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A Different Kind of Flip ~ 2007-06-18
I am in one of those rare moments where I don’t have the words. The day did not go as planned or as hoped. We are in Massachusetts still, our belongings are spread between three vehicles, one dumpster, and some garbage cans. Our house is no longer ours and tonight we will sleep in the home of some amazing friends. Two of the many who have come through for us in a myriad of ways these past few weeks. For this we are deeply indebted to you all. Tomorrow is a new day that I promise to look at with fresher eyes. We will travel tomorrow as we were supposed to today.
A snapshot of the end of my time in our house which, when you consider that this was somewhat of a high point, speaks VOLUMES about how well our day went:
The house is empty, the dogs are outside, Sophia is screaming on the front porch with my mom – she is hungry. My dad and Rob have taken the (29 ft!) moving truck (packed to the gills) down the street to load our car (also packed to the gills) onto a trailer. I am in our almost empty condo – except it’s not really our condo because they have filed the deed seconds before – scooping cat shit from a liter box into a garbage bag. This is the last item – the liter box. My last act in our home was scooping cat shit with the new owners (by 60 seconds, and basically, by snowblowing us) peering over my shoulder refusing to leave the house until me and my real estate agent are gone. I said good-bye to my house, my first house with cat shit on my hands, with someone glaring at me, my husband down the street, my baby screaming on the porch and exhaustion screaming though my body.
Not picture perfect. Tomorrow I will (hopefully) find some humor in the situation. Tonight I will be sad for the ceremony that I needed and didn’t get.
ETA – It occurs to me…maybe I can find humor in your situation.Â Share your best moving story…misery (and humor) love company.
52 Comments »
i’m sorry to hear that the day did not go well. moving is stressful enough w/o all those additional issues… esp. people who don’t seem to understand that you might need some extra time in your old home. Safe journeys!
Comment - June 18, 2007 : 9:40 pm
You poor thing. I’ve moved so many times, and it’s never easy. Moving with a baby is even harder.
Here’s a story for you. 21 years old, heading out for my first Army assignment, I get off the plane in Aviano, Italy. Somebody sees my name tag and says, “Oh, did you get your message?” Well, no, I’ve been on a plane. “You’re not going to (the base I thought I was assigned to). You’re going to (a different base).”
All of my stuff and my little Hyundai were going to my original assignment and I was afraid I’d never see them again. The only good thing was, I’d just spent that long plane ride sitting next to my future husband. Had I gone to my original assigment, I’d probably never have seen him again.
I wish you well as you begin this physical and metaphorical journey. Great things await you!
Comment - June 18, 2007 : 10:02 pm
Oh, man, I am so sorry. You will see humor in this one day. I promise.
My moving horror story was ten years ago. My (now ex) husband and I were moving across the country. The day we went to pick up the UHaul, we discovered that UHaul had over-rented all their trucks, so we didn’t have a truck to pack.
Six hours later, we had located a new truck and had to pack it ourselves (since the movers we hired and still had to pay for were only booked for four hours and had left). About halfway through our trip, we took a wrong turn in Omaha and got stuck in a parking lot. The moving truck was too big to turn around (it was 32 feet + a vehicle being towed). It took us two hours (in a driving rain storm) to get the truck back out on the road.
A day later, the brakes and power steering went out on the Uhaul and we were stranded in BFE Colorado (on a 90 degree day) with a smoking UHaul and two screaming cats.
I did finally see the humor in the whole escapade, but it took a few months.
Comment - June 18, 2007 : 10:04 pm
Oh lord. What did they think you were going to do? Smear cat shit on the walls?
Before I bought my little condo, I lived in three different apartments in two neighboring houses. Each time I moved, we did it ourselves. It’s amazing how many folks keep falling for that ‘free pizza and beer’ trick. Up until the last move.
I was moving from the second floor to the third floor attic apartment. Yes, it had the windy attic staircase. So windy, that it was hard to get my full sized mattress up there. And since furiture doesn’t bend like mattresses do, I had to hire a crane. Yup, a crane. It was wild to see my antique pine chest (and other items) towering over the maple tree and power lines.
All that for one of the shortest moves ever.
Comment - June 18, 2007 : 10:11 pm
I’m so sorry the day didn’t go as planned. It may not seem like it now but of course the good times you spent there will overshadow the bad end and you will find the humor.
Good luck tomorrow. I hope it goes real smooth.
Comment - June 18, 2007 : 10:20 pm
I am so sorry that your move (or non-move) was so much worse than it should have been.
My nightmare moving story was the day we moved into our current place in Cambridge last year. We applied for a moving van permit from the city so that they would block off the parking spaces in front of our new condo. Mind you, we have driven from NEW MEXICO in three days in a 30 foot U-haul towing our car (making us approximately 45 feet long), nearly got into a horrific accident on I-93 when a state highway truck cuts in front of us, and then had to navigate CAmbridge streets in the monster.
When we get to our street we discover that the city HAS NOT put up our signs, and the only parking space is several hundred feet down the street. It is 98 degrees outside, and luckily the guys we hired to lug our stuff up a three-story walk-up showed. After unloading everything we discover that our couch won’t make it up the LAST STAIR into our house by 1/2 inch.
We plug in the fans to start making room for our sleeping bags, and the power goes out in the neighborhood!
We ended up going for pizza down the street and having a really cold beer. And I hope that I never having a moving experience like that again in my life.
…And did I mention that we have to move out of Cambridge in a month? Yeah. Not looking forward to it! But, at least now I can laugh about last year’s experiences.
Comment - June 18, 2007 : 10:29 pm
My most recent move (last month!) went incredibly smoothly. Just about the only hitch was with the cable installation which has still not been entirely straightened out.
