Steve Mullen: Getting ready for ‘the girls’


Steve Mullen



If you''ve seen the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," you have an idea of what they look like.


They''re the kids'' new beds, dutifully delivered unassembled in boxes by a guy who really, really didn''t want to push them up the stairs to our second-story loft apartment on Fifth Street. I moved a couple metric tons of furniture up these stairs a few months ago. But this guy was a newbie. He was fit, and I helped, but it was a chore. We slid them up the steep staircase the best we could, but all the time he chided me: If I''d known this, I would have had somebody with me. Most drivers wouldn''t have done this alone. You''re lucky.


I apologized. But the beds, a couple of white-painted Pottery Barn-style wood platform jobs, made it up the stairs.



Here''s the "2001" part. The beds are in two boxes, currently leaning longways against the wall in the family room. Each box is monolithic in size, like the big thing the apes throw bones at in the movie. There may as well be an Easter Island statue packed in each box. Andre the Giant would be comfortable getting in one and making a phone call.


I say all that to say this: The kids are coming, in less than two weeks, over their spring break. (They, along with my wife, are still in California, finishing out the school year, before the final move.)


Of course, the kids need a place to sleep.


We''re in a two-bedroom loft downtown. We used to be in a house, which was bigger. Translation: There are random boxes currently residing in the kids'' unused bedroom that shouldn''t be there.


Step One is finding a place for all that stuff -- either dumping it or finding a storage unit.


Step One is almost as hard as Step Two: Cracking open the Andre-the-Giant boxes and assembling the beds. I fear the elaborate instructions, and all the screws and nails in those little plastic bags that are going to come cascading out when I force open the industrial-sized staples on the sides of the boxes. Not to mention the boards, which will squash me like a cartoon character if I''m not careful.


I''ve been at this rodeo before. I''m no stranger to pre-packaged furniture. Back in the day, I put together the kids'' cribs, and their changing tables, and the like. I know my way around an Ikea-supplied Allen wrench.


These things are different. I''m staring at the Elephant Man''s coffin, times two. And I''m on deadline. Less than two weeks.


At any rate, I know all that will work itself out.


But there''s even a bigger question: what to do with the kids when they''re here?


Luckily, things are happening. They might enjoy the Pilgrimage, touring the homes, seeing the ladies in the hoop skirts. They''ll be around for Artisans Alley, and the Giant Possum Town Yard Sale, happening on April 4.


We''ll be sure to go downstairs to J. Broussard''s, where I''m looking forward to introducing them to Mary and Beth.


But what else? There''s the lock and dam, and the Riverwalk, where they can run around. And little do they know, toys and candy are in ample supply downtown. Between Party and Paper and the sweets at Cafe on Main, they''ll be fixed up.


Last week, my folks and my little nephews came up from the Jackson area, for lunch and a look around. While they were here, I had the nephews test out the ice cream at the Mississippi Coffeehouse. It passed muster, and is also on the list.


There is no shortage of things to do with kids. I only ask: What else? Speak up, Columbus, not just for me, but for other new-to-town parents. I''ll share any and all ideas online and in a future column.


Please help. The longer I can put off these unopened Andre-the-Giant boxes, the better.


Steve Mullen is managing editor of The Dispatch. E-mail him at



Steve Mullen is Managing Editor of The Dispatch.


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