June 27, 2009

It’s on like Ping Pong

All our boxes are packed…we’re ready to go.
We’re running quickly out the door.
It can’t come quick enough…

Within the next few hours the cavalcade of moving joy begins. Right now feels like that calm before the storm where we are up and drinking coffee, tripping over filled boxes everywhere but not acknowledging that there is anything going on just yet. The wind is just starting to pick up a little bit.

Matt and I have moved so many times it is almost not even worth mentioning anymore but I feel compelled to get excited about this one because we both feel really good about this move. This is the first time in almost seven years we are moving to a place for no other reason than we wanted to.

When we first got together I was living in a little studio apartment in Malden, Massachusetts and he was living in Columbus, Ohio in a similar sized place. If you haven’t read the story about how we met and all that squishy stuff you can do that now. I’ll wait.

Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap.

OK ready? Good. Now where was I? Oh right, Malden.

So once we decided to move in together the studio was not going to cut it and we found a place a few blocks away, also in Malden. It was the second floor of a typical Boston two family -- three bedrooms, one bath, eat in kitchen, hardwoods, single pane windows, no insulation and a boiler from 1850 -- it was huge and we were getting a super deal on rent because Matt knew someone who knew someone. Then they told us they were selling and all of this moving for other people and other reasons began.

We bought the fixer in June of 2002 and by April of 2003 we actually started to work on the place. Just before that was when they sold the house in Malden we crashed for a while with a family member until the house in Springfield was almost ready to be inhabited, but not quite. We went to a motel for ten days while we put up walls in the bathroom and bedroom. Enough that the cat could be safe and we could shower. We lived in Springfield for three years too long but neither of us ever wanted to live there. We just went with the flow of circumstances so when a job opportunity opened up in New York, we figured it was worth looking into.

I was dying to give Manhattan a go. I have always loved The City and could not wait to get there!

So of course we ended up living in my cousin’s basement on Long Island. For over a year. With no windows.

We made the best of it because New York is freaking expensive and we were still paying bills on the Springfield house and trying to sell it. But East Meadow was not where either of us wanted to live. One morning after a particularly heavy rain storm the basement flooded. We had been discussing possibly moving so we would not turn into moles but had not entirely planned on doing it just yet. The house next door belonged to the man my cousin had been seeing and he had just moved into her slightly larger home.

Off we went to his place that day. Like within an hour of the flood.

That house was actually one of the best places we have lived even though we didn’t see the move coming. A cute little 900 square foot, single family, two bedroom ranch with a nice big living room and a kitchen with a dishwasher. We had a couple friends on the Island who would come over and we would hang out on the back deck and drink beers and laugh all night. It was actually not too bad.

Then the housing market imploded.

Our friends had worked together (at a substantial sized mortgage company) and were out of work on the same day. With approximately 5,000 other people. Six or so other small to mid sized companies also went down and Matt too ended up having to find something. There were about 10,000 people all fighting for the same fifteen jobs on the Island and our friends hauled ass out of there and headed for Texas. Matt’s boss at his former company loved him to death and got him into her new place per-diem but we both knew he was on borrowed time.

So we put on our rose colored blindfold and moved back to Massachusetts.

There is a whole lot involved with this move and a very lengthy story surrounding it all, which I may tell at some point but today is not that day. Let’s just say there are three sides to everything and that we moved back here so Matt could pursue a career change, which instead turned out to be a life changing experience for both of us, and we encountered some major financial hardship due to the culmination of everything up to this point. Yes, I think that sums it up rather nicely.

When we first moved back we were crashing at the beach cottage in Humarock. The day I become a wealthy woman I will own a home on both coasts -- a hip loft in downtown San Diego and a home in Humarock. That place is one of the most amazing places on the planet for me, something magical happens when I cross the river; I feel at home. But living in a family house that is opened up every summer means, again, living on borrowed time so this was never meant to be something we could treasure; it was transitional at best. Bringing in 75% of the pay we were making in New York also meant we were limited in where we could even look, not to mention the fact that saving a couple dimes was next to impossible.

