We decided that the night before moving day my spouse (henceforth called hub for short) and I would stay at the new apartment. We wanted to be around when the carpet installers arrived around dawn Friday morning. The painters called to inform us they would be done by 10:00 p.m. Thursday night. Late that night we ventured out into the cold, snowy night and drove over to Mom’s new apartment.
Did I mention the cats? The carpet installation was not the only reason we slept at the apartment Thursday night. My Mom was worried about the two cats. We took one of them with us. Belle spent Friday locked in the bathroom as carpet men, movers, the cable guy, and other random people wandered in and out.
We set the alarm for 6:00 a.m. We wanted to be sure one of us would be in the lobby when the truck arrived. We threw sheets and blankets on the floor in the small bedroom and went to sleep. Or tried to. It was not the most comfortable of floors and there were no curtains on the window. Street lights and car lights kept the room in twilight all night.
The alarm rudely woke us the following morning. We staggered up, dressed, and hub went downstairs to await the start of the big day. We should have realized that, in a seniors building, things get started early. The place was already humming with activity. People were out getting their newspapers, walking through the halls - we really don’t know what they were doing. But quite a few people were out and about.
Before we knew it the action began. The carpet truck arrived at 6:40 a.m. Events progressed quickly. The building was abuzz. Rules state that no work is supposed to begin before 8:00 a.m. We had received special dispensation to start earlier because of the delays due to the bad weather. But some residents were not in the mood to be forgiving or understanding. All they knew was that we were breaking the rules. The super got an earful that day. I feel sorry for him. He is a nice guy, quite patient with the old folks. He did all he could to ensure we could move in on Friday.
The carpet installers worked fast and efficiently. They tore up the old carpet and padding, fixed a couple of floorboards, and installed new padding and carpet. They obviously were experienced and knew what they were doing. All went well.
Meanwhile I got started cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms. I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the tile and grout floors in all three rooms. I don’t do that in my own house. By the end of a very long day of cleaning, unpacking, washing dishes and glassware, I was exhausted. And sore.
The carpet was installed and the apartment was peaceful and quiet by about 11:00 a.m. Hub had made a quick trip to Starbucks for coffee and breakfast sandwiches. We ate and he drove over to the house to supervise the movers.
The movers were supposed to arrive between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. They called and said they were going to be late. It was after 11:00 a.m. when the truck finally pulled up to the house. Everyone was starting to get nervous. All work must be complete and workers out of the apartment building by 5:00 p.m.
Mom marveled at how carefully and expertly the three men emptied the house. In about two hours they were on their way to the apartment. Mom and sister drove over to the new place. Hub stayed behind to wait for the last shift of workers, the junkmen. They would remove whatever remained in the house, basement, attic and garage, and broom sweep the entire house.
I was still cleaning up a storm and hungry. I finally decided to walk down to the lobby and ask around to see if there was some place close by to get a sandwich. Just as I got downstairs the phone call came that the movers were on their way. I alerted the super, and the second round of activity officially got underway.
My sister dropped Mom and cat No. 2 at the apartment and drove off in search of lunch. The movers came and went. Everything went smoothly. Unbelievably (I have moved before and this never happened) nothing was broken in transit. The only casualty occurred when I was unwrapping newspaper and a glass fell on the floor. I was more careful after that.
Then the cable guy showed up. He was in the building a long time. The 5:00 p.m. deadline for workers to evacuate came and went, but he was one unobtrusive guy not making noise. My Mom did not have cable TV, internet, or phone that day. Or the next. She finally got hooked up yesterday, six days after moving in.
Meanwhile hub spent the rest of the afternoon waiting for the junk man. We received one call saying he was running late; he would arrive between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. About 4:00 p.m. we called and left a message. He got back to us immediately. He was stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway, was on his way, and was definitely coming. Two junk trucks and four men finally arrived close to 5:00 p.m. One truck was full from an earlier job, but the extra manpower was necessary. It was getting cold, dark, and icy. If we did not vacate the house completely on Friday, Mom would be charged $200 a day rent.
The junk guys worked hard and completed the job quickly. There was a lot more stuff than Mom had shown the guy on the walk-through weeks before. There was too much stuff for one truck. Items were left in the driveway and the head junk man would return later with a pick-up truck. Hub finally left, detouring on the way back to the apartment to buy dinner. He locked the door to the house and as he got into the car noticed a light had been left on in one of the bedrooms.
Later that night hub and sister went back to the house to turn off the light, make sure all the stuff had been removed from the driveway, and take one last walk through the house. They were astonished. The rooms looked bigger than anyone remembered, and close to spotless. The junk men had done an amazing job sweeping up and removing all debris. Even the garage was clean.
And so the saga comes to an end. Friday evening we sat around the table and shared a bottle of wine and the chicken and vegetables hub had bought at a carry out grocery. We were all tired, hungry, worn out, but glad we had finally arrived at this time and place.
Mom has been in the apartment a week. It will probably take some time before it really feels like home. She was in her house since 1952. She is slowly resuming her pre-move activities and settling back into her life.