06 October 2009

Moving Day

(For what it's worth, I actually drafted this post on August 31st...)

As many of you are probably aware, I recently moved to a new apartment. I could use that (and a few busy weeks at work) to explain why I left you completely without blog posts for the last 30 45? days, but I think we should move past excuses and look to the future.

The upside of moving, it turns out, is that it created many blog-worthy memories that I will do my best to regale you with.

Before we dive into those, however, I'd like to thank a few people who were incredibly generous with their time and upper body strength:
  • Dan V.: has helped me move everything I own twice in the past two years. I don't know if this qualifies a person for sainthood, but it probably ought to.
  • Katy E. and Dan P.: helped me move the day after they got engaged. And they brought me flowers!
  • Darius K.: met me at IKEA with his own car, just in case all the furniture I had to buy wouldn't fit in the back of my Toyota Tacoma. Not only did he put up with me at IKEA, he also put up with me on the drive back from IKEA. That he even had to put up with me on the drive back from IKEA, given that we were in separate cars, should say a lot. But more on that later.
  • Tony M.: voluntarily helped me put together not one, but two pieces of IKEA furniture after I had a melt down and cried during brunch. Brunch! My favorite meal of the day.
  • Emily G. and Outi J.: came over on a Friday night and helped me put together more IKEA furniture. Then we ate Chinese take-out while sitting on my floor because we didn't get the chairs put together by the time the delivery guy showed up. Outi gets mad props because she came over a few weeks later and helped me put a decal of a tree up on my wall. Again, more on that later.
Last, but certainly not least, I have to thank my mom. She drove up and back from Virginia in a 36 hour period, brought me a bunch of amazing stuff, put up with me when I was a brat (this, for 24+ years, not just those 36 hours) and made my empty new apartment feel like an actual home in about a million ways, small and large.

So, on with the show!

I was apprehensive about the move, because one always seems to have more stuff than anticipated. Turns out the real issue was actually that I didn't have very much stuff at all.

Here is a general summary of what I had to move:
  • a bed
  • a chair
  • clothes (many)
  • a teeny tiny bookcase
  • a smattering of books (truly, an embarrassingly small number of books, particularly for an English major)
  • miscellaneous cook and bake ware
And here is a brief list of things I did not have:
  • everything else
Needless to say, I had some shopping to do. Like any good 20-something in the city, I knew I could get almost everything I needed from one of two places: IKEA, or mom and dad's basement.

Knowing that I would need to make an IKEA run, I asked Dan V. to book our Ziptruck from Friday evening to Saturday evening.

Moving is probably not the most exciting way I've spent a Friday night, but I can assure you it isn't the least exciting way I've spent one either. With all the great help, my stuff made the migration in under 3 hours and by midnight, I was happily scrubbing cat hair out of my shower.

I foolishly set up my cable & internet install for Saturday, unwittingly boxing myself into a bit of a tight schedule for the next day. I needed to get to IKEA, get my furniture, get back from IKEA, unload the furniture, drop off the pickup truck a few miles away, and be back at my apartment by 2pm on the off chance that the Comcast guy showed up at the early end of the range they'd given me (2 to 5PM).

Since IKEA opens at 10AM, I figured I'd need to be in an out in two hours.

If you've never been to an IKEA, that probably seems reasonable. If you have, you know that they could have filmed Terminal at one of those stores and it would have seemed just as plausible.

I should probably mention that the weekend I moved (just before September 1st, the busiest move-in day here in Boston) was also the weekend that New England received a surprise visit from Tropical Depression Danny. I say "surprise" because, even though we knew it was coming by Thursday, it's generally not normal for hurricanes and tropical storms to hit Boston.

Friday night, the rain was fairly mild. It was really more of a mist.

Saturday, however, the rain came down in earnest.

So, off to IKEA I went. Rainboots, raincoat, and tarp in tow.

I was, in retrospect, incredibly well prepared and with Darius's help and superior cart-steering abilities, we were in and out well within the necessary time frame.

Darius, with his engineering degree, seemed like exactly the type of person you would want to have with you when you need to secure a bunch of flat packed, particle board furniture under a tarp, in the back of a pickup truck.

Turns out, however, that few things can really prepare a person for dealing with me when all of the shiny new furniture I've just purchased is protected from the elements by nothing more than a piece of plastic and some rope. Maybe you have to go to graduate school for that sort of thing.

