Dan Price (thwack) wrote,
Dan Price

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I'm back!

This past weekend I moved into my new apartment. I have a LOT to write about it. I'm going to try to do this all from memory. If you're interested . . .

First let me introduce my new roommate. Jamie and I met through Yahoo Personals on Dec 1st last year. We seemed interested in each other, and on Monday Dec 10th we decided to meet each other at Pizzeria Uno's for dinner. That went really well, and I invited her to join me later at Borders to meet my friends I play games and drink chai with there every Monday night. That went great, too! She really got along well with my friends and fit in perfectly. I was feeling really good about everything.

When Lord Of The Rings came out, many of my friends made plans to see it on the IMAX screen at Tinseltown. I invited Jamie to join us. Ooh, a movie together. ;) But, for some reason I can't figure out now that I look back on it, I didn't make it a very romantic movie experience. Maybe I didn't want to let either of us get distracted (although she had already seen it earlier that day), or maybe I thought a 3-hour movie would be a rather long time to hold hands and it would get uncomfortable. I dunno. We kinda leaned into each other's shoulders but that's about it. I really wish we had done more, but hey, that's water under the bridge. I was really impressed with how much effort she put into spending time with me, too. I mean, she lives over an hour away from Tinseltown but still drove out to see the movie with me, just to drive home again afterwards. I should've offered her to spend the night at my place, too, but once again, for reasons I can't remember, I didn't. Oh yeah, I remember now, I'm an idiot. :) I mentioned to her later that I thought of offering her my place to crash, but thought she might not have clothes or whatever she'd need for work the next day. (LOTR came out on a Wednesday, remember.) And she said she always keeps a change of clothes and necessities in her car for just that reason. *kicking self*

Well anyway, a few days after we saw LOTR, she broke some bad news to me. Before she started hanging out with me, she had been hanging out with another guy for a while longer. She and Chris had decided to make things official. (Until then she was freely dating multiple people, including me.) So, she and I had to remain just friends. But hey, that was cool because we have a great time together as just friends. And she said she'd continue to come to Borders Monday nights with me and my friends.

A few days into January of this year, I received a lease renewal from my apartment complex. It stated that if I chose to stay another year the rent would rise to $685/month starting in March. I had to sign the renewal indicating whether or not I would be staying within 10 days of receiving it!!! $685 is steep, dammit. Especially considering I'd gotten laid off on Dec 28th and had no new job lined up. (The lay-off was the result of an expired support contract the customer chose not to renew - it wasn't my Employer's idea of a kind gesture for the holidays. My employer was actually very accommodating. There was just nothing they could do for me without drastic relocation, which I didn't want to do.)

Meanwhile, Jamie was living with her parents with a lot of her stuff in storage (her history is a bit complicated so I won't try to go into it here ;) ) and working across the street from Tinseltown, which I mentioned is over an hour away. She was looking to find a new place.

So I casually asked her if she'd want to move in with me into a 2-bedroom. And before long it started to sound like a really great idea! Plus, her new boyfriend Chris goes to RIT so they'd be closer together as well. This was just a win-win solution for all of us. (Yikes, corporate buzzwords!)

So one day Jamie and I went to the rental office to ask about getting a 2-bedroom. They went over a few options with us pointing them out on the map and highlighting the differences in location, 1st/2nd floor, which way the windows face, cost, etc. Building 131 apartment 2 sounded very nice, so they gave us keys and we went over to check it out. Compared to my current place, it had MUCH better kitchen cabinets, a digital stove and dishwasher, newer fridge, and the electrical outlets were right-side up. That's a major plus in my book. :) Jamie had all the measurements of her furniture and she was figuring out if things would fit. Damn, she was making me look bad. :) I had no such organization to my analysis of the place.

Well it turns out we loved the place, but the question still remained if we could actually live with each other. :) I mean, we'd only known each other for about a month at that point. I had never seen where she lived, and she only saw my place once or twice. So we went back to the rental office and told them we love the place, but we need some time to make a decision. All they could do was put it on 24-hour hold for us. So we did that. Then at the last minute, they gave us applications to fill out. Earlier they had told us that since I'm already a resident, I would just be doing a transfer and I don't need to re-apply. But Jamie would need to fill out an application. But now they were giving us both applications. Shit. See, part of the application asks about employment, and I was scared to divulge the fact that I was unemployed. If I had just renewed my current lease, they would've never known. So why should they have to know now?

