Adventures in Relocating: Fallout from the Move

Eleven days of silence from the WBFF blog probably has people worried sick.  Am I alive?  Stuck under a pile of moving boxes?  Busy selling movie scripts all over LA?  Auditioning for my first (porn) acting gig?

Actually, in those 11 days, I spent five of them on a bender in Boston—Red Sox game, Celtics game, Wedding, Memorial Day BBQ, and a Wake (yes, my family typically serves alcohol at wakes…you know it’s a great idea)—I spent two of them packing four peoples’ lives into a moving truck, and I’ve spent the past four days unpacking in LA.

There might have been a post over the weekend if the company that was supposed to setup my internet and DirecTV service hadn’t completely boned me.  The reason I pushed to leave San Francisco at 4AM on Friday morning was to make sure we had enough time to get to LA, unpack everything from the truck and have the TV setup so these guys could do their job when they showed up at 4PM that day.  Only they didn’t show up and wouldn’t be able to until Monday.  I put together a sob story for the sales rep, saying that they were hurting my ability to work from home without the internet, and that I had plans to have friends over on Sunday night for dinner and watching the Celtics game.  He must have known that I have no job and no friends because he didn’t really compensate me much for this inconvenience.  The company’s name is Bel-Air Internet, and they are on my shit list.

But I digress.

My favorite thing about moving out of an apartment is the discoveries you make in random places you haven’t checked in years.  For instance, when we moved out of our college apartment, I’m pretty sure we found a mouse trap behind the mini-fridge that had a dead mouse on it…and that dead mouse had apparently died while trying to eat a smaller dead mouse.  At the apartment in San Francisco, my favorite discovery was this jar of mayo in the cupboard.  Expiration date: September ’08.  I tried to take a picture of it next to something white so you could see the color discrepancy:

Pretty gross, but I ate the whole jar.

Up until a week ago, I had never been to a self-storage facility.  I’m now convinced I’ll never go back to one.  In my head, storing possessions at one of these places is as simple as driving your truck right up next to your unit and unloading.  Kind of like this:

But reality is slightly different.  Reality is parking your truck in a tiny, crowded garage where there is only one elevator that everyone fights over to get your stuff up to your storage unit.  Reality is trying to navigate the world’s narrowest hallways with a dolly full of your possessions, while ducking under low-hanging pipes and lights.  And unfortunately, reality means realizing your storage unit is elevated about 10 feet above you, and good luck carrying those 70lb boxes up the librarian’s staircase without killing yourself.

This picture doesn’t do it justice. But picture those top units being 10 feet above ground and having a wobbly staircase as the only method to haul your shit up to them

After living in my new apartment for three days, here are the additional positives I’ve found that weren’t obvious when we toured the place in May: the flushing power of the toilet, the perfect temperature in the apartment by keeping the porch door open at all times (no need to use the central air so far), and the amount of power outlets throughout the place.

And here is the one negative I’ve found: lack of lighting even though there is an endless amount of light switches on the walls.  Seriously, there’s no overhead light in the living room, the bedroom or any of the closets.  And yet, there are at least seven light switches that do nothing, like they want to be used for overhead lights.  Even the kitchen is too dark in certain corners when the lights are on.  How many lamps will I have to buy to properly light this apartment?  It feels like more than five.

When Julie and I were moving in over the weekend, I was looking for one thing early on that I could start a huge all-out war over with her.  I picked the way she puts the toilet paper on the toilet paper dispenser.  I walked out of the bathroom on Saturday and said, “This just isn’t gonna work. You always put the toilet paper on upside down and I can’t live with that.”  I expected a fight, but instead she told me she didn’t even notice how she puts it on, it’s not even worth thinking about, and she’ll do it the way I want.  How dare she be so dismissive about something so important to me?

Speaking of the lady of the house…I folded a load of her laundry yesterday, and I never want to attempt it again.  My clothes have basically two shapes: regular-looking pants and regular-looking t-shirts.  My clothes are also made of only two possible materials: cotton and denim.  I know how to properly fold these shapes and materials.  Apparently a woman’s wardrobe consists of more variety: tank tops, strapless shirts, dresses with one sleeve, strapless dresses, skirts, shirts with a deep V-neck, normal length pants, three-quarter length pants, sweatshirts that look like shirts, shirts that look like sweatshirts, three different thicknesses of sweaters, belts that apparently go in the wash…and of course there are different materials that don’t want to fold like my cotton shirts.  Even though by living together we’re merging a lot of possessions, I’m pretty sure we’ll continue to do our laundry separately.

