Yes, It's been a couple of weeks. Please, allow me to beg your kind indulgence as I attempt to play catch-up. I know many of you have been concerned enough to send me off-line notes, e-mail's, and IM's, most of which I have been unable to answer.
Yes, I've been that busy.
First off, let's talk about the move. I already hate moving. As a confirmed ADHD type, I both am excited and hate change. People "afflicted" by my particular disability are often walking contradictions, creatures of habit and spontaneity and all the conflict that implies. This is why moving is the ultimate challenge -- especially when the long term result is positive.
Despite the lingering effects of my little spill in Tahoe (much improved, by the way... I'm about 80% healed. The ankle is still a bit stiff and gets cranky if I insist on climbing stairs for hours at a time, but I think I can conceed that it's a justifiable crankiness) Roni and I were able to perform packing miracles the last few days before the move. Helping things along was the good timing of scheduling the move the week of President's day weekend -- combined with my "mo-day" off and three vacation days, I dedicated the week to the task at hand. Damn good thing I did.
Before we started we took a day to go to Pantheacon in San Jose. Roni, Kim (who was taking a break from friends visiting from Minnesota, who themselves were indulging in a massive mall experience in the south bay) and I spent the day at the double-tree enjoying the dealers room and an actual workshop or two. perlandria was able to meet up and hang out a bit, but was still being ultra-careful with her recent rehearsal injuries -- there's something both sweet and incredibly sad about two people looking at each other with desire and love, but sort of doing the dance of the injured.*
Had a wonderful time in the hospitality suite, even with the awkward moment when Gwen walked in. The annoying part of that was she's still very beautiful, which clashes harshly with the memory of the way she acted over that whole incident a year ago November.** As is typical with me, I still hope that we can work things out, but that's not looking likely. She left shortly after Roni and Kim walked in, neither of whom noticed her, despite my knowing glances. Times like that make me wish I had a thought banner marquee that would discreetly appear across my forehead.
Saw wickedladybear there as well with her sweetie -- apparently Leslie stopped Roni at one point to say "hello", which confused us both. Another case of wishing I could straighten things out. Managed to miss kshandra completely (Roni was getting hungry, and I wasn't going to subject ourselves to another horrible meal at the hotel restaurant).
The next few days I spent being a packing and cleaning machine. Roni had taken Tuesday and Wednesday off as well. Her birthday was the 20th, which pretty much sucked in and of itself -- we were moving the very next day after all. No worries, I made up for it the following weekend... more on that later.
So, let's talk about the movers.
If you read nothing else, read this and believe it:
Oasis Movers sucks. Do not use them. Don't even call them for a comparison estimate.
I should have suspected something weird was up when they didn't come to the apartment before giving us an estimate, but I thought that was the flat hourly rate -- after all, it would be done when it was done. Roni was completely up front about how many rooms we had and (most importantly) the stairs from hell.
First sign of trouble when the guy who was apparently in charge walked up the stairs, took one look at the front rooms (not even the rest of the apartment) and complained that we had "too much stuff". Literally, that's what he kept saying: "Too much stuff". It turns out none of the three movers spoke english well, if at all. Our bitter foreman was the most fluent, and I could count his vocabulary on my fingers and toes after 9 hours.
That's right, this whole operation to move a two bedroom apartment to a location about a 3/4 of a mile away took the entire freaking day. We had already packed everything -- no stuff left in drawers, the books packed in small boxes, the bulk staged in the front of the apartment. Yes, they had to contend with the stairs, but other than that it was a straight forward move. They would pretend to listen to us when we'd try to stop them from doing stupid things, and then do it anyway. There were several pieces of furniture they insisted would have to be "dismantled" (not really an option for most of them) that I *knew* could be carried down in one piece.
At one point there was a box taken to the foyer downstairs clearly marked "FRAGILE" in large red Sharpie scrawled block letters on all six sides... with my mid-sized mini fridge ON TOP of the box.
When it all ended and they had finally off-loaded everything, it was 8:15 PM. They had started shortly after 10:30 AM. The head guy told Roni "Ten hours" -- this despite taking a half hour lunch (that they sent ME to get... and shorted me 3 bucks on) and then standing around for another 30 minutes while the head office sent someone who could speak english when our repeated attempts to explain how they could move the pieces they thought impossible to move -- after which they didn't even acknowledge that I had been telling them the right thing to do all along. Another call to the head office had the hours reduced to 8 (which the guy in charge of the "3 Stooges" was not pleased with).
Then the son of a bitch stood there and said to Roni, "Tip?"
Roni rightly refused. Even though she had hired them and was the one co-ordinating the move, they kept insisting on coming to me whenever they needed guidance, sometimes even when she was in the same room with them and I was on the opposite end of the apartment. After the first three dozen times of telling them to talk to Roni, I realized I was dealing with sexism so ingrained they couldn't figure out why I was getting testy with them.
She said that she didn't think a tip was warranted after the crappy attitudes and service. He kept saying "Tip?!" at her, as if that would somehow shame her into handing over some free money. After she made it clear he should leave (and he refused), the entire day's stress came forth and I "let the New Yorker" out.
Standing up and walking quickly toward him, I said:
out of my home...
NOW."He looked at me as if I had grown another head, and (finally) left, already swearing loudly in Mandarin into his cell phone before he walked out of the garage.
While that horrid phase of moving was finished, there was other crap to deal with -- that will have to wait a few weeks before I can talk about it.
The good news is that I managed to sneak a birthday surprise to Roni the following Saturday. Last October Kim had spotted a show schedule for one of Roni's absolute favorite performers, Mandy Patikin. Yes, Inigo Montoya himself. A lot of people may not realize this, but he's actually a kick ass singer -- he got his big break playing this little role of a south american revolutionary in this little musical... called "Evita". I even remember the television ads ("You were supposed to be immortal... That's all they wanted... not much to ask for!").
I managed to maintain secrecy even after the ^%$#%$^#!!! Jewish Center he was performing at in SF sent me a show schedule in the mail that I specifically did NOT ask for -- and Roni happened to pick up the mail that day. Mind you, the show was already sold out (no surprise there), but she was devastated. No, that's not hyperbole -- it was a week and a half before she stopped mourning it.
The show was stunning and funny (Imagine someone singing "supercalifragilisticexpedialdocious" -- in fluent yiddish), and Roni got a song she was REALLY hoping he'd sing ("Sorry/Grateful", I think), and she credited me with "saving" her birthday week. Every now and then I do something right... who knew?
There's lot's more, but it's taken me the whole day to piece this much together between the insanity (scary truth -- the move was so awful I honestly missed working).
* Imagine trying to give someone with a severe all over sunburn a hug, and you'll get the idea.
** For the record, I STILL haven't had an outbreak, nor has Roni, Kim, Erika, or anyone else who was with me before or since. WTF?