So we were going back home to Maine.
The final decision came on the heels of a Thanksgiving dinner that we celebrated alone without any turkey. Apparently those birds take a little longer than a couple of hours to thaw out, regardless of how much hot water you run over them. I seriously can’t believe how rock solid that thing stayed all day. Stubborn little bastard. I probably did us a huge favor in all actuality – considering how much Gwyneth Paltrow insists that meat is bad for you. She also considers “conscious uncoupling” a thing though. My parents are divorced – that shit isn’t real, lady. With that in mind we happily resorted back to being carnivores the next day. We may have risked our lives eating store-brand meat, and the poor bird was more than likely tortured on the way to becoming our meal, but we aren’t exactly the kind of people who think things through. The impending moving to Maine was no exception.
I was pretty surprised when Anthony even brought the idea to me. Even though there was a small setback in baseball, his career still seemed to be more promising than any other year. And given that Maine was headed into its arctic, winter months, it wasn’t exactly an ideal time to abandon the desert. Did that really ever make sense? Like, in terms of sensible things that people do? I wasn’t sure. I tried to read his face to understand where this was coming from, but he was being really straightforward. Either baseball had seriously crushed his soul, or he was dead set on never sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner without turkey again.
“Seriously?” I probed.
“Yeah. Let’s just go home.” He sounded sad. Maybe he was. He was really good at keeping his feelings under wraps unless it was just silly happiness or fierce competitiveness. He was nothing like me in that sense. I was a loose cannon, and I had no problem letting people know how I felt. Or I had a problem letting people know how I felt. You could probably spin it either way. “Emotionally unstable” has been used before, but I own it. It just feels wrong to act like you’re happy when clearly you are not. Sometimes you just aren’t impressed with detaching the poop hose so that you can take an entire RV without air conditioning to a baseball tryout down the road. Like no, we don’t need to bring the whole kitchen with us. Anyway, I digress. Anthony is an emotional rock and I’m an emotional wreck. That’s just how it is.
Sensing a bit of melancholy in his voice, I tried to imagine his thought process. I just looked at him and thought “Jesus. I really think he wants to cross this god-forsaken country in a car again.” So I crossed my fingers behind my back, prayed I wouldn’t be sleeping in my nephew’s race car bed again in two weeks, and said, “Okay.”
We didn’t think the move through too much (par for the course), and we were scrambling to figure out how to move all of our shit back across the country for the second time. Up until that point we had made progress on accepting baseball into our lives as a reality, and settling into a home instead of an RV, but we were still working on the whole “managing finances as adults” thing. We were not so good at that part yet. In quite an alarming acknowledgement, we found that moving back across the country for the second time with a second car and a second dog was really going to hinder our frugal intentions. Actually, it threw a pretty big fuckin’ wrench in our plans. But who needs money anyway when you have love in your life and air in your lungs? Right?! I really love when people say crap like that. Ummm, “ME! I DO! OVER HERE! SHOW ME THE MONEY!” There’s this saying, and usually people who are poor AF say it, but it says to spend your money on experiences and not things. They assure you that this is how you acquire the ultimate form of happiness in your life. Well…I’d like to put the author of that quote through the experience of a move with Anthony, and see what sort of inspirational bullshit he’s spitting out after that. I’m willing to bet he suggests foregoing the entire thing, hiring a moving company, and booking a flight in first class with free drinks and pre-boarding. But that would require money. And we didn’t have that. So we relied on our unrequited love for adventure and cheesy internet quotes to get us through this one.
