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I wasn’t able to make it back to Brooklyn to cheer on the NYC marathoners around mile 7, per tradition. Hopefully someone handed out tissues and high-fives in my place. Strong winds are the worst when you’re tired. I returned late in the afternoon and headed out to the park for a short run. A few times the gusts were so strong I failed to move forward. Nothing like running in place up a hill.

We spent the weekend driving around Upstate to look at places, again. No success, again. Late fall and winter is my favorite time to live in the city – no snow to shovel, not heating bill, no driving on icy roads – so I’m feeling more patient about finding a new home. This is me looking on the bright side! In these months of home hunting, I’ve started looking for signs. Any indications that allows me to think this is the day we find IT. But signs don’t always tell you what you want to hear.

On Saturday we must have seen five U-Hauls on the roads going north. At first this seemed like a clear indication this would soon be us. Moving! Then I looked at the calendar. Of course, we’re going to see a ton of U-hauls on the first of the month.

It was an interesting drive at least. We forgot to bring the GPS and neither of us had any charge on our phones. We left out of Andover, which is way up in North Jersey so the roads were unfamiliar. No problem, we figured we’d grab a road map. There once was a time when every toll both carried road maps. No longer. When we asked for one these workers looked at us like we’d stepped out of a time machine. Only one man told us they were supposed to have them, but he was out.

Combined, MoonPie and I have the worst navigational skills and absolutely zero directional instincts when in a car. Our only asset when lost is the fact the we have no shame in stopping to ask for help. It took us twice as long to get there as it should have, the wind and rain didn’t help, but we made it in time to see a few more places. The first cottage had an exterior door in each of the three rooms, a roach in the sink and I touched the ceiling without stretching. So tempting, but we managed to resist.

Heading back on Route 9, otherwise known as Route Drive As Fast As You Can And Tailgate Like You Want To Become One With The Car Ahead, we were at the top of what felt like a mountain when a giant bucking deer popped up in front of us. It was dark and raining and the car behind us screeched right up to our bumper. Just as my bf slammed on the brakes, I noticed the steep drop just off the shoulder. This was one of those times when you’re fairly certain catastrophe was avoided simply because the right person was driving.

We opted for back roads on the return and discovered Northwestern towns of Jersey must really love their Quick Checks. I love them, too, as the workers at various locations enthusiastically pointed us in the right direction home with hand gestures and everything. You’d think people don’t ask directions anymore, as if there were this technology that can talk and direct you anywhere.

It was actually a combined effort that included the most adorable human being I’ve ever met, a waitress at a taco place outside of Port Jervis who thought it was hilarious that we were lost. I find it very difficult to retain a lot of information when someone gives me driving directions, so I just ask for the next two things I need to do and then stop again and so on. This waitress got us back on track to a meat deli in a barn that wasn’t a meat deli at all but a hopping Halloween party inside. Ben Franklin directed us to a Chatterbox and we managed to find our way back from there, but not before I tried to get myself disappeared.

Before we went into the Meat Deli we were driving a black car. I didn’t have anything to drink but, after telling Frankenstein how to get to the adorable waitress at the taco place, I stepped out of the bar and into a red car to wait for MoonPie. I didn’t remember reclining the passenger seat and could’ve sworn the car interior was black not white, but it was a long, long night and I was tired and who leaves their car unlocked?

After a few minutes I caught myself dozing off. Went looking for MoonPie and found him waiting for me in the correct car. Fortunately I was able to get my phone and notepad out of the red car that wasn’t ours with the owner none the wiser.

This is not the first time I’ve gotten into the wrong car. Must start paying more attention to these things. If you live Upstate and ever find a me sleeping in your car, I’d be much obliged for a friendly wake-up-and-exit-my-vehicle tap. Nothing too abrupt or I will kick. Don’t worry, it probably won’t happen.

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