Greetings – and Happy Friday the 13th!
It’s time for another “move” story, this one is more of a pit stop than a true move (no, not that kind of pit stop). So gather round the fire, or Himalayan salt lamp, either or – and prepare for a story!
After graduation, a lot of last-minute Boston adventures, and a bar exam trip to Albuquerque, SB and I’s time in Beantown had come to a close. Now, in an ideal world I would have had a little more time to decompress after the bar exam, but alas, this is not an ideal world. So I ended up only having one day between the end of the most important exam in recent memory and needing to GTFO of my dwelling. As such, while most of my former classmates were now gallivanting off around the world on 1+ month long bar trips, I went home and got started on this.
Actually, now that I look at it, that was the start of it. It got much worse from there. As someone who has moved several times in their life I find that you always have way more crap than you realize when it comes time to move. Even for the relativity small amount of stuff that SB and I own it really adds up – and we even spent like 1.5 months selling stuff! The good news is that even though we felt like we had a lot for us – we didn’t really have that much in comparison to some people. So, in a very familiar series of events we found ourselves renting another box truck to retrace our steps back to the homeland. The good news there is that we got really lucky insofar as weather was concerned on the day we went and picked up our Penske – it was neither raining nor overly hot, two common things in summertime Boston.
Though we had stuck with Penske we were using a different location this time around, so rather than having to get up to Medford we only had to cross the Charles down into Allston. There, after some paperwork, we met Lucy!
Lucy was the exact same kind of Penske as Lillian was and she also had Indiana plates! This lead SB and I to go on a knowledge adventure to figure out why so many Penske trucks have Indiana plates. The answer is fairly straightforward though easy to overlook.
After picking up Lillian, SB – yes SB – drove us back up to our apartment. In a sort of “full circle” moment we crossed over the same bridge entering Cambridge as we had three years ago.
From there it was getting down to the bloody business of the day – literally for Little Friend. Sadly Little Friend is just so dang big that he won’t vertically fit into the back of a moving truck. However, last time with Lillian I had made the mistake of putting Little Friend near the back which meant he also had to be under the rear door. That in turn required him to be even shorter, so this time I put him all the way in the front of the back of the truck which meant I didn’t have to chop off quite as much.
Despite looking rather stylish with his new hair cut he was not pleased with me. We’ve been through this a few times now, so while I’m getting better at not getting the ever-loving shit poked out of me, Little Friend still got in a few good jabs. After getting him all cropped down I had to carry him down 4 floors to the street, which was honestly one of the more difficult parts of the entire move. He is feckin’ heavy and also really tall and awkward. However, we prevailed and eventually he found his way to the front of Lucy’s bed – which at the very least he seemed to enjoy as he caused no further issues for the entire trip.
Little Friend was actually the third thing we had loaded, fourth if you count the box springs and mattress as two different things – which for the purposes of being carrying down cramped stairways they most certainly are. Our stairs were ehm… not really suited for moving. In fact when we last did this – that time the direction was up – we vowed never to do it again. I guess we sort of kept our word because we weren’t technically moving anything up – which would have cost us $500 for help 3 years ago. However, even though the direction was down it was still a lot of work. The good news is that we had sold a lot of our stuff, namely behemoth objects like Philip, so while those were difficult to get down they were at least done individually over the course of 1.5 months, rather than all in one day. HOWEVER, as mentioned, you always have more than you think you will, so what we anticipated as being an easy move ended up being much more stressful and rushed than expected.
If you’ve moved with tight deadlines before you’ll probably know that “oh my god the apartment must be spontaneously generating objects” feeling that comes when the rooms just seem to refuse to empty and you were supposed to have left an hour ago. We had that moment, for sure. As a dig to SB I blame her for inadequate preparation because I was taking the bar exam. 😛
Still, we managed, as we always do in one way or another and despite being like 1.5 hours behind schedule it was soon time for me to take the final walk through.
I always think it’s kind of interesting how different your home looks once it’s empty. It’s like you get so used to seeing it with all your stuff in it that by the time you strip everything out it doesn’t even really feel like the same place you’ve spent the past few (or many) years. In the case of our Cambridge apartment I had also forgotten just how much things echoed without the rug (which had been with us for 7 years) and all the furniture.
Traditionally I’m always the one to do the last walk-through of SB and I’s apartments. We’ve had 5 apartments so far and I think I’ve been the one to close the door on all of them. Not sure there is really any reason for that other than that if we’ve missed some minor detail that I’d probably be the one to notice it. It’s always kind of a somber experience – even when you’re most definitely ready to move on. I’ve had places I was very glad to leave, yet that final “goodbye” always feels kind of discontenting. I suppose it’s just the classic specter of change rearing its ominous head.
After heading down the stairs one last time – I joined SB and everyone else in Lucy. One thing we were doing differently this time around was that SB actually started the trip in the Captain’s chair! I started off as the assistant co-pilot to get us out of the city. I say “assistant” because the primary co-pilot was naturally a certain dinosaur (who happened to sit on the snacks in order to ration them as he saw fit).
