Sunday, 6/28, 6:30 a.m.: the cell phone rings as I’m driving in my car behind Chris in his car as we search for parking spaces for the last time in this wretched neighborhood.
We’ve succeeded in planting the U-Haul truck, at least, smack dab in front of the building, after much angst involving No Parking signs from the alderman’s office, filling them out and putting them up as directed only to have people repeatedly tear down or otherwise simply ignore them. Then, summoning patience, waiting, giving people a chance to do the right thing and move their cars– finally, calling police, who inform us that, as the current time is now later than the start time stated on the signs, they’re unable to assist us. We start phoning in parked cars’ license plates, getting addresses and knocking on owners’ doors– one guy says he’ll be leaving for work at 4 a.m. sharp. Well, okay, fine. So Chris, who’s planning to stay up all night packing anyway, keeps an eye out the window starting at 3:00, goes down and waits by the car starting at 3:45. The guy finally strolls out at 4:30. Chris moves his car into place, and truck parking for 7 a.m. movers arrival is secured. Phew. Now we just need to do something with both of our cars.
“Hello?” I say. At this stage I’m half-hallucinating, exhausted at the tail end of days spent packing boxes and an all too brief three hours of sleep.
“HI! This is DANIEL! from M-M-M-MOVE-TASTIC! How are YOU this fine morning?!”
Laughing, “Hi, Daniel. Ohhh, I’m okay. How are you doing?”
“GREAT! I LOVE STAIRS! If I loved stairs any MORE, I’d be TWINS!!”
At 7 they arrive, three guys, who, true to Daniel’s claim and their glowing yelp reviews, seem indeed to love stairs (we’re moving from 3rd flr walkup to 3rd flr walkup) and RUN back from the truck after each deposit– these guys are athletes, yo.
Unfortunately, the truck’s not big enough for all our stuff, despite the offloading of LOTS over the last several days– by 9 a.m. the truck’s full, and there’s still a bunch left in the apartment. Harumph.
We caravan over to the new place while I feverishly start making calls trying to find a solution: guys from work last minute, something, but it’s a Sunday morning, and nobody’s picking up.
On the other end we wrangle with a narrow alley, briefly consider a move up the front stairs but are quickly discouraged by a suddenly-appearing (Magic Marker still smelly) note from another tenant informing us that “ALL MOVE-INS ON BACK STAIRS”, grumble, deal with it, figure it out, and start unloading up the back– discover that the narrowness of our back deck and screen door opening direction mean that someone has to stand there opening and closing the door as the guys carry stuff in– which totally irks me as a waste of a human being, I try to devise a solution with bungee cords, and Chris immediately disassembles it, which leads to our 237th spat of the morning.
A couple of extra guys suddenly show up and start hanging around the truck in the alley with offers of help (there’s an awkward bit once more with another building resident, we surmise the one who wrote the note, who’s hovering and making loud comments about Hispanics).
We briefly consider hiring the new guys for a second round to move the remainder of apartment contents but quickly figure out that ever additional U-Haul hour will run us an extra $50 and say screw it, decide we’ll stick with what we know and hire our same guys to back for the second leg another night.
All week we go to work during the day and then come back to one apartment or the other and work– moving stuff or pulling hardware from walls, painting, cleaning– by Thursday we’re totally out of the old place, my company’s closing early for our annual summer party, and we enter the holiday weekend– Halleluiah.
Bit by bit we unpack boxes, square things away– though there’s still a lot to get settled, we now have a shower curtain up and most of the dishes in accessible cupboards, the bed up off the floor– and a lovely new little back deck area, where we collapse at day’s end with cool beverages and watch fireworks over our neighborhood and speculate about the new neighbors from bits we’ve gleaned glimpsing them in passing in the courtyard or out on their back decks throughout the week– both those who wave across the distance and those who pass without a glance of acknowledgeement.
The L train rumbles by at street level right outside our front windows. during the day the ding-ding-ding of the bells feels like home again and gets hushed at night. we overlook dense treetops, directly across the street from a small park where children play and laugh and there was a free concert on our first night. there’s a little coffee shop and a ballet school downstairs. the river’s about a two block walk away. we’re neither as young as we used to be and are both pretty well exhausted and still recovering. I suspect I’ve given myself Achilles tendonitis. On Friday we made the rounds of shelter dogs, but a puppy may be right for us. We’ll see.
Anyhow, we’re in a good place, together.