Monday, February 11, 2008


yes, the week has come where we have to finalize packing up all our stuff, again, and head off to new lands...

On Monday, February 4th at Mon Ami Gabi, we have dinner with Michael and Claudia, who are expecting a little one in July. Congratulations!

Brian's last day of work was Friday, February 1st, so it was awesome that he could help. The rest of the week involved packing and take out...and running out of packing tape, no matter how many trips we made to Staples or CVS.

We walk through downtown Bethesda, stopping by our favorite spots and to get some yummy ice cream at Gifford's, next to our indie film theatre.

Unbelievable. Our apartment building was under constant renovation during our entire stay here, which was unbearable for many days, and was supposed to be finished in December. Well, it's February, and they're still working on it.

Friday, February 8th 2008: moving day

Due to several circumstances, we opted to move ourselves by renting a truck, packing it up, and driving up. Because we couldn't move in until Saturday, we would make a pit stop at my parents' place in Jersey for the night.

Wow. What was I thinking? The notion of being done by around 4pm seems so outlandish now, having taken about 12 hours from the moment we parked the truck in the loading dock, meeting a sketchy, smoking man who happened to live in the building, to the moment we handed in the keys.

Amazingly enough, we still had so much stuff, even after our yard sale last May, and thank goodness we decided to get a larger truck, because if we didn't, there was NO WAY we were going to fit everything in. And this isn't even like, oh yeah, there'll be some room leftover...nope, we pretty much packed that baby. All those little things that didn't get packed earlier or the day before really took a lot of time to pack during moving day, and we even had to search for empty boxes to put them in since we hadn't bought boxes and just gotten them for free (other than the wardrobe ones I had gotten from a new resident just one floor above us - super convenient!). Running out of tape really didn't help either. So while most of the big items and packed boxes were loaded on the truck or at least transported to the loading dock, Brian spent a lot of time trying to arrange them in the most efficient and space-saving manner which also required taking things out of the truck. Having both a dolly and a furniture dolly helped tremendously. Not to mention that we had complete control to one of the two elevators in the building, although at one moment, one of the construction workers refused to listen to us and had to go to management to find out himself.

On a side note, I can't believe the audacity of this one lady, who obviously was just moving a couple items with the help of a man, asking me if she could borrow the dolly we were renting, when I was in the middle of moving several boxes out of the elevator. Uh, do you see how much stuff we're moving right now? I don't think so. So irritating...

Oh, and that crazy heavy TV...what to do about that? Just moving the TV off the stand took a lot out of me, screaming SOB and leaving some battle wounds on my legs. Really feeling those days missed in the gym. Thank goodness, the very first fellow Chase resident we met, Steve, came by to bid us farewell and help us load the bulky 150 pounds or so TV into our car, which was really wonderful both to see a friendly face and get some muscle help.

Well, here we are, at the end of the day, enjoying some leftovers and my mint chip/cookies n' cream ice cream delight I bought the day before from Gifford's.

Our neighbor, John, who had seen the moving process begin in the morning, was shocked to see us still moving when he came back from work. Yeah, not the best feeling, but we did finally head out a little after 9pm and arrived at Jersey around 1:45am.

We left a little present for the new tenant, Don, who really helped us out of what could have been a very messy breaking-the-lease situation.

A "thrilling" little video of our empty place, just before leaving...

Saturday, February 9th 2008:

Yow-zah! So after having a 12-hour marathon of packing and loading and then driving for 4+ hours straight, it was no surprise that even after popping some advil before bed, we woke up sore and lathargic. Our goal of getting to CT around noon was squashed after we struggled to get out of bed around 10:30am. Why did I even set the alarm? We eventually made it out of the house around eat some breakfast at the Plaza Diner, where we ordered a healthy serving of eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes and french toast to help us through another day of moving and unloading.

In the meantime, we've been exchanging phone calls between our soon-to-be landlords, trying to pin down a time to meet for the keys and in the process, finding out that the previous tenant had taken the fridge so that there wouldn't be a fridge when we got there. Okay...? Well, it turns out that the front door was unlocked, so we could start moving in whenever we got there. Our other calls went to Geoff, who along with Sabrina and Mark, kindly volunteered to drive down from Boston to help us out. We kept them pretty updated on our status, as time kept rolling along while we weren't. No only did we get a super late start, but we encountered the unavoidable I-95 traffic due to having the truck. Otherwise, we would have cruised up the Merritt and been there within 2 hours. So, instead of what I thought would have been a 2-hour drive turned out to be around 3 hours. The weather wasn't the best either, raining most of the drive up.

