Greetings from St. Louis!posted by The Vidiot @ 9:30 AM Permalink We finally made it and what an odyssey it was.
We were supposed to leave Brooklyn the day after the blizzard hit. Unfortunately, neither Bloomberg nor the Department of Sanitation complied with our repeated demands to plow our street.
On the night of the blizzard, at about 3am, the dog had to pee, but the snow had drifted up both doorways and being as we were in the garden apartment, we couldn't get out. Teen Vidiot was up (He's convinced he's an insomniac so he acts the part. He's very "method.") so I made him shovel a path in the back patio so the dog could go. The dog, frightened by the walls of snow, scooted out, peed, and promptly scooted back in with a sort of "WTF?" look on her face. Once I saw how heavy the snow was and how much of it there was, I knew we weren't leaving that day. I called the movers and the U-Haul to postpone to maybe later that day.
Later that same morning, Monday, we tried to get out the front door and couldn't do it. We had to go upstairs and climb out and down the snowy stairs. Once out, we saw the devastation; the streets were all not plowed, even the major thoroughfares, sans one. On that one street, some guy in a pickup truck with a plow lived on that street and so he plowed it himself. We saw stuck sanitation trucks, some just sitting there, others being pulled out by other sanitation trucks. Lots of cars just parked/stuck in the middle many of the streets. (Teen Vidiot made a killing helping folks dig out their cars.) The most surreal part of it all was the silence; not only were there no cars and buses, but there were no airplanes either. I called the movers and the U-Haul to postpone to Tuesday.
The next day, Tuesday, we thought, OK, maybe they'll clear it today. But no. They'd gotten to the major streets, but the side streets were still not snowplowed. We awoke to find an abandoned taxi stuck in the middle of the street, right next to our car. Some idiot driver dropped off his fare and then tried to drive down the street, realized it wasn't plowed, tried to back out and got stuck. It was there all day. We spoke with someone at the funeral home on the corner and she said that it was Bloomberg's fault the streets were a mess since he didn't call the snow emergency on Sunday when he should've because he didn't want to pay for the weekend overtime. That was the first I'd heard that one. (Later, someone else said the sanitation workers had staged a slow-down to make Bloomberg look bad because of all the budget cuts to their department. I'm more likely to believe the first story than the second, only because the second provides too perfect a cover for Bloomberg.)
That afternoon, Dr. Vidiot and Teen Vidiot, along with a few other neighborhood guys, helped push one of the cars on our street out, clearing the way for our car. Dr. Vidiot contemplated digging out our car, but talked himself out of it because there was just so much snow and even if we could maneuver the car around the abandoned taxi to go get the U-Haul, loading it would be impossible. I called the movers and the U-Haul to postpone.
The NEXT day, Wednesday, the side streets were STILL not plowed, not that they could plow our street with the abandoned taxi in the middle of it anyway. However, the funeral director had hired a backhoe to clear his end of the street since he said, "Folks die, blizzard or no, and we need the street for the mourners." He also had the backhoe clear as much of the snow it could behind our car, but by then, some idiot yuppie SUV owner had parked behind our car so now we had to wriggle the car out between that SUV and the abandoned Taxi, no easy feat with the snow and ice. By late afternoon, the taxi company showed up to get their vehicle. They tried to dig it out, but apparently, the driver had burned out the transmission trying to back out. The car had no reverse so even though they had dug it all out, the car couldn't be backed out of it's spot. They had to wait for a tow truck.
At this point, I'm a complete and utter wreck. I'd been living with boxes for a couple of weeks, I was exhausted from the packing, I still had packing of last minute stuff that I couldn't do because I had no idea when 'last minute' was going to be, everything was in complete disorder, I had to stop cooking because all the pots and pans were packed so we had to eat out every night which became difficult since, during the blizzard, a lot of the restaurants were unable to open, it just seemed to drag on forever with no end in sight. If you'd have seen me, you'd have seen that my eyes were little spinning saucers of insanity.
Dr. Vidiot said, "That's it! I can't take it anymore!" and he ordered Teen Vidiot to grab the shovel, he handed me a shovel, and he marched out the door with his shovel and we got to digging out the car. It took several hours. One neighbor egged us on because her car was in front of ours and she wanted out too, but she didn't have a husband or a teenager to do the digging. Finally, at about 5pm on Wednesday night, we got the car out. People were cheering and applauding. The funeral guy said we were welcome to park our U-haul overnight in front of his place as long as we were out by morning, I called the movers and we stuffed that damn truck to the gills in record time. The next day, after we got the mattresses and plants loaded up, we were back at the U-haul to load the car onto the trailer and we were off.