That night we decided to hang out at my place for a while to talk about each other and how we live and try to figure out if we'd be compatible roommates. We had to make a quick decision on a critical matter. We couldn't come up with any reason the two of us wouldn't get along, so we decided to go for it, and she went home.

The next day we met at the rental office again to sign the lease. We brought our completed applications. I left the employment section of mine blank. When the rental consultant looked at it, she said they need that information. So I hesitantly told her I'd just been laid off. She acted like it was no problem, and filled in the section with "Looking." Wow... I felt a lot better. Maybe my application wasn't subject to approval, it was just to document that I had transferred.

Well we set our move-in date to be Friday, January 18th. They give me 3 days to get out of my old apartment, which would be 'til the end of the day Sunday the 20th. (This was about a week away at that time.)

The next day, I got a call from the rental office. Apparently while my unemployment didn't set off an alarm with the rental consultant who worked with us, it did with the manager who eventually reviewed our applications. She was a bit concerned about it and told me she just wanted to make sure I wasn't signing into something I couldn't afford. She said I had a perfect rent payment history, but she was just doing me a favor by making sure I wanted to do this considering my situation. But then when she found out I had just been laid off the previous month, and the alarm turned off. I guess she thought I'd been unemployed for quite a while or something. I'm not sure how that would matter. But in any case, everything was ok.

The following week leading up to move-in day, I'd planned to get all my stuff packed and organized. Ha! The first thing I did was on Tuesday, I took apart my K'NEX Screamin Serpent roller coaster. (I made an entry about that at the time.) Then on Wednesday or Thursday I took apart my fountains and cleaned all the stones. I also packed all my videotapes into a few boxes. Oh, and I replaced the X10 wall switches with the original ones. That was the extent of my packing by the time Friday came along.

Friday, Jan 18th

Friday afternoon, Jamie and her sister Julie met me to go to the office and pick up the keys to our new place. She had her car full of a few things to drop off. I didn't. After we got the keys, she and Julie went to the new place, and I went back to my old place to grab a few things. All that was ready to go were the boxes of video tapes and my fountain.

We got over there and dropped off our stuff and had a little fun. Then Jamie took Julie home. I went home and grabbed a few more things, including my two papasan chairs.

A little later Jamie and I went to pick up her 36" TV from work. The thing weighs 280lbs, so her coworker Terry helped me lift it. Fortunately it has handles molded into the sides, but they're at a weird angle that still makes it awkward to hold. We managed to get it into the back of my Jimmy without breaking our backs. It just BARELY fit in. It had to go in sideways to get through the narrow opening and then turn backwards to make room for the TV stand. That was much lighter. :) Terry came with us back to our new place to help unload it. We got a little closer to breaking our backs this time. I had to set it down as we went down the 4 steps into the building (fortunately we're on the 1st floor) and Terry had to set it down just as we entered our apartment. We switched sides so he could use his other hand on the handle. It was actually hurting our finger muscles more than anything.... the ones on the inside of the wrist that make the fingers curl. See, it's not like lifting a barbell where you can just make a fist around it. The molded handle makes it more like lifting a barbell where the bar is more like a long, thick ellipse than a circle, so that your fingers and thumb can't close around it. Well anyway, we made it. :) So now our apartment had nothing but a few boxes of stuff and a huge 36" TV. Jamie also brought her new DVD player she just bought, and we hooked it up and watched "Happy, Texas". A little ways into it, we decided to use the coupon for a free pizza left on the kitchen counter by management as a move-in gift. The pizza came when the movie was almost over. Oh well. It still tasted great. Then we both went home to sleep in our old beds for the last time. Well, same beds, old location. :)

That night, I stayed up a while trying to prepare some of my larger furniture to go. That meant my stereo cabinet, computer desk, and dining room table. Then I went to bed and set my alarm to get up, shower, and drive an hour to be at Jamie's parents' house at 9:30am when she shows up with the U-Haul.

Saturday, Jan 19th

Amazingly, I got up and made it there on time! But Jamie wasn't there with the U-Haul yet. In fact she was about 20 minutes late. :) I sat there watching Three Stooges with Julie. Jamie's dad was talking to me about his idea to let half the air out of the truck's tires so it wouldn't leave ruts in the grass when they drove it around back to the shed. Huh? That sounded like a worthless idea to me, but I was polite and just told him he's asking the wrong guy. Then when Jamie and Chris arrived with the truck he asked her if she let the air out of the tires. *sigh* Of course she didn't. She probably thought the idea was silly as much as I did. So then he went out there to try and do it himself. The rest of us just stayed inside where it was warm. This was the first time I had met Chris, by the way. We get along fairly well, I'm happy to say. :) Jamie's dad eventually came in and said it was too hard to get at the air nozzles on the back tires, but he got the front tires. Um. Yeah. Last I checked, the majority of a U-Haul's weight goes through the back tires. That's where they're double-tires. Oh well.

