Saturday, July 5, 2008

From Keystone to Constitution

Two weeks ago, my wife, my dog, and I transported all of our worldly possessions from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Hartford, Connecticut in a high-speed (50ish mph) two-Honda Civic, one-Penske truck caravan across Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut.

With the help of an unexplainably high-spirited crew (including the wife's sister and brother-in-law-to-be, occasional blog commenter and devoted friend Andy, and two of the wife’s classmates (one current classmate, one former classmate accompanied by her husband—who graciously donated his time and strength to a couple of Pittsburghers he barely knew), we spent several hours dodging raindrops while lugging, maneuvering, forcing, wedging, wiggling, and finagling boxes, shelves, beds, dressers, couches, and televisions up two narrow, steep flights of stairs and through an unusually and frustratingly narrow front door to a then-un-air-conditioned third floor apartment. By the time all of our stuff had been forced through the entrance, the entire crew was thoroughly exhausted.

This was the easy part. We all went out to eat to celebrate the mass movement of stuff and got a good night’s sleep, and the next morning, Andy and I got into my car and returned to Pittsburgh, where I would attend the closing of the sale of our house, complete the microbiology course I taught at the community college, and officially submit the final version of my dissertation.

Stereotypical man that I am, I left the hard part (i.e. getting our new home in order) to the little lady, who was assisted for one more day by her sister and sister’s fiancĂ©. (“No, dear, I insist: you stay in Connecticut with Watson and enjoy our new home, and I’ll work hard in Pittsburgh for one more week.”) The wife worked tirelessly for eight straight days of arranging, rearranging, cleaning, shopping, logisticating, assembling, while I spent my days working and nights and weekend, well, relaxing in a true yajeev-style vacation, chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool and all shooting some b-ball outside of the school (minus the b-ball part).

The first four nights were spent with Andy, who treated me to dinner at a different fancy (or fancyish) restaurant each evening. At night, we watched movies on DVD, played video games, watched funny video clips on YouTube, and listened to some sweet tunes. As I write this, I’m imagining a split-screen movie with my wife working to exhaustion on one side of the screen and me lounging on Andy’s couch popping cheddar chex mix into my mouth, guzzling diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, and laughing at Stephen Colbert on the other. The wife is Cinderella, and I the gluttonous evil stepsister.

These four glorious nights were just the prelude to the indulgence of the weekend that followed: Saturday and Sunday were spent with my folks, and the entirety of my waking hours was spent in a rapid-fire alternation of large meals and movies. When I awoke on Saturday, I ate breakfast, which was soon followed by lunch (we had a movie to catch, so these first two meals had to be compressed—though, not combined to brunch). Pops and I drove to the theater for the first movie of the day (I had nachos with cheese), after which we met my mother at Outback Steakhouse (where there are very few rules) for a filling dinner. Immediately after finishing our steaks (mine was crowned with blue cheese), we zoomed to the cineplex to catch movie number 2. I abstained from snacking during the second movie, as I had caught wind of a rumor (which later proved to be true) of an after-movie stop at Pizza Hut, where my father and I each ate our own P’zone (contrary to what some might tell you, they are delectable) as my mother watched in horror. Exhausted by the exertions of the day, Dad and I retired to the house for a cinematic nightcap: we watched a third movie, this one on DVD from the comfort of my parents’ den.

Sunday, traditionally a day of rest, was accordingly lower-key—only two large meals and two movies—and a visit with Grandma. While I rested in the Midwest on Sunday afternoon, the wife struggled in New England for several hours to assemble a bathroom storage unit (which I broke yesterday in one of the myriad careless flashes of coordinational ineptitude that serve to connect the otherwise mundane moments of my life).

This past Monday morning, after an exhausting week of leisure, I tied up the few remaining loose ends of my life in Pittsburgh, completed my final round of goodbyes, and hit the road. I arrived in Connecticut late Monday night to what no man deserves: an apartment lovingly and meticulously assembled and cleaned and (best of all) a wife and dog excited to see me.

We’ve spent much of this week acquainting ourselves with our new surroundings: exploring the city parks, checking out a few of the tourist attractions, and, most importantly, systematically surveying the local dining landscape. In the past four days, we’ve eaten at The Pantry (a heavenly breakfast, lunch, and dinner greasy spoon situated within easy walking distance from our apartment), a charming BAEYOB (bring and exchange your own books) library/coffee shop called La Paloma Sabanera (which I think is Spanish for Starbucks), an incredibly cute Laotian/Thai diner (where I ate my third delicious serving of Pad Thai in less than five days and an out-of-this-world fried flour-shell-banana-mango dessert), an upscale downtown after-work martini (and APPETIZERS) bar for which my wife and I were shamelessly underdressed (but we enjoyed it just the same), pizza delivered from an upstart joint called Domino’s, the Red Rock Hartford Tavern (an independent bar and grille), a van parked by the capital building serving Chinese food, and a little place I like to call (pseudo) Mexican Heaven (Taco Bell--we've been there twice).