In early 1984 (yes, I’m old), my now-ex-husband and I moved into Army housing on Fort Huachuca, AZ. Our stuff had been in storage since we left Germany the previous summer. We had been living in a Motel 6, waiting for housing, for months. When our stuff arrived — luckily, at that point, we didn’t own much stuff! — we discovered that it had been sitting in a wooden crate on a dock in Houston when Hurricane Alicia went through the previous August. Everything had gotten soaked. Some of it had dried out and really seemed okay, but I remember opening one box of towels and linens that was all moldy and gross. Luckily, the Army reimbursed us fairly well, although not for the books that were ruined.
Hang in there and look forward to how great the future will be!
Comment - June 18, 2007 : 11:01 pm
When I moved out of my dorm the first year I was in college, I had to carry everything I had accumulated down four flights of stairs. My parents couldn’t get there until after I had to be moved out. My boyfriend helped me move everything, all the heavy stuff–and then I forgot to give him any way to reach me or my home phone number for more than a week.
I ended up marrying him. I hope it makes up for it.
Comment - June 18, 2007 : 11:11 pm
I’ve been lurking for a while and had to share a story in the hopes that it will make you smile –
When we were about to move into our current home we went on the morning walk-through and found that a ton of stuff was still in the house (not all of it was packed) and garage and everywhere. There was even a window missing (they had removed an AC maybe? it was found upstairs in a storage place) in one of the bedrooms. Our realty agent was on vacation (they had asked us to change the date) and their agent was mia (he was found pretty quickly when our lawyer held money since they had broken the contract by not clearing the house)
We had to move in, as our landlords had sold their house and we were told that the new people were moving in the next day – turns out they didn’t show up for a couple of days…
Our sellers eventually decided to leave a bunch of stuff and pay the fine – they did come back for a couple things though, it was interesting to see what they took and what they left (as we had moved everything into the garage so we could move in).
The kicker was a couple weeks later, when we saw a note on our door from the ex-husband, wondering if he could pick up a painted mailbox that had their family name on it (we had already tossed it) that his ex-wife had told him he could have…
Luckily we love our house and really love our neighborhood, so it makes a good story now… hope yours turns out as well!
Comment - June 18, 2007 : 11:20 pm
What a great way to take possesion of your new house – I don’t think. What is wrong with some people, I will never know.
My story is just a tiny one, comparitively. I was moving back home prior to going overseas, and my parents rented a truck to take all my stuff back. We packed it all up, on a 30+ degree day (I don’t know from farenheit, but that’s hot) and I carefully left the keys on the bench so the estate agent could pick them up. Then we did a final walkthrough, ticking things off our list. Last on the list: leave keys on bench.
me: of course i have.
Mum: They’re not there.
Two hours later, we’ve unpacked the whole truck, we’re sweating like mad.
Mum (to dad): have you checked your pockets?
Dad: They’re not in my pockets!
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 1:19 am
When I moved out of “our house” to move into an apartment I was mentally frazzled and challenged to drive a diesel. I stalled it right in the middle of town. Cried. Wished I would sink through the floorboards. A nice man helped me retart it (they had chokes AND stick shifts…) It was th3e first of many things I learned (belatedly) to do for myself.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 3:35 am
What the hell is wrong with the new owners? I just don’t understand people these days. I hope things go better for you. I guess my funny moving story is this: when my hubby and I were coming back to the U.S. from Japan the movers didn’t pack our bed slats! We got our bed, but with no slats, so we couldn’t use it. They just thought they were pieces of wood. We did get them back – they had to mail it to us, can you imagine the postage?
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 6:07 am
so for this story, i wasn’t the one who was moving. a friend from work was moving from back bay to somerville and a bunch of us were there to help us. most notably my friend mark. my friend’s brother had a big pick-up truck for the multiple trips. so while some of us packed up, the brother would drive out to somerville and empty the truck, and then come back for another pick-up. the last load included the couch. the couch was strapped in, boxes and stuff were wedged into every cranny of the truck bed. mark’s and my bikes were there too. and so were we. yes, mark and i sat on the couch on the back of the truck and rode to sommerville like the beverly hillbillies. i started waving like queen elizabeth because after a while it was so ridiculous that i might as well embrace it. it was pretty funny.
that couch proved to be a challenge moving in too. we somehow managed to hoist it over the back porch railing on the third floor, with pieces of the porch flying off. and for awhile the couch just dangled there. man, how someone didn’t die that day i don’t know.
but it was pretty fun riding to somerville on a couch. cozy too.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 6:25 am
I don’t know if you’re a Simpsons fan, but when I feel like I’m about to crawl out of my own skin my day is so bad, I close my eyes and chant, “calmblueoceancalmblueoceancalmblueocean.” Not only does it make me laugh because of Miss Hoover, but it also does somehow help me redirect and calm down enough to think straight.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 6:29 am
Hmm…well, I’ve only moved a few times in my life. Once when I was 8 I moved from my old family home to the current family home. This was very hard because that little house was all I knew. I was too young to understand that 4 kids and 2 parents in a 4 bedroom one-story bungalow with titchy rooms and only one bathroom wasn’t exactly an ideal living situation and we really needed the space of our new house.
Then when I was 18 I moved to university. All the way from Washington to Indiana. I had one suitcase and I was all alone. In it was a set of sheets, and pillowcase (no pillow, no blanket) a few sets of clothing, my toiletries, a bathrobe, my laptop, and various school supplies. I moved into my half of the room on my own while my roommate and her entire family unpacked what must’ve been her ENTIRE room from home onto her side of the dorm room. I slept without a pillow and without a blanket for a week until it was sent from Washington. In the box was my radio, my pillow, my blanket, and my teddy bear. Such sparse living so far from home was not a comfort to me.
Then (still 18) I moved back from university, which was traumatic simply becuase leaving uni before you finish your first year isn’t really a terrific feeling.
