Monday, April 30, 2012

Moving sucks

Moving sucks.  Moving has to be in the top five things I hate to do,  right up there with laundry and pulling my toenails off with long-nosed pliers.  I moved the remaining things from my old home this past weekend.  While my kids were gallivanting on the Mickey Mouse cruise ship with their dad, I was sobbing over newspaper and bubble wrap. 

When Rob and I built our house, we bought lots of new furniture.  I was in a heavy furniture phase – if you could lift the kitchen chair with one hand, it was too light.  The set I picked was made from Osmium and lucky for me it was staying.  My dining room table and hutch, however were coming with me.  This lovely set is made from the world’s finest hardwoods, laced with lead and lined with solid marble.  No really, I don’t know what it is made from but it is heavier than Manuel Uribe


I decided to hire movers.

I had a small number of boxes, some framed art and my dining room set to move. I packed up my wedding china and crystal on Thursday night and made frequent trips to the bathroom from my nervous stomach.

(Yes, I know I talk about my bowel habits WAY TOO MUCH on my blog, but I’m going through a shitty time in my life. And everyone knows when someone uses the word “but,” everything said before it doesn’t count.)

I was a mess on Thursday night.  Wrapping our my things and placing them in boxes was far more emotional that I thought it would be.  I often broke from my task and wandered through the house. 

I stood in the foyer looking at the place that was as familiar to me as my own reflection. The air was silent and still. My dog wasn’t there to greet me. The kids were away.  I was rooted to the spot, standing on the tile that Rob and I had chosen nine years earlier.

I turned my head and gazed upon the play room floor that was littered with toys. I never liked that room. It was always a mess, filled with more toys than the boys could ever play with and more toys than I could ever keep organized. I breathed in a sigh of relief, thankful that some things were still the same even though my world was forever altered. I forced myself into the family room. Each step was labored as though I was walking under water.

What was this force that weighed so heavily on me? What was different?  Why was it so hard to breathe?  The furniture was still the same. My herb garden was dead. The kitchen was the way I left it.  Well, dishes weren’t left in the sink, but the heavy-ass table was still there and the silk plants had a layer of dust on them.   The house was so quiet; it seemed I stood in a vacuum, sucking the familiar sounds of my home down into a bottomless hole.

I finally finished packing and locked the front door behind me. What a painful experience. I had just warped into the Twilight Zone – a illusion of sameness where nothing was the same at all.

I drove the streets of my old neighborhood on auto pilot. It wasn’t until I reached my new place and walked through the door that I realized what was so different. I sank down on the edge of my bed and drank in the gentle fragrance of sandalwood and spice with floral undertones. My smell. My old house was over me, it had moved on. It no longer smelled like me. It was an invisible yet powerful reminder that I didn’t belong and it hurt like hell.

I was up until 3:30am, flopping around on my mattress like a fish out of water.  I couldn’t get comfortable.  After a few hours of fitful sleep, I woke and looked forward to 10am when the movers would arrive.  I was ready to rip the band-aid off.

At 10:30, my cell phone rang.  The movers would be a little late, maybe by an hour or so.  Ok, no biggie.

By 12:30pm, I called to find out where my band-aid-ripper-offers were, and the office girl told me they wouldn’t be able to make it today.  They were busy with another move – a job that went from two hours to eight.  So sorry.  Oh, and they were booked on Saturday and Office Girl didn’t know how to refund my deposit.

I started talking to Office Girl in ALL CAPS, because she was telling me that I wasn’t going to find a better deal out there and I tried to explain to her that paying ANYTHING AT ALL and NOT GETTING SERVICE did not constitute a good deal.  I hung up with an exclamation mark and disputed the charge with my credit card company.

I spent the next hour calling moving company after moving company, cursing the fact that it was the end of the month and every mover in the entire metro area was booked. 

Why couldn’t I have been happy with wicker!?

I started flexing my bicep (why don’t I see a difference when I flex?) thinking that I could totally handle the hutch on my back, when I found a moving company that was able to move my things on Saturday.  Eureka!

I set my appointment with the nice office girl, who kept saying, “Wonderful.  Wonderful,” in between each exchange.

What is the zip code we’re moving from?  Wonderful.  Wonderful.

How many rooms are we moving?  Wonderful. Wonderful.

She told me the hourly rate, gave me her spiel about how professional her movers are and told me to expect them at noon. 

“Wonderful, Wonderful,” I told her, and hung up.

The movers were fifteen minutes early on Saturday, and while one sized up my furniture, the other went over the paperwork.

“I need you to sign some paperwork, Ma'am.  This first sheet just says that if you have any problems with the move, you need to call the office before we start.”

I’m blonde and a little overwhelmed as of late, but this didn’t make any damn sense.  How would I know if I had problems with the move before they, um, moved?  I was confused.  Writers call this foreshadowing.

Next the boy reviewed with me the hourly rate and informed me there is a three-hour minimum.  

I had not been informed of this minor detail and I started speaking in ALL CAPS AGAIN. 

The next sheet was about the one-hour travel time I was being charged.  “I’m only moving these things 3.8 miles down the road,” I sputtered.

“No, Ma’am, it is our travel time to and from the job but it’s included in the price.”

Shaking and angry, I signed the paperwork.  I just wanted to get this over with already, OHMYGOD!

When we arrived at my house, the boy approached me and told me that I needed to pay for the services rendered before they were finished being rendered.  They were holding my furniture hostage until I paid the ransom.  They were also charging me a 5% surcharge for using a credit card so I decided to pay in cash.  Why wasn’t I told about the surcharge?  Or the invoice that was really a ransom note? 

I was charged for 3.25 hours of work.  I thanked the movers, handed them another round of cold drinks and closed the door. 

I plopped down on the couch and looked at the clock.  They finished fifteen minutes earlier than quoted.  I started doing the math in my head, which took me a while because I’m an English major, and realized that they charged me for an extra hour. 

I called the office manager and he pulled up my account on his computer.  I told him that I believe I was overcharged and would like to have one hour of time refunded.  He began reading to me the account notes, something about a couch and a TV and I told him he was mistaken because all I had moved was my behemoth dining room table and hutch.  I was never told about a three-hour minimum or travel-time charge or surcharge to use my credit card.


Then he hung up on me.

I made various complaints on Google Maps, Yelp and the BBB and realized that they didn’t rip my band-aid off, they ripped me off.

I sat at my dining room table, put my head down on my folded arms and cried hot, angry tears onto the wood.

Yeah.  Moving sucks.