So, I’m still in moving mode. I woke up at 7:03 this morning and my train leaves the station that is a 15-minute drive from my new place at 7:21. Did I mention that I had a one-on-one status update with a Vice President of my client company this morning at 8:30? Even if I had made the 7:21 train, I still probably would have been 5 minutes late to the meeting. So here I am, staring at the clock thinking out loud “how did this happen?” and spewing expletives. So I got up and emailed said VP, asking hopelessly if we could push our meeting back, but of course he is booked solid until eternity. I end up taking the 8:19 train and doing our meeting over the phone in a cramped train with a freakin’ horn blowing 4-5 times at every goddamn stop. Lay off the fucking horn man! People will get out of the way when they see a damn train heading toward them! Then I got off the train and upon getting to my building, noticed lots of people standing around outside. Apparently a fire alarm has been triggered. It’s going to be one of those days. Luckily, I prepared for this when I got off the train by ordering a giant iced caramel latte with extra sugar.
But what this post is really about is moving. I hate moving. I’ve moved a lot in my life and let me tell you, it sucks. Sarah and I moved out of our old apartment two weeks ago and into a much bigger, much nicer, much newer place just about 10 miles away. It was about a week of running around like chickens with our heads cut off, trying to pack everything in boxes and change all our addresses and clean and paint the old place before we had to turn in the keys. That’s not to mention that two days after our move-in date, we had to go to a wedding in Maryland (thanks Nick and Crystal). But anyone that’s moved in their life knows that it doesn’t end there. The last 12 days have been hectic, unpacking, building furniture, decorating, etc. So let me start from the beginning.
Sunday, Aug. 24: We started packing this night. We had just gotten home from a bachelor/bachlorette weekend in Atlantic City where I won $200 playing craps!! Woo hoo!! Packing sucks.
Monday, Aug. 25: This day was spent calling all the utility companies to cancel service or change addresses. Also, I had to change the addresses of credit cards, bank accounts, insurance, etc. which is a giant pain in the ass. We also continued packing this day. Packing still sucks. We rented a steam cleaner this night as well to try and get the cat piss stains out of the carpet. It actually worked pretty well.
Tuesday, Aug. 26: More packing and changing addresses, canceling and setting up of utility services and coordinating delivery of our new furniture. Sarah went to take the steam cleaner back to Home Depot and noticed that the dog had chewed the cord (these things cost $700). Luckily her dad is an electrical whiz and fixed the cord without anyone being able to tell that anything happened (Sarah would have just wrapped electrical tape over it, which apparently would have done nothing at all). We saved the cord as a souvenir.
Wednesday, Aug. 27: I’m freaking out at this point because despite our best efforts, we only have maybe 2/3 of the apartment packed up. I have the semi-finals and possibly the finals of my hockey league tonight, so I am unable to do any packing. I head off for my game(s), and my team wins both games and the championship. We take pictures with the trophy, etc. I get home around 11 pm exhausted after playing two hockey games. I tell Sarah I’m going to stay up all night packing. I last about 1 hour before taking 3 Advil for my splitting headache and passing out in bed.
Thursday, Aug. 28: Today is the day. Most of the stuff is in boxes and ready to go. I wake up at 6:30 to get things together and gas up my car before we have to start moving stuff. Miraculously, we are able to fit about 75% of all our stuff into my grandparents’ vans and trailer and my mom’s van. We are able to move most of the boxes and all the large furniture in one trip. The problem is, it takes us about 4 hours just to load up all the cars. We go and get my keys, I sign some final papers and we start unpacking. This is the worst part. Packing and unpacking, even if it’s just for a trip, is a waste of time. Putting things in boxes or suitcases, just to move them to a different location and take everything out of the boxes or suitcases. It’s something you have to do, but it’s just an annoying waste of time.
Anyway, after some McDonald’s for lunch around 3 pm, we finished getting everything out of the cars. I felt bad, because my 78-year-old grandpa was helping for most of the time. He’s still in great shape for his age, but he got tired midway through unpacking. Next time we move, we’ll have to hire movers I guess. My mom and grandparents leave with Jack (the dog) and Sarah gets back from work (in-service day), and now it’s time to take all of our stuff out of the boxes. Not before we get some dinner though. Sarah, her mom, and I went to an excellent Italian trattoria in Souderton called Caruso, where we got some cheap but delicious Italian food. Next up was a quick stop at the supermarket to get some necessities (i.e. toilet paper, we forgot to pack that in our one big load) and then a stop back at the old place to clean and gather up some more boxes.
