Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Packing it Up

After our previous packing debacle, I wanted to be well prepared for our move home.  This time around, I spent a couple of weeks weeding out items that were going to be donated or trashed, pre-packed my suitcases to make sure I didn’t exceed the 35 kg limit, and sorted my air freight items into rooms so everything could be placed neatly into boxes.  I wanted no mess, no confusion, and especially no drama.  This time around would not be a multi-day production.   I would be organized and ready to have my 700 kg ACW shipped home.

One of my Facebook peeps added this quote.  It is my new mantra.  If I can't control it, I will control how I handle it.

One week before our departure date, our friendly Four Winds movers came over to pack and ship our airfreight to our new Kentucky home. 

“So, I think this will take about two hours to pack up.” announced Jon, the team leader.

“You’re kidding me…you can pack everything that quickly?” 

“Yes…two hours or less.”  I would love to see this.

I was organized and ready to go. Maybe they could finish in two hours.

After we signed some paperwork, the packers started to examine and pack our goods.  Mind you, they weren’t packing the way I would pack.  They carried in 9 100kg boxes and went to town.  They were packing kitchen items with clothes, and power tools with photos.  My plans of an organized move were crumbling in front of me. I kept asking,

“How are we going to be able to carry a 100 kg (220 lb) box to the correct rooms of our house?”

Jon replied,

“Americans are supposed to be strong, right?” 

Why are they putting a blanket from the bedroom in with the art supplies????
Unpacking is going to be a nightmare.  

After I came to the terms with the fact that I had to ignore my inner control freak, I wandered around the apartment and picked up a few odds and ends.  I was amazed at how much easier moving was this time around. 

Then I walked into my office/craft room.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Yep,  They were dumping everything!

I found the packers dumping EVERY Tupperware filled bin and extracting every piece of contraband possible.  When I say the word contraband, I think of drugs, alcohol, guns, knives…anything that can be used as a weapon.  The Chinese government considers items like glue (liquid and stick form), batteries (or anything that is operated by a battery), coins, or any kind of magnet (refrigerator strength) to be illegal.   Since I am a crafter, my bins were full of contraband. 

I tried to explain how some items, like Cricut Cartridges and hole punches weren’t contraband, but the movers refused to listen.  Fortunately, Jon was able to step in and stop the packers from leaving these items behind after I assured them they weren’t weapons.   After they finished inspecting the each box, the movers returned the items to their original bins.  If all of the items didn’t fit, they wrapped up the remaining items in packing paper. 

When we get our boxes, I will have many packing paper presents full of odds and ends.

No Nerf guns allowed.  They have a tiny battery that operates a red laser light.  How did we get all of these batteries?

We're going to have to figure out how to transport Chris' cigars.  The wooden humidor was okay to pack, but the cigars could catch fire. 
Ancient TI calculators can't come.  They have batteries.

Did I mention unpacking is going to be a nightmare?

After examining the craft bins, the packers moved on to my purses.  I have to confess, I’m not the best at cleaning out my purses when I switch seasons (or outfits).  I occasionally keep dental floss, lip-gloss, tissue pouches and other hygiene objects in the zipper compartments. A disgruntled Chinese man dumped the contents of each of my purses on the floor.  I had to model how neither dental floss nor tampons have batteries so they could be packed.  Minute by minute I was slipping into a deeper state of humiliation.  Didn’t their mothers teach them not to go in a woman’s purse???

After the office, I figured the drama was over.  Then Jon delivered some very bad news.

“Um I have some very bad news for you.  You only have 400 airfreight kg of in your allowance.  We weighed your boxes, and right now you are at 520 airfreight kg.  If you keep going at this rate, you will have around 800 airfreight kg of household goods.”

“I’m sure there is a misunderstanding.  We were told we had 700 kg of air freight.”  I countered.  I pulled up the following email that verified that we had 700 airfreight kilograms of cargo with our relocation package.

“Oh, kg and airfreight kg are different. “  Jon tried to explain how airfreight kilograms are calculated.  They are about half the size of standard weight kilograms.  After multiple explanations, I still have no idea how airfreight kilograms are calculated. 

Since we could not get in contact with Chris’ colleagues in Germany to clarify the situation, we had two choices; get rid of some stuff or pay for extra shipping. I was NOT about to pay for overages, so I kicked into George Banks in the middle of a grocery store mode.

“I would like to go down to the truck and see how much each box weighs.” I insisted.  The disgruntled packer started grumbling in Chinese because he hadn’t eaten lunch yet.  I didn’t care.    Upon seeing the weights of the boxes, I accepted that it was time to get rid of stuff.  I had the packers cut open the boxes.  They were shocked…I don’t think many people unseal the boxes once they have been sealed.  They just pay for the extra cargo.

“Take out the Cricut, and the printer.” These were two heavy items that I could purchase in the US that could go.  I then removed many of my travel books, scrapbook paper, and other odds and ends. Chris also got rid of some of his textbooks and some odds and ends.   I was upset that I had to leave these items behind, but it would be cheaper to buy these items new in the US rather than carry them. 

In addition to the Cricut and printer, we got rid of more than two boxes of stuff.

How did we accumulate so many things?  We were able to bring these items into China, why couldn’t we carry them out on airfreight?

We ended the day at 540 kg.  We knew we would have to pay some overages, but we felt we got rid of every excess thing we owned. 

Total time to pack our airfreight was 3 hours, 45 minutes.  Less time than I anticipated, however we had to figure out how to get rid of the excess baggage.

Later that night, we got this email.

According to the projections, we would have to pay $1615 to get our stuff home.

Chris immediately arranged a teleconference for the following day to clear up this mess.  I wasn’t a happy camper at all.

The following morning, we got this email.
You have GOT to be kidding me!!!  I could've packed more stuff!!

We were curious as to how much stuff we brought over, so Four Winds sent us our Air Weight from 2012.

WHAT?!?!?!  WE LOST 57 AIRFREIGHT KILOGRAMS?!?!?!!?  That could have been my Cricut.

While I’m thrilled we’re not being charged extra money, I’m heartbroken that I could have packed more items.  One day I will look back at this and laugh.  Until then, it’s time to have fun and say goodbye to the city I’ve come to love.  Anyone want a Cricut?


Unknown said...

Girlfriend :( This is so heartbreaking!! I would be devastated. I love that quote about control, I saved it to my computer to remind myself of how to act in situations I can't deal with.
I would honestly be happy to give you some money for your Cricuit! I actually teach a craft class so that would be fun! When are you leaving Shanghai??

Trudi said...

Now you can get the latest and greatest Cricut! You have the excuse to go and splurge on craft supplies.