My Great California Adventure marks move number 10 in the past seven years (yes, for those of you doing the math, I realize that makes me look extremely fickle—once every six months?!?), and it’s funny how people seem to think it just suddenly becomes easier because a) obviously I’m an old pro in the art of relocation and b) as a travel writer, packing’s my favorite pastime. Well, I’m here to tell you people: Packing your life’s belongings into three suitcases and nine 24×16 cardboard boxes never gets any easier. Hopefully, SVV will keep me around for awhile, and I won’t have to undergo this again—at least for a year or two.
Per my usual lack of planning, I didn’t begin the packing phase until Wednesday – two days before I intended to ship it all (I use the operative word “intended” because clearly UPS had other ideas). After multiple trips to and fro the UPS store for packing supplies, I was beginning to make progress. So after a quick break in the monsoon-like Friday for a press lunch with the Brandman Agency girls – my last wine-and-dine as a New Yorker, sad! – I had put the final touches on my cargo and was impatiently waiting for UPS to come retrieve my parcels (I had called every day that week, you see, just to make double, triple, quadruple sure that they would come when they said the would). My efforts were all in vain, of course, as much, much later, I was still sitting in the same uncomfortable cross-legged position on the phone with the UPS guy Mark who recognized my voice each time I phoned.
My boxes now appear as they’ve been attacked by a five year old who happened upon a lifetime supply of oversize Scotch tape and used it as an art project. Not the look I was going for. After underestimating how much tape I’d need, I compensated by overestimating on the fourth run, which left me with extreme excess. Since the movers left me waiting for more than 12 hours, I sat waiting, taping and taping and taping some more – with Tyra and the ANTM Cycle 7 blaring in the background (sad that I’ve seen these Modelthons so many times I can recite what each girl is going to say in the confessional at what time) – and my OCD habits predicted that I would continue to tape until the movers arrive or I run out of tape again, whichever happened first.
I ran out of tape. And after overdosing on Tyra and outlasting a She’s the Man viewing on Friday afternoon – two hours of my life that I will never get back, but hey OnDemand, it’s not my fault that’s the only movie you’d let me see without producing the glaring red ERROR message – it was becoming increasingly more obvious that my stuff would not make it to San Francisco any sooner than I. 4pm came around, and no UPS. 5pm, no loud buzzer. 6pm, still no word. So finally at 7:30pm – half an hour before they closed – I called Trusty Ole Mark who claimed “well, uh, you know, we got real busy, and it rained. A lot.” Call me crazy, but if your job is working for a shipping company don’t you learn to carry out your obligations come hail or high water??? Apparently not if you’re Mark. And a little phone call would have been nice, so I didn’t waste one of my final afternoons in the city freezing away in my apartment, my running nose causes crystals to form from my nostrils (Problem #367 with living in a pre-war building: After a year and a half of complaining to your landlord about the building not having heating units, he finally invests in spaceheaters, only for you to find out that you cannot have anything – NOT EVEN A LIGHTBULB – going at the same time as said heater, otherwise you’ll cause a power outage. Yeah, we learned this the hard way. Like 25 times or more.). But no, no common courtesy, so by then my cold was at its peak, and I ended up staying in with roommate Patrick and watching Children of Men. (Side Note and SPOILER ALERT: Why was Julianna Moore top billed if they were just going to kill her off after five minutes of screen time? I kept waiting for her to return in a flashback, but alas, nada!) Before I gave up for the night, I called back yet again and demanded that UPS be at my apartment no later than noon the next day. We shall see.
I set my alarm to wake up at 9am and bug the UPS guys again, but the 2am Nyquil consumption won that battle, and as my eyes fluttered open at 10:30, I panicked and called Mark immediately. He said someone would come by “uh sometime, you know, when we have a chance.” I told him they would be there by noon, but as we have come to find, UPS works by means of sundial. 1:30pm rolls around and I’m still in my pajamas, surrounded by nine seemingly squares of packing tape. I make one final call, a death threat if you will, which apparently worked as not more than 10 minutes later, a UPS guy the size of my freezer was on my doorstep.
I was excited that my belongings would finally be on their way to California – until he told me I was going to have to help him carry them down. Um, excusez-moi? Wasn’t that precisely why I pade the $210 pick-up fee and they sent over a 400-lb man more than three times my weight to do that job for me? Alas, I just wanted to GET THE STUFF OUT OF THERE, so I helped so I’d still have time for a brunch at PB&Co. and mani-pedi with Lemon before my going-away bash later that evening.
Cost of My Portion of Rent at 820 10th Ave., NYC: $1067
Cost of Shipping: $996 (plus $20 I tipped the dude that I’m sure will go toward his chiropractor bill, and $101 worth of packing supplies. All that said and done, I should have just rented a car and made a cross-country trip out of it. Next time I’ll know better – if there is a next time.)
Cost of FINALLY being Roommates with SVV After All This Time: PRICELESS
And for now, I’m DONE with moving (remind me of this when six months from now I get the brilliant idea to relocate to Argentina, because that sounds like some hare-brained scheme I would concoct). Tired of boxing up my life, and discarding what I deem no longer important to me (Good Will just loves to see me walk through its doors). Every move is kind of like another round of Top Model: I have to determine what’s good enough to make it to the next round, and purge myself of everything not “fierce” enough to make the cut. I’m tired of the good-byes to old friends and work pals and the effort it takes to build up a strong pool of confidantes that I hope might someday rival the closeness I had with the
former Inner Circle.
So, San Francisco, be kind to me, if you will. I hope you like me, because I plan on sticking around for a looooong time. See you soon!