Moving Lessons (April 1, 2010)

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I think that part of the reason people (like me) view moving as an unbearable chore is because each relocation has its own distinct personality. You can plan and prepare yourself into an oblivion, but until the thing takes off, as Forrest Gump’s Mama once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Honestly, were my new apartment not such a fabulous upgrade, I would have preferred to stay put. But after five days of personal injury (cuts and bruises), internal wounds as a result of standing up to the cable company, cleaning, organizing and yes, a little bit of crying now and then, these are the lessons I take away from this round of life roulette:

1. Just because your new handyman sounds like a middle-aged Soviet relic on the phone, doesn’t mean he is.

In this case, voices were deceiving. Hello Roy! Young, buff and hot, with natural red hair and freckles (I realize “hot” and “freckles” are typically an oxymoron, but I swear it’s true!). Not to mention he’s knowledgeable, quick and laughs at my jokes. I will have to resist the urge to break things on purpose.

2. Wherever you think your cat couldn’t possibly be, that’s the place where you ought to look first.

See: aforementioned bouts of crying. Jordan, my six year-old kitty, is hardly what you might call brave. As the movers and Comcast techs did their thing, he went into hiding, so well in fact that I believed he had gotten out. Even the usual go-to method of sussing him out (shaking his bag of cat food) produced nary a sound. I panicked. I ran all over the building, even took a frantic turn around the block (figuring in my insanity that Jordan had learned how to use an elevator during his flight). Hours later, after I had posted a sign in the vestibule begging for information as to his whereabouts, and long after all workers had left, Jordan sauntered out, chill as can be, from under the dishwasher. Under the dishwasher! There is about 6 inches of space there. I still don’t know how he managed it. All’s well that ends well.

3. Off-street parking is not, after all, what it’s cracked up to be.

Our garage spot is about six feet wide, nothing more, and sandwiched between two stone pillars, with the remote garage sensor sticking out of the right hand side. In all my years of frustratedly parking on City streets, getting parking tickets, wandering blocks away from my destination, at least I never scratched my car. Yet I did so after a mere three days of living here. And we’re not talking about a small line either. It’s a nasty, deep cut to the driver’s side rear door. Goodbye $500 to repair a two week-old car. Eddie was understandably furious with me, and I am taking my lumps. Ironically, Rogers Park appears to have ample, non-zoned side street parking. I may avail myself of that in the future. Be careful what you wish for.

4. Finally, and most importantly, a lesson I seem to re-learn with each move: Comcast sucks. They are not to be trusted, and when the installer is on site, watch him/her like a hawk!

Jordan’s MIA routine caused Eddie and I both to take our eyes off the ball. Though the brand new condo building we moved into is cable ready, the clown tech who came on Saturday needed no less than three hours (!) to set up our services. This was a simple move and transfer, so I did smell a rat, but was too preoccupied with hunting for my baby. Once he finally finished, he hightailed it out the door, without asking me to sign anything confirming receipt. Another suspicious move. Three hours later, all services went down.

On Tuesday, when Comcast was finally able to get someone else out to have a look, it was discovered that the first tech had installed a bunch of software on my desktop, Comcast branded, and totally unnecessary given that this was a transfer, which compromised Internet Explorer and Windows. The company was very pleased with itself for giving me a “courtesy” waiver on the installation, and a $25 credit on my bill. This however did not spare Eddie from having to move all our files to an external hard drive, before wiping the system clean and reinstalling every single program. As I write this, the process remains unfinished, although I am mercifully back online.

I think now the worst is over, and the marvelous upshot is that my new place, my new community, and the weather are just perfect. I am locked into a 18-month lease, but wish for the moment that it were at least 60 months. I do not want to think about moving again for a long time.

Manic Monday (June 15, 2009)

Fun fact of the day: I included a photo of the Purple One with this post, despite the fact that “Manic Monday” is a spectacular 80s tune made popular by female rock group the Bangles. The reason I put Prince Rogers Nelson up here, beside the fact that I adore him, is that he is the author of the former #1 hit. He wrote the tune and gave it to Bangles lead singer Susannah Hoffs because he had a crush on her. Lucky girl. I don’t care if Princey is 5′ 2″ or not, he is dead sexy.

Anywhoo, today has been a hell of a day. The in-laws are here and the visit is in full swing. There have been the expected ups and downs, in and outs, a few tears. However, my hellish morning had little to do with Mummy and Papa and everything to do with karma, or whatever, raining shit down upon me. As stressed as I am, it was hardly appreciated.

Last week, the day I picked up the parents from O’Hare, as luck would have it, the rear brakes on our car started to go bad. We rented a car to drive Mummy and Papa to Indiana yesterday to see relatives. So I began my day taking my own car to Midas, getting a ride back home from a 22 year-old with pimples, before turning right around and dumping the rental car back at Enterprise. Don’t believe those haters when they say they’ll “pick you up.” They should clarify by saying, “We’ll pick you up or drop you off ONLY if you’re within a two mile radius.” I live in fact 2.5 miles away from the shop, and found myself trying to find a cab in Wrigleyville during Monday morning rush hour traffic. Not an easy task.

I returned home already bushed to be told by my father-in-law that the Internet had gone completely down. Say what? I am a freelance writer who works from home. I had my fourth theater review for the Edge due, oh, yesterday! Needless to say, my reaction to this was far from serene. I called the always useless customer service people at Comcast, only to be informed with something close to pride that I could indeed receive a housecall – on Wednesday morning. Seriously, they thought this was very helpful indeed. I resisted the urge to curse these suckers out (mostly because Mummy and Papa were in the room) and proceeded to weigh my options. I quickly wrote my review, transferred it to Eddie’s flash drive and hightailed it over to my best pal’s Gary’s house.

I booted up Gary’s laptop, finally ready to rock, only to discover that his laptop was a Mac, therefore incompatible with the PC flash drive. Zoinks! What now? Fortunately, Gary’s brother Ed saved the day. He mercifully possesses a PC laptop. While posting my already overdue review, I fielded a call that my car was ready for pickup. I dashed back over to Midas, plunked down 500 bones and came back home. It was now 2:30 PM and I hadn’t had so much as a sip of water.

My father-in-law decided to lend a hand and try to sort out the Internet situation. He, like my husband, has a Master’s degree in Information Systems. He got on the phone with Comcast and somewhow managed to find someone who knew what the hell they were talking about. It took him about an hour, and a wealth of patience I will never have, but eureka! He got me back online. For the first time since Mummy and Papa came to Chicago, the tears I cried were joyful ones.

I threw a salad and smoothie down my gullet and then it was off to Bank of America. Eddie’s folks wanted to start a bank account in the U.S. and were insistent it had to be today so they could receive their permanent debit cards before flying back to India. This took two hours. I am now in the midst of five loads of laundry created by all four of us (plus my two cats) and have cleaned the kitchen and office. I am freaking wiped and as yet, I still have a full night ahead of me.

I laugh now to think that when I left the ADA, Eddie told me to enjoy my summer “off.” Hmmmm…….