When I was 19 I was kicked out of my house at 11:00 at night by my mum. I was barefoot and it was raining. One of my siblings let me back into the house and I had just enough time to grab a rucksack with a few clothes, my makeup bag, and my mobile phone before my mum found I was back in the house and kicked me out again. I managed to grab a pair of shoes as she dragged me to the door. I went to live with my dad (whose boyfriend made it clear that I was NOT welcome) and slept on his couch for a while. I stayed with him for 2 years.
Then when I was 21 I moved from Seattle Washington to London England. This move was less than perfect. My mother was too angry with me for leaving to let me say a proper goodbye either to her or my siblings. My dad was the only one to see me off at the airport and I had stuffed all my belongings into a few boxes (which my dad faithfully promised to mail me) and a few suitcases. I had two checked pieces of luggage and one carry on. The carry on was so heavy I couldn’t lift it to stow it in the overhead bin. I had to get a man who I think was probably one of those air martials to help me lift it as he was looking at me suspiciously and was quite muscly and looked a bit scary. I spent a week visiting a friend in Boston and then missed my flight from Boston to the UK. I spent several long hours in the airport waiting to see if I could go standby on the next flight to London. When I got on the international flight they made me check my carry on as it was so heavy. I arrived in London tired, and dirty, and smelly, and with one missing piece of luggage which was luckily found later. My dad still hasn’t sent me those packages of my stuff. I’ve been here nearly 3 years and I’m technically still not fully moved or unpacked as those boxes are across the ocean.
Um…ok…that’s like 4 moving stories…but…well, I know what it’s like when you don’t get that closure you feel you need. I think my most recent move was the hardest. I needed to be able to say goodbye to my family, for them to see me off at the airport, to be able to look at them all together one last time. Instead I got a few rushed moments with each of them (my mum hovering over us to make sure I didn’t say anything subversive) and I still haven’t had the closure that unpacking all your things from your old house into your new one brings.
I know it’s hard…I’m really sorry your big move had to happen that way…I hope it gets better for you.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 7:00 am
I don’t have any funny moving stories from my past as I’ve only moved a about 3 times but you’ve got some great stories in these comments and I hope they cheer you up. I’m sorry you didn’t get to have a goodbye ceremony in your house. I hope you have safe travels today.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 7:12 am
I’m very sorry about your bad day. We are moving out of our house in three more days so I know how you feel.
As far as moving stories from the past go, this one happened about 4 years ago. My husband and I were married on a Sunday. We were able to spend a few days together before he had to head back to chicago where he had started a new job. I was left to pack up our home in three days, by myself.
Packing had not begun before the wedding due to intense amounts of wedding preparations. So those three days became complete hell. The worst part came when I went to pick up our moving truck. I stepped into the U-Haul location with my reservation for a 14 foot truck in hand. The employee looked at me, looked at my paper, then looked at me again with a sort of grimace on his face. I’m sorry, he said, we don’t have any 14-foot trucks. Something larger, I asked. Not for a one-way move, he replied.
Now, he went on explaining the U-Haul reservation policy, which doesn’t actually guarantee you a truck. Go figure. And said that he had one 10-foot truck to offer. No trailers. No nothing.
I had to take it. I took the truck, along with my aunts back to our apartment and began loading up. It had already become abundantly clear that all of our belongings were not going to fit into this wee, little 10-foot truck. So, I had to start making quick decisions about which of our belongings would not be going with us. It was definitely a tough day!
I wish you much more luck in your new locale and I hope your unloading goes much better. It has to, especially now that you’ll have the love and support of family around.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 7:46 am
Mean people suck. In one week you’ll be laughing…you’ll be in settled in a new place and it will all be behind you. Good luck and enjoy the road ahead.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 7:47 am
Oh, Wendy, I’m so sorry that the new owners are selfish, but I promise you, in a few weeks, this will all be funny.
And now, a bad-bad-bad moving story for you. I’d just graduated from college and was working my first job, a high pressure political campaign one. As part of my pay check, I was given housing in the candidate’s house (read: basement) When he asked me to break the law (!!!!) I quit, but had to move out his house at 2 am. I got one car trip to a storage facility before he threatened to destroy the rest of my stuff so I had to call my three-days-ago ex boyfriend, the only person I still knew in town, to help me frantically pile everything we could reach into our respective cars. Thank god he was awake and kind. Finally, at about 5:30 in the morning, in the horizontal, pouring rain rain, I had as much as I was going to get (I was forced to leave behind such things as my BED) and fled to my parents’ house, about an hour and a half drive away. Things were going as well as could be hoped until my transmission fell apart (YES, FELL APART) on the interstate. I managed to limp the car in first gear only to my parents’ house, where it was towed to the mechanic’s and declared DOA.
So, chin up, Wendy! It’ll get better!
ps: my hand to god, this is all true. i swear!
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 8:09 am
The new owners don’t deserve your place, what kind of idiocy is that? It’s okay though, you will find a new place and then you will only remember the happy times at the old, right?
When we moved out of our rented townhome in Norwood, MA to move to CT, we put some stuff in the back to “wait” for the moving truck. Our place just happened to be near the dumpsters. People who lived there starting going through our stuff because they thought we were trashing it. We had to try to explain that no, the stuff was not trash and no they couldn’t take it. There was a language barrier issue too. We actually lost a lot of stuff that day… It’s funny to think of now; but at the time, not so much.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 8:46 am
I’ve moved several times in my nearly 30 years, and each time has sucked with a capital S. The most recent move was almost 6 years ago…from Worcester, Mass., to Baltimore. We HAD to be on the road, and I HAD to stop off at my mom’s in CT for a few things. We had a screaming, sick one-year old, my hubby driving a 29 foot truck towing our second car, and me driving our packed to overflowing little Kia. Leaving Mass., my hubby backed into a telephone pole and nearly cracked it in two. (Funny now, but not then.) We ended up at my mom’s house at nearly midnight having to back the truck up on her postage-stamp sized yard as close as possible to the storage shed. Just think how much the neighbors loved the “Beep,beep” of the moving truck in reverse at 11:30pm! We finally get to Maryland the next day, and we’re too exhausted to unpack, but the truck is due back in a few hours. Thank goodness we had friends to help, but we were so tired we slept in the living room on the couches (me with the baby on my chest) for three days with boxes and piles of crap everywhere.