By the time we got there it was around 9 pm. Sarah’s mom is vacuuming and cleaning the kitchen while her dad and I move boxes down to their car. The cats are terrified and have been huddling in a corner of the bedroom closet all day. We finally call it a night around 10:45. Sarah and I load the cats into my car, stop at Wawa for some drinks and snacks on the way back to the new place. We let the cats loose in the apartment and their one immediate emotion is fear. Neville doesn’t want to come out of the carrier at first, but then does and promptly hides somewhere in the apartment. Molly, on the other hand, explores the entire apartment and seems to be enjoying the new digs. We go to bed after midnight.
Meanwhile, Sarah and her mom are cleaning in anticipation of the head of maintenance coming for a final walkthrough of the old place. When he gets there, he stays for all of 7 minutes, making a comment only on the color of the paint on the walls of the living room, which we tell him we are planning to paint back to white. He mentions nothing of the pet odor or the carpet that the cats have shredded in places. We hope that he was checking things off as he walked through. Then it was more packing and unpacking. We took two more loads to the new place before meeting Sarah’s dad at Ruby Tuesday for lupper, or dunch, or whatever you call the meal between lunch and dinner/supper.
Back to the old place for some more cleaning and one more load of stuff to the new place. Sarah and I are dreading having to paint today because it’s already after 5. We drive back to Sarah’s parents’ place to get a halogen light, stepladder, a drill, and drop cloths. We get back to the old place around 7 to begin painting. It takes us less time that anticipated and actually looks like we will only need one coat, despite painting white over beige walls. We finish around 10 or so and stop at Wawa for subs before going back to our new place to retire for the evening. When we get back, Neville is still hiding God-knows-where, but Molly is loving the new place. We haven’t seen her this happy since before we got the dog. We go to bed late again, but at least we can sleep on the bed, which we put together earlier in the day.
Saturday, Aug. 30: We sleep in a bit and decide that today is an unpacking/watching Penn State football day. Sarah unpacked while I put together the new TV stand. The TV was set to be delivered today after some haggling by me to the shipping company. I told them they could call my cell phone when they were about an hour away so that I could prepare for them to get there. I listened to the PSU game from upstairs while putting together the stand, waiting for the movers to call. The battery of the drill Sarah’s dad lent me dies midway through putting the stand together. I pop the replacement battery in only to find that it also is dead. I have to turn the rest of the screws by hand. I almost had the entire thing put together when I remembered that my cell phone had died the night before because I couldn’t find my charger. Shit. I called my voicemail from the landline and listened to a barely audible Mexican man tell me that my address wasn’t coming up on his GPS. No timestamp on the message. Crap. I called the movers back from the landline and his comment was “that was an hour ago, we’re a long way from you now.” My response was “Ok…” Look, I screwed up but it’s still their job to deliver it today. It just meant that they were getting a bigger tip. After 15 minutes of trying to get my address into their GPS and finally just giving them an address close to where I live, they told me that would circle back after their next delivery and that they were about 40 miles away. Great, this gave me time to finish the TV stand and get it ready for the TV. I actually had some time to relax before they got there.
An hour later and they still haven’t arrived. I call them back. They are about 15 minutes away and will call when they are close. The guy finally calls back and I direct him into my community. There are two guys in the truck, one a hulking Latino with a really high-pitched voice, the other a short, squat middle-aged Latino that looks like he couldn’t lift a box of Pop Tarts without getting fatigued. Let me just preface this next part by saying that the TV I ordered is a 58” plasma that weighs in at about 120 pounds. I had to help the guys get it up the steps outside and into the apartment. Step 1 complete. Now it had to get down into the basement. This was apparently the hard part. After 5 minutes of lifting and turning and twisting, the TV went down the stairs and our walls were covered in black marks, including a nice sweaty buttprint from the high-pitched Latino guy. He asks if he can use my restroom and I show him where it is. I ask the other guy if they can help me get it up on the TV stand, since this is part of Amazon.com’s “white-glove delivery” (neither mover was wearing white gloves by the way, so no, it isn’t what you think). He doesn’t understand a word I say and tells me to ask the other guy, who clearly in charge here. He comes out and has me sign a paper confirming the delivery. He is clearly intent on having me try and lift a 120-pound TV by myself onto a TV stand. I ask him if he can help me and after a long sigh, he heads back downstairs. The two of them unbox it, set it on the stand, plug it in and hook up the cable, and turn it on to make sure it works (all part of the white-glove delivery by the way). He tells me to keep the box (which takes up about half the apartment) for a week in case there are any problems. I tip him $25 so he doesn’t come back and kill me in my sleep and they take off.
