Friday, September 30: D-Day. Once again, I was on time. I got the family to the apartment early and we set to work immediately.
We had worked out a system the day before. The ladies would continue to pack doodads into boxes and Curtis and I would move the furniture out of the apartment.
The building is very particular about how moves are to be conducted. The elevator walls must be lined with fitted pads. Items moved in or out are to be transported through the service entrance in the basement. The co-op by-laws clearly state that deviation from this protocol could result in fines or other sanctions, up to and including lethal injection. I get where they are coming from.
The building is an art deco masterpiece constructed in 1929 and, even in a once violent neighborhood, it has aged well. The entrance from the street is impressive and sheltered by a wide green awning emblazoned with the building’s street address in a tasteful cursive. The vestibule and lobby are expansive with marble floors and cavernous ceilings that produce echoes that rival any to be heard in the Swiss Alps. The place would be the crown jewel of any South Bronx neighborhood, particularly the northwestern corner of Mott Haven.
My family made its contribution to the preservation of neighborhood history. Hopefully, our sweat dried on our clothing before it could drip onto the floors (this is strictly for laughs…I’m cool with the place, its residents and employees).
Lifting and carrying the rest of my grandmother’s furniture, much of it manufactured in the ’70s, was an utter assault on my musculoskeletal system. Curtis does this kind of stuff nearly everyday so it wasn’t a big deal for him, I expect. Me? I’m no stranger to manual labor, but I’ve made my living sitting at a desk for better than 15 years. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the old boy still had the goods. I hoisted cathode ray tube televisions and solid wood night stands like a Santini brother.
The whole family was gassed by about 2:30 PM. It was time to take stock of where we were, what was left to do and, not for nothin’, I was starvin’. I volunteered to walk up to Brother’s Seafood and pick us all up steamed salmon and veggies lunch specials. I dig Brother’s, but that day, I could have gone fishing myself and brought lunch back to the family before my order was ready.
I didn’t say a word. Even Tom Brady has the occasional bad game. When the food was ready, I brought it back and stoically absorbed yet more subtle barbs and off-looks from my relatives. There are times when it just doesn’t pay to hand up excuses, especially with my blood. We are largely a straight dope kinda people. The fact that no one bothered to question why I had taken so long was my clue that, once presented with the delayed lunch, they had moved on.