2004-01-24 - 2:16 p.m.
Yet another delayed entry and this time a letter that I sent to family and friends who wrote to me last week - but as a footnote (attached to the head): the debris is gone. The container is gone. The shelves are unpacked. The work continues....I continue on my way to order at a regular rate...
Hi once again,
It's been nice to get immediate replies from many of you, to hear how your part of the world is, and how you are doing. Especially nice because loneliness still hits in the evenings. I suspect that the rate of these emails from me will slow in a week when I so much to do, so don't worry about the overflow of reading material.. But this time in English......
My things arrived from Germany yesterday! Instead of working on proposals, I waited at home for the movers. It took about 4 hours to unload - Lizzy spent those four hours hiding INSIDE the gas stove (I don't know how she got in there, but I'll have to work on blocking that space). I am still looking for the screws to hold the bed together - that means I am still sleeping on the air mattress to avoid any unpleasant surprises (CRASH).
Approximately 1 in 800 customers is specially selected by US Customs for a special scanning and X-ray procedure, naturally, at the customers' expense. And, you guessed it, I was customer number 800. I had to pay an additional 664 dollars - NOT in customs taxes (there was nothing wrong with my goods), but to pay for the X-ray and extra rent on the container! Klaus suggested that with this luck and these odds I should consider playing the lottery (err, but would that mean with my number I would have to PAY a million dollars?). Unbelievable. I always said that being a foreigner is expensive. Either I am still a foreigner, or being in New York is also expensive. (or some combination thereof).
The next best part was the retrieval of the container. The movers had managed to maneuver the container snuggly between two minivans/suburbans. The guy who came to pick up the container afterwards then managed to jackknife his truck across the entire road, and actually wedge his rear tire around the bumper of the chevy suburban in front of him. For two hours, cars were driving over my neighbor's lawn in order to get past the truck...
Somehow, the moving company decided that it was my responsibility to discover who owned the Chevy so that it could be moved. So I went door to door and met all of the neighbors...kind of nice in its own stressful way. Lovely lady named Lillianne lives across the street - she was meeting a deadline and so we could "tawk" more later. Interestingly, she was the ONLY native English speaker (err, if you call the New York accent native English) on the block. As far as I could tell, the others spoke Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Hebrew. I really liked that, actually.
Anyway, given the parking situation in New York, it is not surprising that we never found the owner of the Chevy. He/she was probably ten miles away. I even tried to call the police to see if they could hunt down the owner - I knew it was probably futile when I started...they said they could only do something if someone was breaking the law, not just if someone was doing something stupid...and at the end of this strange phone call where nothing at all was accomplished, they still said, "Thank you for calling the City of New York Police Department." (In Germany...would they have called the owner??) In the end the driver called a tow truck and dragged the Chevy about one meter forward, and then brought me outside to prove that there had been no damage to the Chevy. End of my first adventure with tow trucks and the NYC Police Department.
I am now floating in a sea of boxes and debris.. Some of the boxes are my workfiles that need to somehow be carried to the College - they have approximately the same gravitational pull as a black hole, and so I suspect that I will not be moving them anytime soon. The remaining boxes are books and CDs and miscellaneous..they have to wait until I find the box that contains the shelves that can hold the books and CDs and miscellaneous... The rest of the living room is filled with packing debris. The moving company is supposed to come by today to pick up the empty materials - for this I am waiting, and using the time to type this extraordinarily long email.
In the meantime I am fielding many telephone calls from Chinese and Spanish speaking people, and telemarketers. Sometimes the telephone just rings and there is no one there. I forgot about the USA and telephones. I must have been used to it before, but now the constant telephoning still makes me nervous. Just got another call (Chinese). Sorry, wrong number. And again, another....(same guy). I might consider changing the number to something that is one digit off from a pizza place - I might get fewer calls.
Okay, time to WORK. That's the news from Forest Hills....where all the women are Russian, the men are Chinese, and all the children are above average (apologies to Garrison Keillor).
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...they are just words, Suzi... - 2011-08-29