Now you can imagine why when my hubby says it’s time to move back north, I change the subject…even though I hate where we live now.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 8:59 am
Sorry, that’s a hard, hard situation…..I hope that by the time you read this that you are feeling better, more connected and more philosophical about the whole thing. Shit happens sometimes. In those cases, the best we can do is haul our ass accross the finish line, then have a glass of wine (or chocolate milk, if you are still nursing) and say “FUCK” VERY loudly (sometimes several times) and then let it go.
When my husband and I first moved to our city some 6 years ago, we moved into the world’s tiniest bachelor apartment (no, it really was)..that had a kitchen, stairs and a bedroom, that’s it, no living room, no hallway, no nothing….(it did have a small bathroom). We hauled an amazing amount of stuff into this tiny place and set it up the best we could (given the circumstance) and then BOOM my back went out…about 1 hour after we finished. And I mean OUT….It was the first week we were living together….we were sharing the world’s tiniest living room, and it was August and it was close to 40 fucking degrees every day for the next week and I needed help to even get off the bed, eat, shower, etc….
Does anything say ROMANCE like having your boyfriend help you pee?
I said FUCK several times
All the best in the move.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 9:00 am
Mary in Boston says:
Well, my funny moving story was when we moved 60 miles north from Owatonna, MN to Minneapolis. The company that had hired my husband was paying for the move, so the packers came and packed everything, and loaded up the truck.
The next morning, we went to the closing on the new house, with the intent of having our stuff delivered and unloaded off the truck that afternoon. Closing was at 10am, we were scheduled to take possession at 3pm.
So far, so good. Closing went as scheduled and there were no surprises.
We pull up to the new house, all excited about living in Minneapolis in a colonial with two fireplaces and four bedrooms and cool neighborhood. We were imagining sleeping in our new house.
Our old house in Owatonna was already full of it’s new owners.
Well, we pulled up in front of the new (to us) house and there were two moving trucks there. Ours was full, the sellers’ was empty. They had not yet packed ONE THING. I felt so sorry for the wife of this couple. She had not really wanted to sell (you can tell these sort of things) and I think she just had refused to do any packing cause that meant accepting that they were leaving. Anyway, she was a mess emotionally.
In the end, our movers helped them move stuff out and into their truck, and then unpacked our stuff. Whew. Those guys were saints. (I’m certain they charged somebody for it, either the couple’s realtor or my husband’s company.) Otherwise, we might not have been able to move into our new home for a couple of days. Which would have meant a stay at a hotel or something and I’m not sure how we would have swung that.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 9:19 am
So sorry for you, Wendy. I am very sentimental and need time to say goodye to people and things and, most especially, places I have lived. To have that taken from you makes me very sad.
When Greg and I moved to Boston, we arrived on a very hot and humid day. We had arranged for a college-aged family friend and his buddies to meet us to unpack our stuff and haul it to our second floor apartment. None of us knew that there was a Red Sox game that afternoon/evening, causing the guys to be more than two hours late. Once they arrived, we were challenged by getting large pieces of furniture up a narrow, turning staircase. (We actually bought a couch from the previous renters. We naively thought they couldn’t take it to London when in actuality they had cut the couch in half to get it up the stairs and didn’t want to undo it again to get it out). The one obvious piece of furniture we wanted to get into the house was our bed. We were able to finagle the mattress up the back stairs, but the box spring wouldn’t budge. Although we didn’t technically need the box spring, we did need to return the rental truck early the next morning. So, Greg met our neighbors by sawing our boxspring in half in the back of the empty rental truck at one in the morning.
We lived in that first apartment for 9 months, until the landlord decided her granddaughter would like living there. Fortunately, our neighbors liked us and hated our landlord and helped us find a new place to rent right across the street. On the last night that we got everything moved into the new place, we took our friends who helped us move out for pizza and beer. When we got back, the lock to the front door was stuck (and we didn’t have a key to the back door). So, we borrowed some blankets from our friends and slept on the hard wood floors in our old place for one last night. (Lest you think our friends were mean to not have us sleep at their place, they weren’t allowed to have our dogs in their apartment.)
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 9:22 am
Our last move involved the fully loaded U-Haul getting stuck in the little dip at the bottom of our driveway. We had to call a tow truck to have a U-Haul angioplasty to unstick the stupid thing so we could get on the road. During the two hour delay, my (then) baby screamed, the three cats howled and it was 95 degrees.
Good times. *shudder*
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 9:39 am
Okay, now I see that you want a “moving” story (physical), not a “moving” story (emotional) — though a moving story is quite often moving, is it not? And vice versa. ; ) The good news is that even the saddest and/or most disgusting (I’ve experienced both) can later be told with a smile (if not laughter).
I hope today is better (((hug))). There’s a future ahead!
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 9:42 am
Oh Wendy, that’s a terrible way to leave your house. I should come out there and kick the new owner’s asses! Don’t they know that people need to say goodbye to their old house by walking through the rooms one last time and sighing as you remember all the great memories? Maybe you can do a walk-through in your mind once you get to your new house and life calms down a bit.
My story is tame in comparison to the others but it still sucked. I was moving back to North Dakota from Washington state after only living there about five months. Things had gone great at first and then I had gotten laid off from my job, no others were to be had, and I was quickly running out of money in my savings so I decided to move home.
The day of the move I was so sick that I had to stop and nap in the middle of packing, my fever was so high that I started hallucinating, and I had hurt my back a few days before so I wasn’t able to help my dad load any heavy stuff into the trailer. We ended up leaving some things behind because there just wasn’t room in the trailer and I never got to say goodbye to my friends.
