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From the desk of Joan Duncan-Bush Photographics editor: Moving mountains — and fireproof safes

June 22, 2001

As I sit here, weary and sore but on the road to recovering from my cuts and bruises, I am nevertheless thankful. My body will eventually heal and my husband and I managed to get all of our worldly possessions moved into our new home without physically attacking each other, which is nearly what happened the last time we moved.

During our migration six years ago, tempers and patience wore wafer-thin and I am ashamed to say I ended up chasing my betrothed around the yard with a piece of board with a nail sticking out of it. He was successful in outrunning me or else I would probably be locked up right now.

This time, before we started moving anything, we entered into a "peace pact." We agreed no matter how annoyed we became with each other, we would not result to vile language or violence. We would employ the "time-out" method and both parties would withdraw from the immediate situation for a cease fire if one of us got testy and was approaching full-system meltdown.

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It is much easier said than done.

Although I am no pillar of virtue, my husband is not blessed with patience. He is used to working around a bunch of men and the continuous noise of heavy machinery where the men must yell commands because otherwise they cannot hear each other. He is conditioned to yell. I don't fault him for that. Oh, and did I forget to mention the hand signals? There are special hand signals men use to communicate with each other when they are moving things. As I am ignorant of these signals, I ended up having to devise a few of my own, a couple of which I could only use when my husband's back was turned.

I got used to his yelling and he tried to get used to working with a helper who was not up to par with his compadres.

I am proud to say that between just the two of us, we managed to load and relocate all of our heavy appliances and the "holy of holies," his storage shed full of all his special man goodies. In fact, all went rather swimmingly until … the last day of the move.

I had removed everything from our old domicile except for my husband's fireproof safe. It had been parked in the closet of my son's old room for several years and my husband assured me he had lined up a buddy to come help him lift the thing into a vehicle when he got ready to move it.

Well, imagine my surprise when the zero hour arrived and his safe-moving buddy was a no-show.

At this point, I already felt like I had been through an Ultimate Fighting bout and been body slammed and hammered on by someone the size of Hulk Hogan. There was no way I was going to try to lift that safe. My husband decided otherwise.

He grunted as he pushed and pulled it into the living room so it could be taken out the front door. He really thought he was going to make me lift it. He even tried to assure me, "It's not as heavy as it looks." Bull.

After days of straining and man-handling boxes, furniture and appliances, I had no strength left in my muscles. He wanted me to squat down and "LIFT WITH MY LEGS!" I couldn't get down far enough to get under the thing, especially with my bad hip!

But, I gave it the old college try and guess what? I couldn't lift that stupid safe more than a couple inches off the floor. My incompetence incensed my exasperated husband.

We were both sweating profusely and dangerously close to getting ready to rumble.

TIME OUT. TIME OUT.

Thinking quickly on my feet, I suggested he call and see if one of his friends or my brother, who lived nearby, were at home to come help us.

Thank you Lord, for the invention of the cell phone and God bless you, my dear brother, for being home and for saving me from that blasted fireproof safe.

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