So we spent a while moving things out onto the back patio before he drove the U-Haul back there, so as to minimize the time it sits on the grass. And he parked it on a hill so that the right side was a foot higher than the left. But we just dealt with it and get everything loaded. (It seems silly to sum up all that work in such a short phrase, but I don't need to bore you with the details. :) ) Julie got called away by her fiance about an hour into loading. So then it was just me, Chris, Jamie and her dad. We loaded a few more things into our cars and went inside for some Coke... yeah... nothing like nice cold Coke to warm you up after working outside in the middle of January for hours. (This was before the recent heat wave, mind you.) We finally left at around 1pm.

We got to the new apartment at around 2pm and parked the U-Haul, then we all rode in my car to go get some lunch at DiBella's. Mmm. Yummy. :)

We came back and unloaded everything. (Another silly summary.) While unloading, we noticed a piece of paper on the floor outside our door that was getting in the way, so I picked it up. It was a notice from Time-Warner saying they're sorry they missed us. :( So we'd have to reschedule that. The couch and love seat just BARELY made it into the apartment. That's probably typical though. It seems like that always happens. I wonder if couch designers actually have a door frame in mind. It's always very difficult but it always eventually works. :) To make room for the couch and love seat, we had to put my papasan chairs in my bedroom. Julie showed up again to help us move stuff in.

By the time we finished, it was getting dark. Julie and her dad went home, and we took the U-Haul over to my old apartment to grab the few large things like my bed, dresser, stereo cabinet, computer desk, and a few of the heavier boxes (while we had the hand truck that comes with the U-Haul). Chris rolled my TV off the end of the hand truck trying to get it up the stairs out of the building. Fortunately it was in its original packaging and it was ok. :) There were a few casualties during the moving process as well. We got that stuff unloaded at the new apartment by around 8pm or so. Then Jamie and Chris went to return the U-Haul and I went back to my old place to grab bed sheets, clothes and toiletries, and come back to spend my first night here at the new place. Jamie told me she'd help me move the rest of my stuff from the old apartment on Sunday. She and Chris crashed in her room and I crashed in mine. I had my alarm clock but didn't set an alarm. Rest was more important than getting an early start on the day.

Sunday, Jan 20th

I slept until about 1pm, then hopped in the shower. Jamie and Chris were still asleep when I get out, so I didn't bother waking them just to help me move. I had to get things pre-packed before anyone else could be much help anyway, so I headed over alone.

I spent a LOT of time simply packing things into movable units. Throwing all the cables from my computer in a bag, and all the cables from my stereo in a box, trying to get all the loose items into a box or bag of some sort. By about 6pm I was still there, having not made a single trip out to my car because I was too busy pre-packing. Plus, no sign of Jamie. And my phone had already been transferred to the new place (same #, btw) so I had no way of calling anyone from the old place.

Things were starting to look impossible. At one point I broke down. I just hid from the windows behind the front hall closet and cried quietly. I hadn't cried in a long time. It's true what they say - crying makes you feel better.

I dried my tears and loaded my Jimmy up with a few things and headed over to the new apartment. I figured maybe Jamie woke up, saw I wasn't there, and didn't think I would be at the old place since I'd been gone for so long. Well, when I got here with my first load, Jamie and Chris were both gone. :( I called my dad. He had originally offered to help on Saturday with the big stuff in the U-Haul, but we had enough people. But now I really needed someone. Actually the main reason I wanted him to come was because I had a few things we wouldn't need or have room for at the new place: the kitchen table and chairs, and the dorm fridge I was using as a night stand in my bedroom. So I asked if he could come with the van to take those things, and maybe help out moving other stuff a little.

He hadn't eaten yet, and I was starving (my mom had just gotten home and felt fine finding dinner for herself) so he came out and we went out to eat first. DiBella's was closed (slightly past 7pm by that point), so was Amiel's (those are both sub places, btw), so we went to Boston Market. Yum. :) Then we went back and he actually offered to load the van with stuff to help me move (rather than just the stuff I needed him to take home).

