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.
I have been planning to send you something from my beloved Danforth Pewter, and now I realize my procrastination will be rewarded! One less thing to pack and unpack! When you get settled, you must send me your new address. It’s a thank you for all of your support and inspiration around Longridge Review, and now it’s a housewarming gift as well. 🙂
Something wonderful to anticipate, especially while unpacking! We haven’t moved in so long. I believe I’m underestimating how arduous it will be!
Um, ignore that recent e-mail request asking for an update on your moving plans….
I love this piece, just love it. I have never experienced quite this sort of pain b/c I have never been responsible for small humans, and thank goodness. I would have lost little bits of my mind worrying about the depleted cereal and crackers and especially the water. And the poop and the hiccup-crying and the whining–oh goodness. PAINFUL. But honestly you make it sound funny and like an adventure. And you also make me even more excited for your move. Can’t wait to hear more.
You know, of course, how much I delight in your numbering the kitties in your head count there at the end! Sweet kitties. They will be so happy with more space!
Thinking of you tonight, glad you made it home whole, and sending warm wishes for a fast-moving, snag-free 9 weeks….
I know you delight in numbering the kitties! It’s a passive inclusion. I don’t think about adding them to the list. They just appear there, because my mind has adopted them in every way. Next trip … more water. Much more water!
Good luck with the move. I’m moving in the other direction, but probably in nine months, not nine weeks. My kids are all off to college, so this fall, I’ll put my Colonial home in Hopewell on the market. In one sense, it will be a relief not to have so much work to do around the house, but in another, I know it’s going to be an adjustment not coming home to such a comfortable, large house with a big garden and gorgeous trees.
J&I talk about doing what you’re doing when the kids leave for college. Yes, a relief, but yes, a difficult adjustment too. Selling my mother’s house, my childhood home, shows me how deep the house roots go, and how alive a house really is. Good luck with your move!