We take a quick rest for an hour before heading back to the old place to check on our paint job (not like it matters, because at this points we don't have time to put a second coat on even if it looked like crap). We decide that it doesn’t look professional, but it’s definitely passable, so we load up the equipment that Sarah’s dad lent us and head to her parents’ house to drop it off. We have some dinner and then head back to the old place for one final time. We clean the fridge and freezer and get all the remaining food into a cooler, gather all the cleaning supplies and head for home, stopping to drop our key off along the way. It’s after 10 pm and at this point, I am running on fumes and so is Sarah. Neville briefly comes out of hiding this day, and Molly is still loving the new place without the dog.
Sunday, August 31: We wake up semi-early and start packing to go to the wedding. Sarah is the maid of honor so we have to be down there for the rehearsal at 3:30. We take off around 11:30 and drive for a couple hours before we get hungry. We see a sign for a Wendy’s and get off on the exit. After driving 7 miles, we finally find the Wendy’s and go in to have a quick sit-down lunch. We get back on our way and my GPS shows that we have now lost a half hour by stopping. We get back on 95 and head to Baltimore without any trouble the rest of the way. We get to the hotel and Sarah goes to the bridal suite, while I go to a friend’s room where I will be staying. We watch Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor lose for the first time in over a year while we are waiting for the bus to go to the rehearsal dinner. We head downstairs and hop on the bus and off we go to the rehearsal dinner.
The rehearsal dinner is open bar so I intend on getting as many drinks as possible in this two-hour timeframe. I have a couple glasses of wine and a couple of mixed drinks with my stuffed flounder. Then Nick and Crystal talk for a bit and give gifts to their parents and then we are back on the bus, headed toward the hotel. My friend Hags snuck (sneaked?) the remaining bottles of wine into a bag before we left, so we spent the bus ride back drinking the remaining wine. Then we all went to the hotel bar, where we drank our faces off. Nick gave the groomsmen their gifts, and we all went to sleep.
Monday, Sep. 1: Wedding day. Yep, you read that right, a wedding on Labor Day. After lounging around for the better part of the morning nursing a hangover, it was time to get suited up (literally) and catch the bus to the wedding site. The site was nice and the wedding was beautiful, as was the open bar afterward. It was a great day for a wedding, but hot, so my coat was off in .2 seconds after the ceremony was done. Then it was off to the bar for a Crown and coke. We grabbed some food, took some pictures, and then sat down for dinner. After eating, it was back to the bar for some more drinks. There were more drinks, some dancing, and a human pyramid (4 tiers, very impressive) and then the reception was over and we headed back to the hotel. Sarah and I had to leave that night because I had to work the next day. We got packed up and went down to the bar for a drink before leaving. We said our goodbyes and congrats before ordering some champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries for the bride and groom on our way out and we got on the road. Traffic was light (thank God) and we got home around 1:00 am. I went to bed at 2 and got about 4 hours of sleep. Sarah’s school is on strike, so she was able to sleep in (just another reason why there should be an IT consultant’s union).
WTF? The instructions are in paragraph format and there are about 8 different directions for each step. Somehow, I put the whole thing together without having any leftover parts and load the DVD’s into it. It’s too small. We have too many DVD’s. I put together the other, cheap DVD rack that we had at the old place and decided that that’s good enough for now. I watch the Phillies blow another sure win behind a strong effort (sarcasm) by Joe Blanton, who sucks. Also, Jack (the dog) is introduced to the new place and loves it. Molly is miserable again and resumes her ritual of peeing on the carpet every day.
This... also fun
Tuesday, Sep. 2: I am a zombie at work. I have a status update meeting at 1:00 and I have to get myself back into the swing of things. I stumble through the day and get home around 5:30. I get changed and decide to put together our other new piece of furniture, the media cabinet. I open the box and take out all the content, find the instruction manual. This is what I have to go on:
This... also fun
Wednesday Sep. 3 - Thursday, Sep. 4: Nothing exciting here, just more unpacking.
