9 Weeks

Yesterday was a screamer. J&I drove back to NYC from a weekend in northern NJ with our almost-3-year-old and twin 9-month-old babies in the back. We were all hot and tired. From lake house front door to Lincoln Tunnel, 45 minutes. Nearly a record. Radar showed a blood-red storm over the city, but we seemed to be chasing it out. S said from his middle seat, “Almost there!” Yes, honey. Almost there.

Two hours and 15 minutes later, we pulled up to our awning.

A crane accident that dropped a car-sized air conditioning unit from nearly 30 stories up onto a midtown street a few blocks from where we live. Flash floods. Street fair on Sixth. Parade on Fifth. Midtown Tunnel down one tube for Hurricane-Sandy repairs. Ambulances, fire trucks, police cars, and utility vehicles maneuvering, turning, backing up, blocking.

S ate most of the Cheerios in my bag. What was left, I fed to the babies, along with the remainder of their afternoon bottles, breaking from my seat belt since we hadn’t moved more than a few feet anyway. Then S ate all the Goldfish crackers in my bag. What was left, I broke into small pieces and fed to the babies, who spit them out. We sang, we sang in silly voices. We sang real loud, then real quiet. We opened and closed the sun roof. S drank all his water, then all my water, then all J’s water. The babies cranked up, cried, screamed, hiccup-cried. Somebody pooped. “ALMOST THERE!” S whined. I recorded the sound and sent it to my mother-in-law and one of my sisters. Ouch, they said. OMG. Get earplugs.

We laughed at a few moments. And we bit at each other about which lane looked more promising. And we breathed, “9 weeks … 9 more weeks.”

J&I have lived in NYC for 16 years. Before college, he was born and raised here, while I was born and raised in a village in southeastern Connecticut, in a family home my sisters and I are now selling in the wake of my mother’s untimely death. We’ve lived in our apartment by the U.N., over the East River, for 13 of those years. We’ve changed jobs, gone to graduate school (twice), met friends, parted ways with friends, learned to cook, been promoted, started a literary salon, observed hundreds of protests, sold hundreds of items on Craigslist, attended and hosted holiday and engagement and birthday and housewarming and graduation and fundraiser and retirement and book-launch and art opening and goodbye parties, visited 25 countries, eaten everything everywhere, gotten married, adopted two cats, had three children, in this home. Our home.

We are moving in 9 weeks. To another apartment, on the 14-mile Byram River, an hour outside the city.

Another apartment. But this one, with laundry. This one, with parking. With a little balcony. A little balcony!

We have a running list of Things We Will Miss Most and Things We Can’t Wait to Escape. Crane-accident-flash-flood-street-fair-parade-tunnel-tube-closure-induced-standstill traffic that multiplies our car confinement 9 times what it should be … a Thing We Can’t Wait to Escape.

Some day, a house. With all its difficulties and trappings. But yes, some day, a house. For now, after 16 years, our family—once 2 beings, now 7—moves in 9 weeks.

Nine weeks, and then, bye bye, NYC.

Onward and smallersimplerward.