Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Moving Experiences

Above you see a photo of my home away from home.  My apartment on the Yonkers-Hastings border in New York.   The picture is several years old, but, except for a flat screen television now in place, the place looks pretty much the same.   Several years ago, I had the kitchen and bathroom renovated for potential sale.

Yeah, I still own it.  

I do love this little oasis when I travel.  And, frankly the thought of moving out of there is repellent to me.  I remember how torturous it was to buy the apartment and move in.  But I am getting ahead of the curve here.

Moving is on my mind as I am currently performing the process yet again in Los Angeles.  This will be my fourth move as a resident of California.   Admittedly, this will be easier since I am literally relocating from the first floor to a slightly smaller but better maintained apartment on the second floor. Throw in the fact that the kitchen is bigger and the rent to the condo owner is 800 dollars less and you immediately sign that lease.   

Truth be told, I wasn't planning to move.   But, in the darkest recesses of last November, I was visited by my current condo owner while I was still on crutches recuperating from the fractured kneecap.

"It's been years since I raised your rent.  So I'm increasing you by seven hundred dollars."

Kicking the tenant while he is down.   

That news made me start to think about moving in the late spring.  But that time table got advanced when I found out an apartment upstairs was available. Plus the condo owner's mother-in-law is Shirley Jones, so this attachment to Hollywood made the prospective move so ideal.  Plus the actual process would be easy.  Simply taking two weeks to pick up a lamp, take it upstairs, and then back downstairs for another lamp.   Sort of like the "I Love Lucy" episode where the Ricardos moved in the same building.

So, as moves go, this should be pretty simple.   Not so when I bought the aforementioned digs on the Yonkers-Hastings border.  Indeed, I wasn't planning to move then either.

I had lived in a very spacious townhouse further down on North Broadway in Yonkers.   I loved the place but, as friends moved from the complex, the replacement tenants left a little to be desired.   I wound up sharing my entrance and front porch with a family of hillbillies from Alabama.  Oh, they were nice enough.  But...

I will never forget the day as long as I live.   I was coming home from work after a long day in Manhattan.  I trudged up the stairs to the front porch that my neighbors and I shared.  And then I looked down.

There were little pieces of fur stretched out all over their side of the porch.  My neighbor was presiding over the stash.   Um, what is this?

"My hubby went squirrel hunting."

And apparently skinned them.  Right there on North Broadway in Yonkers.   I quietly excused myself from the conversation, went into my house, and threw up in my kitchen sink.

But, wait, there's more.   An hour later, there was a smell emanating from the back porch.   If my neighbors were barbecuing, this wasn't ground chuck they were preparing.   I looked out the window and then wished I hadn't.

Two kitchen sink pukes in one night.

Get. Me.  The.  Fuck.  Out.  Of.  Here.

It didn't take me long to find my new co-op apartment.  In the lovely Riveredge building nestled in the nature preserve up the road.   The purchase was easy and I loved what the owners had done to the apartment.

And, after the closing and I finally made my first solo visit there, I hated what they had done to the apartment.

With their furniture in place, you couldn't see the holes in the wall and the stains on the carpet.   And a slightly pink wall.   What the hell was I thinking?  I had a panic attack worthy of what people in 2016 have when they start to realize that Donald Trump just might become President.  

I listed in my mind all the things that needed to be done in this apartment.  It was extreme buyer's remorse.  The projects alone could have their own series on today's HGTV network.   As I hyperventilated, my mother had a solution.

"The girls across the hall from me do a lot of home repair."  

The girls across the hall from Mom were Marge and Missy and they were clearly a couple.  But they also were super handy and I wasn't.  We started to agree on things like new carpet, paint colors, fixtures, etc..   They would do all the work on Saturdays.  I would simply clear out for the day and let them work.

But they were not alone.  They brought about five girlfriends every week to help out.   For a month of Saturdays in 1993, I dutifully left the apartment at 9AM while a 2016 sitcom on the Logo Network took over the place.  And, in short order, my place was livable and the anxiety ceased.   

Of course, I eventually had to have the place redone again and this time I used a contractor named Lou (and who doesn't know a contractor named Lou?).  But I will never forget how a gut and knee-jerk reaction to move turned out so amazingly well.

And I haven't been able to look at a squirrel in the same way since.

Dinner last night:  Penne and meatballs.

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