A partially-fond farewell

The move is done.

Well, at least the part that involves “taking all of our stuff from the old place and bringing it to the new place”. I can’t believe how long this process took. It seemed a good idea at the time: “Hey, we’ve got about two months, so we can just slowly nickel-and-dime our way over there! We can slowly pack and take a few things over every day and gradually it’ll get done!”

Take it from me, folks: this approach sucks, and should never be adopted by anyone. Live and learn, I guess. Now, I do stand by this approach as far as moving my books went, because that really took a lot of effort and there are so many of them that moving those all in one day would have really added to the amount of weight being hauled. I’m glad that I got all the books over here myself, which meant that I was able to hit the ground running as far as setting up my library went.

Everything else, though? Moving it in little chunks was a stupid, stupid, stupid idea, and it may well rank with my dumbest ideas ever. What sounded like a way to make moving into a less-stressful, less-annoying, less-soul-crushing-of-a-day turned out to be “death by a thousand cuts”. The old place became this daunting monkey on our backs, always there, always in the back of our minds. Every day, thinking, “I’m almost off work, gonna go home and take a nap…oh wait, gotta go grab more stuff.” “Hey, it’s Sunday, I can read the paper and–oh wait, gotta go grab more stuff.” The phrase “Oh wait, gotta go grab more stuff” has become the most often-said thing around here.

So yup: it was a dumb plan. Oh well, live and learn. I suppose we were partially affected by our last couple of moves — more than eleven years ago! — which were both occasioned by promotion/transfers at The Wife’s job. These were both instances of her district manager calling her on, say, Thursday morning, offering her a new position, and then saying, “OK, you start there next Thursday morning. You can be moved by then, right?” Those moves (to Syracuse in September 2002, and then back to Buffalo in April 2003) were basically of the “pack it all and move it now” variety, with no opportunity for sorting and discarding. At least with this move we were able to ditch a whole lot of stuff that we no longer need or want. Along the way I sent a lot of books to the library, for them to put for sale at their used book events, and at the end, we filled a friend’s pickup truck with stuff to donate. But even so: this move was a glacial process, which I do not recommend.

Anyway, here we are now, in the new place. Now we can really start getting settled in. As I write this on a bright Saturday morning waiting for The Daughter to shower so we can go out to breakfast, the FedEx guy just delivered the new shelves we’ll use in the bedroom to sort our clothes. I still have to assemble our new metal fire pit — and hey, we get to use a metal fire pit! — and there are some light fixtures that desperately need to go. The light above the dining room table is very dim and casts a pathetically small pool of light, so only one person can really see what they’re eating. I have to hook up garden hoses, and The Wife wants to start getting flowers to plant and she still has her sewing room to set up. Lots to be done! Good thing I’ve spent the last ten years at The Store learning how to do many useful things with tools and such.

Even so, I have done some looking-back over the last few months. We really outgrew the apartment five or six years ago, but moving didn’t start to become a serious option until just two or three. There was a period in the middle of the ’00s when life handed us one massive speed bump after another, and it was in that apartment that we saw our fiercest tests thus far. We had to confront serious financial hardships, health problems, the fifteen awful and amazing months of Little Quinn’s life (which I dearly wish was still going on), the loss of tiny baby Fiona, and eventually, the passing of The Wife’s mother. We lived all this in that cramped space filled with too much stuff, so much so that The Daughter was never really able to have any of her friends over to visit.

It wasn’t all bad, though, and that apartment is where we lived as we crawled through Andy Dufresne’s river of shit and came out stronger the other side. A lot of amazing and prosaic memories spring from our time in that apartment, all eleven years of it. That’s the second-longest I’ve ever lived in one place, and the longest if you factor out places where my time was punctuated by stuff like semesters at college. The Daughter took up the string bass. The Wife’s professional life flourished, as did mine. After floundering for too long, I finally got busy living and got busy writing. Those two Princesses, in space? They took flight in that apartment, as did a former cop haunted by ghosts and a young lighthouse keeper whose life is rocked by the secrets of his father’s past. I’ve been remembering a lot of random stuff from our years in that apartment:

When we first moved in, we put the potted ivy plant (which we still have!) on the balcony. A robin immediately built a nest in it and laid eggs, so for the first month we couldn’t even go out on the balcony.

We had in-home nursing care for Little Quinn. One of the nurses was a very attractive young blonde woman, and she always had to hold him because if she put him down, Little Quinn would start crying. He didn’t do this with the other nurses, who were not young and blonde. Yeah, he knew.

Little Quinn would always start fussing at night, invariably, about ten minutes before The Wife got home. It was uncanny. Again, it was as if he knew that Mom was ten minutes away. Although this was scary one night when our doorknob broke, and we had to call the on-call maintenance guy to come figure a way to open the door.

We introduced The Daughter to The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, Captain Jack Sparrow, and many others whilst living there. Remember that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Belloq and Marion are in the tent, and the Nazi enforcer dude comes in and pulls out what looks like some kind of nunchuck thing to torture them? Remember how we all tensed the first time we saw that and then breathed out in relief when it turned out to be a hanger for his overcoat? The Daughter did the same thing. (Why on Earth did that guy wear an overcoat in all those hot places?!)

I discovered other bloggers in Buffalo, many of whom are awesome people! (And those who aren’t awesome are still pretty swell.)

