When we buy this cabin, we know that it is remote in the same way that we know the preamble to the Constitution; I can sing that we-the-people song all day long but I don’t really what the hell I’m talking about. Of course, we’d driven there – once. But we’d driven a lot of other places that day so we only knew it as a place that was on the way to someplace else. And because we were following Janie Our Real-Tor in her Ford F150 pickup, hauling ass like a northern Minnesota Ricky Bobby, we weren’t even navigating. Just following. It was like driving an arcade game where you just respond to the things directly in front of you – like explosions, meteors, assassins – and steer the wheel so that you don’t die. We don’t actually know where we are going or what’s up ahead because we are just trying to keep up with Ricky Bobby Our Real-Tor.
And now I know why it’s necessary to haul ass in the north woods; if you don’t go fast, you’ll never get anywhere.
Plus, it was still winter so there was a “this isn’t what it’s normally like” quality to the surroundings – although since it was April and still the middle of winter I would argue that WINTER is what it is normally like. I just wasn’t paying attention and translating this information into a delivery scenario. The driveway was still hip deep in snow and the trees on either side were leafless so there was no way to visualize how the simple addition of leaves would turn the snowy driveway into a narrow tunnel. I was so focused on pulling each foot out of the snow and finding a nice crusty spot to put it down again where I wouldn’t fall through and get buried alive like that made-for-tv-movie starring John Ritter and the girl who played Bess on the Mary Tyler Moore Show (I could’ve just made that up but it sounds really familiar to me) that I didn’t even notice that the driveway was really fucking long. And steep. And definitely not passable by a delivery truck.
My first wake-up call comes when I try to arrange for the delivery of a new septic tank in May. “Sorry,” says septic tank man, “but the road won’t be open to trucks until May 27th.”
“What are you talking about? My road isn’t closed. I just drove on that road last week.”
“It’s not closed to all traffic – just large scale vehicles that could turn the road into a muddy sinkhole and compromise it’s structure as it’s thawing.”
“Oh.” I did not know that. When we were flying down that dirt road behind Janie Our Real-Tor, it didn’t occur to me that it could stand between me and all the cool stuff I could order someday.
But I persevere because I know that Grizzly Adams and Johnny Appleseed and all of those types of people all had things like beds and furniture, and don’t kid yourselves and think that they wouldn’t have Amazon Prime memberships today because they totally would. Maybe they used the Clydesdales or something but SOMEONE had to get them their stuff. Grizzly Adams didn’t just lie down on a rock and say, “Well, I guess this is how it goes.”
So when I give my credit card to the lady at Slumberland and tell her that my delivery address is in the boonies, I actually know about this little road restriction thing but, because it sounds wacky and completely unfamiliar to me, I’m able to pretend that it doesn’t really apply to me. We settle on an exact delivery date, none of this “between Christmas and Easter and sometime in the 12 noon to 12 midnight” business. This is important because I don’t live at my cabin. Meaning I’m not there every day. And I’m finding that it’s very difficult for customer service representatives to understand this little nugget of info; as in I’M NOT THERE. You HAVE to deliver it when I’m there or my delivery could sit outside in the elements for weeks, slowly turning into compost. Slumberland gets this; they say May 22nd. And I hope and pray that they mean it.
I arrive at the cabin on the appointed day and I’m happy to see that there are no mattresses in the woods. So I sit down and wait eagerly for my delivery. I’m a little nervous because it is not yet May 27th, when the road supposedly opens to trucks (whatever!). I figure if I don’t mention this obstacle to the Slumberland people, then it doesn’t exist.
Knock knock knock…….two smiley guys wearing Slumberland tee shirts! Yay!
“Hello, there, ma’am, so we have a little problem there that might be a little bit of a bugger.”
Shit. “Is it the road? Did you fall in a sinkhole?” God, I am such a bad person!
“No, no, the road is no problem there but it appears that your driveway is. It gets a little narrow there and I’m afraid our truck is just too big to pass. We’re hung up on a tree branch about halfway up.”
My mind starts going into solution mode; what should I do? Maybe I can cut down the tree? With my plastic knife from Arby’s? But the smiley Slumberland dude is way ahead of me.
“So I guess we’ll just have to walk those mattresses up here. I just wanted to let you know.” He acts like it’s no big deal, like they portage mattresses every day.
And given our location, maybe they do.
They grab those mattresses and hoist them overhead and trudge up the steep, dangerously muddy incline, smiling the whole time like they’re winning a Paul Bunyan contest or something. Like they’re just going for a walk – with mattresses. I am in awe of them. My life is so damn easy. I haven’t even taken anything to the basement since I got married. I give them each fifty bucks and consider my life better for having known them.
It was hard but we have beds. And it was NOT impossible. I am invincible! I am so invincible that I will place my next order with Ikea!
(insert Greg Brady tiki music here. or maniacal laughter. it’s your choice.)