Thursday, August 23, 2012

Moving to the city

Thursday we went shopping for groceries and Target items and essentially regained our sanity.

Friday was move-in day.  

We had all of our stuff in Dave’s Subaru and his parents much newer, nicer Subaru.  We had already returned the Uhaul.  This was it, we were going to see, for the first time, where Dave would be living on his own.  We drove about an hour, over the George Washington bridge, and arrived at his new apartment building.  His appointment was to sign his lease for 11:00, but guess what happens at 11:00-12:30?  Street cleaning!  You can only park on one side of the street.  Everyone on one side of the street double parks on the other side.  (This happens four days a week!)  Having rarely ever even had to parallel park in my life, I have most certainly never dealt with double parking.  We ran out of time, there were no legal spots, so we did it.  Dave double parked in front of his building and across the street from some construction dumpster, leaving me in the car while he did paperwork upstairs for an indefinite amount of time.  I can’t believe no one ran into us.  Very stressful and loud.  Not a good first impression.   

Dave returned about 30 minutes later and we decided to just leave the car, like everyone else, and go see his new place.  The door man (He has a doorman!!!)  took his passport photo so he’d know who Dave was to let him into the building and mailroom and then we went upstairs.  Third floor, super cute, much larger than expected, sunny apartment.  The bedroom is huge with two big windows!  One big one in the living room.  The kitchen is dark, but bigger than we expected and possibly more cupboard space than I have in Boulder.  We were super happy!  We emptied our car’s stuff into the freight elevator and moved it all in.  A memory-foam mattress he had mail-ordered was waiting for us in the lobby, so we took it up and let it air out the rest of the day.   
Bedroom windows.  If I looked far enough right out the window, I could see beautiful, old trees in the huge park at the end of the building. 
 We walked around the neighborhood and it is just adorable because he is right on the campus and across the street from a park.  His parents came later and we took up the rest of his stuff, then returned to their house for the night and watched the DVRed opening ceremonies for the Olympics.  Thank goodness for Mr. Bean.  Those English are odd.  

Saturday we watched the disappointing road bike race, ate some lunch, picked up Dave’s 1-year younger brother, and headed to IKEA.  Usually when shopping, the more people the more confusing, but honestly, everyone was really useful because IKEA is a confusing place and sometimes it took all of us to form a good opinion or figure out the pricing scheme on a chair.  I would have liked a map, but gave in and just followed the arrows through the whole store.  We picked up a cute birch 2X2 cube bookshelf that fits the record player and records just perfectly, a $49 black TV stand with drawers, a large birch coffee table that is perfect for playing games on, a cheap bed frame, and a comfortable, but sleek chair with footstool.  We went away with no couch and no dresser.  The couches were awful for the price range we were looking in.  We’re hoping to find something on craigslist that doesn’t have bed bugs.  (I had bed bugs in 2002 thanks to a furnished apartment bed.  I will be the first to say that they will ruin your life.  Being cheap and reusing is all fine and good, until your life is ruined, and then you wish you’d have forked over money for a new couch.)

The boys put together the furniture and I helped a little bit with the bed.  We had a nice pizza for dinner from down the street.  

Overall we were missing 3 screw-type pieces and our new chair and footstool are not usable and the coffee table is sort of together. Thanks a lot, IKEA.  Dave went back several weeks later to get the parts and bought a futon.  

Bed building, despite my inability to read the IKEA no-word directions.

Dave's Mom and Dad helping to build the Entertainment Center.  The chair in the background they had just finished. 

Brother Matt trying to figure out the most ridiculous directions ever written.

I made a "couch" for Dave out of our camping pads.  Here he's showing me just how much this is in no way like a couch. 

A bed!  This is a bed spread I made for Dave's birthday several years ago.  My first big quilting project.  Note the bike handle on the LH side.  Oops. 

Lawn chair will work for a little while. 

At least we had some good tunes to listen to!

Kitchen complete with monkini ingredients, plunger coffee maker, and bread.  What more could a boy need?

We slept in the new place for the first time Saturday night.  The street light outside is a bit bright, there’s lots of sirens, one night there was a fire somewhere and it smelled awful and we thought about going out to check it out, the cigarette smoke of people walking by is kind of gross, it’s humid, and on week days, workers show up at 7:00 to honk their horns at each other over parking.  Oh yeah, and street cleaning happens four times a week, so you have to move your car four times.  Welcome to New York, Dave! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

From CO to NJ and Mammouth Caves

Project Move-Dave-to-NYC  started just a week after returning from our Teton/Yellowstone trip.  The series of travel-log I will post involves a one-week drive to NJ, a one-week vacation in NY, and a one-week vacation in WI.  

We had just kind of ruined the VW van engine and needed to figure out how we were going to get Dave and his stuff to from Colorado to NYC.  After a quick Excel spreadsheet to compare Uhaul rentals with flights combined with shipping stuff, the obvious solution was for Dave to buy a cheap car that he could move out in, tow a Uhaul trailer behind, and park on the street or at his parents’ house in New Jersey.  It’s not that he had a lot of stuff to move, it’s that the stuff he had to move was fragile and oddly shaped, like bikes, instruments, records and record player.