Once we were out of the metro area and into Connecticut we stopped for gas and I took over as pilot. Earlier I said we were “retracing” our steps and I meant that more metaphorically than literally. Not only was out route more “south” this time, we weren’t even going to the same destination. However, the general state-to-state route was the same, though this time we managed to avoid a lot of the tolls we had hit previously. We had worried that we were going to get hit with a bunch of electronic polls on the Massachusetts Turnpike (which had recently been totally converted to e-polls) but fortunately that didn’t happen.
Our stop? Alaska! No, not that Alaska – Alaska, Pennsylvania. Yes, it exists. The hotel we stayed at happened to be right next to a McDonalds, so we had McDonalds for a late dinner and then the next morning the Boys creepered out the window at all the McDonald’s people (to their dismay we ate crappy hotel breakfast food, because it was free).
This time around we were doing the trip with only one overnight stop, whereas last time we did two. A lot of that had to do with logistics. On our way out we knew we had to unload and return Lillian all in the same day, so we stopped just outside of the Boston metro on the second day so that we could get into town earlier in the morning. On this “return” trip we knew we could just unload and park Lucy at FIL and MIL’s house, which meant a later arrival wasn’t a big deal. Now, that said we still had some Boys who were anxious to burn up the road.
The trip went really well until we got to Indiana. Once we got to Indiana it started pouring rain, I found out I didn’t get a job, and traffic got backed up. Fortunately thanks to SB’s phone (Hail Google) we were able to pass up the worst of the traffic, though even our Google Overlords couldn’t do much about issues 1 and 2. Still, by the time we actually got to our destination the skies had mostly cleared up. It was also extremely humid and after a stint in New Mexico I was feeling that humidity hard. Lucy, however, was ready to take a load off (literally) so we ended up using the fact that we had made good time to our advantage and got everything unloaded that first night!
Little did we know that unloading Lucy would be the easiest part of the whole affair. The worst part was yet to come and involved organizing our entire life over the next week – a job which SB and I agree probably amounted to at least 40-50 hours (and it’s not like that is all we were doing). Of course not all was busy-work, one of the best parts about being “home” is getting to see family! The Boys made quick work of that!
The only person missing at first was Meem, as she had went straight from New Mexico out to California for work, but she caught up with us eventually!
We did have to part ways with Lucy, which like Lillian was kind of a bummer but I always like when we are actually bringing them home (kind of like Beckett!) and Lucy had a lot of brothers and sisters waiting for her!
Also, in case you were wondering – all of our plant buddies (Little Friend, Three Amigos, Rosita, Bonsai Buddy Jr.) made the trip just fine. Some of them had some “post-move depression” but MIL moved them to a sunnier spot and now they are fine! Little Friend for his part was a trooper as usual, considering we’d chopped off parts of his body and all. As a reward all of his buddies got cleaned for the first time in ages.
But yes, despite the craziness of unpacking, organizing, downsizing, moving, and repacking all of our worldly possessions we found plenty of time to see family. We got to spend time with Meem, Daryl 1, DBH, FIL, MIL, BIL, my Dad, Stepmom, and Daryl 2 – as well as some extended family. I also got to see the only two non-family friends I really have anymore. That was pretty awesome since I hadn’t got to see them in over 1.5 years (largely due to a very late train). We went and saw Spider-Man: Homecoming, which was better than expected. Meem, Daryl 1, and I also went to see the Dark Tower later on, and it was eh.. not better than expected.
In addition to food, movies, and booze we did get to spend some time in the great outdoors with my Dad, Stepmom, and Daryl 2. One nice day we all headed to Spring Mill State Park – staple of many an Indiana elementary school field-trip. By my (probably wrong) calculations it had been at least 15 years since I’d been there, possibly longer.
For those of you who have no idea what Spring Mill’s schtick is (and I’m not sure why you would), it’s basically a recreated settler village (using authentic but mostly relocated structures) which has been built around an authentic and not-relocated watermill.Like most settler villages it also has reenactments complete with actors and various things up for purchase, to make yourself, or watch being made. When I was younger I was a big fan of the blacksmith, I always liked the smell.
If you look at the little blue buildings in the next photo, the one on right is where the candy is. It was swarming with people when we first got there and by the time we made it inside the candy was slim-pickings, though make no mistake I still got candy. 😀
A short drive away from the village is a cave (Donaldson Cave) that I’m pretty sure I’ve never been to – or if I have I definitely don’t remember it.
I really wanted to explore a bit, but as the cave is wet I most definitely did not have the right kind of shoes. I like my Sauconys (even if I have to put guerilla tape in them to get my big toe from busting through them) but they are in no way shape or form good wet environment shoes. They can handle long hikes in dry weather just fine, but wetness? No so much.
