About Me

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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I'm in...

There's no way to begin a story like this. I guess I'll start with the snow storm. The one that snuck in after yours truly mistakenly said that he thought that last snow storm would probably be the last one of the season. (Who says things like that after only living in a place for a year?) It didn't stop snowing for two days straight, it just went from wet slushy snow to big fluffy snowflakes to sandy light dry snow to sunshine, to back to big fluffy snowflakes and on and on while I stood there wondering how this whole move would pan out.

The drama really began though with me going to pick up the keys from the superintendent at the new building. He gave me a handful of keys to try, so I did and one worked on the door lock, none in the deadbolt, which I was certain was locked. Let's forget for a moment that the problem probably was that the cylinder was old and needed to be pulled outward and twisted toward the door jamb to unlock. And let's assume that it really was a necessity for the super to send one of his guys down the fire escape from the roof and into the window to unlock it from the inside. All week long I went back and forth between the super and my broker trying to figure out where the key to that deadbolt was because I was certain someone still had it because they obviously let Katrina into the apartment. The super was telling me that no one had the key because the tenant always changes that lock themselves. Then the broker told me that she gave that key to the security guard. Then it came down to the super saying he'd change the cylinder for us if we didn't want to. Then Saturday morning came around and I called him and asked him if he had done so. He said he couldn't do it until Monday. I freaked. This was Saturday morning, the day of the move. So I pestered the realty agency and every person there I had ever been in contact with about it until one of them called the super and it became clear that the super didn't quite realize that I had been unable to get into the apartment at all. (Strange that I had mentioned this to him about five times, once while standing two feet from him and I'm quite sure the exact words out of my mouth were, "I was unable to get into the unit.")

At any rate, the aforementioned rooftop fire escape shenanigans were the ultimate solution that morning. But once in the apartment, I took one look around and realized that the contractors that had been renovating the apartment had not finished the job. There was construction dust and dirt all over the floors, the appliances were still wrapped, the stove not assembled, no water in the toilet, bathroom was covered in paper, no towel rack, no toilet paper holder, and no clothing rod in my closet. I was perturbed to say the least and I got the super back upstairs to help with what he could, while I swept the apartment up. I also noticed that ConEd had not turned on the electricity yet, like they were supposed to on Wednesday last. So, yet another hurdle and this comes into the story later.

At this point, Katrina was loading at her old place with her parents and I was getting a call from my friend who was already waiting at my old place. I hadn't even gotten the cat set up at the new place, which was my plan. So, I grabbed the train back to my old place and my friend and I started shoveling snow where the truck was going to have to park. Meanwhile, Katrina was getting delayed having to shovel out the truck at her house. After my friend and I did all we could with the snow, we loaded up Penny in the cat carrier and carried her, howling the whole way, on the train to the new apartment where Katrina and her folks were meeting us to unload her stuff.

We made quick work of Katrina's stuff but as it got darker outside, it got darker in the apartment obviously and moving things in got even harder. Plus, I was unfortunately short one hand for the load up at my place, a friend who never called, by the way. I knew on the way over there that we wouldn't have the manpower for the bulkier items, especially the piano. Everyone was tiring out and the one hand I had was leaving for work at 7:45. So, as I sat there in panic mode, pondering my options, I decided it was time to call in the moving help. Cheryl and Flip didn't have to have the truck back until 2pm the next day and they said they were willing to stay the night somewhere so we could keep working the next day.

I concoted a plan to call movers and have them help finish the job instead of trying to wrangle friends to help short notice but without internet I was limited in my options. In the end, I wound up calling the 866 number on the side of the Uhaul truck. 1-866-My-E-Move. Do not call them. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's a helpful service; they set you up with a moving company based on your zip that meets your criteria. But they asked me if I was moving a piano and then failed to get me movers who advertised moving pianos. Of course, I didn't know this that night and just placed the order and left the big items at my place to be carried the next day by someone else...someone else who wasn't quite as sore and achy as Katrina and me.

