My next job was to find and hire the movers. This, I did not need to outsource, I could handle a quick online search and telephone call if necessary. I called 3 places to get quotes, the quotes ranged from $700 to $3,500. The 3 companies had estimated the scope of work between 5 and 13 hours. I took no time in opting for the company that quoted $700 for 5 hours. Easy. If these guys can do it cheaper and quicker, then they should be rewarded for their efficiency. I was not familiar with the name of the moving company I had chosen, they did not appear to be a national company per se, by the looks of their website they had a few trucks and specialized in local moves. Good honest people they were, they didn’t need a fancy website or even a professional sounding individual on the other end of the phone, no these were just hard working folks looking to earn an honest wage. I was of course fucking drunk for thinking any of this. In hindsight, when this particular company answered their phone with a “Yeah?”, I should’ve gone running the other way. When they offered a quote without asking me just what exactly the job entailed, it would have been a bright screaming red flag for any normal individual. Not me though, $700 was a great price to move a 3 bedroom home, I signed up on the spot and booked them for December 18, 2013.
The first sign that I had perhaps made an error in judgment came on December 7, 2013. A random day just like any other, though with no relation whatsoever to the date I had booked and confirmed these movers for a couple months earlier. I was at work on that particular day and my very pregnant wife was at home with our daughter and trying to keep her hormones and sanity in check. My phone rang:
“Mark, the movers are here with their truck, what the hell?”
“Are you kidding me?”
“No, they are saying they are here to move us. We don’t have a goddamned house for them to move us into!! I am living in a house full of boxes here, Olivia is colouring all over her face and I am about ready to burst!”
Her voice was raising and shaking, hormones were clearly at unstable levels.
“Motherfu . . . OK, I’ll call them and set them straight. Send them on their way”.
My good movers had evidently gotten the date wrong. A rather unfortunate event as I had booked them months in advance to ensure we had them for the precise day we needed. If they were suddenly booked full on December 18, I could very well find myself starring in the local news headlines for gross levels of misconduct. Fortunately though, their schedule 11 days hence was wide open. Another bright red screaming flag. We now had the December 18 date firmed back up. I was too relieved to notice the warning signs.
Aside from a final mad push to get all the packing done, the following few days came and went without any real mishaps. We received final confirmation from the builder of our new home that the possession handover and walkthrough of our new house would indeed be at 10:30am on the 18th, how nice that the homebuilder had managed to get things done perfectly on time. So now all we had to do was wait for junior . . . . junior of course did have a scheduled arrival of the 18th, which would basically be the worst possible day for him (we had confirmed his maleness by this point) to make his arrival. Earlier than the 18th wouldn’t exactly be much better, the last couple days would be chaotic with final preparations. It was everyone’s hope that junior would be late, frankly the later the better. If he wanted to stay in there until the new year, that would be fine by me. Jerilyn of course would have another opinion on that, but we both agreed that later was better than earlier or on-time.
On the 17th, still no baby. The chances of him being early were quickly diminishing, so far so good. My mother-in-law, Jan, arrived from out of town that afternoon knowing full well what lay ahead. She was ready to assist as necessary, like everyone she was simply playing the waiting game. As the 18th approached, we had taken the time to line up the family troops as best we could, should the little guy come on the 18th, I would need to be in many different spots at the same time, and that is where the family help came in. Everyone was waiting . . .
It was 11pm on the 17th. No baby. Early was no longer an option, he was either going to be on time or late. Out of the 3 potential outcomes 1 of the less desirable ones was out of the running. Surrounded by boxes, and completely and utterly exhausted, Jerilyn and I went to bed and collapsed. There had been no contractions, no sign of action ahead, this was looking like a late baby. Atta boy. Just before nodding off, I sent a quick text to my Dad:
“No baby yet, we just need him to hold off another 24 hours. Going to sleep now.”
Just under 3 hours later I sent another text to my Dad:
“He’s coming, we’re off to the hospital!”
Yes, I had been shaken awake by Jerilyn, contractions were fast and furious. And with this not being her first rodeo, she knew damn well what was happening.
“Mark, I am in severe pain! Contractions are close together, we need to leave. Now. Get your ass out of bed and tell my Mom!” I groggily made my way to the guest room, nothing like going in to wake up your Mother-in-law at 3am.