The trek across the mountains in the middle of winter had my dad in his pickup with the trailer behind him full of my belongings and me in the car with my son, all my houseplants, and my mom, who kept trying to reassure me that everything would be okay… every time she did I was reminded of how much my experiment to move out there on my own had failed and I started bawling. I ended up in the ER somewhere in Montana – the bill of which was later sent to collections even though I paid it already!
We got back to North Dakota and drove into a blizzard. By the time we got back to my town the temps were around 40 below, we were all exhausted, and my best friend was having back surgery the next day.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 9:45 am
When we moved into our current house, we had already had several problems with the sellers. We sign all the contracts, etc. and then we go on a weekend trip and over the weekend (two weeks after the contracts have been signed), they get cold feet and do the off-again, on-again dance for a week. Then, a week before closing, although they already had a two week leaseback, they wanted to extend another two weeks because her (teenage) kids had allergies and we could just stay in our apt (no, actually we couldn’t because we’d given notice and they’d rented the place) and then they decided they’d put us up in a business hotel (no idea what we were supposed to do with our stuff) and they’d just stay in what was now our house, until their new house was finished.
At this point, I was pretty frustrated and not happy about them calling me instead of my agent, so I told them that if they wanted to lease the house it would have to be in whole month increments, they would have to have proof of insurance for the purchase price of the house (it sure as hell wasn’t going to be on my insurance), fill out a renter agreement, and I wasn’t going to charge PITI, I was going to charge what I felt was a fair rent based on the market.
They moved on time.
They had made a big deal out of being vegetarians (it was actually presented as a selling point although there had been at least two previous owners so I’m not sure why it would matter), so when we took possession of the house we brought over a cooler of beer and a frying pan and fried up a pound of bacon. The next night we had everyone we knew over for burgers. We didn’t have any furniture yet, but we had coolers and a grill! We called it an exorcism.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 9:45 am
Poor baby, I hope the second time works better for you guys!
The last time we moved, I ended up in the hospital with a dental abscess that required surgery, then IV antibiotics for several days. I was in the hospital for several days, the very days that the movers were due to come and pack up our house, so I wasn’t there to direct traffic when they came through. They packed stuff that I would never have paid to move across country. I got out of the hospital the morning that the moving truck pulled out of the driveway with all our worldly belongings, then we handed over the keys to the real estate agent and checked into a motel for the night before getting on an airplane with what we could carry and two cats. I may never move again.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 10:39 am
So sorry to hear that moving has been so stressful and awful so far!
I’ve not had much luck on the moving front. Here are a few stories for you to enjoy:
When my family moved from MN to OH right before I started college (only to move back a couple years later), I had broken my ankle (which is a whole funny story in itself, but I’ll save that for another day) and was stuck in one of those hot plastic boots, limping around carrying heavy boxes of books, while MN had record-setting 110-degree temperatures. Very uncomfortable. Then I was stuck in the moving van with my dad, with so much stuff packed around that there wasn’t really even room for me and my big boot, the entire 12 hour drive from MN. This was right after my senior year of high school, so of course pretty much all of my “friends” completely forgot about me, and when I went “home” from the dorm, it was to a house I’d never lived in.
My next big move was when my “friends” kicked my now-husband and I out of the apartment we were sharing with them after their pitbull attacked me. We had an arrangement with one of the girls’s fathers, where we helped fix the apartment (when I moved in, there was not even running water…I basically camped for the first semester of my junior year) in exchange for living there rent-free, so we had no recourse when we were kicked out in favor of a violent dog. We were left with 2 weeks to find an apartment at a time of year when no one was renting, and I had to move just days after having my wisdom teeth out! And of course, we wound up in a place that was infested with black mold and termites, and because of the bizarre time of year that our lease came up, were stuck there for 2.5 years.
THEN, we moved here to Rochester, on the one weekend that had 100+ degree temps, with no help and no AC, while I was suffering from a triple ear-sinus-bronchial infection, and wound up in an ER two days after moving only to get yelled at by the attending doc for not going to my primary care (how would I have one of those, having moved here 2 days prior?!).
I’m hoping our next move (at the end of July, just up the street) goes much smoother, but given the current state of my health, it looks like it will be yet another “typical” move for me!
Good luck with everything! I hope all of these awful moving stories give you a good laugh!
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 11:04 am
Jen K. says:
I’ve never commented before, but you’ve inspired me to share my moving stories. I have horrible moving memories, including chopping a couch into small pieces in order to get it out of our apartment (I have no IDEA how we got it in!)
The worst, though, was my move from Colorado to Maine, with a stop at my parent’s house in Iowa. It was about 376 degrees out (don’t let anyone fool you about that dry heat crap), and the last thing I had to do was clean the litter box. As I was lugging the garbage bag of used cat litter into the dumpster, the bag broke, sprinkling me with, well, you get the idea. We took off, in my tiny Tercel (with no A/C) with the cat in his carrier in the front seat. About 20 minutes into the trip, I had to stop suddenly, he went flying and PEED. I tried to clean him as best I could, but it was impossible. I drove in the heat with the windows all the way open all day and as late as I could during the night. I stopped at a hotel in Nebraska, and was a total mess- exhausted, wind-swept hair, smelling of cat excrement (both kinds by now). The next day was a little better, but still insanely hot (my poor cat panted almost all the way). I arrived at my parent’s house, and immediately gave him the only bath he’s ever had. I’m not sure who had it worse–me or him!
