I had about six weeks to prepare but it came like a wave crashing down that last week, of course. I traveled to New York with my parents the first week of June to engage in what I thought would be my own, smaller budget version of Million Dollar Listing: New York. I think in one day, we viewed eight places. They all sort of blend together at this point but I remember trying to stay positive with my thoughts "how lovely would breakfast in bed be because I could literally make my eggs and toast from my bed." "I think you can see a bit of green out of this window." "Nineteenth floor does permit for some impressive views." "Think of all of the money I will be saving when I sell all of my belongings to fit in this place!" I was feeling lost in discussions of subways for my commute, 400 square foot apartments, doormen, elevators, southern exposure, bars on windows, and pet policies.
Towards the end of the day, with two appointments to go, when we were feeling completely depleted, we found it. No compromises required at all. Walking distance to work. Close to park. Spacious. Elevator. Doorman. Charm. I was ready to move in that day.
Then, we learned the complexities of the NYC rentals market. From the listing broker playing tricks with the "fee" vs "no fee" on the listing to having to wait three weeks for "board approval" it was a bit of a nightmare. For the longest time, I thought Henry and I would be living in a cardboard box along the street somewhere in Manhattan.
I packed up my apartment in Charlotte, made a few Craigslist sales, and was ready for the call when I learned I was finally approved. Fortunately for me, this was also three days from my move in date! Wahoo!
I had decided to drive my things to New York myself. Movings companies were a pain about wanting to see everything before they would give me a ball park estimate and then it was "we would pick up within this few day window and your things will be dropped off within this two week window." Knowing how much I need to be in control of all logistical pieces, this was not going to work for me. Plus, I had the additional pleasure of figuring out how to get my sweet Henry to New York.
Within 24 hours, I secured a moving company in Charlotte to load all of my possessions into my freshly rented Budget Truck. Booked a hotel in Baltimore, where we planned to stop on our venture to NYC. Arranged for movers in New York to unload my truck. Turned off all utilities in Charlotte. Turned on all utilities in New York. Made sure all of my paperwork, insurance, and approvals had been received by the apartment building as well as the property management group. Created a folder with copies of all confirmations (in the order I would need them) and complete list of extensive contacts should my cell phone die along the way.
I thought it would be sentimental but it all went by way too quickly. I forgot to pick up the furniture blankets I had ordered from the truck rental company which was 40 minutes from my apartment in Charlotte. When I arrived with Bernie, the Budget truck, the movers were already there, ready to start loading my life into this 16 foot truck. I panicked, thinking of my majority all white furniture showing up to New York covered in chips, scratches, and scuffs. Fortunately, I had a friend sprint to the rescue with bubble wrap and all was well. My mom arrived to Charlotte that morning and within two hours, we were on the road to NYC.
I may have bounced over a curb during my initial trip with the truck so therefore I was banned from driving responsibility. I make a better navigator anyways. We ventured up the through the Mid-Atlantic and I was able to cross Virginia and Maryland, two states I had yet to visit, off of my 50 States list.
The first day, we drove from 1:00 PM to 10:30 PM, with one stop. We were tired and drained when we arrived at the haven that would be our hotel stay I had booked until we realized that under no circumstances would we be staying there. One u-turn in a 16 foot truck along a one way street and we were back on the interstate. We spotted an exit overflowing with hotel options and decided to test our luck. We ventured a few places with the "no pets allowed" policy for my docile, petite, quiet pup in the car until we found it, The Residence Inn. Pulling in, we spotted a man walking his yellow lab on the property. It was fate. I ran in, booked a room, ignored the costs, obtained the keys, and led my Mom and Henry to paradise at The Residence Inn. We were starving. Since we didn't want to drive the rental truck around looking for food, we decided to check out the "market place" in our hotel. Unfortunately, the market place had already been picked over a bit and we decided on a delicious meal of four cheese Hot Pockets. Really, I spoiled Mom.
The next morning, we woke up eagerly, feasted on a lovely gourmet breakfast of lukewarm eggs, overcooked bacon, and Frosted Flakes. With no reservations, we hit the road, crossing Delaware off of the list, on our way into the city. We crossed through the Lincoln Tunnel, spent an obscene amount of money on tolls, and made our way to the big apple. Arriving mid-day on a Monday is highly recommended as traffic was relatively light. Mom, feeling like the powerhouse she is in our Budget truck, became quite the aggressive NYC driver. Running red lights, cutting people off, and honking that horn until we arrived safely to our destination.
Once there, we waited in our truck, until the NYC movers arrived to unload it for us. A few hours later, off to New Jersey we went to return Bernie and all of his loudness while Henry stayed at the apartment in a sea of boxes.
Everything else fell into place. I learned how to do laundry in my building which takes me back to freshman year of college living in Lever at Clemson. We rode the subway to find Bed, Bath, and Beyond to stock up on all of the essentials (that we could carry) and slowly this apartment started to feel like home. I found a lovely handy-lady through Task Rabbit who taught me why all of my nails were bending when I tried to hammer them into the walls, apparently, concrete walls require special nails.
Henry has taken up agility as there are little tiny fences around the trees and flowers that I believe are there so your pup doesn't relieve himself on those select pants, but Henry sees no boundaries. He's still learning not to eat food that he finds on the ground. He is slowly making new friends despite his pure breed status and the fact that I only rescued him for a life in a fenced in backyard. He's put on a few howling performances during out outside dining experiences and may have taken a few snacks from people during our walks in the park. He also really enjoys the parts more heavily populated by tourists and should we run into any financial hardships, he has agreed to start asking for tips per shake.
I'm still adjusting myself. There have certainly been times of pinch me surreal moments and also a few emotional breakdowns of I don't think I can do this. With all of the stairs and walking, my body is in a temporary state of constant pain while I adjust to all of the regular day activity, in addition to my new runner girl status in Central Park. I have an umbrella for my bag, headphones for phone calls, and am loving the markets on each corner of the block. The other night when I desperately craved an Oreo, this girl found one really rather quickly.
I'll try to get back to regular postings around here and promise to share pictures of the apartment, once I have a couch!
As someone who loves the comfort of her routine, I have felt a bit out of sorts recently as I try to establish a new once. It will come, I know.
Thank you to everyone who has been checking in on us and our adventures. Henry says he appreciates the double taps!