Tag Archives: U-Haul

We Still Can’t Find The Shoes….Continued.

The staging area. See any boxes in there labeled "shoes?"

I needed to get the LG over to the “interim” storage unit.  The new “staging” area where I was moving all the stuff from the house, which I had to vacate by August 31st, in preparation for loading it again for resettlement in New Mexico.  I didn’t think I would be able to get it into the back of my pick-up truck.  It would fit okay, but it would take four or five people to lift it, I figured, and I couldn’t conjure up four or five people at one time who would be willing to help.  We macho men tend to think we have more strength than we do, which is a grave miscalculation that would inevitably come into play.

So I remembered that a friend of mine had a motorcycle trailer.  We could load the LG on the trailer and tie it down for the short drive to the storage place.  Shannon and Chad agreed to help the weekend before I had to be out of the house.  We bartered some furniture in exchange for the use of the trailer and extra “man”power, but I’m sure they would have helped anyway.  I chose not to put Charlie in harm’s way for this particular maneuver, which was probably a good thing, because we might have come up with the idea of having him ride on the trailer to hold the refrigerator upright.

The LG went up the ramp on the motorcycle trailer with little effort.  We then proceeded to tie it down with every available rope, tie-down, and bungee cord we could find.  This trailer is a flat-bed with no walls, so it just stood there, proudly, like it was tied to a stake.  We went about two blocks when I noticed, in the side-view mirror, that the LG was rocking from side to side.  We pulled over and I tightened up its restraints and we continued on.  We had about five miles to negotiate in traffic, with several left turns, but Chad was driving very carefully.  We were getting a lot of one-finger salutes and curse words floating through the air as cars and trucks whizzed by us.  I couldn’t look in the side-view mirror anymore.

“If it falls over, Chad,” I said, “just keep driving.”  He nodded affirmatively.

We pulled into the storage unit and unloaded the LG without further incident.  Here it would remain for another month.

The LG had now been moved twice, and we were into Plan C.  This was going to involve renting the U-Haul truck to load the refrigerator which would stand up in the truck, the truck had a ramp, and I was going to rent an appliance dolly which has longer handles so my arms did not have to become part of the moving device.  I had it all arranged for September 1st.  You should by now, know what happened to Plan C.  The storage yard refused to give me the extra day to move the LG without charging me for the full month.  https://whatthefluffy.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/i-told-her-i-was-going-to-tell-everyone-i-knew/

So we had no choice but to move the LG again.  This time, my friend, Danny, convinced me that we could load the refrigerator into the back of my pick-up.  Just the two of us and a hand truck.  I was desperate.  We had been drinking.  “Piece of cake,” Danny kept repeating.  I now have arms two inches longer than I had before the move started.  As we pulled and lifted the LG into the back of the truck, it started to tilt to the left, hit the sidewall of the truck and put dent number two in the titanium doors.  But we got it in, and with some effort were able to stand it up in the bed of truck and lash it down with ratchet tie-downs and bungees.  Our destination was twenty-some miles away to Danny’s garage.  We pulled in an hour from the time we had started out.  We sat there staring at the LG, pretty sure that we were not going to able to lower the heavy box down to the driveway without some help.

Right about that time, someone they knew from down the street, drove by.   They yelled out to him and he stopped.  He was a big dude.  So we decided with him and Danny on the ground and me up in the bed holding the hand truck, we could lower the LG safely to the ground.  Lets just say it didn’t go as easy as it was envisioned.  That thing weighs a lot.  But we got it to the ground without any further damage, except to my arms, which now hung limply at my sides.  “Piece of cake,” Danny said for the thousandth time.  We thanked the dude, and made a drink.

I picked up the U-Haul truck the morning of September 1st, at a plant nursery as far south of town as you could get.  I requested a pick-up at the huge U-Haul dealer on South Virginia, but I guess U-Haul spreads the business around.  I had made the reservation on-line the week before.  The truck ran but had not been cleaned and I could barely see out of the windshield.  After negotiating it into the driveway, I called my friend, Roger, who had agreed to come over and help me load the LG into the truck.  Moving the LG had now involved eight different people, not counting myself.

Within a few minutes, the LG was loaded into the U-Haul, and wrapped securely in blankets for the thousand mile trip to Rio Rancho.  I just want to say here, that moving a large appliance is done very easily with an appliance dolly designed specifically for that purpose.

See how those refrigerator magnets hide the dents?

The LG stands proudly now, doing it’s thing, in the new kitchen.  It makes lots of ice for the much-needed drinks.  I marvel sometimes that it is here.  For two and a half months it dominated my thoughts.  I should have sold the damn thing.

Oh, the shoes.  There were two boxes of shoes, my wife’s shoes, dress shoes, boots, lots of shoes.  They vanished somewhere between the house, the storage unit, Danny’s garage, and Rio Rancho, NM.  I know they were loaded at some point.  I know there was nothing left behind after everything was loaded, but the shoes are not here.  The shoes now dominate my thoughts.  I have retraced every step in my mind to no avail.  I can’t remember the two boxes of shoes.  The two boxes have just vanished.  We’ve opened almost every box.  We still can’t find the shoes. 