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Adventures in Relocating: How Adults Do It

This is exactly how I plan to move my things on June 1st

When I relocated from Boston to San Francisco with my brother in October 2005, I didn’t blog much about the moving preparations.  As a matter of fact, I wrote only one blog post about the move before the move actually happened.  Somehow it reveals absolutely nothing about the route we were taking, the transportation to get to the new destination, packing up all my belongings, saying bye to friends and family, tying up random loose ends, or what my plan was once I arrived in SF.

This is probably because I was five months removed from college graduation with no possessions, no money and no plan.  Back then it was basically one brief conversation between my brother and I where we decided we were moving, followed by putting all of my clothes into a large duffel bag the night before we left.  If I had been a committed blogger back then, I would have written about the amazing going away pub crawl my friends in Boston threw for me…a night that must have been good since it ended with me puking in the urinal of the White Horse Tavern and trying to escape the wrath of the bouncers.  I would have mentioned how one day before we were set to leave, my brother tried to fix something in the car we were driving out to California only to inadvertently short out the radio.  And when we told my Dad we might have to delay the trip by a few days to get the radio fixed, he basically threw his car keys at us and insisted we drive his car out West. In retrospect, what should I make of the fact that my Dad wanted us gone so badly that he literally gave away his car to ensure we wouldn’t linger? I also would have written that my brother’s friends threw him a great going away party in Fitchburg, but the only problem is that it occurred the night before we were leaving…and he got HAMMERED.  This led to a great moment where I had to wake him up at 9am the next day to tell him we had to get going, only to have him look at me like he was hearing of this “moving west” plan for the first time.  To say he was hungover and unprepared would be insulting to hungover and unprepared people.  He woke up, found a duffel bag and started shoveling clothes into it.  That’s the full story of him packing to move his entire life 3,000 miles away.  I would have finished my blog post back then with a note on how I had to smoke a five-pack of Phillies Blunt cigars to stay awake at times when I was driving (did I mention I had no money? Five cigars for $2.50 was me splurging at the time).

But even if I had been writing all that down while we were moving, I still wouldn’t have had much to say about the preparations.  For example, I never thought twice about mail that would keep getting sent to my old addresses in Boston and Fitchburg back then because there wasn’t any.  I didn’t really care to have the bank’s letters that said “stop trying to withdraw money, you have none,” forwarded to my new address in San Francisco.  Actually, I didn’t even have a new address in SF.  I was sleeping on my oldest brother’s couch until further notice.  That’s another thing I didn’t have to do in 2005…look for a place to live prior to moving.

So here’s my goal over the next few weeks: to unleash a new series of blog posts that will educate you on the successes and failures of my move to LA.  The title of each of these posts will begin with “adventures in relocating” so if you really don’t want to read these, you’ll know which ones to ignore right away.  And for those of you saying, “LA?  What the fuck is he doing moving to LA?” Well, I’ll have a post coming up soon with answers to all the questions you could ever ask.

For anyone who has relocated as an adult, you probably realize that things were a little more difficult than my experience seven years ago. You deal with tying up loose ends in one place while establishing yourself in another place.  And my move to LA is coinciding with me being jobless, which means I’m not going to spend money on having professional movers pack up my shit and deliver it to my new apartment. And I’m not going to pay for the cleaners to come to my current apartment to help me get my security deposit back.  There’s a lot more “do it yourselfness” going on here.

But I expected a lot of work, and that’s why my last day at my job was April 27th.  I’m moving on June 1st so I wanted the entire month of May to take care of all these things; big things like finding an apartment in LA and renting the right Uhaul truck, and little things like using leftover gift cards to places that only exist in San Francisco before I leave.

But then I went and booked a trip back to Boston from May 21st through May 30th.  Why did I plan a trip that takes me away from everything I have to do for the final 10 days leading up to the move?  I can justify a piece of the trip because I’m going to a wedding in Boston over Memorial Day weekend, but the extended 10-day trip?  That was probably dumb of me.  Soon I’ll be panicking because there’s less than three weeks before I have to be 100% ready for this move.  There are also a couple days where I know I won’t be productive: May 7th when me & the brothers have a final golf outing together, May 12th when we celebrate the going away of me and Julie in Golden Gate Park, and May 20th when we party one more time in a way that’s only possible in San Francisco….Bay2Breakers.

It’s May 3rd.  I have 15 open days to find an apartment, pack up everything and move.  Something tells me I can’t get away with shoving all my belongings in a duffel bag and sleeping on someone’s couch this time around.