I was in my blog settings looking something up when I discovered my previous un-published post a couple of days ago. Whoops! I’m not quite sure why I didn’t publish it at the time; obviously it’s unfinished but I don’t know why.
Either way, there you go. Not that anybody’s reading these anymore since Facebook disabled the ability to automatically share these things, thus making it entirely useless to me and bringing about my deleting of the account for good. The fact it’s become a data gathering machine for nefarious purposes and an echo chamber for old racist white people might also have had something to do with it.
Anyway, onwards and sideways! That’s right, I’m moving in a diagonal. Not sure what that means, right now it’s a stream of consciousness. You’re welcome.
PS: This is long. Get yourself a strong drink or tranquilizer.
Since I last posted, all of this morning ago, things have changed fairly drastically. My last post was talking about the stupid commute that I was doing, so let’s start there. The original plan was to do the dance for as little money as possible, as I was paying for it all myself. No, I am not a master negotiator. I’d insisted on a New York salary, seeing as I was still staying in New York, so there was no wiggle room for expensing the travel. As it turned out, my previous employer had given me a pay-rise since doing that deal, so I actually took a pay cut, in addition to supporting two people on one salary in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I make stupid decisions, so let’s just accept that as one of the immutable facts of the universe, and the ongoing narrative of this American Adventure, and move on.
After a couple of months of taking over seven hours to get home on Thursdays I decided that, as I was already in more debt than I’d ever been in in my life, I might as well make it slightly worse. That’s when the round trips on JetBlue began. I flew out slightly later in the morning on Monday and then flew home in the late afternoon on Thursday, which cost a lot more but gave me back a ton of time and sanity. I was still crushing it on the ‘getting work done’ side of things, so it was working out okay for a while.
That status quo lasted a few months, until it didn’t anymore. Work was getting highly stressful, I was sleeping on a futon in a barn, and when I came home to New York all I wanted to do was rest but there were demands there too, primarily financial. This is something that had been going on for almost a year and I was starting to lose my grip on the situation.
That’s when my boss quit his job.
There are several things in life that we talk about as ‘going full circle’, and this stressful situation was one of them. I was getting close to a breaking point, and what should have been an additional highly-stressful event just tipped things over to a point where everything was okay again, somehow. The week after it happened was chaotic, but quite quickly the realization that a move to Boston was the only sensible move kicked in.
The search began in earnest, and we quickly ran into issues. The area we were looking in is undergoing vast and rapid regeneration, which means lots of new or refurbished apartments becoming available. Unfortunately, they all have ‘minimum 3x monthly rent’ requirements, which is impossible to meet when one half of the couple hasn’t done any work in 14 months. Rejected, we returned to New York to lick our wounds and regroup to try again.
The second time around we found an absolute peach of a place and, once again, we were rejected. I had a bit more fire in my belly this time around though, so I did what any desperate man would do, ignored my overwhelming urge to say ‘Fuck this for a bag of monkeys’ and move back to England, and I begged.
Actually I laid out the argument that this new apartment was cheaper than our existing place, that I was already covering that rent, and bills, and every other damn thing, as well as commuting back and forth to Boston, so I could easily cover the rent even though my earnings were 2x rent rather than 3x.
Of course I didn’t mention that my credit card was getting spanked harder than ladies of the night in Amsterdam’s Red Light District, but that’s a mere technicality.
We were rejected again. Until we weren’t. The manager of the facility took my note to the ‘bosses at HQ’ and they approved us. We were saved! Not only that, but they did us a corking deal. 13 months for the price of 12. A free covered parking spot for a year, and pro-rated rent in month 2 (month 1 being free) as we’d signed up halfway through month 0.
So began the Two Months of Moving, or 2MoM as I shall never refer to it again.
My parents were coming to visit in June, a trip long planned and anticipated, and we didn’t want to not be there when they arrived. They encouraged us to just do it, but given our free month it seemed crazy to move away just as they arrived.