After two and a half attempts at securing the tarp, we left the safety of the IKEA parking structure and headed out into the storm.

If you haven't made this trip before, it's a pretty straight shot: two relatively brief trips on major highways, and a bit of time on some local roads.

The thing about highways is that they're great when you're looking to get somewhere quickly.

When you have six pieces of furniture you just spent your paycheck on, however, speed is not actually the top concern. Particularly not when you're driving through the throws of Tropical Depression Danny.

A few minutes after we merged onto the first highway, the tarp started billowing up behind me. At first, I thought: this is normal, this is what tarps do, this is how air works, this is all just a physics problem.

Then I remembered that it was pouring rain, all that stuff was mine, and high school physics frequently made me cry.

I called Darius. Our conversation went something like this:
M: Darius, is it supposed to be doing that? I'm worried that the rain is getting under the tarp.
D: No, it's fine. This is normal.
M: Are you sure? Because the tarp really looks like it's about to fly off the back of the truck.
D: It's tied down. This is just how it works. If you'd feel better, we can pull off at the next exit and check it out.
M: No, I'm sure you're right. It's fine. I just want to get home.
D: Ok. Well, I'll call you it looks like things are getting out of control.
I hung up, took a deep breath, and thought about the worst thing that could possibly happen.

It's helpful, I swear.

In this case, the thing I was most afraid of was the furniture being ruined. Obviously that would have been upsetting, but buying new furniture, while painful, wasn't going to kill me.

I'm just coming to terms with my new reality, a reality in which I don't terribly fear the prospect of buying this furniture all over again, when my phone rings.

It's Darius! Surely he is calling to tell me that things are not so bad.
D: I think we should pull over at the next exit.
Or not.

By this point the next exit turns out to be the next major highway we need to take, so we merge onto 95 (I'm really freaking out now) and drive a few more miles before we get to the first exit.

I pulled into the parking lot of a gas station where Darius and I proceeded to spend the next five minutes adjusting the tarp and the furniture underneath it. I took solace in the fact that nothing was ruined yet and did my best impression of a person who is not freaking out.

Darius can attest to my poor impersonation skills.

With the tarp retied, and the best action plan we could muster (drive. If this happens again, cry, then turn around and drive to Home Depot), we headed back to the highway.

I'm pretty sure no one has ever been as happy to see the Big Dig as I was that day. It was a beautiful cavern, protecting my poor little particle board from the vicious elements. And it didn't collapse on me, or anybody else, so it was probably a good day for the Big Dig too.

We arrived back at my apartment a little under an hour to spare and unloaded the furniture as quickly as can be expected when you're moving furniture in the pouring rain and one of your moving partners is me.

Having established that every piece of furniture survived its brush with Tropical Depression Danny, we hightailed it back to Central Square to drop off the Ziptruck.

Since I wasn't the one who picked up the truck on Friday night (see: Dan V., aka St Daniel), I found myself at a bit of a loss when the time came to return it. After sitting through typical Saturday afternoon traffic (this should not be a thing!), we found the parking garage pretty easily.

Of course, the Zipcar parking spaces weren't right by the entrance like I expected them to be. I drove up and around each level, got to the top, turned around and started winding my way back down, frantically looking for anything that looked like a Zipcar (where's the big green logo when you need it?) and watching all the while as the minutes on the clock ticked by. Finally, I found the Zipcar parking area, returned the car, and ran out into the rain to find where Darius was parked.

I had 20 minutes left to get back to my apartment and, for a moment, actually thought that taking the T would have been faster than driving. Darius assured me this was not the case though, and we took some kind of short cut back to Somerville.

Five minutes into our return trip, with fifteen minutes to spare, my phone rang:
"Uh, hi. This is Comcast. I'm here to set up your internet. Are you home?"


Rosalie said...

oh my god, i love you. i'm glad you're posting again. :D

imaglide said...

i set up my comcast for the day i was moving. I thought i was all smart thinking i could move all my stuff in the morning and would be there by the time the comcast guy showed up (come one they are never early right) and of course i was still moving when they called. I was able to get a new window 2 days latter, and of course this time i was home the whole time and the didnt show up till like 10 minutes before the window was over. GRRRR

Julianna said...

i will just ditto Rosalie, and also say: i am on the edge of my seat! what happened next? did the cable guy wait for you?

can't wait to hear the story of the tree ;)