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Still half asleep, Patricia opened her eyes and glanced at the alarm clock. Too early. Next to her, Joe slept soundly. She tried to doze but the excitement struck her. One last hurdle, then bliss, it will all be over. Today our lives change forever.

She jumped out of bed. Can’t sleep in, must get moving, get the kids organized. Joe will take them to school. She started to prepare the lunch boxes. The children’s alarm clocks broke the silence. Almost finished.

Ben strolled in, still buttoning his school shirt. ‘Morning, Mum’

‘Good morning! It’s a big day. Don’t forget, you’re coming home to a new house. Where’s Sara?’

‘Sleeping,’ grunted Ben as he sat down to pour his cereal.

She walked down the passage and knocked on the door. ‘Rise and shine, it’s a big day.’

Joe’s cell phone started ringing. Who’s phoning at this time? He answered after the fourth ring. As she walked back to the kitchen all she heard was a mumbled conversation. Joe was in full business mode. Doesn’t sound good. He stepped into the kitchen looking very worried.

‘Coffee please … Got a problem. A big client, whose order we desperately need, wants to see the premises and meet me. It was all arranged for tomorrow. Hank just phoned, got to do it today. It’s a big order, Patricia.’

‘No, we’ve made plans, packed everything, cleaned the house from top to bottom. Even washed the walls and windows, inside and outside, it’s all arranged. We were looking forward to doing this together.’

‘I know! What are we going to do?’ His face darkened and his voice took on the tone she knew so well. He was flustered and worried.

She sat down drinking her coffee, thinking about what Charlotte had said to her. It was crazy. Or was it? … ‘Perhaps you don’t have to.’

‘Don’t have to do what?’ snapped Joe. ‘I need that order, turnover’s down, that order will keep us busy for a long time.’

‘I meant; you don’t have to help me.’

‘We’re supposed to do it together.’

‘I know, but the big new house is gonna cost more. Take that customer out to lunch, we need the order.’ The more she talked, the more it made sense.

‘Not what I planned. Are you sure?’

‘No! but you need to focus on the new client and get that order, not be worrying about me. We have no choice.’

He took a deep breath and let it out forcefully. ‘Okay, but I will keep my cellphone on me. Any problems, please phone.’

‘I’ll be okay,’ It felt like a lie, but she was determined to make it the truth.

Just then, Sara wandered into the kitchen. Her school dress was all skew.

‘Sara! When are you going to learn to get dressed?’ Patricia bent down and tidied her up. ‘Now listen guys, Dad will take you to school. Granny said she will pick you up after school and bring you home to our new house. Say goodbye to this house.’

Joe looked worried as they said their goodbyes.

‘Don’t worry, it will be okay! Ah! Can you pick up some takeaways on the way home?’

‘Yes, that’s the least of the day’s problems,’ said Joe.

She watched them leave and then it struck her. Well, I’ve done it. Haven’t moved for ten years and that was before we had all the kids’ stuff.

She glanced at her watch. Half an hour before they arrive. Better not shower. She changed and then packed all the breakfast stuff, their bedding and toiletries into the last few boxes. The house no longer looked like a home. She decided to wait outside until they arrived.

Her stomach was full of butterflies as she sat in a garden chair. What have I done? She started to tap her feet. Hope it goes okay. A large truck pulled up outside the house. After a lot of shouting the big doors opened and the team stood ready. She spotted a man with a clipboard who she assumed to be the supervisor.

‘Morning,’ she greeted. ‘Patricia.’

The man looked about forty and overweight. ‘Hans,’ he answered.

‘My husband has an urgent meeting; he’ll be back later.’

‘No problem, the guys know what to do.’

‘Sure they won’t leave anything behind?’

‘Na! I’ll check once they finish loading, and you can also check before we leave.’

‘Is all this going to fit in the truck?’ she asked as they stood in the lounge having completed their inspection.

‘Let’s hope the salesman who quoted you got it right. The guys know how to pack a truck’


‘Done it loads of times. I will put a sticker on every item and then mark my list. When we unload, I will cross them off the list again. That way we will be sure that everything that was loaded has been unloaded.’

Hans ordered some men to start loading all the stuff from the garage and outside. He placed himself by the front door and put a sticker on every item as it came out of the house and then he ticked his list.

As each bedroom was emptied she started to vacuum the carpet. At about lunchtime the house was empty.

Halfway, getting there.

Hans approached her. ‘Let’s walk and check everything.’

