Moving apartments in Boston constitutes a special kind of hell, one laced with buckets of stress and sweat, plus a side of logistical misery. By the time Sean and I moved in together two years ago, we knew better than to pick a September 1st move-in date. In Boston, almost every lease begins on September 1st and ends on August 31st of the following year. Every U-haul for miles around is booked on that day and over half the people in this city find themselves sleeping on couches or in the back of vans that night, waiting with all their belongings. Traffic is messy, people are upset — overall, it’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But the apartment we loved was, unfortunately, a September 1st lease and it was too good to pass up — dog friendly, moderately priced, and fairly big. We’d just gotten engaged so we took the apartment knowing that our first move together would be hellish. I remember saying to Sean: “Bring it on.”
Sean and I woke up on August 31st to hot weather. We drove an hour outside the city to pick up the U-haul we’d reserved months before. Then we packed up his stuff, then we packed up mine. Our truck barely closed because it was so full, and we had to leave my desk on the street corner. At the last second, my former landlord showed up at my apartment as I was moving and started screaming at me, pointing to random items in the apartment to ask if they were mine. “No, no, no.” We drove away in a fury.
In a glorious turn of events, though, the tenants of our new unit moved out a few hours early, meaning that we could move in at 10 pm on the 31st instead of waiting until the next morning. When we found out, I danced in the CVS parking lot. We called a few friends to help us move in early and spent several hours carrying our beds and boxes and couches into the new unit, collapsing onto a mattress on the floor around midnight, thanking the moving gods for our splendid luck. The next morning we woke up to a parking ticket on our car and a flurry of traffic. We returned the truck and headed back home to unpack our boxes.
I had to work that week, but Sean didn’t. We’d never lived together and I felt instantly claustrophobic watching Sean stress out over which box to tackle next. “Why won’t he just leave the house!!!” I kept wondering. One afternoon, I came home from work and found Sean rebuilding an Ikea shelf with 100 individual wood pegs, half of which had broken during the move. He had a bloody gash on his leg and he was covered in sweat. He also hadn’t eaten in hours and the shelf wasn’t even half done. He looked ready to pummel it with the hammer he held in his shaking hand. Sighing, I put down my bag and walked in to help, offering him a sandwich and cleaning up his leg wound.
We eventually finished building the shelf together several hours later, but there was a lot of yelling and cursing in between. It wasn’t pretty. Afterward, we walked to get ice cream in our new neighborhood. I remember looking at Sean for a long time as we sat on a bench in the park with our ice cream, the sun slowly setting. Finally, I asked the question I’d been wanting to ask since we’d moved. “Sean? Can we assess in one month if we can live together? So far it’s not great.”
He looked back at me. “Jenni, we’re getting married. We can’t just not live together.”
Two years later, those initial days of living together seem miles away. Now, we have wonderfully compatible routines that allow each of us to have alone time. We enjoy awesome food together and we have a great dog. We go on dates every other week, trying out new restaurants and cooking classes. Sean cleans after I cook, and he does my laundry and my grocery shopping. I make Sean homemade versions of his favorite junk foods, like the hot pockets below. But it wasn’t always this way — in fact, it took a lot of work and dozens of conversations to get here.
Homemade Hot Pockets
Makes 8 hot pockets. Recipe via Happy Money Saver.
- 4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp yeast
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
Filling options (you can also get creative with whatever you have in your fridge!):
- chopped turkey + shredded cheddar cheese
- chopped ham + swiss cheese
- peanut butter + chocolate chips
- nutella + chocolate chips
- marinara sauce + chopped pepperoni + shredded mozzarella cheese
- roasted veggies (peppers and onions) + crumbled sausage + shredded mozzarella cheese
- scrambled eggs + crumbled bacon + shredded cheddar cheese
Add flour, salt and yeast to a Kitchenaid mixer with a dough hook, or to a food processor. Mix, then add the olive oil, too, and turn on the mixer. Add the warm water. Let the mixer run until the dough becomes a ball, which should take about 5 minutes. Knead for 3-4 minutes more. If the dough is not coming together, add extra water, one tablespoon at a time.
Put the dough in a greased bowl and let it rise for 1 hour, covered, or until doubled in size. Then, divide the dough into 8 equal chunks, rounding each chunk into a ball with your hands. Flatten the dough balls into circles about the size of your hand (they should look like taco-sized tortillas). Then add the filling of your choice to the center of the circle, finally folding it in half to make a half moon shape. Pinch the edges together to seal them and bake all the hot pockets on a cookie sheet (un-greased) at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
**These can easily be frozen for a grab-and-go lunch and they’ll stay good in the freezer for up to 6 months. After they cook, simply let them cool, then wrap each hot pocket in plastic wrap and place them all in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. To reheat from frozen, unwrap the hot pocket, cover it with a paper towel and microwave for 1.5-2 minutes. To reheat from room temperature, cover the hot pocket with a paper towel and microwave it for 30-60 seconds.