Hang in there, it will be over soon.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 11:13 am
These things are never funny when they happen. I can’t come up with anything remotely in your league, but we did move from IL to MA with a stop at my in-laws’ in OH along the way, with my husband driving the U-Haul and towing our car behind. We would check whenever we rounded a sharp enough curve, which usually happened only on ramps, to make sure it was still there. Somewhere in eastern PA our Siamese cat got out of her box and walked up and down the dashboard, yowling. I got her back in before she caused an accident. We all arrived safely, humans, cats, belongings and car, and we lived with my folks (bless them) for a year until we found real jobs.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 11:42 am
Oh man, life’s “special” moments sometimes never turn out all that special, do they? These are the candid snapshots of life. Theyâ€™re just kind of what went down without any orchestration, organic events that happened as you were rolling along with the punches. Honestly, the older I get, the more I relish these plain old moments. Iâ€™ve never been comfortable with Big Deal events, what Iâ€™d consider lifeâ€™s formal portraits.
Honestly, and Iâ€™m not just spit-shining a turd here, I think your last memories of your home fit perfectly into where you are right now. Hectic, rushed, feeling pressure, wanting to stop and ponder but needing to hustle and deal with some annoying crap (literally) and stupid people (SO literally). Pleasant? Hells to the nope. But life ainâ€™t a boudoir photo from Glamour Shots at the mall. And thereâ€™s a sense of, I donâ€™t want to say beauty because thatâ€™s hokey, but thereâ€™s a sense of truth when things donâ€™t go as planned that I find really pure. It’s like putting on a brand new pair glasses for the first time. There’s clarity in the underwhelming sometimes.
Iâ€™m not saying you shouldnâ€™t feel crappy about not getting to say goodbye to your house, because thatâ€™s what you really wanted to do. I always love getting one last look at the place all emptied out and naked like it was when you moved in. Isnâ€™t that how a lot of TV shows end? I think Laverne and Shirley did. You wanted your own Bookish Flashback episode, and you should have been able to get one. Iâ€™m just saying that what you did get was possibly just as valuable, albeit way the frick less romantic.
As for craptacular moving stories. Well, Iâ€™ve moved a LOT, and it never does seem to go as planned. Of course, Iâ€™m a really bad planner, so that might have something to do with it. Once, about a million years ago, I moved to Texas and drove with my brother and a friend. We dragged a little U-Haul trailer behind the old car my uncle gave me. Eventually, we ended up in the back of some guyâ€™s pickup truck after breaking down in the middle of nowhere. My friend was really freaked out, but my brother and I always had junky cars, so we were totally used to it. We, being petulant little jerks, were annoyed that she ruined what could have been a fun day of exploring by complaining about being stranded in some dusty little town with barely any money. He and I were kind of excited about it. So maybe Iâ€™m not the best person to take advice from on these matters.
Here’s to life’s misadventures! ~clink~
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 11:49 am
We have a six month old boy and have been moving into our almost remodeled house so I totally feel your pain! Our stuff is spread out between my brother in law’s house (which we’ve been living in for almost 3 months), a storage unit half an hour away, and our 1920s house that is almost finished being remodeled. This weekend in between trying to take care of a six month old, I spent my time cleaning a moldy refrigerator, painting trim in an upstairs room with no AC, and trying to move stuff, it sucks! The worst part of it is, the brunt of the work falls on my husbands shoulders, because unless I can bribe/beg someone to keep Robby entertained, I can’t help as much as I would like, so everything takes much much longer! Last night, I spent an hour in the kitchen lining drawers with shelf paper while holding him in the sling, not an ideal situation. And because the whole house is very un baby friendly, i.e. open vent holes, little screws everywhere, uncovered electrical outlets, I can’t let little Robby crawl around. So I either have to hold him, or put him in one of those baby playpens (to him it’s a cruel torture device intended to keep him from roaming freely) or a baby standup bouncy chair (also another cruel torture device intended to keep him from roaming freely). Thank goodness, my sister was able to help out and hold him and walk around the neighborhood but when he got hungry and tired, all he wanted was momma. Sigh… I’m buying beer tonight to make the rest of the move more bearable and I’ll make a toast to you, in the hopes that your move gets better. I think this should have been like the 6th circle of hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy, moving with an infant.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 2:17 pm
Arrgggggh….moving SUCH a pain. I wish I had a horror story to tell, but my moves have all just been hassles – fortunately, nothing more dramatic than fifteen car trips back and forth after the moving van left…….
However, I AM intrigued by “Mary from Boston”‘s post – do you have a website? I’m from Owatonna, MN too!! I’m sure that you (Wendy) have more important things to do than to pass on contact info (like moving, maybe????) but if/when you have a free second…..feel free to pass on my name and e-mail to Mary…..AND GOOD LUCK WITH THE REST OF YOUR MOVE!!!!!!!
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 4:51 pm
What a shame you couldn’t have accidentally-on-purpose dropped the litter box onto their feet. Nasty people.
Our moving van took six hours to make the one-and-a-half-hour drive to our new house. Our head mover blithely explained “I had to fire the assistant and find a new one.”
Good karma coming your way RIGHT NOW.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 5:52 pm
Suzanne V. says:
I once moved all my personal and household belongings from Moscow to San Diego via APO, one box at a time. I had to find boxes small enough to carry into town on the bus, but large enough to hold my life, in a country where there is no UPS, no Bekins, and no grocery store dumpsters (or grocery stores, for that matter). It took me months, and in the end, I sold, gave away, or threw out most of the things I had always thought were indispensable. It turns out they weren’t.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 7:33 pm
Wendy, Rob, and Sophia (and cats and dogs) — We miss you already! All the best in your new life in Rochester and hope we will see you again sometime!
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 9:16 pm
I am never moving again.
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 10:33 pm
lisa Co. Springs says:
Oh my goodness–such a lot of moving fiasco’s. Being married to the military, I’ve moved a time or ten, but by far the most stressful was several years ago when we were all set to move to Oxford, and the day the movers were due to arrive, we were told we would not be going—long story. At this point the house was full of piles, some going to Goodwill, some to storage, some on the boat, some by plane, some to the dump. With us going nowhere. After a few days, the decision was made to go to Washington, our home state, and the packers came. After reaching our new home, we found that many, many things had been stolen by the packers, sentimental, irresplacable things. Lesson learned—keep a close watch on anything of value.
