Over the years, almost every single time we made a move it was Annie’s doing. I grew up in the same house for the first 18 years of my life and I really liked letting my roots take hold. I really hated moving.

Annie on the other hand just loved the adventure of having a new space. She loved, weeks before the move rooting through closets and cupboards seldom used; finding things that had been put away and now could be useful or things that should have been tossed out last move. Annie never threw anything away though. At least it seemed as if she never threw anything away.

The current move was no exception. Like I said, Annie has been behind every single move I have made since she came into my life 16 years ago. The first one happened just a few months after I got Annie. She ran away two weeks before we had to move and returned the night before we moved out. I thought she was gone for good but I was mistaken and later found out she was making plans.

That move was a sudden and unexpected. Long story short our house was being sold and turned into a parking lot. We did not even get a full 30 day notice on that one. Rentals were scarce but the real estate agent had an apartment for rent.
Because my time was running short, I had no chance to be choosy, and with misgivings put my money down on an upper apartment located in a big old house which probably was a farm house once upon a time. It was huge and sprawling; four apartments in the main house and two additional ones in the part of the house that seemed to be added on. With the little stream running along side it next to what may have been a barn, it looked really out of place with a grocery store to the left, a furniture place on the right and directly across the street, burgers sold by a King; a creepy looking King who has changed over the years.

None of that even bothered me though. It was the fact that, Annie rarely picked an apartment where I could just pack my stuff and move from one place to another. There was only a couple places that I moved to where I was able to just move in without having to clean, paint and disinfect the place I was moving into. Annie loved picking the most horrible run down beat up places that took me almost a month to clean, fix up and repair before moving in.

Annie said she did this to save me from having to pay a security, but most of the time I think it would have been easier to just pay the security. Sometimes though I paid the security and still had to clean.
That first apartment set the bar of my future homes and Annie tried to raise it each time. The real estate agent said I could move in on a certain date but at the last minute it was delayed. The current tenants were moving downstairs but had not moved yet because the downstairs tenants had not moved out, and I already have everything switched in my name. I pointed out repairs that were needed, cleaning and painting. We wound up having to help pack and move the current tenants downstairs and the only thing that got done was painting, around all their pictures, and knick-knacks on the shelves in the kitchen. There was even the outline of a can of shaving cream above the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. There was feces on the floor and a legit black stripe around the tub. I had to take it, I’d paid and I had no other place to go.
It was horrible there, the guy next door, looked like a blonde Charlie Manson with two creepy kids. He never changed his cat litter just added more, Annie used to go visit she called his litter box, Mt. Poopulous. Apparently he is quite rich now because Annie bought the whole thing for her poop factory. She said they are still making high quality diamonds out of it.

The whole place smelled like poop and rotten burned chicken. We could see into the neighbors bathroom because of the hole by the tub and their smells rose into ours. Plus, it was always like 190 degrees. Heat was included with the rent and the downstairs tenants kept it hot. We had our windows open 24/7 in the middle of winter. We stayed just four months and I found a good place.
Annie liked it there though it was where Nobert was born. Plus she was busy then, making plans for her poop factory. After that, it was all down hill. The place that had a wood stove, so I smelled like bacon daily, the place we took 18 bags of garbage out of and had swear words and odd pictures painted on the floor, then the filthy haunted house above a garage-

That was another thing was Annie liked; spooky houses. Former occupants who still resided in a place in transparent form was always a plus for Annie. Haunts, filth and stench were Annie’s three favorite must haves. Our current residents fit that bill, two apartments actually , one in the front and one in the back; the apartment that faced the front had a lovely patriotic kitchen painted red white and blue but sometime in the seventies and the only reason we moved in the back was because, it was bigger.
I can actually hear Annie’s voice coming out of the landlord’s mouth when he was trying to sell me on it, “Picture the possibilities!” He said as he spread his arms wide each hand touching the wall one either side. I should have known better than to trust a guy wearing cut off work pants really short and knee socks with moccasins but this was a situation where I had to move.