The drive was fairly uneventful. We only got stuck at the first gas station when we underestimated the distance the trailer was from the pump. The dog was cool all the way up until the last few hours of Day One. Then, she started to pant and shiver uncontrollably. She knew something big was happening but couldn't put her paw on it. Dr. Vidiot had to be reigned in a bit. He was doing the guy thing, "We're making great time!" and, "Just one more exit, then we'll stop." We ended up in Washington, PA for the night. We brought in our luggage and the plants. We ordered a pizza because we were starving and Dr. Vidiot and I promptly made a bee-line for the hotel bar to suck down some relaxant. We waited and waited for that pizza and it never showed up. It was late and we were exhausted, so we went to tell Teen Vidiot that the pizza wasn't coming. When we got to the room however, we caught him in mid-bite, with what apparantly was his fifth piece of pizza in his mouth. He was all, "What? I thought it was for me." I contemplated killing him.
The next morning, we piled back into the truck, though not after one of the plant boxes broke and dumped dirt all over the hotel floor. The dog was still twitching and panting. I was worried she was going to stroke out. When we stopped for gas, I got her some benedryl. Thank god for such a simple solution. She went from Ozzie Osbourne to Siddhartha in about 15 minutes. For the rest of the ride, she just sat on my lap, looked around, eyes half open, lips curled up in a barely discernible, buddahesque grin.
We pulled into St. Louis on New Year's eve night, tired, exhausted and a bit stressed out, but we made it. We celebrated the new year in our new city.
We've been here two weeks now, the first five days spent in hotel room, the rest, in our new apartment in a suburb of St. Louis. We're not really suburb types, but the schools in St. Louis are so horrendous that we had to move out here. Teen Vidiot's grades aren't good enough for a magnate school and Dr. Vidiot's salary isn't big enough to pay for private school. So, while we wanted to move to the Soulard neighborhood, we're out here in Clayton.
It's not half bad as suburbs go. I can walk to a great grocery store, the high school is just across the street, as is the community center which has pools, gyms, classes and anything else you can think of for almost no membership fee for residents. The dog doesn't have a back yard, but she gets lots of walks where she gets to chase lots of birds and squirrels in the park. I can walk around my apartment without bumping into any furniture. For the first time in 25 years, my thighs don't have bruises! The kitchen, while not ideal, is 500% better than the last nightmare, so I'm happy with that. Dr. Vidiot's folks bought us a new washer (kiss kiss!) and we found a used dryer for a $100 and for the first time in 25 years, I can do laundry like a normal person! We have central air and heat and the parking is free and easy. Dr. Vidiot no longer has to wake up early to go to a job that he hates. He's now an assistant professor at a big state school. He only teaches 2/3 classes a semester and has the rest of the time to do research. In his entire adult life, he's never had time to do his research. He's always had to work several jobs, go to school and squeeze in his research between jobs. He's been sleep deprived since he was 17, so, you know, he's happy. Teen Vidiot is 15. Whether or not he's happy is a mystery.
People here are dead pleasant. I mean, wow. Maybe a bit too outgoing late at night though. Dr. Vidiot's head of perfectly curly hair seems to attract a lot of attention, usually sometime after midnight. Right around then, all the inhibitions are thoroughly lubricated and hands just start reaching out to touch it. The nightlife is pretty good; live music everywhere you go, decent restaurants, quaint neighborhoods. It's a cross between New Orleans and Chicago. The worst thing about living here is to get everything you need, you need to go to strip malls and mini-malls. There's no way around going to big-box stores (though I still will not allow myself to go to a Walmart) but it's easy to get around and their idea of a traffic jam is laughable.
All in all, it's a great palate cleanser after years of NYC life. We may be back in NYC eventually, if that tenure track line is ever opened up again (the one he got, but then the school cut the funding for right before they offered him the position.) but until then, I'm going to chill out just fine here.
Political blogging will resume shortly, just as soon as reacquaint myself with current events. I've been in the moving bubble for a while and I'm not even sure who the speaker of the House is anymore.