Monday, August 31, 2009

Raise your hand if you like moving. Anyone? Anyone? No. No one.

I think we can all agree that no one likes moving day. No matter what you do, it is impossible for it to be a happy, positive experience. Especially in Boston. In Boston, September 1 is the worst day in the world in the history of the world especially if you own more than just a toothbrush and a carpet bag worth of clothes. Here are my stories:

Last year, I decided to beat the whole moving crazy nonsense by hiring movers. I booked them months in advance, got a good deal, and felt quite proud of myself for not procrastinating for once. Kudos to me, a hundred pats on the back, and kudos again. The morning of Sept 1, 2008 the bubble I lived in where moving is easy and fun popped.

First, my movers didn't show. I called, they said, "Whooops!" and sent 3 guys over. I am pissed, but calm. Although my seemingly "easy" move was starting out 2 hours delayed, I would not let my feathers ruffle over such a minor detail. Instead, I put my energy into re-cleaning the kitchen floor with a toothbrush (we were told it was not quite clean enough and I was making a point).

Finally, the movers show up and so I show them into the house. In my mind, I imagined movers to be silent and efficient busy bees. My movers were no such thing. First, the complaint was issued that they weren't told there'd be stairs. My response: I was told you'd be here at 8 (as I looked at my wrist indicating it was now 10:30am, um humm). Then, they started loading everything into the truck. It's going well until they decide to head out but had missed about half a dozen boxes of my clothes and shoes-- I shout after them and they come back in mumbling obscenities under their breaths. Awesome. They zip off to Beacon Hill while I get reamed out by my landlady and then cry.

Eventually I make it to the Hill to find they have already started unloading. Lovely. We are back on track... Or are we? All of a sudden a fight breaks out between my head mover and the Boston Transport police. Great. Apparently the street occupency permit that I had to get by visiting 3 different offices on 3 different floors with 3 different checks made out to 3 different departments wasn't valid on my street. Thanks, City of Boston, for the heads-up that my street doesn't allow permits of that nature. I do not flip a lid and instead gently encourage the movers to "Please move your truck around the corner like the lady says" and then I look at the Boston Transport official and say, "I know this isn't your fault, but it is kind of ridiculous." She agreed and wandered off to find other violators.

Meanwhile, my movers are bringing my things inside my new apartment. Did I mention it was a 4th floor walk up? Did I also mention I have hundreds of books as well as a heavy couch. F-bombs are being thrown about with abandon and by the time I make it up to my apartment I discover that my movers have quit. Over the phone. To their supervisor, who we can refer to as Bob. Shouting ensues and if you could have slammed a cell phone, my head mover would have done so. He looks at me and says, "Nothing personal, but this isn't what we signed on for."

The other two movers make it up the stairs, huffing and puffing, sweating and swearing. They say "You've got a lot of stuff" and "Normally we don't move boxes like this." I said "Boxes like what? Boxes filled with stuff? Huh?" and they explain:

"Can you lift this?" they ask me, pointing to one of my 50/50 boxes (half books, half pillows). I lift it off the ground but admitted it was quite heavy.
"If you can't lift it, we don't normally move it," they explained.
Me, perplexed. "So, you are saying if I " (pointing to myself-- an under 5 foot female) "can't lift this, you won't move it? Hmm"
"Okay, chica," they say. "We get your point. Do you have a boyfriend?"
Me: "If I had a boyfriend he'd be here moving so I wouldn't have to deal with all of you. So have you quit or are you working for me today?"

They decided they liked my sass (who doesn't) and agreed to continuing moving my things. After about an hour of watching my stuff being tossed around like it was salad they were done. I counted the broken plates in my head as I calculated their tip.

This year, things were a little different. Originally I didn't plan to move, but circumstances changed and since I couldn't commit to a new location I decide to put my things in storage and spend some quality time in suburbia with the familia. I call around and find a company called Door-to-Door. They are going to drop off a pod-like storage unit, I will have 3 days to fill it up, they will pick it up and put it somewhere. When I want it, they will deliver it to my new address. Sounds like a dream come true and as close as I can get to the creme-de-la-creme of moving fantasies: when someone else packs your stuff up, delivers it, and unpacks it, all while you vacation in the Virgin Islands. (One day, my friends, one day).

Snag 1: the day they are supposed to deliver the storage unit I double check the space (Door-to-Door arranged the street occupancy permits so it all works out fine) and it is clear. Fab-u-lous (said like the Orbit gum lady). 5 minutes before they actually arrive, however, someone pulls into the spot and then disappears. True story. I walk around my neighborhood asking everyone and anyone if they are the owner(s) of the car in my spot. Even a friendly neighborhood mailman helps me out for a while. A woman and her daughter eventually emerge from another apartment building. After a couple of blank stares and one dresser loaded into her vehicle she moves the car across the street.

Snag 2: I hire 2 movers (labor only) to help me with the big stuff. 15 minutes late and I am like WTF. I call my friend to say "What do I do?" and then one shows up. He was called by the guy I arranged the labor with and then was told that guy was sending another guy over. That is one too many anonymous guys in the equation. This kid-- Jeremy- thinks he can move some of the stuff on his own. I say, "That's great, because I don't want to help and I will pay you double." He ponders calling a friend, but apparently has none. (Okay that's harsh, he does indeed have friends but this is a Saturday at 6 pm and they are otherwise preoccupied). As we go outside to open and scope out the storage unit, Dimitri shows up. We are saved.

