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Know Your Movers: John

 

John McKelvie is one of the most communicative guys at Bookstore Movers. He needs to be, since our Operation team’s attention tends to be in high demand. I pester John with questions multiple times a week, and with annoying (yet endearing?) ramblings even more often than that. I work with John more than any of the other operations guys, but if you call him John it will take me a while to realize who on earth you’re talking about. Since we have seen a plethora of Johns come and go since the creation of Bookstore Movers, it was important that most have a nickname to set them apart from each other and avoid wacky sitcom hijinks as much as possible. Our John McKelvie became Vermont John–VJ for short. This is what I’ve always known him by, so when I see emails addressing a phone call with John I get to sit there and think “Wrong number?” for a minute or two.

 

VJ, though, is a miracle worker. Any mistake I’ve made–and unfortunately, there are plenty– chances are VJ has had to fix, and has done so spectacularly. He’s never mean or condescending about it either, at least not to my face if he is (I appreciate it!). VJ knows just about all there is to know about moves, and still helps out on a move when needed. Some admin affectionately refer to him as a peaceful flying leopard as well–not all nicknames stick like VJ does, but who wouldn’t want to be a chill leopard cruising through the air? That’s VJ though. He’s chill. He knows what he’s doing. And what he’s doing is freaking magic.

 

Here’s another interview with one of my unproblematic faves– who still has time to become an astronaut if he wants. Just saying!

 

What is your favorite book?

Well, for childhood books it’s gotta be the Redwall series. I spent more hours reading about those endearing mice and bloodlusty badgers than I can count. But it’s tough to decide on a favorite since then. There’s a super depressing war novel called Once an Eagle that always rises to the top of my list. I also really dug the Rothfuss Kingkiller series, but that’s incomplete!

 

Can you remember the toughest item you’ve ever moved?

Hmmm, I’ll try not to cop out with piano or weight set. The anechoic chamber was pretty tough! We delivered that from a weird lab in Greenbelt to Catholic University. Another time I was moving with Beau (must’ve been way back in 2012) and we carried this monstrous couch up 5 narrow, tiny flights… but once we reached the top floor it wouldn’t through the customer’s front door. Ooh, another item that just seemed really strange at the time was when we did that massive shuffle within the Japanese embassy and we had to move a 4ft x 3ft scale model of the embassy itself. That was pretty cool, and actually one of the easier items to move on that job. The 200lb slippery file cabinets nearly resulted in several amputations–though the slippery part could be blamed on sweaty movers probably.

 

What is your favorite piece of furniture you own?

I don’t have strong feelings about most of our furniture (moving has given me a jaded view of antiques/heirlooms), so I’d have to lean towards my cozy mattress.

 

What’s your favorite way to rejuvenate after a long day?

 

I think the mattress might be a fitting response to that question as well… but I’m also in the bad habit of drinking delicious iced coffee (or even better, an iced red-eye–whoo!!) later in the day to get that second wind for finishing up work, or making dinner, or leaving my house.

 

And what is your dream vacation?

A southern hemisphere rugby tour! Exploring NZ, Aus, South Africa, and Argentina while watching the finest teams in the sport slam into each other. You know, just a casual month or two of vacation.

(Note: This interview was conducted after he already went on honeymoon to Portugal, and I for one was lost without him. Never leave us. Deny his vacation time, Matt.)

 

Do you remember your first day at BSM? Do you have any stories?

Oh man, aside from almost passing out from exhaustion in the client’s bathroom? I tried to push a handtruck loaded with book boxes up the ramp (pushing the handtruck in front of me rather than pulling it behind, a big no-no) and it rolled backward and spilled everywhere… all while my new (super mean) boss Matt was standing on the end of the truck watching. My arms started going numb after carrying book and comic book boxes down two flights. I was not in the best shape.

 

Sounds not that fun…

Definitely wasn’t! Fortunately, I didn’t collapse and I was quickly beaten into better shape.

 

What is the best thing to eat during an ops day?  What is the best thing to eat during a moving day?

Oh man, most of Ops has been on a Spice 6 kick for the last couple months–guaranteed to force a mid-afternoon nap.

 

That was definitely Aaron’s choice too!

As for during a moving day… there are so many bad options to choose from, so few good ones

I think Chipotle probably gets the most BSM business out of any food chain (though sadly, 7-Eleven is probably up there too)

 

What is your number one tip for people about to move?

When in doubt, put it in a box.