After we'd been moving a little while, Jamie showed up. Turns out she had tried to find me 3 times earlier but I wasn't at either place. Hmm. Well I know at least one of the times was while we were out eating dinner. Oh well. So now we had the van, my Jimmy, and her car to fill up. Things were looking much better. And it felt much better when I saw how fast things were going with 2 people to help me out. Jamie and Dad, I love you both for all your help! I didn't tell either of you I had been crying earlier, but receiving your help almost made me cry again with overwhelming gratitude.

It only took one trip to get most of the stuff over to the new place. We ran out of room to put boxes and bags of stuff on the floor in my bedroom, so we started throwing them on my bed. Then my dad and I went back to load the table, chair and fridge into my his van and I let him head home. All that was left would fit into my Jimmy. But that's not all... I also had to clean. Thanks to that, I was there until well past midnight. :-/ But that's because I'm an anal cleaner. (Ewwww! hehe) But hey, I got that place spic'n'span. :)

Monday, Jan 21st

Obviously the office wasn't open at 1am on a Monday, so I put all my keys together back on the original keychain, left it on the kitchen counter, and locked myself out. I'd read somewhere that I could do that if the office wasn't open when I wanted to turn in the keys. I would call during the day to make sure it was ok.

As I drove out of parking lot 18 for the last time, the clock in my car read 1:23am. I got to the new place and found a note in the door from Jamie. It said, "Dan, I would have like to help you unload your car, but it's after 1:00 and I need to get some sleep before work tomorrow. [...stuff about unpacking...] Honestly, if you just want to collapse when you get home and don't want to take the time to clear off your bed, you're welcome to sleep in mine. Just be aware that my alarm will go off at 7:30. -Jamie" Is that cool of her or what!? She's such a good friend. :) I grabbed the refrigerator and freezer items out of my car and put them away, leaving the rest for later.

I had to think though. I knew I wasn't going to clear off my bed, but I wasn't sure if I should sleep in her bed, even though I was invited. Maybe it was only out of pity or politeness. You know? But then I also thought... this is one of probably very few chances I'll ever have to sleep with her, because there's actually a reason. I can't just throw stuff on my bed again in the future and expect the offer. ;) Not just that, but I felt like I might disappoint her by not taking the offer. I have to assume she only meant it in a friendly way, not romantic, but sometimes I'm not sure what's going on in her head. Well I decided to go for it.

She woke up as I opened the door and witnessed me castrating myself on her bed's footboard I forgot about as I was rounding the end of the bed by feel since my eyes hadn't adjust and I couldn't see a thing.. lol.. I climbed in and as I lied down she whispered "hi" in a sort of intimate way... I wasn't sure what to do with that. Did she WANT to get intimate? I would've thought not, since she had to get sleep, not to mention she has a great boyfriend. I respect both of them and wouldn't want to help her cheat on him. Plus she must've known I was exhausted from moving and cleaning, and I'd think she was too. Well I just did one of those happy-laugh-sigh acknowledgements and got comfy on my side of the bed. She got comfy on hers. Then she fell asleep and started SNORING! LOL... A few times during the night we changed positions and brushed up against each other but nothing deliberate or intimate. My thoughts were... I'll just stay here on my side, and if she wants to cuddle with me - perhaps even use me in place of Chris - I'd let her. But I wasn't going to really make an effort to play along or anything. So, when she'd roll over and lean against me, I didn't push her away or anything. I enjoyed it. :) But I stayed put. And, yes, my total recollection of the night's events means I didn't catch a wink of sleep. :( But I don't think it's because of her snoring, because after she got up and went to work in the morning, I stayed there but still couldn't sleep. So I don't know what it was. I didn't get the usual nervousness I feel the first time I sleep with a girl, either, so I know it wasn't that. It's just strange. Maybe I was so stressed from all that happened that day my mind just couldn't get any rest.

Hehe, I remember reciting various things... Monty Python... "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!" I've never even seen whatever show that's from. I just hear it all the time in every commercial for Monty Python collections. :) Oh, then I also tried to turn her snoring into a good thing by visualizing the inhale as a wave crashing on a beach, and the exhale as the water receding. Then I thought if I tried to count the waves it might put me to sleep, like counting sheep. I got up to 100... no luck. And believe me, it takes a long time to take 100 breath cycles! Count 5 right now, but remember you breath slower when you sleep. Takes a long time, doesn't it? Now do that 19 more times... hehe... I actually lost count a few times between 50 and 100, not because I was falling asleep, but because I was losing interest! My mind was wandering to other things and I'd forget that I was counting. So, yeah, it was both exciting and not fun to sleep in her bed. If I ever do again, I hope it's as her boyfriend. But that's an entirely different matter I don't need to get into right now.

