Welcome to the wilds! New Jersey for me was like crossing the border into Tijuana. Sure, the new lifestyle was crazy, but no one would ever admit to living there. When my husband’s job was relocated here in August 2010, we both were frightened. Now we’re learning about life, love, and marriage in this strange new culture. Feel free to tag along for the adventure.

Friday, August 27, 2010

An Almost Cat-tastrophe (that Doesn’t Involve the Felines)

After spending more than twenty-one straight hours sitting in coach on African Airlines, sleeping on benches in northern Spain, and backpacking through Peru…I expected to be prepared for anything that the move could entail. I considered the four hour and twenty minute car ride from Silver Spring, MD to Northern New Jersey to be the most harrowing feat. After all, no one enjoys a non-stop yowling soundtrack. However, as my luck would have it, that was not the only car adventure that this move had in store.

Sunday, the night before my trip to Jersey, my in-laws were in Baltimore Harbor for an art show. They had to bring a U-Haul and offered to carry a dining set that we had stored in their basement. At the time, it seemed so serendipitous. We had movers coming the next day, they were only a half hour away with the table, four chairs, and a bench…it was only a matter of transporting the goods about thirty miles. It was perfect…or so we thought.

As we arrived in Baltimore around 7:00 PM, we were invigorated with the possibility of eating at a table. For the last year, we had devoured nearly all of our meals on the sofa, because the fold down table seemed just too much of a hassle to pull out every night. We were so excited to finally act like adults and have space to dine.

Nothing worth fighting for is ever easy though. This we should have recognized, but it did not truly register until our 2010 Mazda hatchback buzzed through downtown Baltimore. It was dusk, but people of all nationalities still populated the streets laughing and carrying on. This was rare. Having been rated in the top ten cities for violent crime, generally few people ventured onto the streets after dark. Our enthusiasm blinded us to this oddity, but we were forced to acknowledge it as we passed the aquarium. The main parking garage was packed full and the ignominious sign, “Event Parking $25” was hung out in front.

“That will have nothing to do with us,” I said trying to calm my husband’s anger before he slammed on the brakes and did a u-turn. We had come so far I couldn’t turn around and return empty handed. The whole drive we had discussed where to put the table, how great the white runner would look on it, and I could just envision the vase of sunflowers at its center. There was no way I would have supported giving up at this juncture. We had to at least try.

Before another word was uttered, the cell phone was at my ear to call the in-laws. They too had difficulty parking. Apparently, both garages and lots in the inner city hated trucks. But after badgering and pleading, they had finally found a lot to take them. They gave us directions to it, and told us where to look; promising to meet us there. Everything again felt like it was smooth sailing. Once again, we were on our way. The bluebirds were chirping, the sun was setting pink behind the boats…again we were hopeful.

That was until we turned onto the cobblestone road, crossed a bridge…and discovered that the U-Haul (sandwiched between cars at its left, right, and center) was at the front gate to the event: the Goo Goo Dolls concert.

People were dressed to their sluttiest filing toward the white tented dome. Music emanated into the sky. Our spirits fell, but still we pushed on through the traffic. Eventually, we entered a roundabout. Our car stopped next to the U-Haul, parking illegally in the circle, but not really obstructing traffic. At this point, only a metal fence separated us from our goal.

If ever there was validation for the maxim, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” it was that night. Through a combination of hopping the fence and balancing pieces of furniture, my husband and his father managed to pack our tiny Mazda with a six foot wood table, a bench, and three chairs. Then, they petitioned my aid, which entailed sitting in the passenger seat and having an upside down chair shoved on top of me, pinching my feet and pressing on my bladder. BUT we did it… Two hours later, we had it unloaded, wiped down and in our apartment.

All night, I fretted, because I knew that adventure was only the beginning. It had already taken every ounce of nerves that I had left. SO on Monday, as I packed the kitties in their crate, I prayed and pleaded for the them to be okay. And would you believe it? The drive I have dreaded for weeks was the most peaceful trip between MD and NJ. It was the easiest part of this move. The whole time, they didn’t make one peep. They watched out the window. They slept. They purred.

All in all we survived...and if you need more proof of the power of perseverance, the table looks great!

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