Tuesday, January 8, 2013
We'll Be Right Behind You
"You go ahead, we'll be right behind you as soon as we load up these boxes."
The words, spoken by the head mover, calmed me as we prepared to leave our apartment for the last time. This man was in control.
It was three days after Hurricane Sandy swept through New York and New Jersey, leaving broken houses, broken spirits and an unimaginable path of destruction in her wake. The move from our apartment in Manhattan to our new house in Westchester County was supposed to have been on Monday morning. But after listening to the ominous weather predictions over the weekend, we decided to push the move to Friday. Even if we could have made it before the worst of the storm hit Monday evening, the idea of riding it out in a new house with no kitchen, in a neighborhood filled with strangers, and with the threat of being without power for days was far from settling.
No, it was definitely better to wait.
I didn't sleep much Thursday night. The stress of the hurricane, the mild panic I had at the thought of leaving Manhattan after almost eight years, and the anxiety of moving in general combined into a toxic cocktail that left me tossing and turning until the sun began to rise. I probably could have handled any one of these things on its own, but together, they were a force far more powerful than I.
And when the movers knocked on the door at eight AM, I was already pacing the short length of our living room floor, and wishing that the was day over. They rushed in with their boxes, paper and packing tape, and in short order began dismantling the life that David and I had built together over the past two years. There wasn't much for me to do, so I just sat on the couch and watched the mayhem.
After a few hours, mayhem became mild disorder, and before long everything was packed. We had to make a stop at my in-law's house in Riverdale before we headed to our new house, and the head mover told us that the timing would be perfect. He needed about a half hour to load everything else in the truck, which was how long we thought our detour would take, so we would pull up to the house at the same time the movers did. He said that he would give us a call when they were on their way, and told us that everything was under control.
So with a last look at our 72nd Street home, we pointed the car north, and drove away.
Our stop in Riverdale took longer than expected. Curiously, by the time we left, there was still no call from the movers. I called them instead. The loading too had taken longer than expected, but they thought that they would be on the road in a half hour.
Ok, we thought. No problem.
When we got to the new house the movers still had not left the city, and there was little for us to do but sit and wait. I practically shuddered with relief when the phone rang. Surely it was the movers calling to tell us that they were on their way.
It was indeed the movers, but with far less appealing news. It seemed that the driver had accidentally left the truck's lights on while they were packing us, the battery was dead, and they didn't have jumper cables to get it started again. The head mover told us that he sent one of his guys to Home Depot across the park for the cables, and assured us that they would leave the city in no time.
An hour later we found out that they did, indeed, procure jumper cables, but the only cars around were cabs, and with mass transit completely out due to the storm, there was no cab in the city willing to idle for the twenty minutes it would take to get the truck's engine started. And then they found out that the battery was beyond saving. The company was going to have to send a tow truck, along with a new moving truck from their warehouse.
They had no way to estimate how long it would take to get the new truck, and the sun had begun to set. As we sat in the living room of our nearly empty house and as the sky grew dark, the knots in my stomach had knots of their own. I was sure that the anxiety coursing through me was palpable, and wondered that the air around me didn't just vibrate with the intensity of it all.
And then we got the final call. With all the Monday and Tuesday moves pushed to Friday because of the storm, the company didn't have any trucks to spare. There was no possible way for them to get our stuff to us, and we were going to have to wait until morning.
We spent our very first night in our brand new house sleeping on the floor of our bedroom, grateful that we decided to lay carpet, instead of sticking with the hardwood floors.