Well, I have big news. We are moving to New York. Rhinebeck, New York. I hope I can spit out all the details before those 1.5 Xanaxes I just took render me unable to type sentences. Enjoy these typo-free first paragraphs now because it’s liable to get a bit sloppy.
Yes, Eric and I are moving to Rhinebeck. Nevermind that we don’t have jobs there, nevermind that we don’t have a place to live. Also, nevermind, for the moment, that I haven’t yet told Eric about my plans for our little family. Actually, he sort of knows, we talked about it briefly over dinner at the Cheesecake Factory at the Grove last night. We sat on the balcony, overlooking the trolley route. It’s views like that that we’re really going to miss when we are living a simple, but fulfilling life just miles from the Hudson River.
It might sound like a pipe dream to you all, but I want you to know that I spent over an hour looking for jobs and apartments and even houses on hudsonvalleycraigslist.org today. I found a 1 bedroom for $750. I wish I could say that it was some “Washington slept here” old Colonial, but I have to admit, the 1980s was totally a good decade to build apartment buildings, too. Also, a Friendly’s and two “family restaurants” are hiring servers right now.
Nevermind that I’ve only been to Rhinebeck once, for the wedding of my friends Michele and Stan. And nevermind that I was drunk 40% of the time I was there and really insanely, open bar at a wedding drunk for the other 60%. Alcohol brings out our true selves and my true self loved all those little towns like Rhinebeck and Staatsburg and Hyde Park and Peekskill. Also, just the idea of living that close to where Blair and Jo and Natalie and Tootie lived really appeals to me. Does that sounds like a creepy thing for a 47 year old man to say about a group of 15 and 16 year old boarding school girls? (Don’t answer that.)
Nevermind that the first thing out of Eric’s mouth when I suggested our move was, “Millie would hate the cold.” He’s probably right. The one time I took her to my parents in winter, while there was snow on the ground, she did not pee or poop for four days. Not outside, anyway. I figure if we load and leave by this weekend, we’ll get to our new home in upstate New York early enough to give her time to adjust to the new environment before the first snowfall.
I have to be honest, Millie is part of the reason we are moving. About three weeks ago, we came home from Marie Callender’s to find Millie’s little butt bleeding. It was a scary, uncertain thing to witness so we bundled her up and took her to the 24 hour vet clinic. They informed us almost immediately that she had an abscessed anal gland. I won’t go into all of the details of the last three weeks, but it’s taken a bit longer to heal than we expected. And now, we are at a point, that even though she seems on the mend, I can’t stop worrying about her. I look at her butt about 40 times a day, checking to see her progress. When I am at work, she is all I think about. When I am home, I am never at ease. Even now that her energy level is pretty much back to normal, I can’t turn the worry off. That’s where those Xanax come in.
It might seem whimsical, even impractical, to decide so capriciously that we are moving to Rhinebeck, but I made a big decision like that once before. For years, while I lived in New York, I toyed with the idea of moving to Los Angeles, but the moment I decided was sudden and irreversible. I was standing in front of a mirror with a breathtakingly handsome guy I was dating, our arms snaked around each other. Though we stared at each other through our reflections, I knew in that moment, that he really didn’t like me as much as I liked him. I doubt that I will ever recall what we even talked about but I’ll always remember that epiphany. I thought to myself, I am moving to Los Angeles. 45 days later, I did. I packed everything I owned into 5 boxes and two suitcases and I moved west. I did not and do not regret it. I might always be wistful about Manhattan, but I made the right choice. I love Los Angeles and every blessing she has brought me.
Of course, as you might suspect, 45 days from now, you probably won’t find Eric and me, walking Ricky and MIllie down main street Rhinebeck, looking like a gay L..L. Bean print ad. We’ll still be here in LA, same apartment, same jobs, same friends, same lives. To be honest, most nights when I dream the occasional dream that I am moving to another city, my first thought when I wake is, I’m so glad I don’t have to do all the unloading and packing and yard saling and giving away of the stuff I’ve accumulated in the 21 years since I moved here. Long past are the days that all my cherishable possessions could fit into 5 boxes and two suitcases.
That’s not to say that we will never move. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t move.
But I think it’s really okay, comforting even, to spend an hour or two thinking about what life would be like somewhere else. Because as long as it’s a fantasy, the new chapter will only bring a great job, a beautiful home, neverending pet health, boundless creativity, a consistent exercise regimen, the ability to be filled up with just one slice of pizza or just a bite of chocolate cake. I am 98% sure that in Rhinebeck my favorite meal will be salad without dressing, merely tossed with a squirt or two of fresh lemon.
Maybe in Rhinebeck, I will be so overwhelmingly happy, I won’t have need or desire to close my eyes and let my imagination run wild. But for now, I am here, not completely miserable about being here, but still, wondering. Drowsy from the Xanax and tired from so many days of worry, soon, I will stumble into bed and drift to sleep. I wonder what dreams await me.