It's 580 miles between Brooklyn, New York and Ada, Ohio. It's a drive, mostly across Pennsylvania and the Allegheny Mountains, that takes about 9 hours, give or take how well I time the lights along Atlantic Avenue and what the congestion's like at the Holland Tunnel. Two of those hours involve just getting out of New York City. Leaving the city can feel like trying to escape the embrace of a clingy, needy lover. Let me go, already. Stop pulling. Please.
Moving day was Thursday, October 16, a day before we had intended and with a company that we didn't line up until just four days earlier. We had intended on going with a different mover, one that had attracted us with a lower estimate. But it was just that, an estimate, and as we got closer to the moving date, and had a more detailed inventory for the customer service rep, the more that $3500 estimate was edging toward the $6700 flat fee we were quoted by the local company we had wanted to hire.
We knew Shea Movers. They had helped us squeeze into our three-floor walkup in Bedford-Stuyvesant nearly two years ago. They were reliable, careful, honest, trustworthy, a calm presence in the midst of the emotional and physical tornado that is Moving Day. We didn't know Alliance, had only dealt with them over the phone, and only with a smooth-talking salesman who assured us that they could do whatever we needed. What he didn't tell us was what that it was going to cost us extra.
He also didn't tell us that it could take up to six days for us to get our stuff. A dedicated truck would have cost extra. I flipped when I found this out, and called Shea. "Remember that estimate you gave us, and that moving date?" I cried to Julie. "Does it still stand, and is that date still free?" Help us go, already. Please!
"Yes," she chirped. Relief poured over me like a cup of warm oil, smoothing my nerves from forehead to feet.
It was going to cost us, though. Alliance took our $1100 deposit, citing a cancellation within seven days of the moving date. It's expensive to live in New York City. It's also expensive to leave it.
But leave it, we did. Our six hundred mile journey to our 114-year-old Queen Anne Victorian "painted lady" has started, with a 9-hour load-in, a 9-hour overnight drive and a 6-hour load-out.
Actually, my husband Mark, my cats Tidbit and Stringbean, and my worldly possessions have relocated to Ada, Ohio. I'm there, too, mentally and emotionally. I'm there, marveling at the woodwork and all the windows and doors, the front and back porches, the old billiards table in the attic, the apple tree in the backyard, the fact that I even have a backyard. I haven't had one since 1981, when I left my childhood home in Brunswick, Ohio, for college and thirty years of dorms, rented rooms, and small, cramped, dark apartments.
But physically, I'm in New York City for another four months, to earn health care coverage through 2016. I stay, in order to stave off Obamacare for two years. I stay, hoping to carve a less severe curve in the off-ramp we're taking from the highway of steady paychecks and employment benefits.
Stop pulling, Easter House. Please. I've got some things I've got to take care of. I'll be there soon. And then we really start engaging the road we're walking.
Then, as I read on a button recently, on a dandy man's lapel on the C train: "S*** Gets Real."