“Damn you Warrior Woman!!”  I cursed at the painting on the living room wall as I grabbed for the toe I just stubbed on the couch leg.  Her big eye just stared at me, her bright red lips pursed as if she could attack at any second.  She looked so much more peaceful in the window of the art gallery in Belize.  Now I thought she was plotting to kill me…slowly.  I chuckled nervously and got back to packing.

We load up the washer and dryer on the Uhaul.  They are the last two heavy items to go to storage.  I look around the condo.  It’s in disarray, with shit everywhere, like we just moved in.  WTF!  We’ve been packing and moving for three weeks.  This is ridiculous!  Then I remember the blood running through my veins and how my family likes to joke that my grandma collects collections.  And my mom is definitely going to make that quilt out of my old elementary school sports jerseys one of these days.  I realize I just can’t help that I have so much stuff.  I know that walking stick collection will come in handy one day.

I look around for Graclyn desperate for an excuse to get away from the never-ending packing.
“Babe, want to go return the dolly to Sam?”
“Sure, packing sucks.  Want a beer before we go?”
“Yes!”  She’s a mind reader.

We drive to Sam’s to return the dolly.  He’s living at his fiancé’s place now.  It’s massive, and he’s proud to give me the tour of his new digs.  My boy’s moving up in the world!  We’re upstairs looking out over the hills of Far West, when his fiancé comes running upstairs in a panic.

“Come down now!”  “Tank”, “leg”, her words are muffled, and she’s clearly freaked.  We rush downstairs to find Graclyn with a gaping hole in her leg.  The blood is pumping out, and she is doing her best to suck up the obvious pain.  She had just been bitten by Tank, a giant beast of a dog that weighs about 150 pounds.  We get some hydrogen peroxide on the wound and wrap it, then rush to an urgent care.

I’m sitting in the car in the parking lot fighting off tears as I talk to Graclyn’s parents, telling them about our latest woes, not knowing whether Graclyn will be able to swim, hike, or move around on the houseboat trip we are going on with my Cousin and his family in a few days.

I hang up and slump back in the seat. “Damn you Warrior Woman!!” I’m not sure if the words were screamed outwardly or only on the inside. Either way, the Universe could hear me. Graclyn didn’t deserve this, we didn’t deserve this. We were only a month or so removed from having to cancel our around-the-world trip that we had quit our jobs for in February. Our last day was literally when the world shut down due to covid. What can I say, our timing is impeccable.

Graclyn comes out to the car. They couldn’t give her stitches because of the potential for infection. She would just have to tough it out, dress it daily, and no swimming until it was fully healed in about 6 weeks. And of course they gave her painkillers and an antibiotic, but Graclyn knows better than to take any of that crap.

“FML”, she exclaimed as she hobbled into the car careful not to aggravate the massive wound on the inside of her upper thigh. I knew packing was off the table for the rest of the day, even though we were technically supposed to be out of the condo by the morning. I called up our friends Preston and Kelsey and explained our situation. They understood, and began making margaritas.

We went by the house, dropped the car, and Ubered over. Sometimes you just gotta say screw it, and drink your woes away. We had a great night, all things considered. God bless friends and their willingness to be there for you when you really need them.

We wake up at 9 am to the phone alarm beeping in my bedroom. I kiss Graclyn and tell her to lay in bed and rest. I know the day is going to be hell packing with 1.5 people. I go to the bathroom to pee, and the light is out. I try the bedroom light; it’s out too. I go downstairs and try the living room light hoping that somehow the upstairs lights are a fluke and the power really isn’t out. Nope, the power is indeed out.

I stand there, hands on hips, soaking in the notion that the utility company had turned the power off because we said we were going to be out of the condo by that day. Really, electric company?! At 9 am!

I look up to find Warrior Woman gazing upon me with her evil eye and smirking lips, as if she’s the Mona Lisa of my misery. “You bitch,” I whisper under my breath fearful to curse her with conviction lest she will more ill upon us.

By the time I dealt with the utility company and the power was turned back on, it was 4 pm. At this point, we just started dropping stuff in boxes and marking them miscellaneous. My landlord, who is good people, appreciated the situation and gave us an extra day to get out. Graclyn, God bless her, trooped through the pain all day and into to the night packing and schlepping what she could out to the car.

Eventually, after our fifth storage run, we were almost out. We crashed on Preston and Kelsey’s couch, and went back the next morning to consummate the move out by sweeping the last dust bunnies off the living room floor and toasting to the good times in the’04 with a glass of Bellstar, our go-to bubbles.I glanced at the now-blank wall where Warrior Woman used to hang and brood. Maybe now that her evil eye was no longer upon us, we could be at peace. I locked the door for good. That peaceful thought would soon prove fleeting…