Men are really wonderful, even when proud, stubborn and a little bit pig-headed.

By Margaret Lindsay Holton

I recently moved.  And, as anyone who has been through this anxious ordeal knows, moving, if not carefully planned out, can be a logistical nightmare. In preparation, I had meticulously prepared what was going where, sorted which boxes were to go to what specific location, marked said boxes for the movers in black and red markers, and basically got ‘mover ready’. I was determined to leave behind a clean empty house.

Two items were of concern. I was taking two appliances with me. Item one was a 1997 washing machine (worked perfectly) and item two was a bulky Maytag refrigerator that had a deep lower fridge portion, (which I liked and wanted.) Both items were large, cumbersome and very heavy. Both were going to need two strong movers using an appliance dolly to get them out.

I measured the door opening between the kitchen-dining room area to make sure that the appliances would fit through on route to the truck, and discovered, yes, the washing machine would fit, no problem, but no, the fridge frame was too wide by a quarter inch. Thus, the doors of the refrigerator would have to come off.  In the basement, I found the prefect sized wrench to remove the door bolts and put it on top of the fridge, with a small plastic bag for the disassembled bits, ready too for the movers.

The big day arrived. On Wednesday, August 1st. at 9am, after emptying the contents of the refrigerator into a cooler, I went and got the 14’ U-Haul cube truck. I gingerly backed up the beastie so that the cavernous back would open up unfettered to the front door. I rolled the appliance dolly into the kitchen. I was ready for the ‘movers’. Everything was ‘on schedule.’

Never argue with man and his tape measure. © Photography by Margaret Lindsay Holton

Bonus. The first of three strong male movers arrived early. He asked me what I wanted him to do first. I told him that the doors on the refrigerator had to come off so that it would go out the kitchen into the dining room to get to the front door and out to the truck. He looked at the door opening and said, “Naw. It will fit. Just remove the refrigerator handles, not the whole doors.” I handed him the tape measure, and said, “You might want to double check that.”  Miffed that I would challenge his perceptual acuity, he briskly measured the width and depth of the fridge, and measured the width of the door opening. “SEE?” said he, “Lots of room!  We only have to remove the handles, not the entire doors.”  “Are you SURE?”  said  I. “ABSOLUTELY”, said he, as he pointedly placed the tape measure back on the counter.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, never argue with a man and a tape measure. I left him as he began to remove only the refrigerator door handles and went upstairs to finish tidying up there.

When I returned to the kitchen, the two other movers had arrived. All three of them were trying to jimmy the now handle-less refrigerator strapped onto the appliance dolly out through the kitchen-dining room door opening. The dolly was screeching back and forth on the kitchen linoleum as they took one run after another. All were giving instructions: ‘Go left a bit. Go back a foot. Go right 2 inches. Got it here. Go forward. Go left a few centimeters. Go back.’ But still, the refrigerator would not fit through. I meekly suggested that maybe they should take off the entire refrigerator doors. This suggestion was abruptly dismissed. Instead, the MEN decided it would be “Easier & Quicker” to just remove the kitchen-dinning room door off its swing hinge, (rather than unstrap the securely bound refrigerator from the dolly.)  I left them to it.

Door handles © Photography by Margaret Lindsay Holton

An hour later, the move had ground to a halt. Two of the guys, (not the guy who had  measured the refrigerator), were fixated on removing the kitchen-dining room swing door from its upper and lower sockets. That old wooden door, painted several times during the decades, was deeply embedded into the door frame. Without electrical tools on hand, prying loose those old painted over screws and pulling out those old embedded socket hinges demanded dogged determination and a strong set of hands. Another strong set were needed to hold the heavy door level. It was proving to be hard work just to get that door off.

And where was the guy who had so confidently said to remove ONLY the refrigerator door handles?

I found him, a big strong sweating man, on the other side of the swing door, in the dining room.  He too had stopped carrying stuff to the truck.  Instead, somewhat sheepishly, he was very carefully vacuuming up all the aged paint and wood bit chips that were flying off that stuck door and frame as the other two struggled to set that old door free.

It was a poignant vignette.  In that instant, I concluded that men really are wonderful, even though they can be proud, stubborn and even a little bit pig-headed.

Margaret Lindsay Holton is both an environmentalist and an acerbic social activist.  She is an artist of some renown and the designer of  a typeface.  She is also a photographer and the holder of opinions she will share with you in an instant.   She appears as an Our Burlington columnist every two weeks.





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