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Why Heavy Furniture is an Awful Idea

My husband and I decided to move an “Elvis Presley” designed headboard. This queen-sized bed had to be disassembled and removed by workers to the garage when a new vinyl, wood-looking floor was installed in our sleeping quarters. Rather than pay a crew to carry it back to the bedroom and re-assemble it, we – a pair of frugal baby boomers – decided we’d do it ourselves. My husband and I, like our Greatest Generation dads, have always been of the disposition: “Why pay good money if you can D-I Y?”

How old are we? Let’s just say we were in one of the first groups offered…Covid vaccines.

This “Elvis Presley” décor, modeled after a headboard Elvis had for his bed at Graceland, we bought 20 years ago. I thought the leather headboard was stylish, luxurious, and sexy. Maybe that last adjective was the reason they named this design after the Rock Legend. After what happened yesterday, I’ve decided it was designated “Elvis Presley” because this namesake headboard is big, massive, and…overly heavy!

My husband held most of its weight. He pivoted it onto one of its sturdy feet and told me to let my side down. I’m not saying whose fault it was. I’m not assigning blame; however, this 100-plus pound frame came crashing down, without warning, crushing my pudgy left foot.

I collapsed to the concrete floor, in agonizing pain, screaming like a pig at the abattoir. I’m still surprised neighbors didn’t poke 9-1-1 into their smartphones because my blood-curdling shrieks sounded like an audition for a slasher movie.

“Why did you let go of the headboard?” my husband asked. I’d have gladly answered him if I hadn’t been in mortal pain and screaming unintelligibly while I grasped my left foot, which glowed a pulsating purple. Within seconds, my foot tripled its size. I felt like that character on TV who turned into the Incredible Hulk; that’s how fast the transformation of my previously petite “pied’ was. My husband, the perp, ran to the freezer and returned with a bottle of frozen water. My wounded fourth toe had an ebony-streaked gouge surrounded by mauve and magenta, and my pinkie piggie “twinned” its adjoining digit. The backs of those two toes were bruised black, as well as the entire top of my foot. My appendage wasn’t recognizable as human.

Too painful to squeeze my swollen left foot into my left sneaker, I sat moaning on the garage floor cradling my Neanderthal paw.

“Is it broken?” I inquired between muffled gasps.

“Probably your toe is.”

“What’s to be done?”

“Not much for a broken toe. We’ll tape it to the others.”


“If the bones don’t protrude through the surface, not much to be done.”

“A few days recovery?” I groaned.

“Maybe a couple of weeks.”

I moaned more.

“Or longer,” he added.

Every time he touched it, I yelled out in excruciating pain. I don’t think an actor being scalped in an old Western could have howled as desperately as I did. Taping the toes together helped a bit, but I couldn’t put any weight on my left foot and could barely hobble to a chair. “You sit here. I’ll finish moving the headboard,” he said graciously.

“Really?” I answered with a heavy dose of sarcasm. “You’ll let me just sit here.”

My plans that day – since I was fully inoculated against Covid-19 – had included escaping the house, maybe seeing some folks, but no, not to be! I was stuck inside with a bum foot and swollen toes that didn’t look remotely humanoid.  Had I ventured out, I’m sure others, especially those in masks and face shields, would’ve scurried away from pariah me if they’ve gotten a gander at my flip-flops where two Covid-toe doppelgangers protruded.

So, I sat down at my computer, too tired and too achy to compose a story or work on my novel-in-progress; instead, I’d scroll a little and read some emails. Immediately, I spied an essay on ageism. It quoted an elderly woman in a long-term care facility: “I think there’s been a very paternalistic attitude about whether we are capable of making decisions, or the hierarchy knows better what we need.”

Hmm. Yes. Sometimes, there’s unnecessary prejudice against old people. Sometimes, age is just a number. On the other hand, I can clearly state, based on recent personal experience, there are reasons old folks aren’t furniture movers. I’d question that physical avocation for those who grew up listening to The Drifters. Also, I have a bone to pick about my husband’s and my decision-making. How did we conclude we were up to the task of moving heavy furniture? That group-think of ours contained a bit of faulty wiring!

So, what to do next? Grabbing my smartphone which I barely know how to use, I snapped a photo of my bruised big foot and blackened digits and zoomed it to our four adult children with a message: Old chubby mamas shouldn’t move furniture.

I thought this mode of communication was a not-so-subtle way to seek out volunteers for future heavy lifting.

All four sympathetic souls responded.

“Ouch!” said my oldest son.

“Looks painful,” said my second son.

“Ouch. Ouch.” noted my third son.

“Yikes! exclaimed my daughter with sad emojis.

Ouch? – that does sum it up!

Since no one asked why in tarnation their senior citizen parents were moving furniture, I guess my enlightened offspring believe that popular saying, bantered about, “Age is just a number.”

Not me! I’ve discovered there’s a reason or two – or a couple hundred – why old folks aren’t furniture movers.

As a footnote to this tale of woes and toes, I got the x-ray done. A broken toe? Indeed, it was!

Like all unlucky occurrences, there lurks a silver lining among the mauve and magenta. This past North Carolina winter, I could forecast snow and ice and freezing cold, miserable weather at least a day ahead of time. I’m more accurate than the perky weather gals.


  1. I chuckled throughout your whole story! You have to admit it was quite humorous and you certainly got your point across! Moving heavy furniture is definitely not for the elderly! Sometimes inspite of our frugal ways we need to leave furniture moving to the younger generation! Very well written, Erika!

  2. I chuckled throughout your whole story! Your use of humor was wonderful! Yes, moving heavy furniture is not for the elderly! Better to pay someone younger and not have broken toes!

  3. Sounds like a story from my house! In most cases when we try DIY in our home, the medical bills incurred far exceed what it would have cost to have someone do the work for us.

  4. My husband and I also move everything ourselves. When I pull or twist something, I’m down for the count while he figures out a way to finish on his own with a dolly, crowbar, etc. and, if he pulls something, he’s very stoic (unlike me!) I feel your pain…I’m sorry I laughed (in recognition.)

  5. This article made me laugh out loud. You don’t need to be a senior to know you probably shouldn’t lift something that is not only heavy but cumbersome. Bad things often happen when you do, especially under the direction of a husband (that’s my experience and another story). Being a senior only exacerbates an already dicey situation. The situation was not a good one, but the way the story unfolded made it seem humorous, although it obviously wasn’t. Once again, Erica has made lemonade out of a real lemon. Well done!

  6. As always, Erika is able to make a story like this one humorous. It brought home the fact that our adult offspring can’t seem to notice their parents’ ageing. I love the way Erika is able to weave the serious and the mundane in such an effective and entertaining way.

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