After getting quotes from moving companies for upwards of $4,000, and discussing how miserable it would be to drive a U-Haul for 3,700 miles while towing an ’98 Buick, we knew we had to get creative. Not like “live-in-an-RV-to-save-cash” creative, but creative nonetheless. I was cashing out unused vacation time from ADP, and yet another 401K account (really killing the retirement game over here), and Anthony was… well, Anthony was providing the muscles. We found a company that would transport our furniture across the country in some 18-wheeler truck bed, but the caveat was that we needed to load it ourselves in Tucson, and unload it in Maine. Seemed simple enough, and it was cheap, so we funneled a grand into that idea. In all the glory of our savings, we didn’t realize the company was forty minutes away from our apartment, and that we’d need to transport our things to East Bum Fu*k and into the truck bed. Well this was getting tricky, now. I tried to think about the pleasant quote about experiences, but looking back I feel like maybe they were referring to spontaneous sojourns to Greece. Not so much moving your entire life across America with just your boyfriend. It should also be noted that I had spent quite a considerable amount of time away from a gym, further making the move one of the most miserable things we’d ever do. The final mastermind plan included the following:
- Rent a U-Haul the day before leaving for Maine and pack it full of our stuff
- Clean the apartment after moving the entirety of its contents to the U-Haul
- Wake up at the ass-crack of dawn and drive the U-Haul to the location of the 18-wheeler
- Unpack the U-Haul
- Pack the 18-wheeler
- Return the U-Haul
- Sleep in empty apartment
- Wake up and begin a three-day drive across the country to Maine
- Unload the 18-wheeler in Maine
- Load our stuff back into a storage unit
- Move into Mama D and Daddy D’s
If you’ve ever tried to move with a significant other, then you can understand how dicey our plan was. Packing and moving an entire home into a moving truck once is grounds for multiple attempts at homicide. Lifting and moving it THREE TIMES in a span of less then twelve hours is literally mad. People don’t even attempt it. It’s crazy. It can tear a family apart and scar children for life if they’re young enough. Moving should always be left to the professionals. If I ever have a savings account again with anything in it besides monthly maintenance fees, then the only option is to hire moving help. We had to carry couches and 6,000 pounds mattresses and poorly packaged kitchenware down one steep truck ramp, right up another. Furthermore, we could shave additional costs off our moving fee if we could take up less room in the 18-wheeler. It was the most annoying game of Tetras that I had ever played in my life littered with profanities and sweat and tears. When the couch cost us another $100 because we couldn’t shove it one more inch into the space, I just about came undone. I secretly hoped the truck would be robbed on the way to Maine so I could just start fresh with everything new. Sadly, we couldn’t afford the insurance so I rescinded that prayer as fast as I made it.
Fast-forward four days, three hotels, ungodly amounts of fast-food, and 900 selfies later and we were in Maine. It was snowing. And I was about to live with Mama D. No one was sure what the hell was happening. It could have been the apocalypse and I would have just nodded my head like, “Yup, this would make sense right about now.” But it wasn’t the apocalypse. Anthony’s parents graciously opened their home up to us while we got back on our feet, and I couldn’t complain for a single second about that. It was only when Daddy D showed me the schedule on the refrigerator of when we could shower, flush the toilet and do laundry during the days that I became a little concerned with our choice to move in. “Peak hours” were off limits. That’s when they really nailed you with usage rates. Peak hours also were the exact times of day that normal people would want, even need, to shower and flush their toilets. I really caught a glimpse into why Anthony took such long, hot showers in our own homes. I had to hand it to Daddy D though. He was a financially smart guy – a trait that his son clearly left somewhere in the womb – but I was still on Craigslist ASAP, searching for a new place to live.
Finally, a few days after our arrival in Maine, and exactly 3.5 showers later, our things arrived in the 18-wheeler. The location was not far at all from the house. We had the whole D’Alfonso clan on board for the move, which was nice because it was ten degrees out, windy as hell, and Anthony and I were at an all-time high risk for assaulting each other. We had been sleeping on his old bed that had plywood as a box-spring, topped with a mattress that rivaled poster board for thickness. I couldn’t understand how Anthony went through growth spurts on that thing and lived to be standing up straight ten years later. It was a god damn Christmas miracle. I guess some things exist to make you resilient in life. For Anthony it was a paper bed. For me, it was baseball. And moving.
Mama D, Daddy D, Brother D, and pregnant Sister-in-Law D showed up like champs to help us out. They were warriors. Brother D had literally broken his back months prior, Sister-in-Law D was pregnant in her second trimester (maybe third!), and I was (am) diabetic – which is the card I pull whenever I don’t want to do something. In this case I was freezing and losing circulation in my hands (diabetics have terrible circulation), so carrying stuff was out of the question. I sat in the car to stay warm and dictated through the windows. I was especially pumped when my Thomasville couch cushions got hucked into the back of Daddy D’s pick up truck. Heading down the road to the storage unit, I watched with horror as the cushions bounced around in the truck bed ahead of me. I thought for sure they were going to fall out onto the dirty, Maine winter roads and roll around like tumbleweed in the wind. And wouldn’t you know it… they did. I was riding shotgun in Mama D’s whip and I screeched in helplessness as my Thomasville, Tiffany-blue cushions plummeted down to the ground, as Daddy D drove off without even noticing. Mama D swerved around them like they were small, precious children, probably in fear of what I’d do if she actually ran them over. Like I said – emotionally unstable.
When all was said and done, half of our stuff didn’t even survive the trip from Arizona. Stands and dressers were chipped. Couches were scuffed. Mirrors were broken. I had paid $1,000 for some maniac trucker to haul a load of trash across the country that I just had to lift and throw away, or pay to keep it in storage.
We ordered pizza for lunch to thank everyone for helping us, and then I sat down on the couch, browsed Craigslist for places to live, and waited until peak hours were over so that I could shower.