Snag 3: The two guys do a great job getting all of the big stuff in there, but now I am left with an apartment full of trash/little stuff and a feeling of overwhelming panic. I call my friend Sara and go over there, eat Chinese food, and forget about it for the rest of the night. The next day, my parents show up. I think I have things under control and we start to load up their car with my essential stuff that I cannot live without aka seventeen hundred million bags of clothes, spare books (I do need some books on hand) and other things that are so amazing I can't even remember them. The truth quickly becomes realized: I have too much stuff.

Snag 4: Did I mention I live(d) in a 4th floor walk up? Seven or so hours later, I have walked up and down those stairs so many times I am practically crawling the final flight. I took quite a few 10 minute "lay on the floor and try to recuperate" breaks when no one was looking. My legs are so sore today I feel like Ozzy Osbourne walks.


Even though right now, I have half of my life in a storage unit (a ticking time bomb in the world of moving) and the other half of my life in garbage bags in my parents' spare room (another ticking time bomb waiting to explode into my childhood bedroom any second now), I breathe a sigh of relief that the September 1 moving experience is over for this year. Also, I have learned a few things from my Beacon Hill moves: (1) Don't live on the fourth floor (2) Don't live on the fourth floor (3) Don't live on the fourth floor. End Scene.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The things I carried

As I prepare to move in the next 24-48 hours, I wonder how I'm really going to pull it off. I say 24-48 hours because while my official move in date is September 1st, I may be able to move certain items into my building, but not my apartment, on the 31st, thanks to friends who will be moving into the same building.

The move is from Brighton to Allston, and only .4 miles so it should be fairly easy. Then again, the move is from BRIGHTON to ALLSTON on September 1st. I avoided this nightmare last year because I moved in around September 7th or so. An extra bonus challenge will be moving my full sized bed without the aid of a truck or movers.

Option 1 is walking it down the street, hopefully with help.

Option 2 is strapping that mother to my Altima and hoping for the best.

Option 3:

Except Allston St. instead of a surf-stairway and random homeless people and college kids instead of guards in purple suits. The billowy, hooded nightgown is a must though.

Other than that, everything should pretty much fit in my car in 2 trips. That was the number of trips I had to take last September when moving. Still I wonder, where did I get all this crap? And even still, I left a lot of belongings, personal and otherwise, at my parents' house. I didn't have room for them to come to my apartment and I may still not have room.

There are things that I wish I had here and others I brought with me that I don't even need, but I can't throw them away. I don't look at my yearbooks, but I thought I would like to have them around. Plus, I can't keep everything at my parents' forever. I think as I move to my second apartment, I must make a trip back and enact judgment day upon my belongings. Everything will either be moving on with me, or going to the firey pits of the garbage world.

No that's too harsh and Christian. Perhaps there will be some reincarnation as my trash becomes another man's treasure through goodwill.

I realized today this would all be solved if I could just keep everything with me, but not actually have to store it anywhere. This would be possible if my life were a video game. I walked by a box of matches that had been left on the street, and of course as a 27 year old man seeing trash, I thought I should pick it up. I have also recently been picking up loose change on the street that normally I would pass by. I want to see how much I can earn in a year just by picking up loose change. But, I digress.

In video games, at least the role playing kind, you get to walk around and look for items that you will need later. Kill someone- take his gun. Find a grenade- keep it for later when you need to blast through a brick wall. Magic potion-what? Who cares- you know you'll need it at some point. And this is what I think when I see something like a box of matches, hanging out all by itelf, practically with a pulsating glow around it. "I'll need these later." Why else would they be there?

Why don't I pick them up? Because it's street trash. No, that's not why- that wouldn't stop me. The reason is, I don't have room for this crap. In the video game world, you pick things up and you just "have" them. Somehow you can carry a rifle, a key card, 10 smoke bombs, a first aid pack, and a grappling hook on your person. And you can just bust them out at any point, at the appropriate time.

If I could just "have" all my belongings, but not have to keep them, I would be all set. Because although you don't need them on a regular basis- I mean do I really NEED my Spice World sticker book, with an unfinished collection of stickers, because I stopped being able to find the Chupa Chups Spice Girls lollipops? Of course not, but how else would I be able to prove how painfully uncool I am but how much uncooler I used to be. I think people believe me but having that evidence really drives the point home. Unfortunately, I have to keep that in a trunk, next to the comic books I used to draw for 4 years, and my 3 volumes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Watcher's Guide.

All of my music now fits on my ipod-something that is smaller than my wallet. I kind of miss having the actual CDs, but it's good to free up the space. Most of the information found in the books I have can be found online anytime. Maybe those I can learn to live without.

I don't have any other place to put old drawings, movie ticket stubs, letters and cards from family and friends. But I'm not getting rid of them. And so these are the things I carry with me, even though I probably won't use them.

So scientists and eggheads, could you get on that teleportion shit anytime soon? The Power Rangers did it all the time, and that show has been around for years!

PS Looking forward to this in 2 days:


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"i'm having some trouble with zombies..."

so said i last night to my roommate. i never thought it would come to this, but i am, indeed, having some trouble with zombies these days.

it all started when i spied it. the the book my dreams are made of. that's right- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

i had to have it. i heart Pride and Prejudice! i heart zombies! the cover will freak people out in public! it all started out innocently enough. the bennet sisters are searching for husbands. their mother is meddling. mark darcy is proud. and then...zombies come in and eat people. they EAT people. somehow, i did not see this coming.

i guess i never gave much thought to zombies. i like to say things like, "i heart zombies" without really considering what makes them tick. it turns out, i don't really heart zombies at all. the truth is, they actually make me gag a little bit when i read about them cracking people's skulls with their teeth at the ball.

i'm not sure i can finish the book. maybe i'm too proud. maybe i'm too prejudiced. maybe i'm too...zombie?