Moving weekend, 2012

Townhouse apartments in Waltham, Mass.
Windsor Village

Friends, thanks again for your support as Janice and I moved on relatively short notice. After a few weeks in which we hunted for a new apartment, sold or donated various items, and packed, our relocation was tiring but not as difficult as it could have been.

Janice had to work on Friday, 24 February 2012, so I dealt with the professional movers from Gentle Giant, which we had used before. They efficiently loaded our furniture, numerous boxes of books, electronics, and bags of clothing from the duplex in Needham Heights, Massachusetts, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. I definitely couldn’t do it all myself (or even with friends and family) anymore.

I then met the movers at our new townhouse in Waltham, Mass., where they had to contend with more stairs as they worked from about 11:00 to 4:00 p.m. Of course, it was the one day in an unseasonably mild February when it snowed and rained. I met Janice for an early dinner at Stone Hearth Pizza, and we got soaked bringing a few carloads of odds and ends north that evening.

The next day, Janice’s parents, her youngest sister Melinda, and Melinda’s son Joshua came from Upstate New York to help set up our kitchen and clean out the old place. Janice and I sold a few more items, such as our refrigerator and carpets, and we junked our old TV and entertainment center (we finally got a flat-screen and a new stand for it).

Josh was disappointed that he couldn’t play with more of my toys, but most were still packed in my now-crowded study because it also had much of the contents of the basement space we gave up. Janice’s folks also brought barbeque (sloppy Joes) and funny cake.

We got the kitchen, master bedroom, and much of the living/dining room set up. Janice and I later checked the Needham site one last time and returned unused boxes to U-Haul. We also discovered that our unit is in a dead zone for cell phone service because of surrounding buildings. Once our land line is up, that’s not a problem, but it was while we were waiting to meet people!

On a blustery Sunday night, Janice and I met college chum Ben P.S. for dinner at Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square, Cambridge, because he’s in town for a major physics conference.

Janice had a shorter commute to work yesterday, while I waited for a technician from Verizon to reinstall our FiOS (telephone, cable television, and Internet) service. (We’re still trying to get our DVD and VHS players and Wii to work.) Fortunately, I had enough boxes to deal with that I hardly noticed their absence, even during the Oscars. I’m glad that The Artist won the Academy Award for Best Picture, since it’s the one nominee that I had seen.

We still have a lot of unpacking to do, mainly for the two offices. Having more bathrooms is nice, as is a more modern space with a patio. I’ll have to get used to parking again in a crowded lot and to my new routes to work. I hope our higher rent and incidental expenses — I still need to get to a hardware store, buy more bookcases, and find outdoor storage for snow shovels — will be offset by more reliable maintenance.

While we already know some of the restaurants on Moody Street, Janice and I look forward to again exploring the northwestern quadrant of Boston’s suburbs!

Relocation reflections

Eastern Massachusetts
Boston's suburbs

Yesterday, Janice and I picked up the keys to our new apartment. The previous evening, more boxes were delivered for our move, and we enjoyed a Valentine’s Day dinner at Acropolis, our favorite Greek restaurant in Needham, Mass.

As we continue packing and trying to sell excess items — with breaks for the annual Westminster dog show — here’s a quick look back at the places I’ve lived.

Childhood in New York City

1968 to 1970: Lower West Side of Manhattan

1970 to 1978: Kingsbridge Heights, the Bronx

I have hazy but fond memories of growing up in New York. The cosmopolitan mix of cultures and cuisines, including immigrants like my parents, made me who I am. I also recall the eventual spread of urban blight as pleasant parks filled with refuse and noisy gangs, especially around the summer of 1977.

Adolescence in Westchester County

1978 to 1986: Dunwoodie, Yonkers; Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains

Although my brother spent more of his formative years here than I did, I recall hours spent biking around, hanging out with other kids on Westerly Street, and discovering my lifelong hobbies with high school friends. Most of the people I knew then were of Irish, Italian, or Central European descent. My “Vanished Lands” fantasy campaign setting and “Vortex” space opera date back to this period.

College in Upstate New York, post-grad year back downstate

1986 to 1990: State University of New York at Binghamton

1990 to 1991: NYPIRG at Queens College-CUNY; Yonkers

Not only did I meet Janice and other friends during this exciting period, but my most rewarding (if least paying) job was teaching urban studies as a community organizer in Flushing. I recall walking through rain, my then-lightning metabolism helping digest dining hall fare, and late-night conversations about life, the universe, and everything.

Grad school, first adult jobs, and marriage around Washington, D.C.

1991 to 1992: Arlington, Virginia; the George Washington University

1992 to 1999: Park Towers in Falls Church, Virginia; BNA

The Clinton years were prosperous. After getting my master’s in international affairs, I spent a few years working my way up from being a file clerk to a copy editor. Our apartment was small, but we were within walking distance of restaurants, Metro rail, and comic book and game shops. Several college friends and my family also moved south.

Boston, Massachusetts

1999 to 2000: Somerville

2000 to 2003: Windsor Gardens, Norwood; CW/IDG

2003 to 2012: Bobsled Drive and Dale Street, Needham Heights

2012: Windsor Village, Waltham; TT

Janice and I first visited Boston during our honeymoon in November 1995. We liked the compact, historic neighborhoods and then-plentiful bookshops, and the information technology boom later provided both of us jobs. While I’ve gone through career and health ups and downs since then, we like living back in the U.S. Northeast, and we hope to continue exploring New England!

