The Last Day in Mississippi
Wednesday was a blur of house cleaning and loading the SUV and trailer. A couple stopped by the house to look it over as potential buyers, and some friends and family dropped by during the day to say goodbye. Wednesday evening my friends from the camera club had organized a going-away party for us, which I really enjoyed. It hurt to say goodbye to so many people I’d grown close to.
Late that night Winnie and I slept for the last time in our Mississippi house. We sat out on the back porch for a few hours talking and taking it the night air of Sioux bayou for the last time, then slept. I didn’t sleep well that night and it wasn’t because of the air mattress. The house felt different, sounded different, and even smelled different. By the time we slept that night, it already felt like an unloved house.
We both work up really early Thursday morning. We washed, finished packing, and cleared out the final few items not coming with us.
We left our Mississippi house about 7:00 AM Thursday morning, October 12, 2006.
Once again, I felt like a couple of hillbilly hobos. The SUV was loaded out with everything from some of Winnie’s prized plants she refused to sell, to some cherished items deemed too valuable to let the movers touch. Our suitcases were on the roof, and the utility trailer was hitched up and loaded down.
The next day-and-a-half’s trip was uneventful. This time, Winnie took the wheel and drove a few hours at a time. She was a bit nervous puling the trailer but it not as difficult as pulling the boat, and she did fine. As the previous trip, we had a time schedule to keep. This time, we needed to be at the apartment managers office by Friday afternoon, October 13, before 4:00 PM to sign our lease and get the keys. The prior week when we signed out application the manager had explained they would not sign lease papers past 4:00 PM on Fridays.
We made good time, arriving at our apartment about 1:30 PM Friday afternoon. True to form, no one was at the office when we arrived. We went to get a coffee while we waited, and I called the movers to confirm delivery of our belongings.
We had previously arranged to take delivery as early as the the next morning, Saturday. When I called, the dispatcher confirmed delivery for the next day, gave me the exact bill based on moved weight and distance, then explained they required payment in cash – no checks or credit card. Once again, I came unglued with the hapless dispatcher and ended up talking to the company owner. I stated no one had previously told me cash only on delivery, and trying to get cash in a strange town on a Friday afternoon was a problem. The owner finally agreed to let me pay by credit card but with an added surcharge which just made me even more angry. Angry enough that I decided to get cash one way or another.
I left Winnie back at the apartment to wait for the manager and went looking for a bank. As luck would have it, I found a branch of the bank I had been doing business with for years and got the cash I needed. I returned back to the apartment about 3:30 to discover that the manager was still not there. There were now two maintenance people also waiting for the manager, and I made the comment to them that I intended to get into our apartment that afternoon “even if I had to kick in the door.”
The maintenance people took me seriously (perhaps the wild look in my eyes?) and gave us a key, requesting we contact the Manager Monday morning to pay the rent and deposit. We moved it with what we had, hauling stuff up to our third floor apartment. At 4:30 the manager called on my cellphone asking where we were. We ended up signing our papers and paying deposit that afternoon about 5:15 PM, well past the time the manager’s office should have been closed for the weekend.