I had a nice place on the East side, one of the few places I picked. The haunted house above the garage had issues with the electric. Otherwise we probably would have lived there forever. So because I picked it was a nice place, I loved it a lot. Annie didn’t, she had an issue with a squirrel who climbed our fire escape and that was the end of that. Annie paid the dog to bark all day, forcing us to have to move here a place where a barking dog wouldn’t matter but because Jewel had an animal shelter started downstairs and 6 dogs doing the twilight bark even when it wasn’t twilight. Annie liked the area, and since her poop factory was around the corner she could easily transport the millions of pounds of poop produced by those dogs on a yearly basis.

The current move was not just by Annie’s choice because I learned after Annie gave notice we were moving, that the building was being sold. Annie may have already known that was going to happen because she records everyone and everything.
The new place was right on board with Annie’s must haves. The fridge full of food unplugged, with temperatures starting to rise was the best part, Annie said because she could now complete her collection of air fresheners called ‘Household stench’, and she took samples for her fungi collection, 7000 petri dishes growing spores Annie said would be on display.

There was also a huge swarm of flies that seemed to darken the place. It was farm country so the flies tend to be bigger. Annie said it is because they get good eats out there in the field when the manure spreader is going. Annie nixed anyone hanging fly stickers though.

‘Them are mine,” Annie cried, pointing at the swarm of buzzing flies. “Hey Floyd!” Annie screamed and waved.

“Annie no one keeps bugs as pets,” I said.

“Aunt Tammy-Roar does, she has bees.”

“They aren’t pets, Annie,” I explained. “Bees are useful they make honey.”

“Slam,” Annie began, I could already tell she was going to educate me on some sort of scientific fact because she put her glasses on the end of her nose and her mortar board on her head. “Flies are useful, they buzz, they block out the evil sun when their swarm is big enough AND they eat all that food we don’t want to eat.” She glared at me then shrugged her gown covered shoulders.

Plus Annie and Duh-Wayne had been hanging out there while we moved things. They had a small picnic, which brought in ants that Annie needed. They filled squirt guns with manure and squirted each other with them inside the apartment, because they wouldn’t be able to do it once my stuff got there because I wouldn’t allow it (Annie said in a sarcastic voice), Annie had the chickens and the goats in for a sleep over and Duh-Wayne brought chickens too and a mule he had rented for the weekend. The mule’s name was Ralph and he smoked a cigar and wore a straw hat. He and Coral exchanged numbers. Plus Annie had read some story on the internet about some cows getting into a brand new house and hanging out for a few days. Guess who tried it? Thankfully she asked Unkie Rov first and he agreed to only two; baby ones.

Annie had been bragging for weeks that she out did herself on this one. She did; so cleaning and painting had to be done. I am not even sure how much of it was left by the previous tenants and how much was Annie’s. There were pizza boxes and fast food wrappers and moose made bottles, haystacks, and fort made out of old blankets.

“See no security, Slam. ” Annie yelled as she spread her arms out wide.

“Annie there is no way this place could get any worse.”

It was bigger, but I would have to work from home and never get away from Annie. Annie smiled every time I mentioned that. I was terrified by the whole adventure.

“Closer to Duh-Wayne, Slam,” Annie said nudging me with her elbow. “And dear Curry and the girls. Oh and Chuckles of course.”

Duh-Wayne and Spam were at our house all the time, although Spam had been busy packing things up at the poop factory.

Yes we had to move that too. Annie claimed she liked to get up in the morning and inhaling the scent of her poop factory. There were several defunct old factories in the area that Spam had been dusting and cementing back together for Annie to transfer her poop factory to. Duh-Wayne was filling tankers with poop.

In addition to all of that, we had to move all of Annie’s back yard things, like the junk yard, the Nascart, the bowling alley, the sugar shack, the golf course just acres and acres of Annie’s “If I don’t get this, don’t tempt me, Slam.” There was no way we could teleport it, according to Annie. Getting a moving van or a moving company or a fleet of semis, was a dumb idea, we could just move everything in the car. Grandfather and Duh-Wayne agreed. Why did I have this family?

I just couldn’t wait to start this move.

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