Turns out while I had collapsed seconds after sending my Dad that text, Jerilyn had not slept a wink. The contractions had conveniently begun right after we went to bed. She had been up timing them for the past 3 hours and finally made the call to wake my snoring ass up and prep for a red-eye trip to the hospital. Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck!
Not only was this baby doing his best to come in on time for the 18th, he was targeting a perfectly scheduled arrival right when the movers would be arriving, walk-throughs would be scheduled, and houses would be changing hands. Perfect. It’s as if right from the comfort of that womb of his, Junior was just flipping me the bird with a sneaky little grin on his face. Apparently he wanted to test his old man right out of the gate.
We frantically packed our shit up and headed out the door. Janwas at the top of the stairs in her night gown waving goodbye to us, she had that look on her face that said “God help you.” Speaking of God, we weren’t 2 steps out the door when I noticed that either He or one of His minions had decided to drop 2 feet of snow on us over the last 3 hours, and plenty more was still coming down. FUCK FUCK FUCK. A blizzard, on this day. First it was Junior giving me the finger, now it was the skies. If you have ever been forced to sweep 2 feet of snow off your vehicle at 3 in the morning in the middle of a blizzard in sub-zero temperatures with a laboring wife politely asking you to do so quickly rather than slowly, I don’t recommend it.
At that time in the night/morning, the city run snow plows have not yet been out, so there we were racing and sliding down snow filled roads (that were thankfully empty of other vehicles) towards the hospital. Sitting behind the wheel under the dark stormy and cold skies, watching my laboring wife spasm in pain and feeling the car uncontrollably slide between lanes and move forward at varying angles other than straight, I couldn’t help but let my mind wander. Probably not an opportune time to zone out, but this was hardly an opportune time for anything. I wondered how this might turn out, maybe Junior would arrive quickly in a couple hours and then I could be available to coordinate movers and change houses. Or maybe he would take his sweet time meaning that all our family would be urgently called into action come 10:30am. I wondered how this storm would affect the move, I wondered if my wife would have a healthy child birth, I wondered if the baby would be healthy, I wondered when I was going to eat, I wondered if we would make it to the hospital without crashing sideways into a lamp post, and I wondered just how the hell we got ourselves into this mess. Then I wondered why the car was facing the opposite direction it should be and why Jerilyn was screaming my name louder than ever before
“MARK!!!!! STEER THE DAMN CAR YOU FOOL”.
Snapping myself back to reality before we found ourselves stuck in a snowbank, I straightened the car and continued heading for the big H. No matter what happened on this day, this was going to be a day to write home about.
Junior did not come quickly. After witnessing hours of agonizing pushing and forcing, they called in the specialist who basically said it was time to get the vacuum out. Initially, I was happy to hear that they’d suddenly decided to give the delivery room a bit of a clean. But this was not your standard Dyson, this particular vacuum sucks babies out of women’s bodies directly through their vaginas. The vacuum was wheeled in at 10am. Just as it was whirring into action, my cell phone started vibrating, it was my Mother-in-Law, the movers had arrived and needed to speak with me.
“Oh hi Jan, the mover’s timing just keeps getting better and better. Um, if you can hear that whirring sound it is the sound of my baby boy being sucked out of your daughter. I’ll call them back just as soon as we’re done here.” The movers dutifully stood by.
Jan put the movers on hold and Baby Jack arrived shortly after 10:30am. Healthy, happy, and screaming his eyes out. Just like Mommy. Deciding that I never wanted to see one of those vacuums ever again, I dialed Jan to give her the good news and get these damn movers organized. The lead guy, Mitch, was full of congratulations and understanding, he went out of his way to insist that in light of everything we were going through they would make this move as smooth and stress-free as they possibly could.
“Mark, you just stay with your wife and new boy, we’ll take’r from here”.
Well that was just great, Mitch and his team were going to earn every one of their $700 that day. I would call my brother and his wife, they would handle things at the new house. I would stay at the hospital for a few more hours and then venture back out into the storm to close things off with the movers and the home builder. Their 5-hour job would take them until mid-afternoon. Amazingly everything was coming together, maybe I’d even be able to catch a few winks in between.
I was in fact delusional, read Part 4 “Slam on the breaks and Wail on your Horn!” here: