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Scott Hardie | May 29, 2002
It's good to be back... sort of. While Kelly and I are staying here in Sarasota with my mom, I'm stuck using her computer, and it freezes up constantly. She's getting a cable modem installed tomorrow (woo hoo!), but that doesn't stop the main problem with this piece of junk. Oh well, I'm just happy to be online again. I was on briefly last night, but I plan to be back in full force tonight. Here are some details about our terrible move here.
My graduation was Saturday the 11th, and we originally planned to leave on Sunday the 12th. We decided to give ourselves an extra day and leave on Monday the 13th. Then Kelly wanted to go home and see her parents for two days, so we changed the moving date back to Thursday the 16th. But Kelly got sick right after graduation from the terrible rain she had to walk through (me too but not as bad), and she wound up staying in St. Charles until Friday the 17th. By that point, I'd booked a truck to be picked up on the 17th. We started the drive out to Quincy, but realized we wouldn't make it in time, and called them to apologize. We were rescheduled to pick up the truck on Saturday the 18th, but the good news was that we had seven full days to move. (The truck was due back in Bradenton at 1pm on Saturday the 25th.)
We left late and underestimated the drive to Quincy, making us an hour late. But, they pulled in with our trailer right after we got there, so we would have had to wait an hour anyway, which was just strange. We got the truck home and parked it in the driveway right behind Kelly's dead Mazda, which needed to be given or sold to a salvage shop before we left. Since we had seven full days anyway, Kelly decided to go to Amtgard on Saturday afternoon while I took a needed nap. Kelly called me that evening to say that she'd be home late. I stayed up till 4am waiting for her and playing a video game (instead of packing), and went to bed. When she still hadn't showed by 3pm on Sunday, I called friends and found out she was having lunch with Dave Craig and wouldn't be home for a while. I was pissed. I had already started packing and went at it with vigor. She called to say she was on her way, and sure enough she came home. Then we tried to eat dinner at Aurelio's, and she told me about some unpleasant (to me) stuff that went down in Galesburg that I can't write about here, and it caused a very uncomfortable scene at dinner, which was cut off early. We didn't do any more packing that day.
We did almost none the next day, either. We did maybe an hour and a half each, but I stayed on the internet too long, and she played video games. It was strange: I, being an only child, assumed I was only responsible for moving my own belongings, that she would take care of hers, and that we would do the mutual stuff together. Since I have way less shit than Kelly, I sat around waiting for her to make progress before I would start working. But Kelly thought we'd each do 50% of the total, and she was waiting for me to get started as a cue for her to do the same. We had a series of arguments about this, which made the entire process that much less pleasant.
I thought that we could finish up on Tuesday the 21st. Hell, I thought we could finish on Monday the 20th until I saw that the sun was down and we'd barely gotten started. So we pushed hard all day Tuesday, for real, and we still weren't halfway done by that night! After some pleading, Kelly talked me into seeing a late show of Star Wars. I was too tired two hours before showtime to go to a movie, but that film really perked me up. It was exciting. I never thought the Republic stuff was boring, or that the dialogue was too cliched, or that the actors were too wooden. I expect that sort of thing in a Star Wars kind of movie, you know? I would give it a low "It ruled," the same opinion I have of almost every other Star Wars film.
So, with a heavy heart, I began another full day of packing on Wednesday the 22nd. I packed and packed and packed some more, and STILL we weren't done. How much shit did we have?! I was very disappointed when the sun went down and I realized we still had ANOTHER full day to go.
By the afternoon of Thursday the 23rd, Kelly and I were both fed up. The truck had to be returned in 48 hours and it was a 24-hour drive (plus sleep time), and we still had way more shit to go. We packed up the rest of our valuable stuff as quickly as we could, then we left the rest. We just left it there. Dishes in the kitchen cabinets, food in the freezer, clothes in the bathroom cabinet, mattresses on the floor, a desk in the corner, boxes and boxes and boxes full of stuff, and trash scattered everywhere. On one hand, we were happy to leave, and we were happy to give a final middle finger to our landlords for all the shit they'd given us all year long, but on the other hand, that was a very unethical and mean thing to do. Plus, we didn't turn off any of the utilities or mail them the keys, since we had packed up our phone and stamps. We decided to do it once we got to Florida.
