Sunday, October 19, 2008
I write from my new city. The move was something of a disaster, with more going wrong even than usual with this sort of thing. To make a long story short, the moving company's estimate of time and labor turned out to be wildly off the mark, and it took five men almost three days to pack and move a two-bedroom apartment. Granted, I have a piano, but it's a small one; there were also those seven bookcases. But, to compound matters, it turned out that the estimator had also made a gigantic error in estimating the cost of all this, and because so much else had also gone wrong, the moving company decided to write off the difference. So all's well that ends well.
Our new home is a half-house, two stories plus a basement and garage, for exactly half the rent of our old two-bedroom apartment in the inaccessible outer boroughs of New York. But my new hometown is one of the depressed cities of the Northeast, so I imagine the low rent is a reflection of the low desirability of my new city as a place to live. It is beautiful here, however. The city is surrounded by mountains whose names no one appears to know.
Before we left, I stocked up on British sweets. My old neighborhood, with its large population of recent Irish immigrants, featured an impressive selection of English and Irish candy in just about every deli and corner store. Devotees say that there's no comparison between the English Cadbury bars and the American version, and I don't know when and where I'll be able to find things like the Cadbury Flake bar (above) again.
And we just acquired a washing machine and dryer. I am giddy with excitement as I await the delivery and installation. In New York I would wheel my grocery cart down to the corner laundromat every week and do six loads of laundry at one go, but that's not how it's done here, except by students and the very poor. So, while my fabulous college-teaching wardrobe hangs unused in my new walk-in closet, I am poised to become more like the mother in We Help Mommy and do the wash every day; there's even a clothesline here to hang it out on. Perhaps my son will even become as helpful as the two little ones in the book. Right now, he's mostly interested in the novelty of our flight of stairs, and throwing things down them.