Wendy, I hope that your move goes more smoothly from here on out, and that you find the closure you need. Good luck at your new address!
Comment - June 19, 2007 : 10:54 pm
Amy M. says:
I’m so sorry that things are crappy right now! I read your post & the comments with a fair bit of dread. We’re moving to Rochester in a few weeks now from WA state. Our first-ever house (and all the unique terror that comes with that), driving across the country with a car-hating kitty, packing, finding a new job, ARGHHH! I’m sending you lots of good thoughts right now. Just keep breathing!
Comment - June 20, 2007 : 1:35 am
Woke up moving day to a sore throat and splitting headache. 1/2 hour later, vomitting and shakes. Yup. the flu. Also, this is the day I decided to quit smoking. Did I mention that in my relationship to PC , I was the only one with a driving license? Yup, I had to drive 2 trips to get stuff in my little SUV, pulling over to puke on our moving day. Thank god for my SIL! At our new apt, I crashed on our bed while she got the heat going, found me chicken broth and tea… and she coordinated all the 14 people in my apartment.
Take deep breaths… Sophia was probably just feeling your stress and well, I would have left the new homeowners a “treat” for breathing down your neck. Best of luck in NY… Boston will miss you
Comment - June 20, 2007 : 8:17 am
I don’t have a truly horrific moving story- lots of small annoying ones, but not one that shines through as spectacularly awful.
However, the seller of our current home was crazy. We referred to her the entire 2 month time as “crazy jammie lady”. We showed up for the first showing- she was in her jammies and confused by us, and didn’t want to leave, so instead stood in the driveway while we examined the place. We came back for the inspection. She was alseep when we arrived, in jammies, and umwilling to leave. We had to explain she legally HAD to leave so we could be free to discuss things with the inspector. She waited in her car.
When our insurance agent came by to look at the place and take a photo for the file, she, in jammies, chased her off the property screaming ‘ It’s still my house.”
My husband and I had discussed with our realtor what we would do if Crazy Jammie Lady was still in the house on our move-in date, but thankfully, she moved to an aprtment the week before and no more horrific scenes.
We learned after closing that her husband had served her with completely unexpected divorce papers the day of our first showing. So, it was pretty much the worst 2 weeks of her life. In retrospect, she must have been clinically depressed and i really hope she got help.
I hope life quickly turns around so you can find your own humor!
Comment - June 20, 2007 : 11:14 am
Echoing what the others have said … in time you will be able to, if not laugh, at least think about it all without wanting to cry and/or swear.
We moved to Massachusetts from Illinois four years ago. I loved Chicago and thought we were there for life, then B got a new job and we all had to follow. He started in MA right after Memorial Day, leaving me in IL with three children (two traumatized, one a toddler) and a dog to handle the end of school and the sale of our house. The buyers in Illinois were a nightmare, we were all sad about the move, but buckled down and got through it. I was in charge of the packing of our the old house, he flew out to for the closing (that difficult buyer), then drove with us from IL to our new house in MA. The day we moved in he went off to work, leaving me to supervise the unloading of the truck by myself. Everything was going as well as could be expected until the movers discovered that neither of our sofas would fit into the house. That was when I finally started crying.
We ultimately found an upholsterer who disassembles sofas to move them, the sofas made it from the barn into the house, and we’ve been very happy here. Your move will turn out alright in the end …. I’m just sorry it had to have such a stressful start.
Hang in there …
Comment - June 20, 2007 : 12:19 pm
Our worst story was moving TO Roslindale, so maybe it’s the town?
We got back from Europe on Monday night after 20 straight hours of traveling, then went straight back to work Tues – Fri, and had only the 4 nights after work to pack up all of our stuff.
The Uhaul we rented on Saturday (from Dedham) and loaded up with all our worldly possessions broke down in front of our condo, and 5 hours later Uhaul sent someone to TOW the truck with everything in it to our new place.
Luckily only a few things broke.
Then, when the tow truck took the empty Uhaul away, Uhaul charged me $1,500 because they thought I STOLE the truck. It took me a week to sort it out. Unbelievable.
I will never, ever, ever use Uhaul again.
Big hugs honey. Just think, it’s going to be a long, long time before you have to do a move like this again. You’re going to settle down and raise Sophia, happily knowing you’re putting down your roots.
Love and hugs.
Comment - June 20, 2007 : 12:25 pm
[Sorry if this posts twice; it looked like it didn't go through.]
You asked for it!
When we moved from New York to L.A., New York just did not want to let us go.
We packed on July 4th. Yeah, I know. We weren’t finished at midnight and the truck was too small. We had piano movers who came, said they needed to get a piano board and never returned. We spent 4 hours trying to get our piano down two flights of stairs without killing anyone and gave up.
So there we are, 3/4 of our stuff in a small truck, 1/4 being left behind. We were supposed to leave the next morning. Next morning we pick up trailer for the car, finish packing what we can fit in the truck. It is packed to the rafters! Put the car on the trailer (it’s about 2 p.m.) The brake lights/turn signals on the trailer don’t work. They (eventually) send a repairman; he can’t fix it. Take car off trailer, send trailer back. Now it’s nighttime again. We ask our subletters if we can sleep there one more night. They reluctantly consent (a sign of things to come…thanks for the compassion, guys) and BF spends one more night on the stoop, me on the floor upstairs.
Next day, it takes most of the day to get the new trailer and hitched up and finally out of the city around 3:00. Meanwhile, all of my motel reservations (for a group with PETS) have gone by the wayside and have to be figured out all over again. DH has decided to spend all of our remaining cash on FLEA DROPS for some reason and I’m panicky and crying, but we finally get out of New York just in time to get caught in traffic. We go as far as we can and stop for the night.
