Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lessons in Moving: A Precautionary Tale

On June 8th, the big moving day arrived.  Our experience was a textbook example of what NOT to do for a move.  If you happen to be reading this blog because you are about to relocate internationally, please learn from our mistakes. 

Chris and I started this experience with a plan.  The movers would pack us up and us on Friday, we would wait over the weekend (in a hotel) to make sure everything was cleaned, sell our cars on Monday, and be on the road to the Midwest Monday afternoon.   Our ultimate goal was to make it to my parents’ home in St. Louis, MO by Thursday so we could watch the Cardinals/ White Sox game at Busch Stadium on Thursday evening.   This brings us to Lesson #1: Be flexible, and don’t set unrealistic moving goals.  If you are going to pack up all of your belongings, and you and your family member(s) are pack rats, there is NO way movers can pack up your belongings in one day. 

Moving day started at the bright and early hour of 6:00 am.  I wanted to be certain all of our Corningware bowls with leftovers were washed so they could be shipped.  I had 3 bowls to wash: a bowl of angel hair pasta, a container with leftover pork roast, and a bowl of edamame. I knew the angel hair would clog the garbage disposal, so I set it aside.  I turned on the food eater and tossed the edamame down the sink. As I chunked the meat in the sink, a scene more gruesome than any horror movie unraveled before my eyes.  The sink slowly filled with a beigish-green slime.  I quickly turned off the water, lost the contents of my stomach in the sink, and disassembled the piping under the sink to clear out the Oscar colored sludgeHence, Lesson #2: DON’T throw whole edamame (or any other fibrous veggie) down the garbage disposal.  It WILL clog your sink!

After I whined to Chris, mopped up the green slime, and reassembled the sink I needed a break.   So I took a bubble bath, jumped back into bed, and reemerged determined to change the fate of my day.  The day had to get better.  It could not get any worse.

About 10:00 or 10:30, the movers finally arrived to pack nine years of our junk.  All items were to be packed for storage, packed for airfreight, or left for our luggage.   I thought I was ahead of the game because I labeled most of our items “Air” and “Storage”.  
Our living room furniture is wrapped and ready to load.

Am man they call "The Russian" packs up our bedroom.  He moved to the US with two suitcases and knowing the words "yes" and "no".

I was wrong.  Around 11:00, I heard our head mover mumbling with the home office on his cell phone.
            “Is there any way you can send me another man?  They have so many things, and I have no idea where everything goes. There is no way we will get this finished today.” Upon hearing this, my heart plunged.  At that moment, I knew our original travel itenerary was fading…fast.    Refer to lesson #1 at this time.  A couple more movers came to the rescue, and help speed up the process, but all hopes of hitting the road early Monday had been dashed. 

In the meantime, Chris had decided to have air conditioning folks take a look at our unit to ensure our house would be nice and frosty for our new renters.  In the process of testing and cleaning our unit, the ac overheated.  So for a few hours we were packing and sweating.  This leads me to lesson #3, If you are planning on having any appliances checked before you move, do so at least more than one week in advance.  Otherwise you may be packing in the heat.

I had mentioned in my last post that Chris and I decided to contract some minor home improvements during the moving days so we could get a better bang for our buck when renting.  In the midst of all the moving chaos, our tile man shows up to finish up tiling my bathroom shower.  About 30 minutes into his work, he realized that we were short on tile.  Chris had measured the shower correctly, but the way the tile was arranged on the sheet did not match the shower measurements.  So Chris had to call all around the Charleston area to see if we could get a couple more sheets of the tile.  (Mind you, we had special ordered this tile, so it was not like you could run to Home Depot and pick up a few more materials.)  Needless to say, Lesson #4: When custom ordering tile or any other building materials and you are in a hurry to move, order generously.     Luckily we were able to get another sheet fedexed to us, and the tile man was able to finish the job on Sunday.