Comic books and moving

Justice League fan art

Since new comic books are typically sold on Wednesdays, now’s a good time to look at how I’m trying to thin out my collections before my upcoming move from Needham Heights to Waltham, Massachusetts. Here’s what I’ve given away so far:

Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men: Donated two short boxes to the local public library, as well as the equivalent of one magazine box of Cinefastique, Ellery Queen, and Renaissance issues (I still have four magazine boxes of other genre mags.)

Batman/Nightwing: Paul J. is storing one long box, as well as two magazine boxes of Dragon and other tabletop RPG magazines.

Birds of Prey: One short box to Alex J. (I still have more of this title.)

DC Animated — Batman, Justice League: Gave one short box to nephew Joshua L.

Green Lantern, assorted DC/Marvel crossovers: One long box, one short box to Ron J.K.

Spider-Man, Superman, and assorted Marvel comics: Gave one long box to nephew David W.

Teen Titans/Young Justice/Outsiders: Gave one long box to David W., one short box to James B.

Here’s what I plan to give to David I.S. in Rochester, New York, in addition to the four or so boxes of mine he’s already storing:

Conan/Red Sonja and other fantasy titles, two short boxes

Justice Society, limited run, and selected DC titles, one short box

-modern alternative/indie titles, one short box (in addition to what you already have)

-pulp/pinup, two short boxes

Star Trek, Star Wars, and other science fiction, two short boxes

Superman, one short box (plus Smallville magazines)

titles on loan from Dave, including “Buffyverse,” Farscape, and indies — two short boxes

After all this, I’ll still have a dozen or so short boxes (mostly DC and some graphic novels/trade paperbacks) and a few magazine boxes. That’s two metal shelves’ worth, but that should be manageable in our new apartment. Here are the gaming books I’ve sold so far:

>>Paul J., holding:

-Book of Riddles

-box of large minis

-Pathfinder Bonus Bestiary

-Pathfinder: Book of the Damned 3

-Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lands of the Linnorm Kings

-Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Pathfinder Society Field Guide

-Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to the River Kingdoms

>>Beruk A.: Rifts: Mercenaries, Pantheons of the Megaverse (returned)

>>Byron V.O. (plus Lego “Star Wars” sets with Ben P.S.):

-D20 Cavalier’s Handbook

-D20 Quintessential Ranger

-D20 Stargate SG1 RPG

-Trivial Pursuit: Star Wars edition

>>Brian W.:

-box of cardstock buildings

-FATE 3e Diaspora (“hard” science fiction)

-FATE Spirit of the Century (returned)

>>James B.: D20 Modern: Pocket Handbook, D20 Past (c/o Brian W.)

>>Ken G., AD&D2:

-The Complete Bard’s Handbook

-The Complete Druid’s Handbook

-The Complete Priest’s Handbook

>>Sara F. & Josh C.:

-D6 Fantasy, Space

-D6 Star Wars, Second Edition, and Trilogy Sourcebook

-Fudge, 10th anniversary edition

-Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Grindhouse Edition boxed set and Vornheim City Guide (weird fantasy)

-mats, reversible hex/square, wet-erase, and markers

-Shard: Basic Compendium (anthropomorphic fantasy)

-space heater, electronic

>>Bruce K.:

-D20 Arms & Armor

-D20 Dead Man’s Chest

-D20 Enchanted Locations: Crypts & Tombs

-D20 Pirates!

-Dungeon Tiles: Arcane Corridors, Streets of Shadow

-Sword & Sorcery: Glades of Death (D20 wilderness)

-Wizards Presents: Races and Classes (D&D4e)

-Wizards Presents: Worlds and Monsters (D&D4e)

>>Rich C.G.:

-Amber Diceless Role-Playing, Shadow Knight; plus complete Zelazny book (high fantasy)

-Castles & Crusades: Player’s Handbook, Monsters & Treasure

-D20 Mutants & Masterminds, 2nd Ed.: Instant Superheroes

-Mouse Guard: Boxed Set

-Pathfinder: Beginner’s Boxed Set

-Savage Worlds: Pocket Edition

I’m trying to unload about a third of my collections — close to what I lost in the basement floods of 2005, but less traumatically random. Here’s what’s still for sale:

-air conditioner, vertical window unit (14.5”h x 20.5”w x 23.5”d), $40

-boom box, with dual tape deck, $10

-cabinet with shelves, 5-ft. high, plastic, $20

-carpets, dark green, 9×12-ft., $20 each (must wait until Feb. 25)

-CD tower, solid wood, $20

-chairs, folding and beach/lawn, $10 each

-chicken wire, 20-ft. roll, $10

-computer desk, with keyboard tray and wheels, $25

-entertainment center/TV cabinet with storage, wheels, fits 26″ CRT, $40

-fans, 2 floor, $5

-grill, George Foreman, hardly used, $10

-keyboard, USB, $5

-kitchen cart, solid wood butcher block, $20

-rakes and other garden tools, hoses, $5 each

-stereo, Aiwa, including 3-CD changer and dual-deck tape player, $40

-table/child’s desk, very solid but some scuffs, 36″ x 23″ x 22″ high, $30

-tables, two 8-ft. long folding, plastic, $40 each

-television, 26-in., best offer

-VHS tape storage drawers

And I’ve got more than 80 cubic-foot boxes yet to pack! Wish me luck, and let me know if you’re interested in anything….