Friday, Sep. 5: After I get home from work, we head to the King of Prussia mall to look at Lovesacs. We decide we want to have a Lovesac-type thing in our basement, but think that the actual Lovesacs are too expensive. We buy a Lovesac and head to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. When we get home, we pull the Lovesac out of its duffel and fluff the hell out of it.
Saturday, Sep 6: More unpacking and watching Penn State crush Oregon State 45-14. We leave around 4:30 to catch a train into the city for a concert. The concert is ok, and is made better by beer. We get back to the train station around 11 pm to catch the 11:20 train back home. Problem is, Tropical Storm Hannah had other plans for SEPTA. An official-looking woman comes down and asks everyone standing on the R5 platform if we are waiting for the R5 train (duh) then disappears. Apparently, there are electrical outages south of us that are delaying the trains. She tells us the train should be here in 20 minutes. An hour later, we wake up to her telling us that the train is coming into the station. A short, fat, impatient, white-haired guy ushers us into the train, making sure to let everyone know that this is some kind of “rescue mission” to get us all home tonight. Sarah and I fall asleep on the train, despite some annoying high school girls talking at the top of their lungs. We hop off the train around 1:15 and get home at 1:30.
Sunday, Sep. 7: IKEA day, which also unfortunately coincides with the first full day of NFL action. My reasoning is this: if I want to watch the games on the giant TV, I need furniture. I watch the first half of the Eagles game, which was really all that mattered, and we head to IKEA. We pick out a couch and a coffee table and grab some small necessities. When we go down to get our furniture, they are sold out of the couch but they'll have more tomorrow. Of course. Just when we thought things were looking up for us. We took our coffee table and met Sarah’s parents for dinner, where I got to watch Carolina beat San Diego on a last-second touchdown pass. I love football.
We got home and I put the coffee table together. We watched some of the Colts-Bears game, which was utterly boring, and went to bed.
Monday, Sep. 8: Back to the grind. I remembered I had to change my address on my driver’s license, so I did that today. Sidenote: at this point, we are still without a key to our mail box, after numerous visits and calls to the local post office. I’m not sure what is so difficult about changing a mailbox lock and leaving a key, but apparently our local post office can’t figure it out.
Sarah went back to IKEA and bought the couch while I was at work, and a nice man that helped her load it into her car asked for her phone number. Her dad and I brought the couch into the house later, scuffing the walls that I had just Magic Erasered days ago (the Latino buttprint walls). We watched Monday Night football, during which Jack got excited and peed on the new Lovesac, so that was fun.
Tuesday, Sep. 9 – Wednesday, Sep. 10: Nothing special, more unpacking and decorating. My surround system was delivered on Tuesday so that made me happy
Thursday, Sep. 11: I log into my American Express account online and see that Sarah has used my AMEX card for $225 at Pier 1 and Target. My first hockey game of the new season is tonight, and my team wins, 7-6. When I get home, Sarah has the mailbox keys (finally). I get the mail and there are numerous things from Comcast inside. I open one that looks to be a bill, and it says that I owe $664, due on receipt. This can’t be right, so I call Comcast immediately. It appears they’ve billed my account for equipment that I returned last week. The nice guy I spoke with will check with my local office and get back to me. The fiber optic audio cable came tonight so I hooked up surround system up with DTS 5.1 sound. It’s sweet.
Friday, Sep. 12: I miss my train and have to hold my status meeting with Mr. VP over the phone, on the train, with no headset, with freaking train whistles blowing in the background. I get into the city, buy a large latte and wait for the fire alarm to stop going off and enter the building, respond to a few emails and write this post. When I get home, I get a call from the Comcast guy telling me they are going to credit my account $500 for the returned equipment.
Note: It's now 9/19, a week later, and my account still has not been credited.
In conclusion, moving sucks. When you tell someone “we’re moving next Thursday”, it actually means “we are moving all our stuff to our new place on Thursday, but the moving process will not end for at least 3-4 weeks.” Doesn't it always seem like when it rains, it pours? Well, I was due for a streak like this I guess. This weekend, I’m doing absolutely nothing. And thank God that we don’t have to move again for another 2 years, at least.