31 July 2008

Did I repay bad karma or earn good karma?

Well, that was one of the most unexpectedly hard days I've endured in a long
long time.

Everything was fine until the movers showed up shortly after 12.30. One of
them has a daughter whose grandmother usually picks her up from day care.
Today, apparently, grandma couldn't leave work early, so the mover informed
me that he'd have to leave by 4.30. We expected we'd be done by then
anyway, so it didn't seem like a huge problem.

Loading the truck was the easier part of the move. Going from our apartment
to the truck is a straight shot out our front door, down the stairs, through
a courtyard, and onto the street. Easy peasy. Knowing this, you'll
understand my anxiety when, two hours later (2.30pm), we're still not quite
finished loading the truck. About this time, our lead mover tells me that
our stuff will require two trips in the truck.

So, it's 2.30, the movers are not quite finishing the EASY part of the move,
and they both have to leave at 4.30. At this point, we decide that we need
more help. Once the movers are done loading the truck, I drove with one
mover to the condo to begin unloading while Sarah and the other mover went
to pick up some other guys who could help us with the move.

When we started to unload the truck, our strategy was to get everything out
of the truck and onto the lawn. Once the truck was empty, some people could
haul boxes up the stairs (up to the third floor, via three stairwells, and
down a hall) while a couple people would head back to the apartment with me
for the last few items. It was at this point that I realized that if I
didn't pitch in in a big way, we'd be doing this all night. One mover and I
started unloading the truck, and when Sarah, the other mover, and our two
additional hands showed (their negotiated rate: $40 apiece to unload the
truck as part of the team) I continued to unload and monitor the stuff on
the lawn while Sarah directed the movers as they brought stuff into the

This went on for a while until 4.30 came. By this point, the truck had just
been completely unloaded, and the front lawn of the condo was littered with
boxes of our stuff. The original movers had to go. As they were wrapping
up, I discovered that our new hands did not realize that there would be a
second trip in the truck. They asked for more money, which seemed fair to
me: $50 each.

The original movers left (taking a few packing blankets with them - if UHaul
charges me, I'm going to charge the movers), and Sarah came down to monitor
the stuff on the lawn. Our two new hands and I proceeded to haul everything
up the stairs into the condo. When the hands got upstairs, they would put
stuff in the middle of the living room, and when I got upstairs, I would
sort my haul and their most recent haul into the right rooms. Once the
front lawn was empty, the hands and I went back to the apartment for the
last few things. Sarah stayed behind to sort a bit and unpack a bit. On
the way back to the apartment, the hands, who had been told that the other
movers were leaving at 4.30, and I agreed on a higher fee: $60 each.

Back at the apartment, we grabbed the last few things (couch, table, chairs,
bikes), and zipped back to the condo. This time, since Sarah was upstairs
moving things around, I had to stay downstairs with the truck and couldn't
haul. Thank heaven for little miracles. After we were all done, I paid the
hands their $60, dropped them off, gassed up the truck, returned the truck,
picked up the Prius (at the Uhaul place), drove to the Jeep, swapped the
Prius for the Jeep, and drove the Jeep to the condo, where Sarah and I
unloaded a few boxes that we had put in the jeep.

Then, I drank a lot of water, took a shower, and unpacked just a bit. Sarah
did the same. As I type, we're waiting for some friends of Sarah's who are
coming to join us for dinner.

All in all, it was a much harder day than I had expected. I thought the
truck would be the right size, I thought that we would be able to get it all
done in four hours with two movers and my not helping (an estimate I formed
from talking to the movers), and I thought that my movers would stay until
the job was done. Instead, the truck was too small, the move took longer
than I thought, I got all hot and sweaty with the movers, and the two people
who ended the day with us were not the two people who started the day with
us. And it cost me $120 more than I thought it would.

A note on the truck. The last time we rented a truck ourselves (moving from
NYC to New Haven), it was a 17-footer, just like this one. Since our stuff
fit last time, I assumed it would fit this time. Of course, the fact that
it didn't means that somewhere along the line, I screwed up my estimate.
There are two big things that I forgot: the boxes that were in storage (in
MO and VA) during that ealier move were part of this move, and there were
three large items that we moved this time that were not included in the
other move (the couch, the TV, and the dresser). As I watched how much
space the second load took up on the truck, it occurred to me that that
amount of space was roughly equal to the sum of the volumes of the couch,
the TV, the dresser, and the boxes from MO and VA. Ugh.

Soon it will be dinner time. It's 8.50pm here, and we have't eaten since
breakfast at 9am.

I am hungry!

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