The next stop on the agenda was another thing I hadn’t been to in a long time – and something to which SB had never been to – a demolition derby! Yep, I’m busting out the Wikipedia article on that one because there are people I’ve met who have no idea what a demo is, so perhaps someone reading this blog with benefit from some dango’ knowledge.
The demo was, as expected, a lot of fun. We all really enjoyed ourselves – and I’m not just saying that because of the festival food. One thing I had forgotten about demos – or maybe I was too young to fully register it before – is how funny they are. Yes, I get how it can be frustrating for the drivers themselves, but for a totally unaffiliated audience member such as myself some of the shit that went down was outright hilarious. SB and I were especially fond of the purple and white car on the right in the photo below.
That night we ended up staying out pretty late due to the demo so we weren’t able to give Meem her new friend right away. However, to be totally honest I think Tristen was totally ok with that because the new friend was Sinclair, the Brontosaurus!
While Tristen has a quite “manries” exterior, those who know him will not be surprised that he was very worried about Sinclair being stuck in the bag and had to make sure that he could breathe. Sinclair came through just fine, dinosaurs are tough after all! Meem got to meet Sinclair the next day and everyone took to Sinclair right away. It’s not often that we introduce new “friends” to our family and we are very picky about our company, but Sinclair fit in just fine!
On the topic of friends, Sinclair wasn’t the only “new” friend we made, however I put “new” in scare quotes because the two other additions weren’t really new at all. In fact, they were quite old!
One of the many things we did while we were “home” was to consolidate a bunch of our stuff – which meant traveling to the different houses and going through things. During this massive excavation I uncovered a bunch of old stuffed animals and of all of them we were drawn to two little itty-bitty bears, a polar bear from Meem’s and a brown bear from my Dad’s. I think choosing the smallest things was the compromise between baby Taco not wanting to get rid of his stuffed animals and adult Taco who realizes they have no more space. So our silly few increased by two! Hey that rhymes, neato.
Towards the end of our time at “home” we went out to eat with a bunch of the family, which turned into SB and I drinking way too much both there and later at the local bar. SB got it much worse than I did and so the next day she spent pretty much the whole day recovering. 🙂
I felt pretty much fine the next day after getting some water in me, so I got to go spend some time with my Dad and see his cabin. It’s a luxurious cabin mansion set on a 3,000 acre estate, inclusive of a large swath of top-tier riverfront property. That might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s still a cabin and I still like it. Plus it’s nice to get out an see some of the areas that I don’t really get to see anymore.
That evening, which was our last in town, we spent the majority of our time at Meem’s house and we all made dinner with Tristen carefully watching over the ricken’ to make sure it was to his standards (things must be perfect for Grandma Reem after all).
All the Boys played with my (and later Daryl 1’s) old car mat, which has seen some shit in its day.
When it was getting close to bedtime we headed down to FIL and MIL’s since they were the wants trudging us all the way up to Chicago the next day since flights were far more affordable out of there. At that point Valentino formally named our two newest buddies, they are “Roland” and “Jake” which will make sense to you if you’ve read one of the best book series of all time (just forget about the movie, pretend it doesn’t exist). Roland and Jake did not come to Iceland with us, they stayed behind with all our other buddies (Old Bear Buddies, Squirrel Buddies, Sebastian & Serendipity, Pig Buddies, etc.) because they needed a bit of stability after emerging from like 2+ decades worth of hibernation. Valentino made sure they were all snuggled up before we left.
The next day was pretty much defined by the car ride up to Chicago. It was a full car, between FIL, MIL, SB, Me, the Boys and four suitcases plus an assortment of backpacks. Lest you judge me over being a fat Murkan traveler, those suitcases were our entire life for the year to come. We didn’t even up shipping anything except for a desktop computer (and just that, no monitor or accessories) because shipping + customs was so expensive. Basically it was WAY cheaper to pay extra for luggage then suffer moving it all around for a day or so than it was to use other methods. Believe it or not Iceland is not easy to get stuff too.. who would’a thunk’ it?
Anyways, the arrival in Chicago is a good starting point for next post, whereas it’s a good ending point for this post.
All in all, SB and I really enjoyed our trip home and our time home. Yes, it was hectic – and yes, it was stressful at times, but on the whole it was mostly nice to get a chance to see the family (and finally some friends!). I’m also thankful that Lucy gave us zero issues whatsoever (Penske 4 lyfe) and that FIL and MIL are allowing us to store most of our stuff at their house while we are going, something which saved us an undetermined number of months worth of storage fees!
In hindsight I wish that the bar exam + move + move (again) hadn’t been so scrunched together, but we managed it like troopers – all with a little help from our friends.
What’s kind of crazy is that despite how busy all that seems, it was actually a “pit stop” for us in the sense that it came between two very big events, with the Bar Exam + Leaving Boston on one side, and the whole Move to Iceland bit on the other.
Just what did that next step look like? Well, that’s a post for another day. 🙂
Until next time,