I had started Chucka Stone Designs as soon as we arrived and was beginning to roll along with a few great jobs through 2008. That spring the family house in Damascus, Maryland needed to be freshened to be put on the market and I was hired to do so. That job was the most physically exhausting I have ever faced but one of the most rewarding in so many ways. And I came home with our moving money.

We had settled for an apartment in Arlington that was excessively overpriced for the size, but it was Arlington. Now I should explain, as much as Humarock feels like home, I have about as strong feelings to the opposite about Arlington.

The funny thing about Boston is that even the crappiest of areas are overpriced so we figured, why not at least move to a safe town. And so we landed here.

I grew up here from age seven to about nineteen and frankly I am not a fan. There is nothing inherently wrong with this town it is just that I am one of those people who 1. knows when something feels right or wrong and 2. enjoys leaving my past in the past. Even as a kid I never felt like I fit in here. Moving back here caused my past to come running right up to me to punch me square in the kisser; I knew it felt wrong. But when we were looking there was not much of an option and after three years in Springfield I refused to live in another crime ridden location simply because we could afford it.

I have shared some of the hilarity about this building -- the smell of dead cabbage cat, neighbors who sunbathe in the parking lot in a thong, the rabid animals that live in the dumpster, the claustrophobia upon entry -- but I really must admit, despite all of the crap, our landlord has been wonderful and Matt and I went through very distinct, positive transformations here.

This time, there was no pressure to move (even though we were both interested in doing so eventually). No major life changes were occurring which were forcing our hand, neither of us figured we would be going anywhere for at least a couple years. Then one night out of the blue we heard about what will now be our new place.

It is only one town away but it feels like the other side of the Universe to me. With so many positive things going on in our lives right now this new place kind of feels like the culmination of dragging ourselves back up from a very, very dark place that we lived in for a very, very long time. We don’t own it, it is not all that much bigger and who knows what the neighbors will be like but something inside both of us is saying that this time we were actually waiting at the right platform when the right train was pulling in and finally we are headed in the right direction.

I haven’t even set up an appointment for internet access to be hooked up yet. For the first few days I simply plan to unpack, make curtains, explore our new neighborhood, sit in the side yard and read the Kerouac novel I just took out of the library, set up our place and enjoy the surroundings. I don’t know when I’ll get back online to read, write and connect, but even though there is a lot of heavy lifting to come over the next few days, I somehow feel like I will be more refreshed than ever once I get back.



Almost Precious said...

Wish you a speedy and happy move. May all your boxes transport safely, and may no possession be broken (unless it's something you can't stand and truly wish it would be demolished). We will all miss your updates and insights as you move and resettle yourself.

Theresa said...

Good luck with the move. Enjoy the time off from the blogospere. We will be anxiously awaiting your return.

Bridgete said...

I know exactly how this goes. Life makes you move. I've been doing basically the same thing ever since college started. I'm so glad you've found a place that feels right and I hope you get to stay there for a while. =)

Karen said...

Good luck with the move... I hope you'll be very happy in your new home :)

Elizabeth Bradley said...

We just moved two weeks ago and I still have stuff to unpack, stuff to organize, and stuff to get rid of. Moving gets harder as you age. Hope you enjoy living in your new town, we moved to a new town too and we already love it here.

spottedwolf said...

all the best Jenn. It sounds like ya'll get to close a few old ones....and open some new ones!!

Anonymous said...

When we feel content in our life, that is a great feeling. Have fun setting up your new home.

Rosebud Collection said...

So happy for you both..Much luck in your new place. Will be waiting for your return to blogging.

Chris Stone said...

Sounds like a great move! good luck!

and "So of course we ended up living in my cousin’s basement on Long Island. For over a year. With no windows." YIKES!


Can we say..."Gypsy"..?!

Be well. ;P