That night we went back to our new apartment, Cheryl and Flip went and got a hotel, and we sat in the dark, drinking wine and eating chocolate and waiting until the super could throw the main breaker in the basement. See, earlier on, Katrina called ConEd and had them come do what they were supposed to do three days prior. But, they didn't manage to notify the super that they were done and that he could throw the main breaker. I called the super upon finding this out earlier in the evening and he said he was in Manhattan and would be back later on. So, around 11pm, we decided to call him again and see if he had forgotten us. He answered saying he was in the building, but sounding like he had forgotten. Within minutes we finally had power and, after dancing around the apartment for a few, we wound up crashing around 1 am.

When I met the movers the next morning, they spotted the piano and promptly informed me that they were unaware that there would be a piano involved. Recalling the phone conversation with 1-866-MY-E-MOVE, I remembered the first question I was asked by the agent on the line was, "Are you moving a piano?" I actually thought it was a strange question for someone to ask who didn't know me and answered, "Actually, I am."

These guys, though? No idea. I have no idea how it happened that they didn't get told that piece of information and I cannot remember the name of the lady I was speaking to at 1-866-MY-E-MOVE to complain. Loads of people dropped the ball this week and this was the last straw. The movers they set me up with, told me that they don't even advertise that they move pianos, but that they would do it. Only they needed another guy and wanted to charge me $250 extra...I started to panic again, realizing that I'd have to donate the piano, i.e. find someone to pick it up, and then, realizing that I'd essentially then, without moving the piano, be paying these guys the intial $173 to do a job that Katrina and I could have handled. I asked them to stop until I could figure something out (On top of all of this madness, the day before, I was supposed to leave the old building super's snow shovels in my apartment but I frantically left and forgot they were still in the hallway. They were stolen. He was pissed. And I was having to deal with him while trying to sort out the added cost of moving the piano).

At that point, when I told the movers to stop, they said they'd be willing to work with me a little. So I asked the main guy what he could do. He dropped the price to $150. I think he sensed that I was getting ready to send them off and he wanted to make some money as opposed to none at all. So, I took the deal and we got underway, thankfully not having to shovel anymore snow or lift a single thing while the movers took all of my stuff, including the boxes we didn't unload from the truck Saturday night. I only had to go rent a dolly from the Uhaul location on 6th Street, so that they could easily roll the piano along the sidewalk through the courtyard.

Watching the piano go up the stairs, as always, was quite the event. At one point it had to be stood up on one end and rotated. Three guys doing this was barely enough and there was as much talking and discussing how to move it as there was actual lifting. The movers made quick work of my stuff though beyond the piano and they were gone at about 1:30, at which point I unceremoniously scarfed half a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store on the corner and then pondered how to approach cleaning my old apartment so I could return the keys.

There's nothing like good old fashioned manual labor, especially cleaning, to put you in a meditative, zen-like state. It's actually quite relaxing to just scrub and sweep and mop until there's not a single thought left in your head.

So, my uncle took me over to my old place in his car and was going to drop me off so I could finish cleaning on my own and they could get underway and Katrina could start unpacking. I left my old place with a few more things than I thought I'd be leaving with and realized halfway to the train that I'd need help carrying all of it or else it was going to take me a very long time to get two subway stops up. I called Katrina and she met me at the subway station at 25th Street. From there, we carried the last of the stuff from my apartment, including a pint of Ben and Jerry's which we have yet to break open.

Moving was over. Unpacking was to begin. And I still had to work that night. Plowed through that shift and woke up this morning to a splitting headache and a to do list as long as my arm. Most of it being to bitch at various different parties for things not being in order. Some things are still dawning on us. Like this evening, while eating our first meal cooked in the apartment, it dawned on me that there are no carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in the apartment, a huge no-no on their part.

So many lessons learned this time around. So, I hope you all got through this entry to this paragraph because this is the important part. Don't bother asking your friends to help you move in NYC. Just get movers. It's worth it. Also, raise hell and get things done. Also, take at least two days off to move, or maybe more. In addition, do not, I repeat, do not move during the winter months if you can help it at all.

More impressions, and potentially even pictures of the new apartment are on their way.

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