 

So there we have it: the Gospel of VJ. Put it in a box.

I did ask just a few times for him to write us a haiku, but once again the request was ignored. So once again, one will be assigned to him.

 

If you call him John

(I’m gonna be honest here)

I’ll ask you “Who dat?”

 

That’s all for this weeks interview!  Tune in next time to see if I ever, ever get someone else to write a haiku.

 

Edit: Upon reading this blog, John has submitted a haiku: 

A pre-dawn Ops shift

Hot coffee overfloweth

Where are my work friends?

 

Thanks, John! But if it’s before 7 am in Minnesota, you are on your own buddy!

 

Know Your Movers: Aaron

Hello everyone!  I’m very excited today to bring you this new series: Know Your Movers! I have had so much fun interviewing some fantastic people that I know and appreciate greatly, and I couldn’t be more pleased to introduce you to some of my amazing coworkers.

 

Matt and Aaron at a BSM Wedding!

 

Today we’ll be profiling one of the most infamous guys on our team. I remember when I first started working here and didn’t know much, I found a single note explaining that a building was having a pest problem, just to let us know.  On these notes, there are often solutions to things like difficult parking or narrow stairs.  The solution on this note?  “Bring cats.”  I can’t remember if I was more amused than I was confused, but I was definitely both those things.  I asked a coworker about the note and the only thing she had to say was: “Beckwith.”

And so, I’d like to introduce you today (with help from Founder Matt and Admin Mary) to Aaron Beckwith–our operations, moving, and bookstore triple threat.

 

Erica: What is the most difficult item you’ve ever moved?

Aaron: Oooh,  hmm. That’s tough… Apparently I’ve blocked a lot out, ‘cause I’m not coming up with a lot off the top of my head. That gun safe recently was pretty bad. The client said 600 pounds but I don’t think anyone really knows the different between 400 and 600 pounds… or at least I don’t.  I just know when i shouldn’t be trying something. Hardest stuff for me has always been situations where we have to deal with the elements like extreme heat, iced over fire escapes, monsoon conditions.

Mary (a horrified coworker): Do you really move on icy fire escapes?

Aaron: Was a long time ago… before or as one of the blizzards was hitting us.  2011 or  something.

(Please note that Bookstore Movers does not move on fire escapes or over ice, so hopefully Aaron has learned better since then.)

Matt: I’ve done a lot more hard moves than Aaron –Aaron really is a child of our “easy living era”

Aaron: Matt did have way more crazy moves than me.  Most of my moving came after we decided to use these crazy things called ‘Handtrucks’ and ‘Dollies.’

Erica: Back in Matt’s day, they moved with their bare hands in the snow uphill both ways?

Aaron: They totally did.

Matt: Oh great–Aaron concedes to me but while doing so throws an underhanded insult. It was not that long a time that I went without handtrucks! But yes, it was far longer than it should have been. I never said I was a “work smart, not hard” kind of guy–in fact I am exactly the opposite. But all of that said, Aaron did in fact help on a some of the really really early, really really crazy moves–like doing a 4 bedroom house with a 16′ truck and 2 guys.

(Please note: Matt really is a work smart guy.  He’s just also often ridiculous.)

 

Erica: What is your absolute favorite book? No cop-outs!  One title!

Aaron: I’m a total  cop-out for favorite book. I will try and get a non cop-out-ey answer though… which Matt will  surely scoff at.

 

Erica: We can come back to the hard ones.  But what is your favorite piece of furniture you own?

Aaron: Oh, the couch in my apartment is definitely #1. But I love the Poang chair too.

Matt: Yup, Aaron the Great has a great old couch.

Erica: Couch confirmed.

Aaron: I feel like Matt is setting me up for something here.

 

Erica: Or maybe you have a nice couch? Regardless, Jackie has some great questions for you Aaron; what’s your favorite way to rejuvenate after a long day?

Aaron: Nap and TMZ

Matt: Aaron and his darn TMZ. I can confirm that is true.

 

Mary: What is your dream vacation, Aaron?

Aaron: Dream vacation is tough, but right now El Yunque sounds pretty great. Drinking coffee, reading, listening to frogs, speaking terrible spanish.

[Several minutes of me excitedly talking about Puerto Rico, where my parents are from, omitted for length and also so I don’t look like even more of a nerd.]

 

Mary: Can you remember your first day at Bookstore Movers?