One bright spot along the way was the fate of Kelly's old Mazda. We called the only salvage place in Macomb repeatedly, never getting an answer, so we decided to move it to the street to make it easier to tow away. Kelly barely got the thing started, then, with black smoke pouring out of the rear exhaust, she rolled forward-right, then back-left, trying to get it around the truck. I actually thought it was going to make it until the wheel fell off! The rubber came right off the fucking rim, on the front passenger-side tire. We stopped it and left it there. Worse yet, I tried to start the truck to pull it further into the driveway, and it wouldn't start. The battery was dead. The U-Haul in Quincy had turned on the headlights and the interior lights without telling us, so we didn't turn them off when we got home. And the U-Haul in Macomb charged us to replace the battery! Assholes. I asked the young mechanic who came to our house if he knew anyone who wanted the Mazda as-is, and he said he'd ask around. We kept calling him for the next two days (we had to get rid of that thing!) and he never did give us a straight answer. Finally, less than two hours before we left, Kelly found a salvage shop in Colchester that would take it, and they sent a Macomb tow truck to get it. Then Kelly couldn't find the title! Mr. Lee had never put it in the car when he gave it to Kelly! The old tower was about to give up when somebody got the idea for Kelly to write out a transfer-of-ownership on a sheet of paper. The man took it and the car on Kelly's promise to send the car title as soon as possible - but she won't, because she and Mr. Lee have no idea where it is.
With the stuff we wanted in the truck and the rest of the stuff deserted, we hit the road at 4:45pm. Kelly got her Buick onto the trailer, but couldn't open her door to get out! She climbed out through the sunroof, but since the power windows and locks required a key to be in the ignition and we couldn't open any door more than two inches, we were in trouble. We decided to stop at the Macomb U-Haul before we left, to have them check the connections and get her windows shut. The former was a surprise: The Quincy U-Haul hadn't secured all of the chains, or actually any of the chains, that connected the car to the trailer or the trailer to the truck. The chains were in fact just hanging loose, rubbing along the pavement. They said we'd have lost the trailer along the way for sure if they hadn't fixed it for us. They also showed us a little handle that let us lower the bar over the tires. That let us get the doors locked and the windows rolled up, and we felt stupid but relieved. We stopped at a gas station on the edge of town and had even more misadventures that I don't even want to write about, and finally we left Macomb at about 5:40pm, Thursday the 23rd.
That was a mistake, leaving that late. If we had stayed, we could have cleaned up most or all of the garbage in our house, and gotten an early start the next day. Instead, we made it to Effingham by 11pm and Kelly wanted to sleep. I didn't argue, and we finally found a dumpy Paradise Inn after getting turned down by three or four other places. We drove all day the next day and made it to Dalton, Georgia, to a Howard Johnson with very unfriendly service. The next morning, we ate lunch and I called my mom, who volunteered to contact U-Haul for me and let them know that the truck wouldn't make it on time. (Their number wasn't accessible by pay phone, even with my calling card.) Kelly bought me a stuffed monkey from the crane game at the Denny's as a birthday gift, and believe me, I was happy to have the smile it gave me.
