Moving Day, Part 1

Here's how the day was supposed to go on Friday:

  • 8am -- movers arrive and load the U-Haul
  • 12pm -- movers leave and we tidy up a bit and leave the house for the last time
  • 1pm -- we begin the 4-hour drive south
  • 4pm -- we arrive and I run around taking pictures of the empty house
  • 5pm -- movers arrive to unload the U-Haul
  • 8pm -- the movers leave and we set up the bed and unpack our suitcases
  • 10pm -- we collapse into bed, feeling tired but gratified

Did things go according to plan, dear reader? No, no they did not. Bill wants to call what happened "an adventure". That man can spin a story like no one else I know. Here's what really happened.

6:30am -- Frantically packing the last boxes.

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In an of itself, this was not much of a problem. Yes, it would have been nice to be completely packed the night before, but it was inevitable that a couple of boxes would be left until the morning of the move. The bigger problem was that shelves, brackets, and other things were still left on the walls and it was going to take a LOT longer than planned to get them ready to be packed.

8am -- We're missing a mover.

There were supposed to be three guys arriving at 8am. Only two showed up. Not only does that slow down the process of getting stuff out the door, but it also means that it takes twice as long to get stuff packed correctly (e.g. tightly) into the U-Haul. Take note, future movers: three is a magic number. Get at least three people.

10:30am -- I'm back with moral support, but we're behind schedule.

My dear friend Lauren volunteered to drive our little blue car down South (so I could drive the big car and Bill could drive the U-Haul). When we arrived back at our house, it was immediately obvious that we were behind schedule. A few things were in the U-Haul, but the house was still essentially full.

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12pm -- We're supposed to be leaving, but decide to embark on some sofa wrangling.

If Bill were writing this entry (I gave him the option!) he would probably omit this part. Several years ago, we bought a gigantic three-piece sofa and destroyed the house getting it downstairs into the basement. Literally -- we pulled off the door frames, gouged scratches across several walls, and had to use a mallet to break through the drywall to get an extra couple of inches necessary to turn the final corner.

Since that fateful night, we had joked that the sofa was going to convey to the new owners whenever we sold the house, or else we were going to have to cut it in half with a chainsaw. So, when Friday morning rolled around and the sofa was still in one piece, I assumed we were going to leave it for the next people. Oh no, my other half had another idea. 

Let's skip the 55 minutes that the two movers spent struggling to get the first two pieces of the sectional up the stairs and out the door. (Keep in mind, they are only scheduled to work until 12pm, and we're now WELL past that time. And also keep in mind that 50% of our stuff has yet to be brought outside, let alone loaded up.)

2pm -- The sofa is stuck. Frustration ensues.

The movers get the third piece up the stairs, but it gets stuck rounding the final corner. After 45 minutes of wrangling (including prying the door frame the basement door), Bill decided that we've wasted too much time, and tells the movers to take it back down the stairs and leave it in the basement. Problem solved, right?

Wrong. The sofa is now so wedged in place that it won't go back down the stairs. It's not moving until someone takes a reciprocating saw to the frame. Which is exactly what Bill does. For the next 30 minutes.

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3pm -- The sofa is still stuck. Patience is wearing thin.

While Bill is swearing under his breath and wrestling with the electric saw (and possibly the most awkward and unsafe angle ever -- he eventually makes about 12 cuts since the sofa refuses to collapse into a format that will round the corner), the movers resume loading the rest of the stuff onto the U-Haul. It soon becomes apparent that our stuff is NOT going to fit. Not even close.

As the sofa finally gives up the fight, Bill calls the movers at the new house (remember that we're four hours away, and they are arriving at 5pm) and reschedules for 7am on Saturday morning. Just about this time, the movers announce that the U-Haul is almost full and asks us to prioritize the final pieces.

4pm -- I look for a hotel. But's it's spring break and everything is booked!

Bill suggests to me and Lauren that we can just sleep on the hardwood floor "in our sleeping bags." I explain, in a voice tinged with outrage and disbelief, that there is no way I'm going to sleep in a sleeping bag in my new empty house. The search for a hotel begins, and ends when I finally locate two rooms (one for me and Bill, one for Lauren) for a whopping $500. Suddenly, hiring professional movers to take charge of the entire thing doesn't sound so extravagant.

4:45pm -- We pay the movers and get on the road.

I suspect that movers get most of their money from the premium they charge hapless homeowners for the overage fees. Instead of the four hours we hired them for, they actually worked just over eight hours. And the bills keep piling up.

Of course, it's not like we won't be seeing them again, since we will need to make a second trip to finish moving all the stuff we had to leave behind the first time, including:

  • Everything in the garage (tools, yard equipment, storage, kids bikes, etc.)
  • Half the stuff in the basement (including the rails for the guest bed)
  • Tables, chairs, and bookshelves from our daughter's room
  • The picnic table and six wrought iron chairs
  • Various lights, lamps, tables, bookshelves, chairs, and other materials

Naturally, the house is a mess. Everyone is exhausted and grumpy (except for Lauren, who is a trooper) and we each get into our respective vehicle and get on the road. I pull away in the car and don't look back.

9:30pm -- We arrive at the new house.

The trip that should take three and a half hours takes just over five -- thanks to our departure from the city coinciding with Friday evening rush hour traffic. I play music really loud and sing along at the top of my lungs for the last three hours to stay awake.

Because we can't take the cats to the hotel, we meet at the new house to drop them off. I give Lauren a tour while Bill gets them situated in the master bathroom. The house looks giant and forlorn in the darkness, and I realize that none of the bedrooms have overhead lights.

10:15pm -- We check into the hotel.

There is (SURPRISE!) a nightclub pumping out music on the main floor, and Bill and I are put in a room immediately across from the ice machine (and lots of people who like to talk loudly and laugh uproariously while getting ice). We have no extra clothes, no toiletries, and no energy -- we just collapse into bed and try to forget that this day ever happened.

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Next time -- moving day, part 2! Alternative title: It Gets Better.