Aaron: Hmm, first day. I can’t remember my first move with Matt in the early days, but maybe Matt knows more about that.  

Matt: Oh god–I could write a 30-page essay about it. So so so long ago, before we had any trucks even. Just a labor and wits company.

Aaron: First real day when I was full-time was just Matt and me in mid July. We had a client with lots and lots of heavy book boxes in an outdoor walk-up, and I very nearly died on several occasions. I was sore for several days afterward. It may have been over 100 degrees, but I could be exaggerating.

Matt: You always gave all, old man.

 

Erica: What’s the best thing to eat for lunch a) during a move day, b) during an ops day, and c) doing a bookstore day?

Aaron: Food during Moving Day–taquitos of course. Bookstore Day–Sushi and Sapporo from Sizzling Express.  Ops Day–Spice 6 almost every time for me. Salad bowl (rice or naan will wreck you) with all of the veggies and tofu and spicy spices and sauces that are possible.

It’s a Chipotle-like Indian place not too far from us.

 

Erica: What is the #1 tip for people about to move?

Aaron: I feel like I have 1000 answers for that. Vacuuming can be fun. All the worst moves involve less than optimal cleanliness.  #1 regret?  Books are already packed so I can’t judge them.

 

Erica: And finally, your favorite book?

Aaron: Errrrrrghum… I guess I’ll go with Foam of the Daze by Boris Vian.

 

So there you have it! Definitely check if your local bookstore carries Foam of the Daze–and if that local store is Capitol Hill Bookstore, you may run into a familiar face or two.  Since Aaron declined to write a haiku (after much unexplained and sudden badgering about haiku writing while he was working) one has been assigned for him:

 

Books, boxes, and phones–

he’s mastered them all by now,

a Jack of all trades.

 

Until next time!

 

A Little Birdie Tweeted Me…

From packing up

 

To moving on

 

Save the stress!

 

 

Let us help with your next move–

 

 

We think you’ll be glad you did!

What Moves You: March for Racial Justice

Another week, another cause that we fiercely believe in. This week in our What Moves You series, we are proud to announce our support for the March for Racial Justice. In our day and age, it is impossible to ignore the disparities in treatment of and justice for minorities in America. The rise of social media, accessible cameras, and widespread information gives a voice to people that past generations have tried, and sometimes failed, to ignore. Because when so many people are here wholeheartedly to speak up with this voice, we cannot be ignored any longer.

 

According to The March for Racial Justice’s website, M4RJ is a black and indigenous led multi-community movement united in our demands for racial equity and justice. This includes a reversal of unjust laws, policies, and practices that hasten inequality, dehumanize people of color, and maintain white supremacy. In the past few months, racial tensions have been volatile as both man-made and natural tragedies have destroyed lives. This march is to show solidarity and demand change.

 

To us, this is not a radical or controversial idea. Our nation was founded on the idea of equality while being built upon systematic inequality, and people have been working towards equality and justice ever since. Racial justice is a cause that everyone can and should support. So we stand with our brothers and sisters, and, like we have for decades, we march.

 

Join us on Saturday, September 30th in Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill. If you are unable to march, due to distance, disability, or in observance of Yom Kippur, there are still ways to support this cause, as The March for Racial Justice continues to support your human rights as well. Check out the links below to learn, donate, endorse, volunteer, and spread the word.  We hope to see you there.

 

DONATE — Watch the Generosity by Indiegogo campaign video and donate to

the cause!

http://bit.ly/DonateToM4RJ

ENDORSE — Officially endorse the march and partner with March for Racial Justice!

http://bit.ly/EndorseM4RJ

REGISTER — Register for the march and join us on the 30th of September!

www.m4rj.com

VOLUNTEER — Interested in being more actively involved? Sign up here!

http://bit.ly/VolunteerM4RJ

 

TWITTER: @M4RJNow

INSTAGRAM: @M4RJNow

FACEBOOK: @M4RJNow

 

What Moves You: CureFest

This week in the What Moves You series, we’d like to focus on a an event near and dear to our hearts: CureFest. This weekend marks our 4th year working with CureFest, and we look forward to continue helping whenever we can.

 

CureFest, 2015

Curefest began in 2011, which makes September 16th and 17th their 6th event. Their mission is to make childhood cancer research a national priority by bringing together the general public, the medical community, elected leaders, and those whose lives have been touched by childhood cancer.  By meeting in the National Mall and presenting both informational booths and activities, they create a family-friendly space where the childhood cancer community can be together and where the general public can learn about childhood cancer and support research. They even have entertainment and key speakers perform.