The most wonderful aspect of our new home is the plethora of Dunkin Donuts, apparently the primary source of nutrition of New England. En route to our closest Wal-Mart (less than two miles from our apartment), there are at least 4 Dunkin Donuts to choose from.

Lest you think my new Connecticutian life consists of one giant vat of donutty laze, I will have you know that I have contributed to the upkeep (if not the setup) of our new Hartford home: yesterday, I completed two loads of laundry and I washed the dishes—by hand—and I’ve checked the mail almost every day!


Russ Parker said...

(happy fifth to) you and your colonies.

Velvet Sacks said...

As someone who moved with her family and all their worldly goods seven times in twelve years, I feel your pain. Congratulations on having so many people who were willing to help you move, and good luck to you and Lisa in your new home. All those good eating places seem like positive omens to me.

Unbalanced Reaction said...

Congrats on getting everything moved! Tomorrow N.A. is taking the majority of my possessions ( least what I won't need for the next nine months) to his TT town, so I hope that it goes smoothly!

watchwhathappens said...

good, now that that's all done...when you coming to visit? i assure you there will plenty of dunkin donuts en route. in fact, if you stopped at all of them, you'd increase your trip by a factor of...i'm gonna least 5.

Andy said...

Best. Week. Ever.

I am surprised VH1 didn't visit us to document it.

I am so jealous of your dining choices in Hartford, especially The Pantry and the close-by Taco Bells. Pittsburgh desperately needs to raise its collective culinary game.

Mark said...

1) On your Move, was there any "schlepping" involved?
2) I didn't think there existed a Wal-Mart in either the Northeast or West...I thought it was only a Mid-western/Southern Thing and they outlawed big stores like that in academia.
3) P'Zones are overrated
4) I wish I could have been there for the movies with you, Andy, Mom and Dad...
5) I heard the Happening was awful.
6) I saw the Wanted tonight. That was horrible. I want my Chapel Card back.
7) Is The Pantry better than Toast? It couldn't be -- could it?
8) Russ -- thanks for saying, "Might Could." That's my favorite Southern expression
9) VJ -- Paris would be honored.
10) Exactly how many rules are there at Outback?
11) Sorry about Harvard.

Russ Parker said...

mark my plezh.

Anonymous said...

So, I'm checking my blog traffic and I noticed an irregular jump that could not be explained until I realized that you had linked me from your blog....thanks for sending viewers my way! haha

Glad to see you guys are exploring the city and their many food options...hows the a/c holding up???

yajeev said...

russ, thanks, and a wonderful ninth to you and yours.

velvet, friends and good food are certainly a blessing. the order of preference varies from day to day.

unbalanced, i'm a little jealous. i wish someone would liberate me from all of my stuff.

watchwhathappens, we're here and pretty much settled--and if there are dd's on the way to visit you, we're on our way!

andy, it was an awesome week. and, by the way, i may blog about it still, but i will let you know that i had the best burger i have ever eaten in my entire life three days from the pantry.

1. there was an abundance of schlepping.
2. academia won't be criticizing wal-mart for too much longer... once government funding for their research dries up, they'll be shopping and working there.
3. i can think of few establishment foods which are as satisfying as the p'zone.
4. we missed you (and your political) analysis during the movies.
5. to be completely original, the happening just wasn't happening for me. surprisingly bad dialogue for m. night (not to mention the bad science). though dad and i agreed that within a week, he'll be telling people how great the movie was and how they just have to see it.
6. they don't do chapel cards anymore. they scan id's.
7. mark, i have to say that the pantry may just be better than toast. i hope you can come and offer your opinion. it is so good. and i walk by it every single day--it's on the way from my front door to my car.
8. thanks for recognizing my friend russ, he needs all the encouragement he can get. please see "save russ's blog", dated july 6, 2008.
9. would be? you mean he's not reading all of my posts and comments as they're written?
11. thanks.

sara, glad to provide a boost! it's the least i can do. we are having much fun on our explorations and eatings. so far, we're staying pretty cool. no a/c's have fallen out of window's--they're taped in pretty good. no power failures. so far so good.

Anonymous said...

Hi there Guys

Are there any Blu-Ray/dvd

combo players?
I do know there are dvd/vcr players. Are there any players that will play both of dvd disks as well as blu-rays that I can obtain instead of buying a pair of separate players?

Thank you !