Finally, after a long Saturday of driving, we arrived at my mom's house in Sarasota at 2:30am on Sunday the 26th. There was still the matter of unloading the truck and returning it, and we did that on Sunday afternoon. There was an old man and a young man at the U-Haul, and the old man rang up a bunch of fees for me based on lateness and the gas tank not being full and so on, then he went to the bathroom and the young man cleared out all the fees and sent me on my way. I really liked that guy; he reminded me of Dave Craig in a good way. He had a tongue piercing and had a goatee and wore black boots and listened to heavy metal music and had a very slacker attitude, and I considered asking him right there if he was into gaming. I mean, what did I have to lose if he said no? I wound up not asking, but since Kelly and I will have to rent another truck in a few more days to move out of my mom's house and into our own, I think I'll see him again. One cool thing about the Bradenton U-Haul is a pair of rodent cages kept in the garage. I didn't see any live animals in them, but they were set up to house live animals, with food and water in there and everything. If that guy had a hamster on the job site, I would have tried to make friends with him right then and there. :-)
So, now we're in my mom's house, and things are going well. There aren't too many places around here that have what we want (there are very few three-bedroom places in our price range), but the silver lining of that is that it won't take us long to see everything. We're going to explore everything in Sarasota tomorrow (Wednesday the 29th) and everything in Tampa on Thursday the 30th, and we'll be ready to decide then unless everything we find is unacceptable, in which case we'll settle for a two-bedroom place.
Other stuff going on right now:
- I'm playing Final Fantasy IX again, since we hooked up the PS2 to my mom's TV to alleviate boredom. It's really an excellent game, and it's a shame that so many players missed it because it came out right before the PS2 hit the market and it was a PS1 game. If you're into that kind of game at all and you missed it, play it. I'm at the point-of-no-return that comes before the end of every Final Fantasy game and I really can't recommend it enough.
- I got some presents! My mom bought me four things off my wish list: A Scrabble player's dictionary, Sula by Toni Morrison (I didn't realize how short it was, only 170 pages), the special edition DVD of Memento that took Kelly and I ten minutes to figure out how to open, and a PS2 game called "Draken" that I hadn't played but came highly recommended online. I also got that "Resident Evil 2" soundtrack that I won on eBay, and Ryan Orsucci was very cool to send me a non-birthday-related spontaneous gift. When we saw him for his wedding, he and I had discussed a "What If?" comic in which Charles Xavier became the Juggernaut instead of Kane Marko. I said that Marvel should make one, he said that it already existed. Just because he's cool, he tracked it down in a comics shop and bought it for me. Thanks Ryan! (The comic itself wasn't as cool as Jesse and Ryan and I had at different times imagined it could be, but it was still fun to read.)
- I got an email out of the blue from Rebecca Reynolds, someone I hadn't heard from in a very long time. Back in my freshman year of high school, ten years ago this fall, my teacher told us all about a program called International Youth Service. You paid them $5 or so, and they gave you three names from countries of your choice, and you could become pen pals with those kids, who had sought out American pen pals. I wound up with a boy in France, a girl in Italy, and a girl in Australia, by my request. The French boy never answered me, and the Italian girl only wrote to me once and never again, but the Australian girl and I got along well. She was Rebecca Reynolds. I don't remember a whole lot about what we discussed (it was ten years ago), but I remember that we did get along pretty well for people on opposite sides of the planet. I even developed a crush on her, which she ignored when I confessed it to her in a letter. (I wasn't hurt.) So, time passed, we lost touch, I packed the letters away in my closet and forgot what happened to them, and lately I wondered who from my past I should seek out. So far I haven't sought out anybody, though Rebekah Dassion briefly found me. I thought about trying to find Rebecca, but I figured it was hard enough trying to find someone in this country let alone another one. But, somehow, she found me (I doubt there are many Scott Hardies with as much of a web presence as me), and wrote to me on Monday the 27th, wishing me a happy birthday and commenting on my web site. She also said she wants to keep in touch, which is just fine by me. Email's a lot cheaper than postage to Australia. :-) I will probably write back tonight and see how it goes. She might show up here or at my other sites - everybody I know seems to get sucked into the void that is my web sites.
- Minor thing: I saw a trailer for Lilo & Stitch. I hate Disney as much as the next person, but I gotta admit, that trailer was pretty damn funny. Keep an eye out for it. (Hey Matt: I've seen Star Wars twice now and still no Matrix teaser. Bah.)
I guess I didn't realize how long this entry was going to be. Oh well. If you made it this far, you have an amazing capacity for reading about other people's lives. Stop reading my site and go out and do something! :-)