It Went So Fast

I knew it was coming from the beginning, if not exactly when. The move to the NYC area (yes, yes, I technically live in Hoboken, NJ…but I can look out my window at Manhattan across the river) was always intended to be temporary… 2 to 3 years. Fortunately it ended up being 3 (and a touch more) but it still flew by. In a way I feel like there’s so much I haven’t done. But I have also done a lot. I’ve made new friends, and like a real New Yorker quickly grew to hate Times Square.

But his rotation is over, and we’re heading back to Chicago in August. It’s bittersweet, to be sure. Would I tire of this place, eventually? Maybe. Am I there yet? Nope! I had some great experiences here. I’m going to miss my friends, the community of people at the Magnet Theater where I’ve been learnin’ me some improv, and the community of people at the Landmark Loew’s Jersey, where I’ve been volunteering (and the amazing building itself). Then there is the kind of anything-goes open-mindedness you don’t find in the Midwest, even in major cities. And the Broadway shows, and the diverse nightlife, and yes, the attractive people (there seem to be more of them here). There’s a lot to miss.

And do I miss Chicago. Kind of. I miss my friends, for sure. I left behind a bunch of amazing people when I moved here, and the occasional visit just isn’t the same. But do I miss Chicago? Meh. At the time of the move, I was more than ready for a change of scenery after 15 years there. And I don’t feel like I need to get back there yet. But it is a great city, and has a lot to offer. It’s going to have to do.

I imagine I’m going to visit New York much more often than I did before, and I can’t rule out a move back here some day…though that’s not particularly likely.

This was a chapter of my life that I’ll look back on fondly. Probably a chapter that ended too soon, and didn’t pack in quite as much action as I hoped, but an awesome chapter nonetheless. Only time will tell what the next one has in store.

Sandy

Like millions of others around me, I recently suffered through Hurricane/Super Storm Sandy. I lived in the Midwest my whole life until earlier this year when I relocated to the greater New York City area. Therefore it was my first hurricane experience. I’d be perfectly happy if it was my last.

It was a harrowing experience. It’s hard to explain what it was like to go through. The wind was worse than anything I’ve seen. I’m sure a tornado is worse, but I’ve never been in one of those (there have been some close calls over the years though) and they are usually there and gone in minutes, at most. This storm, with its high winds gusting at times near 100mph, lasted several hours. In the living room, we have a sliding glass door leading out to a balcony. The door was closed tight, and locked. But for hours the wind was coming through the door and rattling the vertical blinds, which were closed more for psychological comfort than physical protection.

I spent the bulk of the storm in the den, which had smaller windows that I assumed were somewhat safer. When I went through the living room I did so quickly, and didn’t linger. The stupid cats wanted to look out the door, so I had to keep them shut in the other room with me.

For most of the evening I had the TV on, tuned to a local station or to CNN. I checked Twitter constantly, and got almost as much information that way. That was, until the power went out around 9:30pm. As far as I was able to determine, much of town had lost power before that, and I was daring to hope we’d escape that fate. Alas, we didn’t.

I spent the rest of the storm in the dark, literally and figuratively, as I was disconnected from my information sources (avoiding use of my phone to conserve battery). Eventually it calmed down enough that I was able to go to bed and get some sleep.

A couple days later–the power still off–I ended up going to Philadelphia, which is about a 2 hour drive away, or would have been if it didn’t take half an hour to get out of town due to road closures. There I met up with the bf and we hung out for a couple days in a hotel. We returned home Saturday afternoon, and the power had only come on a few hours before.

I got to miss the nor’easter as I was out of town for work.

All things considered many people were much more dramatically impacted by Sandy than I was. Some people lost their homes, some lost their lives. So I still count my blessings, and I feel for those who were less fortunate.

The cleanup is ongoing, and there are still people that need help. Don’t forget just because the media does.

Moved I

So it finally happened! The move, that is. We arrived early yesterday evening in our new home. Well, our temporary new home, anyway. We’re scheduled to be here until mid July, at which point we move from corporate housing into our real apartment.

It was an interesting experience getting out here. Originally the packers and craters were going to come Tuesday and they were going to move everything out Wednesday, after which we’d start driving east. Well it turns out they decided to pack and move in the same day. I was amazed what just two guys were able to accomplish! We ended up keeping the two cats in the mostly empty apartment Tuesday night and staying in a hotel in Chicago ourselves. Wednesday we had a lot of errands to take care of before we hit the road, and we seemed to encounter one delay after the next. We finally got on the road around 4:00pm, and hit a bit of traffic getting out of Chicago. The rest of the drive went pretty well, and we stopped in Cuyahoga Falls (near Akron), Ohio for the night. By the way, driving through northern Indiana and Ohio is SUPER boring.