Since I couldn't sleep even after she left for work, I got up around 9am and got cracking on unpacking. (Hey, that rhymes!) First I went through all the boxes and bags of stuff in the kitchen. Some of it belonged in my bedroom. The rest were dishes and shelf foods I found places for. One of the boxes had Jamie's fiction books in it. Not sure why it was in the kitchen, so I moved it over (a whole 5 feet) to the bookcase where the rest of her books were already unpacked. Later when she saw it there, she asked me where I found it. Turns out she almost made a trip all the way back home to look for it! I saved the day, I guess. :)

I also called the apartment office to make sure it was ok that I left my keys to the old place on the kitchen counter. I guess they misunderstood me and actually had someone go inspect the apartment and tell me there were no charges for damages. LOL Well that's good to know too, I guess. :) I also called Time Warner and rescheduled our appointment for Tuesday afternoon.

By the end of the day, I still hadn't gotten around to clearing off my bed. But I couldn't sleep in Jamie's this time because Chris was over. :) I got it cleared off. But with my papasan chairs in here, I had to get creative. During the night, they sit on top of some stuff on my floor. During the day, I put them on top of my bed to make more room to move around. Heh. Well I slept VERY well in my own bed.

Tuesday, Jan 22nd

I got my computers hooked up and ready for the cable guy to set them up for Road Runner. He didn't come until nearly 4pm. He was really cool and said Jamie should work for them because she explained the various setups for recording digital cable better than anyone on their workforce. :) With a digital cable box, Replay-TV, VCR and DVD player, she has a really complex system of making sure everything is connected in the best way. :)

Once he got cable connected, of course, I got sucked back into my chair by the net. :) Didn't get much more unpacking done that day.

Wednesday, Jan 23rd

I had to report to the unemployment office for a little seminar thing. It wasn't until 2pm, but I slept late enough that I didn't get anything done before leaving for that. On the way home from that, I grabbed some lunch at Arby's and picked up an RJ-45 crimping tool. When I got home Jamie chatted with me from work and we got talking about her Phone With Which To Rule The World. It allows callers to press 1 or 2 during the outgoing message to select the mailbox in which their recorded message will be left.

So I recorded a message that says "Welcome to the phone with which to rule the world. If you would like to leave a message for Jamie, please press 1. If you would like to leave a message for Dan, please press 2. (5-second pause.) Why don't you just TELL me the name of the person with whom you wish to leave a message? (shorter pause) On second though, just wait for the beep." That's from the Seinfeld episode where Kramer pretends to be the MoviePhone service. :) But the thing is it actually WILL respond to pressing 1 or 2. You only hear the rest of the message if you don't press anything. (And then your message defaults to mailbox 1.) Jamie didn't care for the second part of it, and didn't like the versions I made by using the Bell Labs Text-to-Speech site, so I re-recorded it as me just saying "You have reached the phone with which to rule the world at ###-####. To leave a message with Jamie, press 1. To leave a message with Dan, press 2. Otherwise, leave your message after the beep."

When Jamie got home from work we worked on wiring up my speakers and digital surround receiver to her entertainment center. When she didn't need me, I was using my RJ-45 crimpers to run ethernet cables into her bedroom and around the perimeter of mine into the closet where I put my linux server. As we were stringing wire for the rear speakers, I almost forgot about RITSMA! Chris had just come over and the two of them finished it while I went to the meeting. We went to Perkins after the meeting. :) Then I came back and found that there wasn't enough wire to string the rear speakers the way we planned, so they're just drooping down loose from the ceiling down to the speakers. Hehe...

Thursday, Jan 24th

I didn't do much today. I connected my keyboard's sound to the entertainment system, and plugged in the digital audio cable to the back of the DVD player. Jamie and I went to my parents' for meat loaf. Yum. :) We roped her into a game of Hollywood, too. She picked it up really quick. She lost, but not because she was playing poorly... she was really close, just bad luck. My dad won.

When we got back here, I decided it was time to try to put my bed up on cinder blocks and gain some storage space under it. Now my bed is at butt height. Hey, I hope it wasn't the height of Jamie's bed that kept me from sleeping well in it, or I won't get any sleep in my own tonight. :)

Well we shall see. Tomorrow I get to try to shove stuff under my bed to make my bedroom look half-way decent.

By the way, if anyone in the Rochester area wants to buy these 2 papasan chairs from me, make me an offer. :) I'll deliver.

Ok, time for bed, finally!
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