As if we did not have enough going on at the time, we realized we did not want to store our family room furniture, our oversized in a bad way TV, our outdoor furniture, and other various odds and ends.  How does a 21st century couple get rid of these items?  What is Craigslist, Alex!  Lesson #5:  If you know you will not be storing or taking items with you on your relocation, sell them at the garage sale.  Putting them on Craigslist on moving day will cause chaos. J

To give everyone a summary of the events, the movers were packing, the ac men were attempting to fix the air, the tile man was tilling, Chris was pawning our stuff on Craigslist, the puppies running around “snoopervising” everything, and I was pretty much losing my mind.   I felt like my entire world was spinning out of control.  So I did what any mature adult would do. I poured myself a glass of grown up pineapple juice, turned on some Buffett and pretended I was on a beach.  Things quickly got better.  Lesson #6:  If you start to freak out on moving day, take a few minutes to calm down, and everything will start to turn around.
Ditka and I "snoopervise" the move.

Humans can be so exhausting...

Allied sent over two more movers, so at least all of our air freight could be packed, and our storage items would be ready to move on Monday.  Eventually, another AC man came to the house and fixed our cooling problem, so by the end of the day Friday, we felt like we had made some moving progress.  Fortunately, the movers left our beds so we could have a couple more days of home time.

After a shower and some dinner, Chris and I discussed how we would adjust our moving plans.  We thought the movers would be finished packing our storage stuff around noon on Monday, hence we would sell our cars in the early afternoon, bring our remaining items to goodwill, turn in the Time Warner cable box, and then we would pack the cars and hit the road.

Over the weekend, we packed more goodies, got rid of more junk, and continued prepping for the big move.
Chris insisted I photo him packing.  HA!

The movers returned about 9:30 Monday morning.  Unfortunately, they did not finish until 6:00pm due to torrential rains, so Chris and I revised our itinerary again.  Plan C: We would spend the night at the comfy Holiday Inn Express in Summerville, unload more stuff to Goodwill, turn in the Cable box, sell the cars the next morning and then hit the road mid day Tuesday. 

Here is some of our storage on the moving truck.
We woke up bright and early the next morning, packed up the pups and headed toward the house.  By the time I had made a couple of Goodwill runs and returned the cable box, it was time to sell our cars. 

Chris and I had planned on taking both of our cars (which happened to be on their last legs) to Automaxx so we could get some cash and get out of dodge.  Long story short, Billy from Automaxx gave me a very lousy deal for my trade in, and would not accept Chris’ car because “the transmission was slipping.”  Tell us something we didn’t know.

Chris immediately took off for Carmax, a dealer that promised to take in your trade in regardless of the car’s condition.  Luckily, we got a decent check considering the condition of the car.  At 6:30 pm, we had both successfully sold our cars.  It was time to go!!! Lesson #7: If you want to get rid of your cars quickly, take them to Carmax.  It will save you time…and money.

We were elated!  Our stuff was packed, our cars were sold, all we had to do was pack the car and take off!!!  We sped back to Summerville in our rented SUV, and started to pack the car.  About 15 minutes into packing the car, we realized that not everything would fit everything into the car.  Lesson #8 If you think you have enough room in your car for everything you will be transporting, make sure you have a plan B for everything that will be surplus.  Our plan B was to ship the surplus to Chris’ Dad’s place in Griffith. 

Chris grabbed the items we were to ship and sped off to UPS.  About 10 minutes later, my cell rings. It was Chris.
            “Honey, we have a problem.  UPS is closed.”  he growled.
            “Okay honey, here is the new plan.  We will get take the pups to the hotel, grab the expensive bottle of Champagne that has been sitting in the fridge for a few years, and head to the hotel and celebrate our last night in Summerville.   We will be at UPS at 7:30, and on the road by 8.  We will drive straight through to Griffith, drop off the dogs, and be in St. Louis by Thursday afternoon.”  I was determined to make it to the game.

I am happy to report that Wednesday morning, we were able to ship our stuff, pack the car, pack the dogs, and hit the road by 9:30 am! 
I was so happy to get on the road!  

The puppies were very ready for our adventure to Grandpa Don's.

I have no idea how Chris fit all of our bags in the car.  We could not use the rearview mirror because it was so packed.

A side view of the car.

In spite of all the insanity, we made it to the Cards/ Sox game!!!

Here we were on Thursday night!
Phase One of the insanity was over!!!