Moving two people, a dog and all of our accumulated accoutrements from more than four years of surprisingly acquisitive cohabitation from Brooklyn Heights to White Plains — with just a 16-foot truck, eight willing hands and four willing paws of various sizes and strengths (none of them notably large or powerful) — was a feat that required the skills and know-how of a Tetris champ, in addition to emotional fortitude, patience and good humor.
None of those present was, is, or ever will be, a Tetris champ.
I won’t speak for my husband, father or our friend John, but I will say that I can often be found slumped under the mere weight of my handbag, maniacally tapping my Delman ballet flats and glaring at sweetly smiling shopgirls when asked to wait for more than a beat for my Stumptown latte.
Adding to the usual DIY moving drama was the fact that an apparently unhinged homeless man, who has taken a keen interest in our dog Penny, has started breaking into the warren of alleyways surrounding our old Brooklyn Heights apartment. According to a neighbor who alerted me to the situation, another neighbor from across the street has video footage of the man scaling the brick walls and iron gates between brownstones on our block; he has also been taped breaking padlocks and setting up a lean-to in an alley adjacent to our old apartment.
This development is part of an insidious pattern that Stephen and I have noticed of late: the city wants us out.
Between being hit by a truck and getting mugged in the last six months, finding out that an unbalanced nomad (who by all appearances is a perfectly nice man who just needs his meds [exhibit A: I have often walked past him as he shadow-boxes under a lamplight at dusk; exhibit B: he has many invisible friends and foes with whom he is in constant contact and enjoys cackling maniacally with or accusing of betrayal, loudly and at all hours; exhibit C: his wall-scaling and lock-busting activities]) has set-up camp outside of our little patch of earth, I can’t help but think that this mercurial, grimy, Disney-fied, be-Trumped city wants to spit me out like a pesky loogie.
Mission successful, city! I am running away from both the violence and crazy and the empty, tinny neon glitz of yuppies uber alles.
Let the unpacking begin. Needless to say, I have started with the kitchen first.
To celebrate the fact that we didn’t shatter any of our wedding gifts, our major furniture purchases or the spines that belong to us, my Dad, Penny or our friend John, not to mention commit (or become the victim of) homicide, I decided to make Osso Buco in our brand new, spacious, glorious faux-urban new apartment in exciting downtown White Plains Sunday night.
Then I hit Whole Foods and was bitch-slapped by reality; a dame who enjoys shaking her hoary bazangas at me quite frequently. $15.99 a pound? Um. No. If we were too cheap to shell out for professional movers, I’m certainly not going to cough up that kind of cash for a hunk or two of protein. I don’t care if it comes from a humanely raised calf who wasn’t given hormones while it frolicked on a gorgeous, rolling farm at which butterflies loop lazily through lilac-flecked meadows 117 miles from the store.
Instead, I bought a pound and a half of beef marrow bones ($4.43) and almost two pounds of boneless chuck roast ($8.78) with the possibly delusional notion of replicating the unique richness and tenderness of the osso bucco — at a fraction of the price and with all of the hormone-free, organic, free-range meat hippie cred. It would require a bit more seasoning, finesse and braising, but a lot less cashola.