So it is possible that we have finally, mercifully sold our condo. I don’t want to get too excited, as these things have a way of going south on me. We are supposed to close on Friday.
After a couple of deals that fell apart last fall, though, I’m afraid to hope. I’m definitely afraid to utter famous last words, so suffice it to say that I’ll let you know next week if it happened or not. I would like to say that there’s nothing to do but coast to the finish line, but that’s not true. There is an obstacle in the way—a 1,400 pound obstacle.
Our last buyers wanted to buy a statue that we had in an outdoor space, a large Buddha head. Scott was most reluctant to part with it, but I would have let it go if it meant I didn’t have to move it. Luckily for Scott, the new buyers want it out of there, so it’s coming home.
Deep down, way down, I’m glad. I’ll be gladder still when it’s done. That statue has a way of crash landing in a literal and metaphorical spray of splintered wood and broken glass and the situation, like the pending sale of the condo, could go south at any time.
The summer of 2007 was at once the best and worst time I’ve ever known. Kai was five months old, a fat, dimpled, blue-eyed bruiser of a 20-pound baby, at once the light of my life and the reason that life had jettisoned off a thousand-foot cliff. No one was sleeping. Up was down and night was day and a once-capable woman had been reduced to a partially-functioning zombie clad in dirty, Juicy-brand terry-cloth maternity sweatpants. Scott and I were trying to find our new normal in a new house with a new baby. Neither one of us could figure out why this was so hard for me.
There’s a saying in the restaurant industry, a place where I’d done time at various points in my life, that when someone’s swamped or overwhelmed, they’re “in the weeds.” That was me in the summer of 2007. I was in the weeds.
There were a lot of factors that conspired to make that summer such hell. Kai was just Kai. Even as a baby he was Kai, so if you’ve ever met him or read even one blog post, you know what I’m talking about. I was me, but a new me, the kind of me that was overweight and tired and not used to failure. I was usually so capable, so nimble, so able to prepare food and take showers that my general blobulousness and inability to keep up with the dog hair that rolled by like so many tumbleweeds across the hardwood floor was confusing to me and maddening to Scott, who was suddenly financing this whole operation by himself and just wanted a clean house and a little dinner out of the arrangement.
It was in this context that I got a call from Scott that he wanted to buy a statue. And not just any statue, a statue of Buddha that he’d always wanted.
This desire for a Buddha was news to me, and the price tag nothing short of alarming. I would sweat the cost of the large box of diapers at Target, and here he was suggesting we spend several hundred dollars on a statue of Buddha. I’m a Unitarian.
“What do you think?” he asked.
That turned not to be a question so much as some words that he said as he pressed “add to cart” on his computer.
Scott turned the whole project over to me to handle once the transaction had been completed, as I was available and he was not.
The statue was really cool, I’m not going to lie. It was also, according to the seller, 800 pounds.
The shipping company called me when it was on the truck from Colorado, where, for some reason, it had been residing until we bought it.
Turns out it isn’t 800 pounds. It’s 1400 pounds.
I told this to Scott.
“I did not expect that,” he said.
The shipping lady told me that the driver would drop the statue off in my driveway.
“I don’t have a driveway,” I said. “I live in Chicago.”
“Well, the sidewalk then.”
“Can’t he like wheel it in the house or something?” I asked.
She laughed. “It’s 1400 pounds. So no.”
“What should I do?” I asked.
“Call some movers,” she suggested.
I called a guy named Glenn from Golden Eagle on a recommendation.
“You’re gonna need a crane,” he said. He had a deep Superfan accent, a dese-dem-dose-over-by-dere kind of guy.
“How much is that going to cost?” I asked him.
He laughed, a long, sustained smoker’s laugh. “Nine-hunnerd dollars.” We would have to give Glenn a cashier’s check.
I called Scott at work.
“I did not expect that,” he said.
I made Scott stay home on the day the statue arrived. The truck pulled up out front and we went outside to meet this statue, but when the back gate lifted, there wasn’t much to see, just a wooden crate listing heavily on top of a wooden pallet.
My car had been parked outside of our place per Glenn’s instructions. We would move it so the crane could get close to the house. I went back inside to get my keys and left Scott out there with the statue and the lone delivery driver.
I was inside when I heard the crash.
I raced back outside and found Scott standing in the street, has hands spread out in front of him in the international symbol for “Why, God, why?” The Buddha lay on the pavement, the wooden crate was smashed to bits all around it. The statue itself wasn’t broken, though.
My car had cushioned its fall.
For reasons known only to him, and despite having been told that movers with a crane where on their way, the delivery driver tried to put the statue on a dolly and lift it. The crushed palette made the whole structure unsteady and the only thing he and Scott could do was watch its slow-motion fall off the truck and onto my car and into the street.
Glenn answered the phone when I called his company six weeks ago.
“Hi,” I said. “This is Megan Judy.”
“Megan Judy, Megan Judy,” he said. “How do I know that name?”
“Oh yeah,” he said, “the Buddha!”
Glenn and his guys had arrived on the scene five minutes after the statue fell on my car. They looked like a New Jersey mob crew looks on TV, five aging, overweight guys. In my memory they are wearing track suits, but I think I added that detail later. The guys blasted the delivery driver with a colorful barrage of well-deserved verbal abuse and set about righting the statue so they could hoist it over my smashed car and into our condo.
Thousands of jobs later, they still remember me by name.
I told him we had to move the statue again and he laughed his rattle-y smoker’s laughter until it dissolved into a coughing fit. Finally there was silence on the other end of the line.
“Oh,” he said.
To be continued.