Whether you’d like to march in their rally to the US Capitol, attend the candlelight vigil, see some live music (there’s even an auction for a Sabrina Carpenter meet and greet!), listen to some truly amazing people speak, or just check out and see just what the big deal is, we implore you to stop by this amazing event.  Whether you bring your family, friends, or just attend solo there is plenty to do and learn. Help CureFest raise the voice of children with cancer and try to find safer, less toxic treatments for them.

 

If you’d like more information on CureFest, please check out the links below!

 

https://www.curefestusa.org/

https://www.curefestusa.org/event-info/schedule-of-events/

https://www.curefestusa.org/volunteer/

https://www.curefestusa.org/event-info/registration-info/

@CurefestUSA on Facebook and Twitter

We hope to see you there!  

 

What Moves You: Sal’s Shoes and Players International

 

At Bookstore Movers, we firmly believe in supporting what moves you. Whether it’s working with conservation efforts, doing social work, volunteering or donating, there are so many ways to support a cause and make the world a little brighter.

Last February, Bookstore Movers was proud to work with Sal’s Shoes for the first time. In coordination with the wonderful individuals at both Sal’s Shoes and PeacePlayers International, we packed, loaded, and shipped over 550 pairs of donated sneakers!

 

It’s hard to believe, but there are 300 million children in the world to whom shoes are a rarity.* Considering how quickly children grow out of shoes, it makes sense to keep these shoes in rotation and help out children in need. By sending shoes, you are making the world safer and more accessible to these kids, so they can go to school, learn a sport, and know that people are hoping to see them succeed in achieving their goals.

 

Working with Sal’s Shoes, we saw our donations make their way to Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Through Goal Academy and Promo Jeune Basket, our new shoes became the prize of a large soccer competition.  Participants in winning teams each received a pair of shoes, and through scholarships, play, and team building, each player walked away from winter camp with something to treasure and remember.  

In the coming years, we hope to keep supporting Sal’s Shoes, Goal Academy, and Promo Jeune Basket–especially as PJB builds their first international school.  We couldn’t be prouder of what these non-profit organizations have done to help communities around the world, and that we got to play a small part of it.

Every player in this photo received a pair of shoes!

What moves you? Let us know! If you’re curious about any of these non-profits, check out the links below and see if you’d like to help out, one step at a time!

 

https://www.salsshoes.com/our-story

 

http://www.goal.academy/

 

http://www.promojeunebasket.org/home

 

*Source: Sal’s Shoes

Arlington Bluemont EOD Warrior Foundation 5K & 10K race

Bookstore Movers is helping to sponsor and bring attention to the Bluemont EOD Warrior Foundation 5K & 10K race, to raise funding for veteran care.  Please see message from the primary sponsor below!

Trusts and Estates Attorney Kerri Castellini, a Washington D.C. based lawyer who also practices in both Maryland and Virginia is sponsoring the Arlington, VA Bluemont EOD Warrior Foundation 5K & 10K race and is encouraging members of the community to participate.  

The EOD Warrior Foundation serves the military community by providing financial support to veteran and active-duty wounded, injured, ill and fallen EOD warriors by maintaining their memorial.  

This is a perfect opportunity for community members to come together and run for a deserving cause on September 17th at the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. The 10K race starts at 8:45 am and 5K begins at 10 am, taking place until 11 am. Additional Perks include T-shirts given to participants arriving around 45 minutes before the race to get registered for the event. 

Make sure to stop by our booth for a chance to grab well-earned swag bags after enduring a long run in the park! For more information on the race and to register, visit our website here.

Get to Know Your Furniture, Part 3!

Fainting Couch
If the name of this item makes you picture a scene from a Victorian era novel, you would be on the right track.  The fainting couch is a furniture piece similar to a more modern day chaise lounge or a traditional settee with the back raised higher on one side.  They were popular in the 19th century and were particularly used by women, who were said to often have daybeds in their boudoirs to receive guests and to have a safe place to fall when wearing a corset for extended periods left them light headed.  According to historians, this type of reclining furniture actually originated in 7th century BC, so some think the Victorian attempt at Greek and Roman revival was actually more of a fashion statement to impress guests in public rooms like a parlor, rather than an intimate furniture piece hidden away for the lady of the house.
 

