Rendered Fat Content


Leon Bibel: Red Hot Franks (1938)
"I sound like a steam locomotive coming."

My hand truck must be the most useful tool I own. I bought it back when I often found myself Schlepping shipping boxes to the post office in preparation for another workshop but I've found uses for it far beyond Schlepping shipping boxes. I use it in the yard, for instance, instead of a wheelbarrow. This move that might never end has daily benefitted from my hand truck's presence, for This Grand Refurbishment might just as easily be called The Grand Schlep, since we seem to have moved everything we own several times since it started and we have not yet seen the end of it. With my hand truck, though, I don't have to lift much to tote a lot, something my back sincerely appreciates. Just yesterday, I moved all my books again, for something like the fourth time since we "moved in" last March. I'll move them at least once more before I'm finally ably to unbox and display them, each move made easier by my ever-present hand truck.

Everything's a Schlep.
We're not just painting, not just laying floor, we're Schlepping first and also last. I hired goons to move the seventy-one boxes of vinyl planking into the house and up to the second floor. The whole operation utterly depended upon that three thousand pound delivery. Disposing of the empty boxes was also a schlep. Baseboards made the long trip out to the Pop-up Paint Shop and back on my back. So did all those doors. The first few doors, I carefully transported using my handy hand truck, but the later ones, I just hefted onto my back. Over the two or three months between starting that job and finishing it, I recognize that I became a genuine beast of burden. I'm no donkey. I could always see what was coming. I hesitated to reengage each morning and more or less limped away from every evening, since it some days sure seems that all I ever contributed to this Refurbish must have been Schlepping.

Here, let me fetch that for ya.

Back when The Muse and I traveled for our work, we adopted a strict You Packed It, You Schlep It Rule. This stipulation encouraged a certain minimalism when packing and also helped discourage me from volunteering to step in and carry something The Muse had packed, like any decent gentleman should. Civility aside, Schlepping becomes serious business if you travel for business. All the personal possessions one has access to for the duration of the excursion need Schlepping and one cannot necessarily depend upon a bellhop being handy in this DIY culture. The first act of every workshop we ever delivered was The Schlep. The final act was the same in reverse, packing up and carting away. No better preparation for anything than Schlepping something first. However masterful we ever were as teachers, we were much better Schleppers than teachers.

The Schlepper fulfills an unnamed role, an invisible responsibility, one that just comes with every territory. It tends to be the effort most likely left out of every estimate as we focus upon the painting to the exclusion of the enabling Schlepping. It's not even mostly about fetching stuff from shops, the seemingly daily trip to The Despot and the paint store. It's more the aimless wandering from room to room to room when somebody, probably me, left some tool somewhere it didn't belong. I might spend half of most days wandering trackless wildernesses seeking a screwdriver or a hammer and then Schlepping it back. I noticed that I had an entourage as I began mounting doors, a pile of tools I'd likely need had started following me around from room to room to room. Actually, I'd been Schlepping those tools from room to room to room, attempting to preemptively avoid the searching. I sound like a steam locomotive coming.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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