i think i’ve put off writing about it because i just didn’t want to think about it. it’s not as if i can ignore the fact that i’ve moved, and in fact i’m pretty pleased about being moved, especially as we chip away at the unpacking and the house looks more and more home-like. but the process… yeaugh. it was, i think, the most physically demanding and emotionally exhausting thing i’ve been thru, and if there’s something that topped it, i don’t really want to remember it.
it was hellacious enough that it tripped some sort of Pavlovian response: the sound of a metal ramp being pulled out and slapped down on concrete, or an overhead door being pulled shut, is right up there with nails on a chalkboard. i still flinch when i see moving trucks. (also, my heart goes out to the people loading it.) and the special shade of Penske yellow makes me twitch uncontrollably.
in all, we (2.75 of us, as we had some help) moved 2 apartments across three towns, in one truck and just about 38 hours straight, to start our new life together in a three-bedroom apartment. that’s right: we moved a three bedroom house. this was not done by paid professionals or trained stuntmen, and for the love of god, don’t try this at home, dear readers.
it didn’t really hit me until after the fact that we’d moved a house. The Dane had panicked a bit about the cost of the rental truck, so we ended up calling some movers. average quote was $2500, four people, two trucks and 9 hours. because we didn’t have the money to do that (nor, truth be told, either apartment in any sort of state that we could have had other people do the move), i did some wierd sort of revisionist math and convinced myself that we could do it. and we did, but my god… when the professionals give you an estimate? there’s a reason they’re professionals.
there were two people who saved our butts, in ways i’m still trying to comprehend. B came over on night #1, somewhere around 9 hours into the ordeal. he was going to help move the washer and dryer onto the truck and be done. but everything in the truck had collapsed between point A and point B, strewing my stuff everywhere, and making it nearly impossible to open the truck. B spent nearly 6 hours helping *repack* the entire truck, and *then* helped move everything else onto the truck. friends like that are gold, and i count myself infinitely lucky that he’s in our lives.
and then there’s Big Brutha. i have never been so intensely grateful to see someone in my life as when The Dane’s Big Brutha came around the corner in his truck the morning of day #2, two hours early and ready to help. he said something to me as he was getting out, but stopped when he realized that i was bawling too hard to hear him. his arrival, and energy, and good spirits, and willingness to stay until we were done – and did i mention it’s a 3+ hour drive each way for him? – was manna from heaven. i can’t even begin to thank him properly, other than to start by saying thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
it was exhausting, in a beyond-down-to-the-bones way that has taken me several weeks to recover from. (screw the grammar.) i spent a lot of time bursting into tears for the next week or so, from exhaustion and panic on the one hand, being overwhelmed by what we’d done and still had to do, and happiness and elation on the other hand, being overwhelmed by the fact that we had done it, and we’re all living together, me and my three favorite guys (The Dane, Little Small and strat). it kept hitting me, over and over, the first few days especially, that there was no more driving from my place to his place, and organizing schedules, and stocking two kitchens. we all come home together. and i like that.
the moving itself, tho, i did not like, so much so that i will never do it again. (i joked to The Dane that we couldn’t move again, as he has no more brothers – his younger brother pulled us thru The Dane’s last move.) in fact, we’re going to start saving for the next move, because i’ll be damned if we won’t pay for movers.
we did, however, garner some useful tips for just about any move, even if you’ve got help. for what it’s worth, here’s an assortment of tips that may help you out.
1. start packing now. Queen of Procrastination that i am, i put things off for far too long. even if you think it will only take two weeks to pack, don’t start two weeks before you intend to move. double whatever your estimate is, and then add a week. because, believe me, you have way more stuff than you think, and it will take longer than you anticipate to sort, throw out, give away, donate and wrap.
2. invest in good packing tools. i don’t mean boxes: i have a deep seated aversion to paying for boxes, because it just seems that cardboard boxes should be free, not $35 for a pack of 5 as many storefront shipping companies would have you believe. ‘scrounge’ is the operative word for most boxes, i think. however, investing in a few sturdy, mid-size boxes for dishes and other breakables – well worth it. packing tools also include:
- a variety of Sharpies to label boxes. labels are a lifesaver when you’re unloading things into the new place, as knowing which box has clean sheets or pots and pans really comes in handy.
- packing tape. buy about 10 times what you think you need. i made enough trips to the 24 hour store to verify this is true.
- packing paper. it’s unprinted newspaper, essentially. it seems like paying for pretty paper instead of just using newpaper should be right up there with paying for boxes. but it is sturdier, thereby offering more protection. and when you don’t have to rewash all your dishes, knicknacks and other breakables, you’ll be thrilled.
- stretchy packing saran wrap. i have no idea what the correct name of this stuff is, but it comes on big tubes, like the bastard child of saran and a rolling pin, and is outstanding for holding together all sorts of small, miscellaneous things. the trick is to pull it good and tight, to get maximum stick and stretch. no idea how to pack all those wires from the entertainment center? wrap them in stretchy wrap! it’s also great for packing up anything framed – somehow, the tension protects glass wonderfully.
3. throw things out. if you haven’t unpacked it since your last move, or have no idea what’s in the box – toss it. if you haven’t worn it in a year – Goodwill, or the charity of your choice, will love you. don’t move what you won’t use.
4. measure. measure what you have, where you’re going, and the doorframes you’ll need to get thru.
5. pack an ‘essentials’ bag, as if you were going on a weekend trip to a hotel with no ameneties. a few changes of clothes, towel, bar of soap, shampoo (the combination shampoo/conditioners are handy), toothbrush, anything else you deem essential.
there you have it: the move, in an incoherent nutshell. i’ve got most of this week off, and am working on more unpacking, so things are still coming together. we may even be able to have company by the end of the week. 🙂
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