I sold my big huge Steelcase desk on Etsy the other day and had it shipped to Stockton. Stockton is about 400 miles away. Shipping a hundred pounds of steel is no small feat. Thankfully, the buyer was super nice and happy to pay the exorbitant amount that shipping costs. Still, I was totally overwhelmed. How was I going to get this big honking thing from my house to the Greyhound station?!!
First we had to find a Greyhound station. This scared me because in my personal experience Greyhound stations are always in the bad part of town. I used to ride one from Hayward to Santa Cruz back when I was in college and it was creepy. Drug dealers, prostitutes, homeless people yelling at you, drug addicts…they all seemed to hang out at the Greyhound stations. But that was 1992 and Hayward was the prostitution capital of California back then. I hear it’s really fixed up now.
After I figured out where the Greyhound station was I had to get my desk out of my garage. And guess what? My garage door is broken. We don’t use the garage much because Toby’s old Volkswagen Super Beetle is housed there and it’s dying a horrible sad death because Toby works all the time now and has no time for oil changes or fixing all four flat tires. I don’t know what he plans on doing with his old car but it has sentimental value so we keep it around. Also, I’ve forgotten the combination to the lock on the broken garage door.
Then I had to find a truck to transport the desk to the Greyhound station. Toby’s van was out since he needs it every day for work. I was hoping a neighbor could help me but we couldn’t match up our schedules no matter how hard I tried. It doesn’t help that I’m constantly out of town.
I hemmed and hawed over the whole issue for days. Frankly, it put me in a bad mood. I hate having things like this hanging over my head and I’ve already had one bad experience with Etsy when I didn’t ship something fast enough so this was stressing me out. I decided it was time to call my brother.
You know what’s so great about my brother? He’ll drop everything and come rescue me. It doesn’t matter if what I’m asking him is completely inconvenient and impossible. He always finds a way.
I thought he’d drive his big old red truck but that truck isn’t insured right now and it doesn’t have registration. Also, his fuel pump went out. This is par for the course for my brother though. He’s a mechanic who likes to collect automobiles with challenges. Next he was going to drive my sister-in-law CC‘s new jeep but it was missing a part. So what does he do? He finds the part and puts the jeep back together. He borrowed a trailer from a friend and was off to my house four hours later.
I was prepared for the whole thing to fall through. There were so many obstacles. Not to mention, my life seems to be a comedy of errors these days. I tried to keep calm and carry on. Amazingly my brother and CC showed up and helped me get the desk out of my garage. (Toby remembered the combination!) Then we were off to the Greyhound station in a mad rush to make it before the bus left at 5pm. But there was traffic of course. Traffic traffic traffic.
I was so worried that we’d miss the bus and then have to do the whole thing all over again. It turns out my worries were needless though because Greyhound is pretty accommodating. If I missed that bus they’d just put it on the next. In fact, they’ll keep your furniture around for days for you. However, the desk had to be packed in cardboard because it’s in parts and the sharp edges would be a danger to other luggage during the trip. And of course the guy who packs things was not there.
So we left my desk at the Greyhound station and I came back the next morning by myself to take care of the matter. The next morning the very nice packing man was there but he charged $80 to pack it which was about $70 more than I had. I don’t know why I thought he could do it for ten bucks. I guess I’m just really dumb when it comes to shipping giant metal desks.
I made a phone call to the buyer and negotiated a bit with the packing guy. We figured out it would be cheaper if the desk was put together. My only problem was I had no way to put the desk together. I wish I kept a toolbox in my trunk but I don’t. I should also mention that I had Bug in tow. She has been extremely whiny and high-maintenance lately AND I was supposed to be at my mom’s by noon to have lunch with my Grandpa who thinks I’m mad at him if I don’t visit him regularly. Whatever, though, right? This kind of stress is just normal.
I didn’t know what to do. If I couldn’t get the desk put together would I have to call my brother and pick it back up again? The packing guy said I could borrow his screwdriver but the thought of wielding a 100 pound desk around an unfamiliar space while keeping a whiny four-year-old occupied seemed incredibly daunting. I was starting to think I should just cut my losses and leave the desk to rot at Greyhound. I’d refund the money to the buyer and just walk away…but that wasn’t a very good solution either because I love my old desk. I want it to go to a happy home!
I think the packing guy felt sorry for me because after a few minutes of me fretting he offered to put the desk together for me and pack it for only $55. Of course I only had $10 but that was quickly solved by a quick trip to an automatic teller machine in the lobby. I took out $60 and gave him the extra $5 for a tip. I wish I could have given him a twenty but I’m already losing money on this transaction and I couldn’t justify taking more money out of my already anorexic bank account.
And then I walked away. Part of me is still worrying about that silly desk. What if a screw was missing? I thought I had them all in a baggie taped inside the drawer but I didn’t take the time to double check. I just hope it gets to the buyer in one piece and I can finally take a great big sigh of relief.
BUT what I really wanted to blog about was the ride in the jeep to the Greyhound station! I was going to scrap this whole long complaining post but Bethany (my personal editor and friend) read it and told me it was worth keeping. So what I really wanted to say is: Riding in a Jeep with no windows is quite exhilarating and windy!
And hats are good!