Now, this truck is top heavy. So much so that the tilt of the drivethrough at McDonalds is scary. We spend five days driving this truck, thinking it might tip over, going slower than we thought, DH driving ten hour days, miserable. Then we get to Colorado. The roads are very curvy and slanted. We are terrified. We go back down the mountain, find a AAA and get new triptycks (sp?) for the southern route. New motels again.
Last bit, nobody tells us to drive through the Mojave desert AT NIGHT. Idiots. We were sure the cats (riding in the trailing car) wouldn’t make it. We even tried not to use the air conditioning in sympathy, but it was impossible.
Long story long, we made it. Everyone alive. Luckily we had paid a month ahead on the rent in CA so we could just go on in. But we had to get the mattress out of the truck before we fell over.
I will NEVER again transport my stuff across country myself. I will drive, slowly, stopping wherever I want, in a car with my family and my stuff being moved by movers or I will fly.
Makes a good story, though.
Comment - June 20, 2007 : 1:35 pm
I’m so sorry the new owners were so miserable. Just remember, karma will always bite them in the butt – eventually…
When I moved out of the house my ex and I were renting, I started with a van full of the most important things – 3 kids, summer clothes (it was August in the upper Midwest), sewing machine… Was reminded quickly that MN does get cold in the evening, even in August (Chicago was just plain hot!). So, within a month, we arranged for a truck – maybe a 10-ft? I don’t remember, and did the 7 or so hour drive (brother, his girlfriend, one of his guy friends, my dad and me) to the house to collect more stuff – some clothes, my china (It was my grandpas), other mementos, maybe some furniture – small truck, remember? Showed up at the door without notice. It seemed my ex had moved a new woman in already… Then, the rental place didn’t have any more trucks the size we ordered, so we got a 17-ft truck. With all that extra space, I took everything that wasn’t nailed down. The bed, which was tossed after the mattress, got wet when it was in storage. The fridge after taking all the food out. The washer and dryer, used those for many years Pretty much EVERYTHING except his stuff – clothes, the sofa I really didn’t want, some dishes, the food from the fridge. Served him right.
Some 2 or 3 years later, new sig ot and I are moving into our current home, same three kids, lots of stuff. He gets to the closing, the current owners are not ready to move out, and want a couple extra days. We have a rental truck, for ONE day (the next day). We give them until noon. They are still packing and moving stuff as we arrive with the truck and most of our stuff. It all worked out, in the end. They did leave lots of stuff, some we threw, some went to goodwill, and some we just kept (the 20′s era sheet music…).
It will get better, with time. Good luck in your new place
Comment - June 20, 2007 : 8:25 pm
I had a similar experience with the buyers of my 1st home…I was trying to have a last look around, cherishing a small moment, but they were glaring at me to leave. As I walked out of my bedroom, Mr. Buyer had taken hold of a corner of my beautiful ivy wallpaper, & in one big whoosh ripped it from baseboard to eyelevel. I still gnash my teeth thinking about it almost 12 years later. My sympathies…but you will love Rochester & your new experiences! All the best to the Bookish Family!
Comment - June 20, 2007 : 8:27 pm
Ooooh, I hate moving!! *shudder* you have my sympathies!
Comment - June 21, 2007 : 9:24 pm
I hope by now things are better.
I have two stories, one mine, one my neighbor’s.
1. When I closed on my current home, the sellers had not finished moving out. They were pretty much living someplace else, so they didn’t really need any of the stuff they had left in the house, but it was still in the house. They came back that day or that weekend to get whatever stuff they wanted or could fit. It was sort of a bizarre situation, but I think we tried to give them some room and not hover. Later on, when my husband was exploring what was left in the attic, he found a homemade blue video of theirs.
2. When my neighbors moved out of their house, it was a complicated triangular neighborhood move. The (soon-to-be) old neighbors were moving into another house in the neighborhood (move A), and the new neighbors were moving from yet another house in the neighborhood into the house next door to me (move B). The closing for move A was first and then right after was the closing for move B. And then the two families were sharing a moving truck (1/2 mile moves for each). The closing for Move B fell through right at the last minute because one of the people (a lender?) didn’t do his job. The move went on anyway, and it was a little awkward. I think the do-over for the Move B closing was a week or two later, and ultimately everyone lived happily ever after.
Comment - June 22, 2007 : 2:12 pm
Oh, dear Wendy. I cam to your blog via Vicki Knitorious, my Special Swap girl. June 18th was our closing and moving day also..from our house of twenty years to a new place, sans kids, two of three family pets, and many of the things I have collected over the years. I also had a complete meltdown the following day, as we took the last load from our place, to go to a place that didn’t feel like home and came complete with the former owner’s mess and dirt. But today, almost a week later, it is good, and comfortable, and I think there is light at the end of the tunnel as long as I can get the walls painted soon! Take care, my friend.
Comment - June 24, 2007 : 3:59 pm
I’m a little late on this but since I just discovered your blog I thought I would share a moving story of my parents. A couple years ago they were moving back to Canada from Scotland and my Dad, who has always been a car nut, had finally had the opportunity to buy a vintage car and was having it shipped back (they were ex-pats, not, as everyone assumes from the look of me, native Scotlanders). Anyway, my older sister was playing the role of homebase for all mail and moving enquiries and got this call:
Movers: We would like to speak to Mr. Owen about an urgent matter.
Sister: I’m afraid he isn’t here yet, he is currently moving.
Movers: This is the movers, we have had…uh… and issue loading his car onto the ship. We need him to call us as soon as possible.
Sister: What did you do, drop it in the ocean?
Movers: Just have him call us.
Needless to say, it was a tense couple of days fighting over who had to tell Dad the movers had done something to his vintage car. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds though, they didn’t actually drop it into the ocean, which they probably should have mentioned before hanging up the phone.
I hope things are more settled for you now.
Comment - July 9, 2007 : 1:27 pm