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Thursday, June 02, 2011

NYC To West Palm Beach: Day 1

After five years of living in New York City, I've taken a job in West Palm Beach, Fla. For the next week or so, this space will serve as a diary of my convoluted trip down south, which will include stops in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Louisville and maybe Atlanta and/or Savannah.

After going to bed past 2 a.m. on Wednesday, all my alarms rang at 6 a.m. and I knew I had only three hours until the movers came.

So I went back to sleep for an hour.

I got up at 7 a.m., but, fortunately, the movers didn't make the 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. window they had promised, so I got pretty much everything packed up by the time they pulled up just before 11 a.m.

I'm pretty mad at myself for allowing the price of the move to escalate by about 70 percent from the estimate, which I thought was pretty low to begin with. Partly because I ended up packing more boxes than I was expecting to, but also partly because the salesman taking my inventory list over the phone forgot to include some freebies and to account for the space in the truck those freebies would occupy. It's great that my new bosses are picking up the tab on the move, but I hate that I haven't even worked a day yet and I'm already in their doghouse.

Anyway, because of their tardy arrival, the movers left an hour after I was hoping to have them out of my apartment, which meant I didn't have time to take the more fiscally efficient train/bus journey to LaGuardia; I had to call a car service. The driver brought what is usually a great basketball or football skill to our rushed trip to the airport in that he was rather adept at turning a two-lane portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway into three lanes. Creating lanes is a trademark of New York City drivers, one that on Wednesday almost caused several accidents.

Of course when we arrived at the Southwest terminal and I handed him my debit card — I'd spent most of my day's cash tipping those sweaty movers — he said he didn't have a machine in the car. I said "That's weird; when I called to reserve the car I specifically asked the dispatcher if you'd take plastic and he assured me you would." So I wandered into the airport with the driver sitting in his car and my four bags in his trunk. I found an ATM, subtracted the withdrawal fee from what I owed him and off I went.

I don't fly Southwest from New York very often, but one thing I do know about the economy carrier is that if you're on a flight leaving LaGuardia after lunchtime, especially if you're on the popular route to Baltimore, expect delays. We were backed up for about an hour but I still made my connection to Cleveland on time.

Sure enough, once I got in the rental car, the second song I heard was "Stairway To Heaven." Aren't there some songs that you only hear in certain cities? Thanks to 98.5 WNCX, one of Tom Petty's classics followed the legendary Led Zeppelin song. The old-school rock reminded me of my days growing up in Cleveland and listening to Uncle Vic on WNCX's predecessor, WGCL I think it was.

Anyway, I got home right at 11 p.m., and Mom and Mike were up past their bedtime, of course waiting with an awesome turkey sandwich from Davis Bakery. We caught up for an hour and then it was time to go to bed. Every time I visit, the guest bed at their house allows me the best rest of the year. Eight solid hours this time.



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