe: “Yeah, so . . .”
Me: “I’m sure you’ll figure something out.” (Smile) (Return to Bejeweled game on iPad)
And guess what? They did. They brought in a crane and swung that black couch right through the front windows. By that time, they had assembled a small pile of other things that wouldn’t fit through various doorways, stairwells and openings - including the bourbon barrel - and it all worked out. All because I took the position that there was no other option.
It wasn’t until after this happened that I started to read about people who had to sell or give away furniture, not because rooms weren’t big enough or shaped right for the furniture, but because getting the stuff into the house wasn’t going to work. When my sister and her husband moved, my brother-in-law sawed a box-springs in half to get it up a staircase. Then he put it back together and no one was the wiser. It’s that kind of thinking that your movers are going to have to have, if they’re going to end up with nicknames like Joe Mantegna and not Stubborn Weirdo Who I Hate.
I’m not claiming to test the laws of physics; I’m fully aware that two masses can’t occupy the same space (thank you, high school science teacher Mr. Clark) but I also know that during a move, if you refuse to tolerate your movers’ excuses, they’ll eventually come up with a solution.
Because of the crane, my bourbon barrel is now on my upper deck patio, where it holds my glass of wine and my candles from Phoenix. I’d say that’s a successful move.
Other things I've seen on this topic:
The ____ Won't Fit!
If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.