"Why are you here? There is nothing to do." That was the response from several people residing in a rural area of North Carolina. My daughter, Kara, was lucky enough to procure a teaching job right out of college. This meant a move from Buffalo, with a population of 270,000, to a city of 16,000. Talk about culture shock. The stores closed by 6 p.m. Applebee's was "the" favorite hangout because it stayed open till midnight.
Our empty-nest status consisted of removing more than a few feather-filled pillows. We packed our 21-year-old daughter's life possessions into two cars and headed South. The cars were filled to the brim, which explains why, making a lane change at 70 mph, I nearly side-swiped a car.
We brought along two huge travel golf bags. Only they weren't filled with clubs but with two dresser drawers worth of my daughter's clothing.
This trip was no vacation. How many devices does it take to get from point A to point B? A 10-hour trip turned into 13 hours, even though we relied on our AAA Trip Tik, maps, GPS and our cellphone navigation system. It seems our GPS was outdated, our cellphone intermittently lost connection and map reading wasn't one of my attributes. After missing a crucial turn, I reverted to the old-fashioned method and stopped at a gas station for directions. Like all men, my husband stayed in the car.
When we arrived in North Carolina, it was July and hot. On moving-in day, it reached 100 degrees. Typically one gains weight on a vacation. My husband lost 3 pounds. I never sweated so much in my life. My hair developed more twists and turns than curly-Q potatoes.
If moving were an Olympic event, we would have broken all records. By golly, we had her settled into her new apartment, furnished it and returned back to Buffalo in six days. Fun? No. Costly? Yes.
I should have listened to the advice: You get what you pay for. Trying to save a few bucks, we had shopped at a used furniture store. That's when the word "used" took on a new meaning. We thought we struck gold when we purchased a five-piece bedroom set made out of solid cherry for a steal. It would be wiped down and installed the very next day. Neither one happened.
Upon delivery, Kara discovered unexpected extras. The furniture lived up to its title, "used." She pulled out used long johns, a used bathing suit and a used pair of underwear from the drawers. Kara even used words I have never heard her say before.
Therefore, our next few purchases included brand new items: a desk, a chair for the desk, a TV stand, a bookcase and a futon.
Unfortunately, some assembly was required. We are not gifted people. And it was evident that the same people who designed the caps on medicine bottles and had patents pending on jigsaw puzzles had written our instructions.
The outside of the box read, "No tools necessary." Don't be fooled. Sure, they included the tools, but they also included more than 100 pieces of hardware. The question remained: What does one do with extra pieces of hardware that should have made it into the finished product?
So, to parents who will be moving their children in the near future, my advice would be to buy fully assembled floor models at all costs, damaged or not. The sad part was leaving behind our daughter. The much relieved part was that we left before tackling the futon.
Karen Adragna Walsh, who lives in Orchard Park, has some advice for parents helping their children relocate.