So, every Sunday I would pack up the car with boxes, drive to Boston, unload them during the week, then drive back Thursday with the empties and do it all again. This actually worked quite well at first, until we realized the car was too small to transport furniture.
Enter the SUVs. On Sunday morning we’d drive to JFK, I would collect the biggest and most offensively American vehicle I could find, then we stuff it full of our things, load the car up as well, then drive in convoy up to Boston. I’d drop the SUV off afterwards and then we’d both head back in the week.
If this sounds nuts, it’s because it is. It allowed me to stay at the apartment, rather than on my now-ex-boss’s futon, and to start setting the place up piece-by-piece but I would never do it again. There’s a lot of this move that I never want to do again, just a few bits here and there that ultimately comprise all of it.
Moving sucks. It blows. It bangs. It’s a combustion engine of misery, exhaustion, expense, strained backs, frayed tempers and scratched furniture.
So my parents came and went. They had a magnificent time, which I might talk about elsewhere, or I might not. Oooh suspense.
The move began in earnest. Or should I say moves. Plural. Because I enjoy suffering the way children enjoy chocolate.
At work, we had to move to a new colocated data center for reasons which aren’t important to this narrative. The week before I moved, we had to move just four cabinets from our lab. Two weekends after I moved, we had to disassemble, move, and reassemble our larger lab environment, the day after I returned from the UK.
Oh, did I not mention that? Yes, in addition to all of this tomfoolery I’d decided I was going to the UK for a week for the Goodwood Festival of Speed and because I missed the crap out of all my friends.
So the week before the apartment move, my (new) boss and I worked 20-something hours over two days to get the small lab move done. We did it, upon whence I hopped into the car and drove myself back to New York to do the apartment move.
The day before the move, we had to spend several hours at my girlfriend’s family event, because in this country the phrase “We’re moving all of our possessions and entire lives 200+ miles tomorrow and need to pack” translates as “Sure, I’d love to come and stand around for 3 hours while questioning every choice I’ve ever made”. So that’s what I did, and that’s why I found myself at U-Haul at 8pm buying more boxes, and why we finally collapsed into bed at 1:30am having not packed everything.
The following day, everything that could go wrong, pretty much did.
I had already been informed by U-Haul that my planned truck collection time of 8:00am was not feasible, and had frantically had to get our movers at both ends rescheduled as a result, so that knowledge was in the bag. What we didn’t anticipate was that it would take an hour and a half to pick up the truck.
But the truck we procured, and it sat happily outside our apartment whilst the movers I’d booked didn’t show up.
By this stage of not just the weekend, but the year, I’d acquired a taste for shit sandwiches, so we rolled up our sleeves and just started doing it ourselves. Thankfully (and I can’t say enough just how great this was), we got some family and friends to help. Specifically two guys who were strong in general, but hadn’t been beaten down by multiple weeks of moving already. They truly saved us, but it still took over six hours to get the truck loaded up.
Plan A had us leaving New York at 11am.
Plan B had us leaving at 2pm.
We finally left at 6:30pm, and didn’t make it to Boston until 11:30 that night.
I’m not ashamed to say that I cried myself to sleep that night, albeit only for about 30 seconds as I was so tired. The relief at being done was overwhelming. I finally had somewhere to live that was close to work. The move was finally done. I was officially on vacation and could stop worrying about work for a while. Things were – finally – looking up.
The following day our Boston movers did arrive, and they did a splendid job, getting everything out of the truck and into the apartment in 60 minutes dead.
Two days later I boarded a plane for London Gatwick, and that’s a story for another day.
Upon my return we were straight back into it; a day to clear our lab, a day to move it and start getting it online, another to finish, then some cleanup. All in all we worked Friday-to-Friday and did at least 78 hours by my count. Thankfully, it’s done, and we shouldn’t ever have to do it again …
A note about work
I should state that work has been fantastic. There’s a ton of work to do, but it’s challenging in all the right ways. As a result of the change in management and my move to Boston I’m now managing one person (soon to be more) so my career is finally back on the right track, and the second half of 2019 promises to be busy, challenging, but ultimately hopefully very fulfilling.