We arrived at our new abode sometime after 4pm, where we were greeted by our upstairs neighbor, James, who offered to help if we needed anything. Having seen the place just once during our 20-apartment viewing, as I walked in, I thought, okay, I forgot about that, and wow, I was really off in scale, and good, this is bigger than I remembered. The actual condition of the place left much to be desired, with holes, some pretty large, in the walls where something hung, dingy kitchen and bathroom floors, and a dirty pantry...actually everything was pretty dirty. I guess with the previous tenant having just moved out the day earlier, there wasn't much time to clean up.

So after walking around the apartment several times, admiring the size and layout while at the same time cringing at the thought of having to do some serious cleaning, among other things, we position the truck in a manner that would facilitate the unloading process: through our back porch. This way, we avoid any stairs, and it becomes just a straight shot into the apartment.

This photo shows how packed the truck was, and the red wooden railing of the porch.

Foreseeing that it would probably be raining, we brought up from my parents' place what we thought would be an excellent tarp cover (the forest green bundle in photo) to shield us from the rain, but it turned out to be nothing more than a shade that let the rain just drip through.


Being rather frustrated, Brian and I argued about how to improvise, but in the end, I successfully hung a huge plastic bag that caught the rain dripping through the "tarp". Not in the best of moods, we start unloading the truck, and after just a few minutes into it, we hear the doorbell ring. Yay! Our compadres have arrived and brightened our spirits.

What awesomeness ensued soon thereafter, for we smoothly moved all our stuff within an hour and a half, including the clunky huge TV. Like a well-oiled machine. Nothing like the day before. Brian mainly stayed on the truck, passing items to us individually and with little to no protest, we accepted the items, regardless if they were heavy or light. While we each had a good share of both, Sabrina ended up getting the bulk of the kitchen items, while Mark and Geoff tended to the large, if not awkward, heavier items, including my "marble" file cabinets. Definitely felt the need to apologize for that since I left everything in them.

During the clunky TV move and my scraping snow and ice off the front steps, our landlords pull up in their souped up Cadillac Escalade and give us the keys. The huge vehicle was hard to miss.

Anyhow, we all deserved a good meal after a job well done. So, the one place Brian and I could only recommend, after having been in the area just once previously, was The Elbow Room.

I was eyeing it the last time we were there, so I got the cornmeal-crusted chicken while the rest of the gang got a burger, be it bison or kobe beef. Fun topics such as prior horror moving experiences and the always entertaining Mazur-group updates made us the loudest table downstairs, until a group twice our size took over that title.

I'd say our waiter was very knowledgeable and helped us decide where to go after dinner. And that place was Barcelona.

After putting our brains together to figure out how to get there, we were welcomed with a crowded and busy front area, and then lead to what they call the Sopranos table. In other words, we had the sweetest booth there, with leather semi-circle seating arrangement and a view of the entire place. Basically VIP seating. We were instantly amused with the decor, with the wigs mural across from us, the huge red barn doors to the left of us that appeared to have the ability to open/close them, and the private seating area above us with a huge wine rack against the wall. And if the decor wasn't enough, we were entertained by flock-of-seagulls DJs and waiters blessed with the skill of dancing while twirling napkins. Along with the beers, sangria, mixed drinks, and shots, we ordered dessert which included a sinfully delicious chocolate indulgence that I wanted to lick the plate clean. Sooo goood.

Being our usual robust selves, we were having so much fun that we didn't even realize that the place had closed around us. The lights being turned on didn't even phase us as we continued chatting away as if nothing had happened. How quickly the time went by, arriving around 9:45pm and next thing we know, it's after 2am. It was hilarious how they had to approach us to tell us the place is closed, and as we made it to the exit, we were literally the only patrons inside, with employees busy cleaning up. Nothing's changed. The Mazur group continues to close up shop regardless of what city we're in.

Still buzzing with newfound energy, we wreaked havoc in the streets of West Hartford. Okay, we weren't that crazy, but being the only souls walking around, we were pretty loud and announcing our arrival to the area.

Mark pointing at the "For Rent" sign in front of our neighbors' house, the same house we had decided to rent an apartment in but then renegged, and just 3 doors down from our new place. Yikes!

Brian enjoying our new showerhead, and fallen Barcelona matches.

Our guests' comfy sleeping arrangement

love the banter about the's so true, especially about the updating

Sunday, February 10th 2008:

While we were in no hurry to get up, we eventually made our way up to IHOP in Bloomfield during the busiest time - Sunday brunch time. After waiting a while, quite torturously surrounded by photos of food, we were then put through torture again waiting for our food to arrive. Trying to capitalize on one of the specials by splitting/sharing eggs and sides didn't fair well as we were completely starving when the food finally arrived, gobbling whatever we were given. Returning the rental car soon became an issue as all the waiting sucked up time and our compadres were soon on their way back to Boston. Brian and I spent most of the afternoon sitting in our comfy blue rocker chairs, falling asleep and not waking up until right before the day turned to night. What a task we have ahead of us now...

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