The global bedouins arrived Downtown Los Angeles as planned May 28th only to discover our pop-up space was a deco high-rise surrounded (three sides) by an unsightly construction pit. Immediately drove our Dollar Suburban rental directly to the Cosmo Lofts in Hollywood, understanding their next available unit wouldn’t be ready until June 28th. We next headed west to Storquest, our LA storage facility of choice in Marina del Rey, deposited four footlockers holding famiglia di Schiavo’s worldly possessions, alongside miscellaneous luggage. Stayed a night at Hyatt Place in El Segundo facing LAX before flying to Phoenix for an overnight Best Western Plus layover. The following morning somewhat disjointed flew to Mazatlan, an inexpensive solution for our month-long holding pattern until Cosmo’s June 28th move-in date.

From the get-go Mazatlan wasn’t what we expected. I felt underwhelmed observing the local shoreline and terrain minutes before touchdown. The single upside of Mazatlan was a random driver, Roberto, who introduced us to Mexico’s kaolin facial clay. We bought a kilo, which believe it or not never got flagged passing through security in any airport I’ll soon list over these past seven weeks. Guns — bombs — knives — oversized toothpaste and liquids aren’t permitted, yet the powdery kaolin wasn’t an issue. I could’ve been smuggling heroin and cocaine, however, no agent, domestic nor international detected our beauty treatment stock in any x-ray machine.

Five days later we endured an eight hour ATM bus, south from Mazatlan to Punta Mita, ten miles from Sayulita. Got there, appalled seeing a beach polluted with endless pelican excrement, smelling like rancid fish. Next morning, bright and early, boarded a local forty minute bus trip to Puerto Vallarta Centrale, waiting there two nights at Catedral Vallarta Hotel for the Airbnb I recently wrote about.

Weeks later, June 27th, Jeanette, LouLou and I flew back to Los Angeles, rented another Suburban at Enterprise, picked up our four footlockers and miscellaneous luggage, closed the Storquest contract, making tracks to Ikea in Burbank. It took two days vibing Cosmo to conclude we selected a poorly managed building in an awful neighborhood crawling with trouble. Fortunately, we didn’t unpack nor stay on Cosmo Street, opting instead to sleep temporarily at the Beverly Laurel Motor Lodge during that transition period.

Rented another Suburban from Enterprise, returned our domestic purchases from Ikea, Home Depot, Lowes, Container Store and Target; conked out, woke up, barely making a flight to Miami with four footlockers and miscellaneous luggage after viewing an apartment online in South Beach. Landed in Miami the Fourth of July shortly before dusk, rented a Dodge Ram from Hertz, checked into another airport Hyatt Place, got an early start for more home spending. Loaded with tables, chairs, mattresses, linens, kitchen gear, vacuum etcetera, showed up about five that evening, an hour before the Flamingo’s leasing office closed. Jeanette and I hauled everything into the service elevator, traipsing through the seventh floor hallway to unit 753 while LouLou watched over our spiffy red-neck truck. Hot, sweaty, hungry and thirsty, went back to the Hyatt Place after returning our Hertz rental, ate, showered, passed out. Ate breakfast, ubered fifteen minutes back to the Flamingo for another unpacking and assembling session, forty-five minutes into it heard hard hat construction teams jack hammering an adjacent building’s exterior. Within minutes, Jeanette left to get the scoop; stomped back inside stating the racket would continue for at least one, possibly two years. Ubered back to Miami International Airport, rented another Dodge Ram from Hertz, packed and moved out. Thereafter returned another truckload of home purchases to their respective stores. Hot, sweaty, hungry and thirsty, ate, showered, collapsed, setting the phone alarm for 3am to catch a Delta 7am flight — Laguardia bound, four footlockers, alongside miscellaneous luggage.

We’d been eyeing 180 Water Street in Manhattan’s Financial District online for almost six months. Turns out their Craigslist ads are undeniably misleading — we found out the costly way. Stashed four footlockers and miscellaneous luggage at The Brooklyn Hotel on Atlantic Avenue, ubered to Manhattan, met by a curt agent who within seconds inquired, “What’s your budget?” So it seems, our thirty-five hundred dollar monthly rental budget would’ve secured 400 square feet, low floor of a hoity-toity 34-story building, viewing an air shaft — no sky for us. Adding insult to injury, their rooftop pool requires additional monthly fees; fuck them.

Considering the exorbitant amount of expenses we’ve incurred since May 28th: hotels, motels, Airbnb, Uber XLs, airfare, baggage fees, restaurants, and move-in costs at Cosmo Lofts, alongside the Flamingo South Beach, saving anything was and remains pertinent. Hence our dirt cheap flight and accommodations, dragging four footlockers and miscellaneous luggage to Las Vegas over LAX. I might’ve called it wrong again, but figured a couple days suffocating in 116 degree desert air would be sufficient penance covering fifty days filled by farcical events stemming from unsound judgement.

Several months ago we toured (in person) two LA buildings having everything except one item on our checklist: neither are brand new. We’re going for it again; LA’s a quick four hour drive from here, maybe in a Suburban or Dodge Ram, either beast has plenty of room, leather seats and SiriusXM. In the meantime, Jeanette and LouLou ducked into a Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales matinee; as for me, I’m climate control set with extra time to jot some things down.


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