Playing Stupid

Unless you can hire people to do everything including point to where your stuff should go, something usually goes awry on moving day. You have to expect to encounter a bump or two in the road to your new home.

On the long weekend, Mom downsized from  53-acre space and 4-bdrm, 3-bathroom house she and my Dad built, to a beautiful condo in the small town where she lives. The new place has loads of room, and a condo-rule book as thick as a Stephen King novel. But it’s quiet, and so far friendly, and there are people who look after the boring chores of weeding and grass-cutting.

The key hand-off is often the biggest open question in a move. Money has to be transferred, acknowledged and accounted for, and only then will the new owner get their key. Some sellers and buyers are more cooperative than others. My Mom is cooperative; her seller wasn’t. Everything had to be by the book which meant waiting for the all-clear for me to drive about 25 minutes away to get the key. A promised hour-long wait turned into two and as the movers locked the trailer full of mom’s stuff, with the hourly rate ticking away by the minute, I headed toward the lawyer’s office so I’d be there and ready when the call came.

It was hot and humid. I sat in my car for about 20 minutes waiting for the call and then it occurred to me: this lawyer has never met me. He doesn’t know I’m not stupid! People get details mixed up all the time. If I go in and play dumb, maybe I’ll apply slight pressure on them to give me the keys that are just sitting on a desk in the office somewhere.

Some say it’s a role I was born to play! I acted very friendly and pretended I knew nothing about the protocol. “Hi! I’m here to pick up Helen’s key! You have my name and information?” The legal assistant wasn’t sure what to make of me but she said it had been delayed. “Give me 15 minutes”, she said. I gave her another 100-watt grin. “Okay. It’s really hot outside. Do you mind if I stay in here where it’s cool?” She waved me off and I sat down within staring distance of her, beaming like a lunatic.

I heard her on the phone to Mom’s lawyer’s office. In less than 10 minutes, I had keys in hand and was on my way to meet the movers and get them working again. And the call we were waiting for? It came 45 minutes later. Mom’s movers asked if they could bring me along to every move!

Speaking of the movers, Seniors on the Move Niagara was unlike any company I’ve ever encountered in my own dozen-or-so moves. They were clean, friendly, patient, professional, nice to each other and to my Mom. Two women and I spent hours trying to make the place look more like a home than a pile of boxes and they were focused on the task and concerned only for my Mom’s comfort.

Mom handled it all like a trooper. I think she has some Energizer Bunny DNA. In the evening, sweaty and hungry, we visited the local Tims drive-thru for dinner and made a trip to the old house on our own. We found a couple of forgotten items and did a final walk-through of the place we all called home for so long. To the naked eye it was cavernous and still, but for to me, it was packed full of memories of my Dad. In his final months, he worried about Mom getting relocated and settled. He kept reminding us to take care of things for her. My brother spent weeks preparing the old place for the new owners. My greatest trick was playing dumb. Dad would have thought it was funny, and called it a job well done.



1 thought on “Playing Stupid”

  1. Aw, I’m so glad all went well, considering. Wish your mom a Happy Housewarming for us and congrats to you all on this big step!

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