Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Move

We’re here, and so is all our stuff, and if you were with us for the past few days, you’d understand that this is no small accomplishment. The past week has been a blur. Last Monday, Andrew and I went to the bank and got a certified check for the closing costs and the balance of our down payment. On the way home from the bank, we decided maybe we’d better hoard what little cash we had left—so we decided to cancel our movers. Mom and Dad thought we were insane, but the more we considered it, the more reasonable an idea it seemed. Plus, people who’d just moved into the top floor of our brownstone offered to give us all their boxes. It seemed like it was meant to be.

Tuesday, we headed into NJ for the closing, an intense two hours of signature upon signature. That morning, we canceled the movers but did arrange for another moving company to do the actual truck loading, driving, and unloading. When we got home, we started packing.

Wednesday, we continued packing. For fifteen hours. How on earth did we a) acquire so much stuff, and b) fit so much stuff into a two-bedroom apartment? It went on and on and on. And on and on and on. Andrew and Dad took a load of awkward-to-pack stuff out to NJ, while I stayed home and continued stuffing things into boxes, which became more and more eclectic and desperate as the night wore on. (Sample box: box of Rice Krispies, a flashlight, part of a bouncy chair, some pillowcases wrapped around a framed picture, a handful of magnets.)

Late Wednesday night, very late, I began packing up the bathroom. When I opened the medicine cabinet and pulled something out, somehow a bottle of red nail polish was jostled. It teetered, and then it fell. It bounced off the edge of the sink, and for a moment it looked like it would fall harmlessly onto the bathroom carpet. It didn’t. It fell, instead, into the bathtub, where it cracked open, splattering red nail polish all over the tub. I screamed for help and jumped into the tub, frantically trying to rinse it away. Nail polish was all over my feet and hands. Andrew ran in and began rubbing the puddle with his hands; his palms were covered in nail polish. We looked like we’d just murdered someone. Worse, the stain wasn’t going away. Mom and Dad came in. I began laughing hysterically. In the end, lots of Comet did the trick for the tub; our hands and feet were another story.

So that was Wednesday. After a couple hours’ sleep (Greta chose to have a wakeful night), we got up and frantically began finishing the packing. The movers arrived right on time at 8:00am and began efficiently loading the truck while we raced around, assembling still more boxes and tossing anything and everything inside. (Sample box: tangle of extension cords, one stacking cup, a pacifier, some newspaper-wrapped drinking glasses from the sink, Windex.) It was nearly a hundred degrees outside, so Mom, Dad, and the girls spent much of the day in our stairwell, eating bagels and playing games. The move went on and on and on. As the rooms emptied, Andrew and I swept and cleaned. Lucia loved going into the empty storeroom and screaming at the top of her lungs to hear the echo. For a while, Mom played with both girls on the floor of the storeroom.

Finally the apartment was empty, and it was time to go. We were too overwhelmed and exhausted to even feel too sad. We started out for the new house and undid everything we’d just done; the moving company sent an extra guy to help out. The unloading went on and on and on. I’d assembled a Bag O’ Fun for Lucia to help with the tedium, and she, Greta, Mom, and Dad sat on the porch for the rest of the afternoon, blowing bubbles and doing other fun things while Andrew and I tried to figure out where everything should go.

Then the movers left. And we realized very quickly we hadn’t packed anything to get us through that first night; bedtime was a frustrating, endless search through countless boxes for the baby shampoo.

And then Thursday was over, and, though falling-down exhausted, we still didn’t sleep; Greta was up almost every hour. Friday came all too soon, and we began unpacking. And unpacking. And, that night, still not sleeping. Oh, and on Saturday, a rash we’d thought was heat rash on Greta’s legs got a lot worse, so I had to find a pediatrician and take her in. (She was fine.) And then more unpacking.

That was pretty much the rest of the weekend, up through this morning, when Mom and Dad left. Somehow, we unpacked most of the boxes and got things in a semblance of order. There are a lot of morals to this story (don’t cancel movers the day before a move! don’t drop nail polish in the tub! don’t move anything; just toss it all on the curb!), but I think the biggest lesson learned is this: We are here to stay. Love it, hate it, whatever, we are not moving again.

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