***DISCLAIMER: The following has been lightly edited for clarity by Don Johnson. During the editing process he got fed up and stopped abruptly.***
It’s been adventure already and it’s only the first day in New York City. There have been a lot of lessons learned and hiccups thus far. I guess in order to explain I need to start from the beginning. It all started two weeks ago when we got a call from our Nurse recruiter. She had the perfect position open for us in NYC. We had traveled to NYC once before and immediately fell in love with the public transportation and the millions of people. My husband and I immediately accepted. I would be working in ICU and Donald would be working in CVICU. This position has the making to be a dream come true!
We had two weeks to wrap up our affairs with our house and daily life in Memphis. We tried to keep our packing to a minimum, but in hindsite we probably could have done better. We packed the clothes we wanted to bring, with was a challenge in itself due to New York being cold, and we don’t have that kind a weather in Memphis. We had to buy and pack every warm thing we owned. I ended up buying a Columbia Jacket, and I like it so far.
I bought small bins from Ikea and packed out bathroom , books, and kitchen items. We needed to pack some containers so we could bring out lunch to work with us, and some cooking spices so Don didn’t feel deprived. Don is the cook in our family. I cook to survive, Don cooks because he enjoys it. In addition we had to back a bin with dog food , two kennels, and some frozen meat from home. We weren’t sure how expensive things were going to be in NYC so we made a Sam’s Club run before we left. We save a lot of money buying in bulk.
With everything packed and our last day of work behind us, we were starting to get nervous but ready to GO! Then the phone rang… it was our recruiter. She proceeded to tell us that all the requirements were finished, and Donald was ready to start work. Me on the other hand was a different story. Sage Johnsons background was completed, but Sage Chandlers was still pending. Due to this the facility was possibly going to delay my start day until the next orientation date, the next month! I was upset, my recruiter was upset. She was fighting for us with the facility. She informed the facility that I had TSA recheck and even a hand gun carry permit in our home state, so our background was for sure clean. The facility wasn’t hearing it. So Don and I had to decide what to do. Would be delay Dons start day a month? Would we cancel NYC all together? Would we go and not have me working for a month? We prayed about it incessantly. At every turn was another challenge. If we delayed going to NYC or cancelled NYC all together we would be out the first months rent that we paid for our huge 300 SQF studio apartment! The Landlords policy was very clear that no refund would be issued. We though about don driving to New York, me staying behind for a few weeks and then flying out there but we ddint love that idea. I had a challenging talk day at my home job , and didint want to have to redo it. Also Don and I are a unit. NYC is our experience as a family, so the idea of being apart didn’t sit with us.
We prayed even more. Ultimately we decided that financially we would still go on our adventure, we would be fine. In an attempt to save money , I had down graded the van I rented for us to a standard SUV , and extended our pickup location to 30 minutes from our house. When we went to pickup the rental, don would have to drop we off and race back to Memphis. Don had to re-certify for his National Registered Paramedic , the exam would take about an hour. When the company handed me the keys to the rental I thought “ This is small for a standard SUV “ truth be told I was in a rush and really thought it would be alright. When Don got home and we started loading the SUV he knew immediately that everything was not going to fit. So we started calling around trying to find us a van. We had to switch companys entirely to find something. So with the new rental we would have to drive all the way to the Memphis airport to pick it up, then drop the old rental off in east Memphis. Lesson learned.
With everything finally packed in the car and the puppies settled into the beds in the back seat, we were ready to go! Just as we were pulling out it started to rain. No big deal, or so we thought. We would hit stand still traffic a little outside of town in Lakeland and then again in Jackson, TN. It would rain very hard the whole way to our hotel. We finally made it to Knoxville, TN a little after midnight. Traveling with dogs is more challenging than I knew. Between the frequent stops, making sure they were comfortable, and finding pet friendly hotels that didn’t charge an arm and a leg , there were delays.
Our next stop was Washington, DC our nation’s capitol. I had never been, and Don had been a few times before. We ended up having to stay in Alexandria about 30 minuets from D.C . Everywhere in and around D.C was not only expensive but tacked on anywhere from 50-70$ for parking and 75-150$ PER pet! I had never heard prices like that in my life! D.C was gorgeous. I had never realized how big of a city it actually was. The puppies enjoyed seeing The White House. Chevy pooped directly in front of the front lawn. I’m sure people who hate the president saw this as a fitting ritual. The secret service agents were not amused and watched judgingly as I picked up Chev’s stinky surprise from the pristine landscape. The White House was a lot smaller that I would have thought. I always pictured this grand affair, when actuality it was small compared the buildings in the vicinity.
Arriving in NYC was very emotional for me. Not sure Don saw me crying, I had on my big sunglasses. I was flooded with different emoptions of a dream coming to fruition and being scared because “ This was it, we where about to drop off the rental, it was real now” We were able to snag a parking space right in front of our apartment. We unloaded the car and reveled in the sheer smallness of the apartment. The place was very warm, it must have been 75 degrees. We HAD to figure out how to turn the radiator down and open a window.
When we returned the rental car, no one spoke to us or even told us what was going on. We really where in the city weren’t, we? Were hopped on the subway after passing the various local musicians trying to make money. The conductor then informed all the passengers that the train would not be stopping anywhere uptown, due to scheduled maintenance. We then got off again, and boarded a bus. After being slung around for 30 minutes, and a short 10 min walk, where were back home. We took the puppies on a walk and got dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.
I woke up relatively early, at 6:54 AM. I did not particularly sleep well. The bed is a Queen size, so it will be an adjustment. Our street is actually pretty quiet. We had on our white noise and couldn’t hear the city at all. I woke up to what smelled to me to be gasoline. After smelling that I couldn’t let my mind settle, so I just decided to get up. Maybe the smell was not gasoline at all, perhaps it was the smell of the city. Maybe it was smell of old heated pipes in our old apartment. Either way I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. Our apartment is very small, a studio apartment. So, as quiet as I could got dressed and walked out the door. (Though Don can sleep through just about anything.) I wanted Don to sleep in. He needs some sleep. We haven’t been sleeping well. I know he is tired from driving the whole time, tired from worry. His mind needs a reprieve from stress. While he is sleeping, I am sitting here at the Starbucks a block from the apartment. It must have rained all night, because New York is wet.
I have really enjoyed sitting here in the window seat watching all the different people go by. The city is defiantly awake now. People going to work, exercising, and walking their dogs. I think I have enjoyed seeing all the dog the most. I have probably seen over 100 dogs this morning. Big dogs , little dogs, leg less dogs , various breeds of dogs. I have also gotten to see the NYPD get ready for their next shift. We are a few store fronts down from the 20th precinct, in Upper West Side. All the police care are parked in all along the streets. The NYPD officers meticulously inspect their vehicles and load their equipment. We live in the Upper West Side, half a city block from Central Park. I feel safe here.
I’m out of Coffee and my computer is running out of charge. It’s been about two hours, I guess I should head home. I hope Don has had enough sleep. I’m going to go get the puppies and take them to central park.