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So, Was Motel 6 Ever $6?

Motel 6 Number 1 still in operation in Santa Barbara, California. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons. Photographed on April 1, 2006 by user Coolcaesar.

I stay at Motel 6.  I like Tom Bodett, and he leaves the light on for me, as I often pull into a motel well after the sun has given up for the day, mostly after 10 pm when I get too tired to drive anymore.  Motel 6 is the choice, not for price as they want you to think by their name, but because they are “pet friendly” and in fact have rooms now that have vinyl floors instead of carpet, which I think is a wonderful idea.

My last stay at a Motel 6 was in Williams, Arizona, on the trip down with the U-Haul and the cargo trailer and the truck and camper.  I wasn’t driving both of them, I had a friend along driving the U-Haul truck.  I didn’t want to rent a U-Haul truck which is why I bought the cargo trailer, but the refrigerator wouldn’t stand up in the cargo trailer, which was tall enough for the refrigerator, which is why I bought it, but, well, it’s a story in itself.  I still marvel that the refrigerator is in the new kitchen and making ice for the much needed drinks.  Anyway, I digress.

I paid $90 for the room for one night for two people!  I don’t see a six in there anywhere.  I don’t see a budget motel price in there for that matter.  Was Motel 6 EVER $6?  The desk clerk said that it was “rodeo weekend” and we did hear a few gunshots coming from main street which I was comforted to be told was a staged Old West gunfight, staged for the tourists.  Tourists who flock here because it is the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon.”  Williams, Arizona, that is.

“Next week the rate goes to $49,” she said.  “You should have come next week.”

Yeah, I should have.  Still don’t see any six in that regular price either.  Every time I have stopped in Williams in the last two months, something has been going on.  There was a biker rally one weekend.  Some street fair the weekend before that.  The rate was $90 for me, my wife, and our two Boston’s. At least they don’t charge extra for the dogs, like most other “pet friendly” motels.

So, was Motel 6 ever $6?  Motel 6 was started in Santa Barbara, California, in 1962, and, indeed, as the name implies, the room cost six dollars a night for a single.  The developers, William Becker and Paul Green, figured the price would cover their building costs and maintenance.  Their first hotels had coin-operated black and white TVs.  To say they were a “no-frills” motel chain would probably be an understatement.  That was done so that the rooms could be cleaned quickly. The concept, cheap motel rooms, obviously caught on and they were imitated even by existing chains.  The developers sold the chain in 1968 and by the 70s, the coin-op TVs were replaced by free color TVs and prices had to go up I guess.

While I was in college, I worked as a night desk clerk at a “Western 6” in Albuquerque.  In all honesty, they weren’t six dollars either.  I think the rooms were $14.95 for a single, no six in there either.  It was a good job for a returning college student, because the motel would fill up pretty quickly and I had the rest of the night to study and watch late night TV.  Not a real taxing job.  My only responsibility was to monitor the phone and the TV alarm panel.  

If someone disconnected the cable from the back of the TV for any reason, like you used to have to do to attach a video recorder, the alarm would sound and a light corresponding to the room would light up on the panel.  You would call the room and ask if they had disconnected the cable for any reason, and if so, to replace it immediately.  The light would go off and I would go back to my TV program.  The problem was the panel malfunctioned all the time.  Often, if someone turned the TV slightly for better viewing, the alarm would be tripped.  We were supposed to notify the on-site manager if the light did not go out after the perfunctory call to the room, but after several false alarms it was understood not to wake the manager anymore if the light didn’t go off.

During my shift one night, an alarm sounded during a late movie on Channel 13, and the light came on for room 147.  It was a room in the back of the motel.  I called the room.  A sleepy sounding guy asked me what the f… I wanted.  It was a common greeting and one of the reasons I hated making the calls in the first place.  I announced that it was the front desk and asked him if he had disconnected the cable to the TV.  He insisted he hadn’t and that I should let him go the hell back to sleep.  The alarm stayed on the remainder of the night and I told the manager when he relieved me at 7:00 am.

The next night the manager asked me if I remembered the TV alarm on 147.  I said I did.

“They cleaned out the entire room,” he said.  “The mattress, the bed platform, the built-in dressers and end-tables, the drapes, even the carpet.  They took the TV, of course, and I’m surprised they didn’t take the faucets and the sink.”

I couldn’t believe it.  I also couldn’t believe he didn’t hold me responsible.  He told me he knew that I had been told not to wake him, and he guessed that hadn’t been a good idea.  They hired a night watchman after that.  A 70-year-old man that could barely walk ,with a pearl-handled .357 Magnum in a side holster.  My only hope was the gun wasn’t loaded.

Is it a bad omen to have a raven roost on your U-Haul?

Western 6 had won a trademark infringement suit brought by Motel 6 because the court said that “6” couldn’t be trademarked, I guess.  The Western 6 motel chain was bought by Motel 6 when Accor Management took over the Motel 6 chain in 1994.   And Tom Bodett is the one and only spokesperson the chain has ever had.  They hired him “to leave the light on for you” in 1986.  His voice will be on your wake-up call. 



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