Out of New Jersey: Moving Dad to California in November 2002
Out of New Jersey: Moving Dad to California in November 2002
In November 2002 I travelled back to New Jersey. My plan was to help
pack up the divorce house, in which he’d lived since 1986, and help him pack for the move to his big ol’ rental in . Here’s the chronological tale, as it happened.
First of all, of course, I had to get to New Jersey. I took the red-eye from
in the Pearl of the Pacific –
– to Las Vegas. Yes, in the middle of this panorama you can see several clusters of one-armed bandits. (I haven’t seen anything like it since we stopped of at a
in Reno.) They also had big, open-air smoking lounges in the airport. Not quite like home 🙂
From there I continued on to Newark Liberty (the post-9/11 name), where I landed in the wee hours of the morning. Dad was there. He must have been up since 05:00 to have nibbled his bagel, drunk his , and made the trip. Thanks, Dad.
Here’s the house and garage; a colonial-style house in Warren, NJ. From this picture you can’t tell how spectacular the foliage is at this time of year, but let me plainly say that it was awe-inspiring. Really. One of the few things I miss. The property goes back 450 feet, but it’s a very gentle downhill, and by the end it’s rather swampy. I can’t see building much back there.
Here’s the foyer (with my reflection in the mirror) and the living room. Piles of books on the coffee table, much of the furniture moved into the dining room (my staging area), and taped boxes all over the place. It’s a very sunny day, albeit cold, and so you’re getting to see the most detail possible. Two days later it was dismal, overcast, and photos didn’t look nearly as cheery.
Dad’s office. The blue-aqua iMac and printer can be seen in the middle of the photo. By the time I took this picture we’d gone through fifteen years of electrical bills (tossed), office supplies (kept), and everything on the bookshelves (well-winnowed). This is where Dad spends the majority of his days, translating articles and writing his stories. He’s got a depressing rural connection to the Internet, a max of 24 kbps. The new place is wired for DSL; he won’t know what hit him 🙂
Dad’s bedroom. By now it’s all boxes and open closets. Videotapes and books packed away. Some clothes to go, others to donate. The movers will dis- and re-assembled the bed. Good; something I don’t have to do.
Dad’s dining room. In the middle is the table at which we eat breakfast. At right are the first bunch of boxes; these are the first seven linear feet of vinyl LP records that I packed. The bric-a-brak and pictures haven’t yet been packed.
Sun 17 November 2002
The movers arrive at 08:00 to put the furniture, the boxes I packed, and everything else into their 53-foot truck.
Wed 20 November 2002
For the very last time I called Dad at the phone number that I’ve been using since he moved after the divorce in 1986. Weird. Tomorrow morning he starts driving westward on Hwy. 80. I thought the southern route might be a better choice on the cusp of winter, but Dad’s feeling lucky. Bon voyage!
Thu 21 November 2002
At 20:30 local time I called Dad this evening to find out his cross-country progress. Youngstown, Ohio. Dad didn’t think they’d spend time checking out the Baseball Hall of Fame (the only thing I know of in that town).
Fri 22 November 2002
At 22:00 local time I call Dad just as he’s trying to open the hotel room door in Daveport, Iowa. Another thousand miles driven, he said. Missed a snowstorm in Toledo, Ohio. Enjoyed bumper-to-bumper traffic around Chicago, Illinois.
Sat 23 November 2002
At 09:47 Mountain Time Dad calls me. His message on the answering machine say that they’re just west of Lincoln, Nebraska. Somewhere around the halfway point, he thinks; 1400 miles done. No news about weather or traffic adventures, so I check my favorite weather page, which says Sunday: Cloudy with a chance of light snow. Colder with highs near 30° F (-1° C). North winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 40 percent. Hmmmm.
Sun 24 November 2002
No contact with , so I guess that not all of Hwy. 80 is wired for cellular telephones. Interesting. Later I find out that they weathered out some snow by staying in Laramie, Wyoming. It was 10° F (-12° C); Dad was very happy to hear that we’ve been suffering from a bone-chilling 69° F (20° C) today. Smile.
Mon 25 November 2002
At 09:30 Mountain Time I chat with Dad, who is staying just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. The roads have been treacherous, but plowed quickly. Dad’s happy that he chose the Northern Route, in spite of the inclement weather.
Tue 26 November 2002
Dad planned on making , Nevada their penultimate stop. Did he make it? Check back tonight!
Yep, he did. I spoke to him in the morning, as they crossed the Nevada state line. At 22:00 Pacific Time Dad was telling me – in a very tired 10-hours-of-driving voice – that he was happily ensconsed in . I ran through his convenient food choices, neglected to suggest that he get a tropical drink while soaking in the waterfall-equipped swimming pool, and wished him a good night.
He’ll need it. The moving company made a hash of things, breaking pretty much all of his antique furniture. More details will follow, but in summary I’d say that a bunch of orangutans armed with bubble-wrap would have done a more professional job. Sad. I suspect an insurance claim in Dad’s future 😐 Photos taken, to be but online in a less harried moment.
Oran Outang is Malay for wild man. Which leads me to something you might want to read Melincourt; or, Sir Oran Haut-ton (Chapman and Hall, London, 1856).
Wed 27 November 2002
Dad should arrive in Alameda, California, today. Did he? Check back tonight!
Yes, he did. He called in the morning, and made good time, arriving about 16:00. Via cell phone I directed him through the maze from the San Francisco Bay Bridge to the isle of Alameda, hav.ng driven by that unique pink gingerbread house several times. A half hour later I served a celebratory Turkish coffee. We unpacked his car and had dinner at Ole’s.
Welcome back to California, Dad. It’s been a few decades since you last lived here, but it’s still a good place to be.
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