 

 

Escritoire
This small writing desk is said to have merged into different variations that we commonly call a secretary desk today.  The originals in 16th century Europe were hardly larger than a lap desk with small drawers and compartments to hold traditional items such as an ink pot, blotter, writing feathers and pens.  The Escritoire started to be mass produced in France during the 18th century and during that time new distinctive features such as the hinged drop down front, and the tall upper bookcase element were added.
Trundle Bed
Often called a hide-a-bed, this is a space saving pair of typically twin sized beds, where the second mattress pulls out from under the primary bed, and can be put out of sight when not in use.  These beds are mentioned in writings dating back to 16th century Europe, where servants would sleep in the same room as the Lord and Lady so they could be there for protection.  And more updated versions were seen again many years later in the pre-Civil War south where slaves would be assigned to sleep in children’s rooms to attend to their nightly needs.  Now trundle beds are commonly seen as an optional part of a kid’s furniture set since they offer a practical way to host sleepovers with friends.
Etagere
An etagere is a storage unit with characteristic open tiered shelf construction, and a light airy feel gives the appearance that it’s not taking up as much space as a traditional bookcase or curio cabinet.  These pieces were developed in France at the beginning of the 19th century and the word is actually french for “shelf”. Also called a whatnot, this style became a popular form of furniture in mid-19th century England where displaying collectibles became a common form of decorating, and during this time the pieces also became much more ornate and expensive.

Get to Know Your Furniture, Part 2!

Grandmother Clock
Thinking this must be a typo?  In very broad terms, a Grandmother clock is similar to a Grandfather clock, but typically about two thirds the size of it’s more well known counterpart without the signature pendulum.  These clocks tend to be slim and spring driven with chimes, a dome top, and although being under 6’3 in height is the rule of thumb, many are actually in the more petite 5’4-5’9 range.  Most of these were made in the 1920’s and 30’s which is well after the birth of the original Grandfather Clock in 1656.
 
Chifforobe
To the untrained eye, this utilitarian storage item could easily be mistaken for an armoire.  It’s actually a smaller piece that features both a long space for hanging clothes as well as drawer storage.  The name draws from both the French chiffonier, a tall piece with drawers, and a wardrobe which traditionally offers ways to hang items in order to serve as a move-able closet.  These are most commonly found in the southern United States and debuted in the Sears catalog in 1908. Most are factory made due to their post Industrial Revolution invention, but there are some unique hand made ones out there for those who like a shopping challenge.
 
Credenza
The name comes from the English word “credence” and the Italian word for “belief”. In the 16th century, the act of credenza was the tasting of food and drinks by a servant for a VIP guest in order to test for poison.  The name was then passed to the room where testing took place and then eventually to the furniture, which during this time was typically a small but solid legless cabinet. By the mid-20th century the Credenza took on a more modern look with a longer body, slender legs and sliding doors, and can sometimes be mistaken for similar furniture pieces commonly found in a dining room such as a sideboard or buffet.

Get to Know Your Furniture, Part 1!

Pie Safe

Although the name of this furniture piece tends to conjure up an image of a stashed sweet treat locked away in a foreboding metal vault, only part of that’s true. A pie safe was originally designed in the pre-icebox 18th century to hold pies and other perishable food items to protect them from vermin, but it is actually a free standing wood cabinet with ventilated doors that open out in front.  Today these antiques are more likely to hold collectibles than edibles but the unique design makes them noteworthy even if they are no longer functional.
 
Dry Sink 
This is not the arid vessel of a person who never cooks or does dishes but rather a piece of furniture that was common in homes before the invention of indoor plumbing in order to provide a convenient place to wash and store toiletries.  There are different styles but a dry sink is almost always a wood cabinet base with a top made to hold a basin and pitcher for water.  In more modern times these are sometimes re-purposed as a vintage bathroom vanity. Dry sinks are one of the most copied antiques out there today, so be careful if you are looking for an original.
 
Cellarette
These wooden chests originally functioned as freestanding liquor cabinets and first appeared in 15th century Europe as a way to secure alcoholic beverages in public houses. Cellarettes then became popular in Virginia and other southern colonies during the 18th century as a way to safely store personal collections of whiskey and wine. They were often custom made with decorative wood such as mahogany, and came in many shapes and sizes.  Over time they became less portable and were commonly built into another furniture piece such as a buffet, with space for glasses and other drinking paraphernalia as well a lock to protect the goods from thieves.