They strolled through all the rooms. The house was empty, except for the echoes of the heavy furniture that had left small indentations in the carpet, and even those would disappear in a few days.

‘Looks good, your guys know how to pack.’

‘We’ve all been doing it for ages.’

‘Have you been with the company for long?’ she asked.

‘Only a couple of years. I was with Mega-movers for about twenty years. But I like being with a smaller company, more personal, and connecting with the customers.’

‘Can I have your cell number?’

‘No problem.’ Hans rattled off his number.

She wrote it down and then handed over another piece of paper. ‘The address of the new house, it’s not far. I’ll take the keys to the estate agents. Can I meet you there? Must finish cleaning the carpets.’

‘No problem.’

She started to vacuum the lounge. It’s easy with no furniture. After she finished there was enough time to stroll through the empty house and say her goodbyes. It felt emptier than it looked. She walked into the lounge. Spent a lot of time here, with friends and parties. Our first family Christmases. She recalled the children’s excitement as they opened their presents from Father Christmas.

As she walked down the passage, she ran her hand down the wall where they had marked the children’s heights. They grow up so fast. Ten years have passed in a blur. Exciting times.

But there was a whole new life ahead. A better house with a big garden, swimming pool and a gazebo. That was something to look forward to. She locked the door and walked to her car. Goodbye house, thank you.

When she got to the new house, the movers were sitting under a tree having their lunch.

Hans walked up to her. ‘As they bring the stuff in, can you show them which room to put it in? You don’t want to be moving furniture tonight.’

‘Yeah, fantastic, thanks.’

She stood near the front door. The next few hours were hectic. Hans stood with his clipboard and ticked off every item as it was carried into the new house. Her nervous butterflies had long gone. She enjoyed the activity. The hours slipped by.

Suddenly, Ben was standing at the door. ‘Kid’s bedroom,’ she said automatically.

‘Mum, it’s me!’ squealed Ben.

‘Oops, sorry.’ She leant down and kissed him. ‘Where’s Sara and


‘They’re coming now.’

‘The guys are nearly finished, stay out of their way as you explore’.

‘Hello dear,’ said her mother as she walked in, holding Sara’s hand.

‘Hi Mum, it’s been hectic. Don’t suppose you could make the kids’ beds? The bedding is in the room.’

‘No problem. Come Sara; let’s find your new bedroom.’

The workmen came in with the last few items.

Hans beamed. ‘All done. Nice to see excited kids. Anything else?’

‘No, looks good to me, thanks, the guys did a good job.’

‘All part of the service,’ replied Hans, smiling.

She watched as Hans and the workers climbed aboard the truck and then called down the passage. ‘Mum, how’re you doing? If I can find everything, would you like a cup of tea?’

‘Yes,’ shouted her mother.

After a quick cup of tea and saying goodbye to her mother, Patricia walked around with a sense of excitement. It’s gonna be great.

Joe walked in carrying boxes of pizzas and a bottle of wine.

‘Whew! Well done! Did they move everything?’

‘Hope so. How did the meeting go?’

‘Brilliant, we signed an agreement after lunch. Got good work for months, we’ll make some money. Let’s celebrate. Drinks and pizzas in the new gazebo.’

She shouted down the passage, ‘Sara! Ben! Pizzas in the gazebo.’

After pizza and a glass of wine Patricia started to relax. ‘Nice view, very peaceful. … Been thinking, the kids are at school all day, getting bored at home. I have been home with the kids for the last ten years, nobody will give me a job. Why don’t I start my own business?’

‘Your own business!’ repeated Joe, looking bewildered.

‘Yes, a moving business. I can do it.’

After a pause, Joe smiled. ‘On the practical side, you’ll need sales, a truck, a supervisor and capital. Thanks to your help today, the truck and capital shouldn’t be a problem. What about sales and the supervisor?’

‘No problem with a supervisor. The guy today, Hans, was incredibly good, knows his job. I’ll offer him a profit share. I’m sure he will move.’

‘It’ll be hard work … But two incomes would be great. What

about sales?’

‘That also shouldn’t be a problem. Remember Charlotte, the estate agent at the Sports Club? We were chatting last week. She was encouraging me to start a local moving company. All the estate agents are desperate for a local company. I dismissed it as a crazy idea! But after today I realized that I can do it and I enjoyed it!’

‘Sounds good,’ said Joe.

‘I think it will be great. Thought of a name.’

Joe took a sip of his wine. ‘What’s the name?’

‘Mums: We Move Families.’


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