Gerry & Annie's Excellent Adventure


Up at 2:30, I was worried about not being able to move the dumpster and Relo-cube because of the sleeting snow and upcoming NOR’EASTER. I sent an email to our attorney and real estate agents outlining a few scenarios which would allow us to deal with mother nature in a graceful way.

I started packing up both cars around 7:00 am, put our Plan B into action (Plan B: Hiring a garage clean out company to clean out the garage after the dumpster is able to be moved, after the WINTER STORM is over) and let the asbestos removal guys in at 8:30. By 10:30 we were just about good to go – and let me tell you there ain’t NOTHIN’ as much fun as packing two cars and rooftop storage units in a NOR’EASTER. My hands are still red and burning two days later.

Of course, the folks buying our house made sure we knew that they expected to have their noon walk-through AS SCHEDULED, at NOON. Apparently they were terribly annoyed at the snowy footprints in the house. It’s refreshing to see that they won’t let a little thing like a WINTER STORM get in their way of moving. Of course, we’d moved the closing back a day to accommodate them so they could be in the house to celebrate Shabbat by sundown on Friday, but the possibility of giving us a few extra hours in the middle of a WINTER STORM to pack the cars wasn’t even open for discussion. What am I missing?

We stopped by the pediatrician on the way out to arrange innoculation records, stopped by the bank to arrange the wire transfer of funds for the closing of our St. Paul house, stopped by our attorney’s office to tell him NOT to put $1,000 into escrow for our buyers (which they wanted because they were upset that the dumpster couldn’t be removed in the middle of a NOR’EASTER – oh, f’chrissake, just WAIT A DAY. Oy) and then we left.

Gerry and I have agreed that for my blood pressure and sanity, our exchange of work for this move will be as follows: I do all the heavy lifting, and HE does all the dealing with our attorney and real estate person, mortgage folks, etc.

In retrospect we probably should have just checked into a motel in NJ, but we were packed and thought that if we could get to PA, we could outrun the storm. Famous last words.

The roads were pretty iffy-but-good from NJ to PA then they suddenly got TERRIBLE 50 miles into the state. We sat in bumper to bumper (just us and trucks) for almost an hour, waiting to get off at an exit for a hotel (just before Rt 80 & 81 meet – the same point where many folks spent 17 hours in their cars…)
We both almost had accidents; at one point Gerry spun 180º, then later I spun 240º. Luckily traffic was going about 5mph, so it was more of a ballet with cars than potential accident.

When we finally made it off the highway (the exit ramps were worse than the roads) we limped to a Holiday Inn Express and we were told that we just missed the last room. We almost cried. Actually, I did cry.

Then the REALLY nice guy at the desk told us they were cleaning another room and we could have it. We REALLY got the last one. Later Gerry and I wondered if he said that to everyone…

No food – the hotel didn’t have a restaurant and the town officially closed at 6:00 so no Wendy’s or Micky D’s or even 7-11. We scammed all of the instant oatmeal and old bananas from the breakfast room we could carry, and brought the pets in with tacit approval from the nice guy at the front desk (he said he’d already let one dog in, so as long as we promised they’d stay in their crates, we’d be okay…)

Luckily we were in the last room next to the exit at the end of the hall, so all we had to do was walk through a 2 foot snowdrift 4 or 5 times to get the dog, cats, luggage, litter box, etc. moved into the room (oh, I’m sorry, it took me 4 or 5 trips…)

But we felt like the luckiest folks in the world.


We left our safe haven at 10:00 and drove V E R Y S L O W L Y until about 12:00, when the road magically became clear and we were able to go the speed limit of 65 mph. A few stops for grub and we pretty much determined that we’d drive until one of us called the other on our cell phones and said, “UNCLE!”

It’s 11:00 and we’ve just checked into Motel 8 – woohoo! They take pets and they have jacuzzi rooms. Of course, they said we couldn’t have a pet in the jacuzzi, which we said we didn’t, but then they explained that there are PET rooms and JACUZZI rooms – so we’re in a PET room. Gerry says that Atticus OWES him big. BIG.

We’re in Indiana somewhere. We almost stayed in Toledo, but I protested and de-registered us from the fleabag that had no internet (Gerry hadn’t arrived yet, it was just me and the kids so we did a quick in, “yuck!” and out) and went back on the road. The Motel 8 is light years ahead of the fleabag. Speaking as a native of Toledo, sometimes this part of the world is a little odd.

I also got pulled over by a cop on the access road to the fleabag. An isolated, empty, country road which dead ended into a “no outlet” road. I stopped at the stop sign, turned left at the dead end, and immediately a cop was on my butt with lights flashing. Apparently he felt I hadn‘t stopped. Yes, I had. Oh please god help me.

But he let me go with a warning to “be more careful, ma’am”

I will be more careful. I’ll avoid fleabags in Toledo from now on.

Tomorrow we should arrive in St. Paul. Woo. And if all goes well I’ll be signing books at the Mall of America at 4:00 on Saturday and 2:00 on Sunday, and perhaps some time on Friday. Who knows?

I got a call from the Sterling publicist as I was in bumper to bumper traffic asking if I could be in MN “tomorrow” because Vickie Howell was trapped in a snow drift in Vermont. I guess it makes sense that the knitters would be where the snow is…

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