I moved into my current digs just after New Years Eve of 1998. A friend of mine bought this house (actually a duplex) and wanted a stable tenant and he knew I was having problems at the last place I lived (asshole neighbors and repeated break-ins) so he leased one side of the duplex to me and generously gave me a substantial discount on the rent. It’s not far from the local cluster of museums and the area is known as The Cultural District.
It’s a quiet neighborhood for the most part; I’ve had relatively few problems with crime or annoying neighbors but I’ve reached a turning point of sorts and am going to have to move. My back aches just thinking about it; the last time I moved I had a full sized pickup truck and had help from a few people but it took me two weeks to get everything moved from Point A to Point B working after work hours in the evenings. I have accumulated a lot more stuff since then and while I am going to move some things myself over the next month, my wife and I are going to have to hire professional movers; I’m just getting too old for this shit and have too many physical limitations to do it all myself.
Since moving here I have graduated from a tiny one-person bed to a big wooden Queen bed, acquired a big wooden desk, a 1906 RCA Victrola, about a half dozen bookcases, a big wooden entertainment center; there’s no way in hell I’m moving all of this myself. We’re going to be forced to contract professionals with a large truck. When I moved in here I was a bachelor and the place seemed gigantic. I transformed the second bedroom into a punk rock Man Cave: autographed 8X10s framed on the wall, crates of LPs stacked high, a antique metal comic book display rack full of comics totally unfit for kids,framed portraits of Ed Gein and GG Allin hung on the wall, my amps and guitars always out for practice etc. When my friend sold the house a few years ago he had to bring people in to examine the place; they always had the same look on their faces as visitors to the Addams Family house when they strolled through that room. One particularly hateful prick snarled at me: “If I buy this place, you’ll be out of here in 30 days” on his way out the door but my friend heard him and chose not to sell it to him.
But in the last sixteen years my peaceful middle-class neighborhood has come under a siege of sorts; wealthy and affluent people have decided to start buying up all the real estate for one reason or another. One wealthy woman has bought dozen of homes and has started running a overnight-leasing operation, renting out houses by the night even though this neighborhood isn’t zoned for that and when anyone complains about it to the City Council she threatens to turn all of her acquired properties into Section 8 housing. Where’s the Manson Family when you really need them? Then some millionaire couple bought a tiny church down the street and transformed it into a super-duper mega non-denominational church. They have kept adding on to it and adding on to it and also bought entire blocks of houses and bulldozed them so they could pave over the blocks for parking lots. I used to know people who lived in those houses; now they are all gone.
And don’t even get me started on the yuppie scumbags buying up the quaint older homes around here, tearing them down and replacing them with mini McMansions. And the city has just announced plans to build a 15,000-seat “events arena” within walking distance of here. I can’t wait for the clouds of dust and dirt, not to mention both sides of the narrow streets lined with the vehicles of construction workers all week long.
When I moved in here there were two grocery stores, three laundromats and two gas stations all within a five minute drive of here; they’re all closed now. The pub up the street I used to walk over to after work for burgers, steaks or fried fish is now some yuppie beer bar. My two choices for food within walking distance are now a McDonalds and a Dairy Queen with the exception of a cafe that’s always closed on my one day off.
I’ve put up with pointless never-ending roadwork that moved at a snail’s pace, non-existent Code Enforcement and watching my neighborhood being decimated block by block by millionaires who already have more money than they can possibly count running the neighborhood through a meat grinder so they can make even MORE money, an addiction worse than any narcotic.
While there are millions of homeless Americans wandering the streets and sleeping under overpasses one of my ex-neighbors who seems to have married someone with a lot of money has bought three houses on my street just so she have a place to store stuff for her compulsive hoarding habit. One of them is right behind my house and she’s never spent a dime on it for the last ten years. It’s full of junk and the paint is literally falling off of it right in front of my eyes like snowflakes. She mows the front yard just often enough to keep the city off her sorry ass and lets the backyard go for as long as six months at a time. It’s become a haven for an seemingly endless number of opossums, racoons and stray cats I’m weary of trapping and hauling off to the city park.
My landlord was nice enough to have my bathroom remodeled and add a big wooden fence around my back yard for more privacy but my kitchen sink sprays water in every direction but down into the sink and it takes forever to wash dishes. My ceiling has a huge crack running from one wall to the other and everytime I ask her about fixing this or anything else she starts making noises about raising my rent.
That’s it; I’m moving. I’m caving in. Throwing in the towel. I give up. It’s been a good ride but it’s time to move on. My serene little neighborhood is fixing to continue being a construction zone for the next five years. What used to be a nice place to live has become a plaything for the Rich and Arrogant and I’m weary of dealing with it.
TWO WEEKS LATER
I’m sitting here typing and it’s done, or close to it anyway. A close friend of ours had a three-bedroom rental house she was looking for good tenants anyway and has kindly allowed my wife and I to move in. It’s across the street from the house I grew up in and I am near my Mom who is getting on in years; it will be good to be near her. I spent two weeks hauling one Tundra-full of stuff from that clown car of an apartment after another on a nightly basis and I still haven’t got it all but I’m slowly getting there. It’s nothing short of astounding how much stuff I had crammed into that tiny three-room duplex. The movers got all the large heavy items this last weekend in two hours: the big oak entertainment center, my 1906 RCA Victrola, the bed, bookcases, the desks etc. The reality of moving always sets in with me when I start taking pictures down off the wall and unplug the TV. It’s real; it’s Happening. I’m actually Doing This…
Getting everything from one address to another is only half the battle; digging everything out of boxes and finding a place for it is another thing entirely. Spent the last week looking like a bum because the razors were in one box and the can of shaving cream was in another. We moved into a larger house and we are still having difficulty finding a place for everything; how could this be? The room I am typing this in has a knee-high pile of look-alike boxes full of books, CDs and DVDs I still haven’t found a place for yet. Going through everything has been a stroll down Memory Lane; souvenirs from Canada, Jamaica, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cozumel, Yucatan etc The last few years have been like a dream.
I’ve been working sixty hours a week lately for the last two months; today is the second time in two weeks I’ve even seen the new house in broad daylight. The rest of the time I’ve been moving in one car or pickup load at a time after sundown. Sunlight is streaming in the windows as I sip a cup of coffee and thanks to Thanksgiving I have a rare four-day weekend. My loving wife fixed me a delightful steak-and-egg breakfast this morning which was not only a wonderful start to the morning but a delightful welcome to our new home as well. It’s not only a different house but we’ve purchased a new couch for the living room as well as a antique rocking chair; the place looks totally different.
As much as I hated the very thought of moving, it’s done. Aside from one tiny ding in the bed-frame, the damage done was very minimal. It’s been exhausting physically and mentally; I think our new puppy has dealt with the stress of moving better than I have. We still have a few loose ends to tie up but for the most part We’re Here. A new home and a new beginning….