The next morning we got a slightly later start than intended, since I botched setting the alarm, but it worked out Ok. After breakfast and gassing up, we were off by around 11am. We had a bit more driving in Ohio then entered the vast expanse of Pennsylvania. Let me tell you, PA is way more scenic than the territory we covered in the previous day’s drive. Lots of hills, verdant forests, rivers and bridges. We eventually got to NJ and hit a bit of traffic at the end of the drive, which was the worst part of the trip (other than perhaps a ton of work zones). But in the end we made it early Thursday evening.

So I mentioned the two cats… Well driving with two cats is not as super fun as you might think. The vet recommended against sedating them, but said we could try something called Rescue Remedy. So we dosed them for the first time Tuesday before the movers arrived. It seemed to help them relax and they didn’t squawk too much about being locked in their crates for a couple hours. We gave them more Wednesday before setting out, but with the previously-mentioned delays it was awhile before we actually set out. They were quiet most of the way, but the older one started meowing constantly and the other got a bit feisty in the last hour and a half. On Thursday we dosed them shortly before setting out, but I think the older cat must have built up a tolerance. She meowed nearly constantly for the first three hours (of a roughly 8 hour drive)! I was starting to consider jumping out of the moving car. She eventually fell asleep, but had a couple more outbursts. The younger one barely made a peep and slept most of the way, which is good because he’s much louder.

Would I do this again? Well let’s say I’d strongly consider any and all altenatives!

More Moving

Moving boxesIt’s been quite some time since I posted my initial announcement about moving, so it’s probably time for an update.

The move is still happening. In fact, it’s already started. I moved out of my place at the end of April, and now live with the bf in his apartment, which is currently way too full of stuff. The real move is scheduled for May 30-31. We’re planning to drive, with the two little bundles of joy (the cats) and should arrive hopefully June 1. Exciting, eh?

I have only a few days left of work. This will be my first time being unemployed since I started college. It’s more than a little scary! I have done a little work on looking for jobs, but not a lot and I’ve had no success so far. I’m concentrating on networking, since I think that will be more likely to get me a job than just sending in my resume to jobs I find online. In my previous attempts at job hunting, I found that you almost never hear anything from that approach, which is very frustrating. I know that the people doing hiring don’t really have this kind of time, but wouldn’t it be great if you got feedback on why they weren’t interested in you? “You don’t have enough experience.” — “We’re looking for someone who has done XYZ.” — “Your resume is a hot mess and we think you have the writing skills of a turnip.” Good to know!

I’ll be sad to leave Chicago. I wasn’t born here but I’m close to having lived half my life here, and it will always have a special place in my heart. Of course, there’s a very good chance we’ll be back here in 2-3 years, but that’s not guaranteed. Who knows what the future holds. Of course, more than the city itself, I’m going to miss the people. Not all of the people, just the ones I like. My dear friends! I’ve met so many great people here!

Where are we going to live? Well… that’s not been decided yet but (=sigh=) it’s looking like it’s going to be in New… Jersey. It’s a bummer not to be living in NYC itself, but it’s just soooo expensive. We decided that–at least to start–we’d be better off with a place with a decent amount of space to ease the transition to this whole living-together-thing. And we simply can’t afford a place with that kind of space in the parts of NYC we’d want to live in. But I am sure I’ll get a job making big bucks any day now, so then we’ll see. (Heh, a boy can dream, can’t he?)

This is definitely a new chapter in my life. I don’t know what lies ahead, but I know nothing will ever be the same again. Wish me luck!

Reflections

purple violetI am now down to one remaining biological grandparent. My paternal grandmother, Violet, passed away over the weekend shortly after her 89th birthday. She is survived by her 91 year old husband, my grandpa, Burt. For how long, I don’t know. My mom’s parents passed about a year apart, a few years ago. And I still miss them.

In my mom’s family, when my grandparents passed the family started to unravel. I wouldn’t say it’s fallen apart, but it’s not what it used to be. We used to all get together every Christmas at my grandparents place to eat, exchange gifts and play games. There hasn’t been a full family Christmas since they passed. There are occasional family reunions, but they aren’t as well attended, and just really aren’t the same. This makes me sad.

I’m afraid the same is going to happen with my dad’s family, and based on conversations I had this past Christmas, I’m not the only one. Because my relationship with my dad (biological father) was strained after my parent’s divorce, I never spent as much time with his family as with my mom’s or step dad’s. Often I’d only see them at Christmas. There are first cousins on that side that I couldn’t name (in my defense, there are 25 of them in total!) and that’s not even getting into my cousin’s kids. I haven’t spent enough time with these people as it is, and I’d hate to see it reduced even more.

But there will be time enough to worry about that. For now it’s time to mourn, commiserate and remember. Grandma Vi lived a long and happy life and had a big, loving family. She will be missed, but her memory lives on in all of us. RIP, Grandma!