I started using a thing called Facebook.

I rejected using this dumb thing called Twitter…only to come ’round eventually.

The Wife and I once wanted to watch a movie, so we went to Blockbuster. (Heh!) While looking, I spotted a movie and said, “Hey, it’s that romantic comedy we thought we wanted to see last year. It’s the one with all those British people in it. Love Actually. How ’bout that one?”

In 2004 I watched a speech at the Democratic National Convention by some young and energetic legislator from Illinois, and I thought, “This Obama fellow seems like he might have a bright future.”

The Wife got home late at night from spending a week with family after her mom passed; we picked her up at the airport and brought her home. On the way home, we passed a lot of emergency vehicles speeding the other way, but it was late so we didn’t check the news or anything. We just got home and went to sleep. Next morning my mother is calling us in a panic to make sure that The Wife wasn’t on the plane that had crashed nearby, killing all aboard and one on the ground. That was when we learned about it.

My favorite authors kept producing work while we lived there! Christopher Moore had eight books come out. Guy Gavriel Kay had five. Stephen King had twenty-nine.

Star Wars and Harry Potter both ended while we lived there. Star Wars started up again. James Bond rebooted, as did Batman. Green Lantern misfired. Marvel mostly hit it out of the park every time they stepped to the plate.

Three desktop computers came and went, as did two laptops. The Wife got a cell phone in 2004; I joined in the fun with a Razr flip-phone in 2007. We upgraded our phones in 2010, and got our first smartphones this past Christmas. The Daughter got her first phone. Three tablets have come. The Wife’s sewing machine population went from one to three. We started life in the apartment with zero grills; then I won one of those tabletop grills shaped like a golf ball. Then we got a cheap standup grill, ultimately followed by the current Weber kettle grill. I acquired vintage Lee overalls and discovered Carhartts and I was even gifted a hand-made pair by an artisanal denimwright from Ohio. The Wife’s jewelry collection expanded greatly, oft at my own expense. She took up crocheting, which added “yarn stores” to the Google searching I had to do whenever we went to a new city (to go along with “bookstores”). We drank a lot of rum and coffee (not at the same time). We cooked a lot, never as much as we wanted, because the kitchen was so small, but we made do. Lots of ice cream, and lots of pizza, and lots of soup. Chinese takeout and Friday fish-fry’s, eaten in front of movies on the teevee.

“I hear this show Castle is good, wanna try it?”

“Are the Bills gonna be good this year?”
“Hope so!”

“People keep telling me that Arrested Development is really funny.”

“I’m hearing interesting things about Person of Interest….”

“Ooooh, Hell’s Kitchen is back!”

“Are the Bills gonna be good this year?”
“Well…maybe. You never know.”

“Couldn’t the President just pardon Jack Bauer before she resigns from office in disgrace?”

“I can’t believe FOX cancelled this. What a bunch of idiots.”

“Wow, this has really gone downhill. I wish FOX would cancel it.”

“Why does it have to be coconut cream? Coconut’s gross!”
“I’m the one getting hit with it, so I pick the flavor.”

“They’re rebooting COSMOS with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and the Family Guy dude? Huh?”

“It’s about Sherlock Holmes, but he’s living in the present day. Let’s check it out!”

“Oh wow, I got hired at that store! I start next week!”

“I joined orchestra today! I’m gonna play the bass!”

“Are the Bills gonna be good this year?”
“Ha ha! No.”

“I think the car needs new brakes.”

“Oh Dad, I have a school book order due tomorrow. I only want $35 worth of books!”

“Hey! Five Guys is finally open! Let’s go!”
“I have to eat gluten-free now. Doc’s orders.”
“So much for that.”

“Wanna go for Chinese? I’m in the mood for…you jerk, you had Chinese for lunch, didn’t you.”

“Is it gonna hurt when I hit you with this pie?”
“Um, how hard are you planning to hit me with it?”

“Hey look. Lester likes eggs. He comes running every time I touch the egg carton.”
“Ooooh, let me try!”

“It’s not tuna, dummies! Get away from me! It’s a can of tomatoes!”

“Wow, that coffee smells good.”
“So why don’t you go make me a cup.”
“OK, dear.”

“I see you just sat down with a plate of cheese and crackers and a Coke. You must be settling in for a bit!”
“Sure am! Why?”
“Julio is pooping in the box. You’re gonna have to scoop it.”

“We should have stayed in Cape May.”

“Did I do it right?”
[blinks through whipped cream]
“Feels about right.”
“Good. You look ridiculous. Here’s another one.”

Yeah, lots of memories…eleven years’ worth. Now we make memories at our new place. Onward and upward! Zap! Pow!!

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3 Responses to A partially-fond farewell

  1. Roger Owen Green says:

    Among the worst moves for me, EVER, was moving from the first floor of a two-family dwelling to the second, because you do the piecemeal thing.

  2. SamuraiFrog says:

    I tried to move piecemeal when I moved out here, because it was "only" 45 minutes away by tollway. Took forever. I've been gradually throwing stuff out and donating my possessions for the last 13 years, just in case we have to move, because I don't want to move all of this stuff again. It helps that almost every piece of furniture I own is broken…

    Congratulations on your new place, and thanks for this nice post. I hope the new place treats the family well.

  3. Roger Owen Green says:

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