The original car search was for vehicles that were similar to the VW van—unreliable, no air conditioning, and really, really old.  Eventually we stopped messing around and narrowed it down to an old Subaru:  reliable, cheap, room for moving items, could sleep in the back in a pinch, good gas mileage, a hitch, and working air conditioning.  Sure, it’s 15 years old and has well over 200,000 miles on it, but it is a truly great car!  The only thing wrong with it is that I can’t drive it.  I have yet to learn how to drive a manual.  

We picked the car out on Wednesday, but the gal needed it until Friday at 3:30.  That left little wiggle room, but it worked.  We picked up the car, Dave registered it before the office closed and even had time to pick up a piece for the hitch and change the oil before having a beer with friends.  

Saturday, July 21 we rented a Uhaul trailer.  Of course we couldn’t find the wiring that went with the hitch and the Uhaul man told us he couldn’t rent us the trailer unless we installed some, oh, and we had 30 minutes to do that because they closed at noon.  He had a change of heart and did it for us.  We slipped him a nice tip for not ruining our plans and were on our way.  Saturday was supposed to be our packing day, but it ended up being over 100 degrees and we couldn’t think of a single box that would be safe in a trailer in the sun in that kind of temperature.  We went out instead and had a few beers and goodbyes.

Sunday we woke up early and Dave packed the trailer while I packed the car.  We had enough room for both bikes in our 4X8 trailer along with everything else, which saved us the annoyance of having to carry a bike rack.  Goodbye to Boulder for Dave!  

We witnessed several dust devils in Kansas, which shows just how hot and dry it was.  Oh how I would miss the dryness!  We made it just past Kansas City, Missouri and Dave’s mom reserved a hotel for us.  It was so nice to just check in and crash for the night.  We didn’t make it to St. Louis as planned, so we had more driving in store for the next day, Dave’s 28th birthday.  

St. Louis

Kentucky!  Happy Birthday, Dave! 
We drove through Missouri, Illinois, and some of Kentucky when we stopped just outside the National Park for Dave’s birthday dinner, an upside-down banana split and French fries from a very tiny ice cream shop.  We drove until about 7:30pm on Monday, when we finally reached our hot-as-hell destination, Mammouth Caves of Kentucky.    

We quickly set up our tent and went off to find the visitors center.  Closed.  Grocery store?  Closed.  Great!  We wandered around the paths for a bit until we found the most glorious thing in the world, the historic entrance to Mammouth Caves.  Aside from the bats, it was simply amazing, as the temperature was a good 40 degrees cooler in front of the cave than it was just 50 feet away in the hot, humid hell that is Kentucky.  We hung out until we couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces, then went back to sleep in the tent where it was 95 degrees, and so humid, I felt like I was swimming.  We have a full mesh tent, had no fly on it, and sweated all night long.  I bet the low was 85.  The whole area was under an extreme heat warning from the NWS.  We were NOT sleeping there another night.  We packed up in the morning and headed to the visitors center to get a tour in addition to our 11:15 Grand Avenue tour.  We arrived at 8:15 and everything was booked.  I grumpily pouted in the warm car, in the sun until going for a short hike seemed like a better use of my time. 
Some river at Mammouth Caves.
Dave trying to dive into a small, cold cave.  I'm going to venture to estimate the heat index at 100 at this moment.
Finally, our tour started.  We’d go down into the caves for 4.5 hours, about 4 miles with 76 people and a tour guide.  It was gloriously cold in the caves and I even put on a long sleeved shirt for a bit.  Before the tour started, we were lectured on how strenuous of a tour we had picked and how the infirm should stay behind, so as not to hold up the group or require medical attention in the cave.  We were told to expect steep hiking and narrow passageways no bigger than our hips.  This made me nervous, but I decided not to explore these ideas in my head, and it worked.  I didn’t have claustrophobia problems the entire tour. 
The 76 people who accompanied us on the tour were annoying.  There’s no nice way to say it.  Kids with flashlights and adults with no control over them were difficult to avoid, but there were a few enjoyable minutes of silence when we managed to fall far enough behind that the annoying people in front of us were too far ahead, and the flashlight kids were too far behind.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the fact that there were two bathroom stops, a literal cafeteria, and nothing actually strenuous on the trip.  What’s a person got to do to feel hard-core around here?  

Inside the cave.
The caves were neat.  
Frozen Niagra.

This may be upside-down.

This too. 
We raced to our car and got on the road by 4:30.  We made it to Huntington, West Virginia, where another hotel reservation was waiting for us thanks to Dave's mom.  This drive was foggy and much of it in the dark.

The next day we drove the rest of the way to Dave’s parents’ house in northern New Jersey by dinner time.  I’ve never been so happy to see A.  someone else to talk to, B.  a home cooked meal, and C.  a comfortable bed that felt like home. Thank you, Dave's parents!!!