Monday, January 01, 2007

Math On Moving Day

Saturday the dreaded day arrived. I had to help my sister-in-law move from her apartment in Franklin TN to her new home in Spring Hill TN. I dread moving days for three reasons:

  1. No matter how well anyone prepares, if there is not a professional packing and moving service involved, there will be countless items still not packed that result in endless additional trips to and from the moving truck.
  2. Murphy’s Moving Law #1- anytime you help someone move, at least one of the locations is NOT on the ground floor.
  3. Murphy's Moving Law #2- People you thought would show up to help, don’t.

This move looked to be a bad one at the outset. Jackie’s apartment is on the second floor, and the stairway up was designed by a person that has never had to move out of, or into, an apartment.

7 steps up, U-turn on a tight landing with tons of wood guard rails and posts, another 7 steps up to a narrow walkway, hard turn left with posts all around to the ceiling, 6 paces, then another hard turn left with more posts, 6 more paces, hard turn right into the apartment whose door battles with the closet door right behind for the right to stay open.

As I walked up the stairs the first time, surveying the work ahead, and the boxes and storage bins to be moved, I quickly did the math. About 150 or so items to move, many heavy with books and over-stuffed miscellaneous items. About 100 trips up and down the stairway maze. 2,800 steps total, 1,400 up and 1,400 down. Oh- forgot- another 6 steps down to the street level on a gently slopping wide concrete stairway to where the truck was, throwing in another 1,200 steps, making a total of 4,000.

For your information:

  • US National Monument- 897 steps
  • Statue of Liberty- 354 steps
  • St. Louis Arch- 1,076 steps
  • Eiffel Tower- 1,665 steps
  • Empire State Building- 1,860 steps

So, this move, just counting the steps up, would be like climbing the Eiffel Tower, except of course for carrying an extra 50-75 pounds in your arms to the top. Wonderful.

I told Jackie as I thought through the grueling hours to come, that laziness is the true mother of invention, and I wanted a minute to think through how to cut some of the work out. Then it came to me- she could drop each box and storage bin down to me from outside her door, about 14 feet up including the guard rail. She thought I was an idiot, but agreed to try it, since she would be doing the dropping, and me the catching.

It worked brilliantly, except for the heavy ones that I dropped, took in the gut (resulting in some light bruising), or jammed fingers with slightly greater bruising. No blood though. That didn’t come until we moved her stuff into her new house and I ripped open a finger with some pliers.

It was all worth it. We were able to drop almost everything from the second floor (including the mattress and box-spring), except for the couch, tables, and a few boxes that were too heavy for Jackie to drop over the edge to me. Fortunately.

We were able to cut the job down to roughly the Statue Of Liberty in terms of steps to climb. Cool.

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Stephanie Appleton said...

very creative! What a good BIL you are!

Anonymous said...

This is so funny! I hate moving too. Next time, I'll see what monument we would have reached. :)

DigitalRich said...

Stephanie- I think it's more of case of being a good husband more than a good brother-in-law. I am not sure I would have done it without the threat of lost domestic tranquility looming over my head.

Toe- When it comes to doing things I hate doing, it's all about inventing some sort of game or distraction to somehow make it go by faster.

Anonymous said...

Rich - I laughed so hard at this one. I loved the phrase " I wanted a minute to think through how to cut some of the work out. Then it came to me-" It reminded me of you and I scheming on ways to work smarter and faster. I loved it!