[Spoiler Alert: There is no ugly and the bad turned out okay in the end]
And this is really good! I woke to the news this morning that Audible, as part of their 20th anniversary celebrations, have announced the creation of a Narrators’ Hall of Fame. And one of the 20 (plus 1) inaugural inductees is… roll on the drums, please…
Here’s a link to the official page at Audible (click here) and you’ll see I’m named as one of a group of most excellent narrators. From the established and famous (Edward Herrmann, Alan Cummings and Jim Dale) to the relatively new and not-so-famous (Andi Arndt and Vikas Adam) – well, not-so-famous yet.
I talked about awards a few days ago and while there are similarities here I think it’s fair to say that I find this more gratifying than an armful of awards for single books as this is a judgment across a career. I’ve been around a long time (for a so far short-lived industry) and, if it doesn’t sound too proud (and even if it does I’ll say it), it’s possible I would have been a little miffed to have been passed over.
I’m so happy to be part of this glorious group of talented people. My wife and I just came off FaceTime (an iPhone video call) with Andi Arndt who had confessed that she had no-one to celebrate with (husband and kids being elsewhere) and raised a glass of champagne to/with her… The champagne was not entirely to celebrate being a HoFer (Hall-of-Famer) – we opened that for reasons that will become clear in the second half of this blog (yes, it’s the 30th of 30 – the last blog of this writing challenge).
Have you ever had a day where things start to go so wrong at the beginning that there comes a point where you want to just give up but can’t because you’re already halfway committed to a particular course of action but there seems no way it’s going to happen at all so let’s forget the whole thing but then you know you’ll have to start the ball rolling again in a few weeks and you just can’t face going through all this again because you thought today was the last time you’d need to deal with this?
Today was that sort of day… [Warning: I do go on a bit but am too tired to edit]
The plan was to pick up a U-Haul truck at a handy location (all pre-booked) at 8am and take it to the storage facility where the last of our furniture and boxes were stored (we sold our house in the Bay Area last December, bought this house near Pasadena in March and this was the last of our stuff that we needed to bring down). We had also arranged for two guys from a local company (booked through U-Haul) to come help us load – they were due at 9am at the storage facility. We were going to empty this last storage space and head south to make it home by dinner time. We’d done this before with excellent results. So…
We got to the U-Haul… “Uh, no. I’m showing you have a 15′ truck booked at [another location] for 9am”. It was a 10 minute drive away, no big deal. But we were a little late already and we had these guys coming at 9am (all prepaid) and, anyway, what the…!? We booked it. Why had they moved it…and to a later time? Do you have a truck here we could take? “Unfortunately we have nothing here …” Remember this response.
We drove to the ‘new’ location. It was a Postal Annex with a desk for a U-Haul representative. We could see it through the locked glass door in the dim light… The sign on the door said it opened at 1pm (I’m sorry? What the…?). I called the original location. Told them it didn’t open till 1pm. I very nicely explained that the timing wouldn’t work for us.
Oh, by the way… I checked for emails that perhaps I hadn’t caught that might have indicated the changes… there were none. However, on the drive over to the new location a text message and email dropped onto my phone telling me about the reservation at the new location at the new time. So good of them to let me know.
The woman I had called at the original location while standing outside the new location said “Oh, yes. At 9am you need to call the U-Haul ‘traffic’ number and they’ll tell you where there’ll be a truck available”… I’m sorry? What the…!? (I know, this is getting repetitive). I happen to know that the nearest ‘other’ U-Haul locations are quite some distance away. We have 2 guys booked and paid for coming at 9am. This is not looking good. I ask to speak to customer service. Halfway through that call I get one from the two guys booked to help us move: They’ve been rear-ended and are talking to the CHP at the site of the accident… They won’t make it. Um. Hm. I… Okay. Are you okay? They’re okay. I say, not to worry, U-Haul have completely messed up our booking (I may have used stronger language) so you two take care of yourselves and your situation and we’ll cancel the whole thing.
In that moment I had decided my wife and I had wasted the weekend (although we did get to see my boys and other friends and we do miss the Bay Area, so not a complete waste) and we should just drive home (taking the Christmas decorations from storage in the car). Then find another weekend in the coming months when we could make the trip again… Meanwhile paying in excess of $250 a month for the storage facility… ARRRGGGHHH!
My wife, being the epitome of patience and poise that she is, suggested we try the U-Haul ‘traffic’ number just in case they had something that we could make work… I hummed, I hawed, I frowned. But then I called, and the very nice lady said there was a truck available in… Dublin (30 minutes drive away). I wanted to cancel again, but my wife looked at me in that way she has and I said, Okay, we’ll take it (it was so late my son may be finished from work in time for him and a friend to come and help us load and we’d be so very late getting home, but…).
“Oh, wait. I’m seeing a 15′ truck available at [our original location]… would you like that?” Erm, yes? …Please?…Thank you, I think? So we drove back to where we started while my wife called back the company that sends out moving helpers and we got two new guys to meet us at 11am.
And from there it was plain sailing.
So here we are, finally. Late in the evening at our one and only home in Altadena after over four years of travelling up and down between northern and southern California (thirteen for my wife). We have just the one house and no furniture or boxes anywhere but here.
Home. At last.
I think that calls for champagne.
PS. I guess it did all end with a bang rather than a whimper. The 30 day writing challenge, I mean. I can’t believe I made it. I have no idea what’s to come. I hope I can build on this and keep up the head of steam I’ve created. What I do may not always be as visible as this daily blog but I’ll try to keep you updated. It’s been good.
The future is unknown… and that’s the way I like it. 🙂