Today I found out that my mortgage payment has gone up $600 per month. My tax abatement has run its course. Yes, I'm still in shock. And I don't even live there. I had to move out of my house due to the crime in the neighborhood I invested in. It's getting better, I hope. I've felt worse pain. Let me back up...
Ever since going to Chicago for school I seem to move every two years. Sometimes it's been a year or less, but on average it's two years. Considering I graduated more than two decades ago that's a lot. After I moved from Chicago to LA to finally settling in New York City in 1997 I thought it would slow down. You're lucky if you move here and you aren't always seeking out the next apartment because you heard about "a deal." You know what may make you stay put? Meeting actual movers. IMHO, some of them should be in jail.
Moving to Manhattan, I knew I was going into a 400 sq. foot studio. So my yard sale when I left LA alleviated me of extra "stuff." Done. But a year later I had an opportunity to move into a house in Brooklyn. Much less money and with the extra savings, I financed my first film. My sister had just moved and the foreman in charge of the truck was pretty cool. So I called him up and we were good. I don't remember him breaking my bank. Three years later, though, he was not a mover any more and I had no referrals. I had an opportunity to move from Brooklyn to Harlem. Why not use a Harlem truck? My sister saw one on the street advertising their services. The guys came over after sunset (really late) and the deal was that after packing the truck with my things we were to pick up a roommate I had just acquired and pack up her things as well. She was also a Brooklynite moving to Harlem. What happened during our move? The guys showed up late, yes, but did I mention also inebriated? Yep, drunk movers--at midnight--with two pickups and a bridge to traverse. Both of us as new roommates were disgusted and a bit squeamish at the same time. Mainly pissed. There was no time to switch. There was no staying as apartments are re-rented quite quickly. Off we went! We made it.
Fast forward two years later and I was to move around the corner to an apartment by myself (ahhhhh). I decided this time: reputable moving company for which I am willing to put out some real dollars (we're talking $1500 to move a one bedroom apartment, sans tip). I went to the phone book (we had them back then) and talked to a salesperson. Note: He never sent anyone out to survey the volume of items. He gave me a rate and a schedule. I was to be the first move in the morning. On moving day the guys were late. An hour into our scheduled time, I called. The guy who answered the phone--not my salesguy--told me the truck had a flat tire on the freeway. They had to wait to get the tire fixed. I was surprised, but understood. But by 3pm that day I heard the same story. Still waiting for the tire change. At 10pm, the movers showed up. Exhausted. "The flat tire was that bad?" These guys looked at me like, "What?" "Lady, we've been moving people all day." So I was lied to. And I had a four-hour move ahead of me. They did a quick look around my apartment filled with boxes on a third floor walkup. "Lady we can't do this tonight. Can we come back tomorrow?" What I failed to say was in this apartment, there were no locks, unfortunately, on the beautiful woodwork that was the door to the hallway. And an addict lived on the floor below (unaware to me when I agreed to rent). He had no problem approaching me over and over for a few dollars and one night felt aggressive enough to come upstairs at midnight to make another request. My defiance could not keep him off another rental cycle. This was a dangerous situation as I never paid him a cent and felt I could not hold him off any longer. Plus he was much bigger than I. "You're f--- moving me tonight!!" I screamed to the movers with my eyes welling over in tears. "You're f---- moving me tonight!" I couldn't take it any more. My patience--and now my dignity--was tested and tried. "Man, she cryin'…." On this night, in front of total strangers, NYC pushed me to the edge and I just lost it. Luckily my friend happened to call at the same time. I picked up the phone and she knew to come right over. The guys had a call to make themselves--to another truck. Two trucks, six guys and a wrap at 2am I was now around the corner to my new Harlem apartment. I can't even remember if I took the following day off, but I knew I had to find a spot on the mattress where I could collapse.
There actually was a good part to this. My friend said, "Girl, why didn't you use Flat Rate Movers?" "Who?," I asked? They were a little pricey for me but you are not held hostage by incompetence, greed or lies. I am now their walking commercial. I moved to Jersey--into my investment property in 2008 when the economy went south. Dealing with a mortgage is preferable to dealing with the unknown of a city that knows how to hustle. Well, I think I do too and trust I have recovered. To all of my NYC friends in all five boroughs with whom I share this experience, I feel your pain and you're welcome.