Sunday Morning Follies

Or why the cat ate my post.

We woke up to the dulcet beep, beep, beep of the computer power supplies warning us electricity was out. Seems to have been a small outage, involving just two or three houses.  Which meant not a big priority.

I was going to write a post, I was.  But I couldn’t get on the computer (by the time I was functional, power was completely out) so instead I started doing the final unpacking on my bedroom.

And now my mind is not in a word sort of mood.

Since it’s been that sort of day, let me tell you some things I’ve found out, courtesy of our packers:

-F. Paul Wilson and Kevin J. Anderson write how-to art books.  (I’d been wondering where the signed books went!)

-Party hats and new year’s decoration ARE “art supplies.”  (I don’t DO performance art)

-A bunch of miscellaneous unsorted laundry is “Sarah’s bedside table.”

-ALL stuff marked for donation MUST be packed in one gigantic box, instead of left behind, where I’d put it, for the thrift store to pick up.

-Other things that must go into a gigantic box include (but aren’t limited to) a disparate series of things ranging from office supplies to books for projects currently under way which had been packed in small boxes and marked “Open ASAP.”  The gigantic box will then be marked “storage” and put in the basement.

-Trash cans will be collected and put in a giant box marked “books”(And not MY books, as that could be you know, a review.)

Things movers think are logical:

-The box marked “Tea set, dining room” SHOULD of course go to the files and financial stuff room.  OF COURSE.

-box marked “library” should go to my bedroom.

-Box marked “office supplies” should go to my bedroom.

-Box marked “Wall art” should go to my bedroom.

-box marked “storage/basement” should go to my bedroom.

But this is okay because boxes marked “Sarah, winter clothes” should go to basement storage, as should boxes marked “bed clothes”, “pillows” and “catfood.”

One wonders what would happen if a RATIONAL moving company appeared.  And yeah, this is the best we’ve ever had…  Imagine the worst.


188 responses to “Sunday Morning Follies

  1. For many folks, the bedroom is their library. Also their office.

    OTOH, the library box could have ended in the toilet.

    • I live in a two-bedroom townhouse. Technically. Actually, a bedroom and a study.

      (And what surprises me is that people are surprised that I use the smaller one as the bedroom. As if a bedroom large enough for a bed and a dresser didn’t suffice.)

      • Well from the various house hunting shows my understanding is that people are clearly looking for a bedroom big enough to put a kingsized bed, a massive hopechest, 2 chairs, a large couch, an 80″ plasma TV, 2 large walkin closets and a huge spa/bathroom with a shower for 4 – 6 and a heated whirlpool tub for 6 – 8 people.

        That is the master bedroom everyone is looking for according to those shows. Hell I could move my current apartment into one of the typical master bedrooms they show and there would be room left over.


        • the bedroom I am in is too small for a Kingsize. A Queen would take almost 1/3 of the room.
          The rooms upstairs (three beds, but two are no longer officially beds because the windows are too small.) will be reworked and maybe a toilet added and then I will possibly move into the “master”. Currently the master is the cat’s litter box room.

          • Athena T Cat says “Of course the master bedroom is for the cat.”

            • You definitely want a bedroom big enough to swing a cat in …

              … preferably, two cats..

            • Allie hid in there the whole time Ma and Dad were visiting. There is nothing in there sleepwise or really other than the pans and while the folks were here the food on the far side of the room. She hid in the closet or behind the door.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Actually, the “master bedroom” is any room that the cat decides to sleep in. 😉

          • Our current house has four bedrooms, a “laundry room” that’s bigger than the living room, and a front addition almost as big. Plus a walk-in hall closet almost big enough to be a bedroom on its own.

            The Project House is 750 square feet. That requires planning which items go there, and where they will go, well ahead of time. Sort of like moving into an RV.

            My wife has some kind of blind spot that has her thinking she can cram all of her crap into it, like some kind of Tardis. That will cause trouble when Moving Day comes… [sigh]

            • My wife has some kind of blind spot …

              I am sure many here had long since sussed that.

              The fact that I’ve not yet had a feather pillow held over my face whilst asleep* is evidence of a similar blind spot in my own Beloved Spouse’s thinking.

              *Or rather, to any noteworthy effect, although I have on occasion awoken somewhat down in the mouth.

            • Mom and Dad downsized massively when they went to RV living, yet when the planned a trip to Alaska, Dad made mom leave a TON of stuff behind. The 3 ft tall, concrete angel had to go into the storage shed he built because he wanted the Fifth wheel usable when they returned, thankyouverymuch.

          • > toilet added

            Search for “upflush toilet”. (they can flush sideways as well as up)(*) They flush into a small holding tank, which holds a macerator and a pump. Effluent goes out a small pipe or large garden hose.

            You need one hose or pipe for water in, another for out, and someplace to plug it in for power.

            In many areas you can install one without a building permit since it’s not a “permanent” fixture. The small lines are easy to run without having to hack into too much structure; the effluent lines can usually go up more than one story and sideways a hundred feet or so.

            Make sure you look at the reviews. None of them get really good reviews, some are very bad. I bought one with average (for the type of product) reviews, but the vast majority of complaints were a couple of things that looked easy enough to fix in an emergency.

            McNeil: “Is there a Stargate around here?”
            Native: “What’s a Stargate?”
            McNeil: “Big toilet, flushes sideways?”

            • The pink room has the access to the attic over the kitchen, and the vent pipe for the sewer lines runs just next to the door. and has enough space the water lines going up could be run there with the two new electric and the Satellite tv wires.
              But it is still a “ain’t worried about that right now” thing.

        • I can see that if it’s a studio apartment. . . .

    • We have bookshelves in the bathroom. And the Project House has Ethernet. And when I’m finished, it’ll also have its own wired phone, set into the wall low enough someone fallen on the floor or in the tub can get to it.

  2. “A bunch of miscellaneous unsorted laundry is “Sarah’s bedside table.””

    Okay, I have to admit that if Sarah’s bedroom were anything like Zsusza’s bedroom, that one would have a certain plausibility to it…

    • The bedside table, mostly had books.

      • Please see above ref: Library = Bedroom

      • You haven’t mentioned a coffee cup still full of coffee, so I don’t think you’ve got all-time record here.

        • Alright that almost takes the (coffee?) cake. I do recall Pa telling the story of him and a (couple?) other(s) helping a fellow move. They were partway up the stairs to the new apartment or such with the refrigerator when this line was uttered, “Careful, I don’t want anything to spill.” The fridge had not been emptied and had enough in it that was significantly heavier than if it had been empty. No idea how long the trip was and if spoilage was likely. There was, however, some significant disgust at this level of… incomprehension, to be kind.

        • As a navy wife, I only had to deal with Navy packing twice. And we didn’t have to deal with folks who carefully packed the stuff with huge labels taped on it “Do not pack – for trip”. Fortunately the mom caught them before they had completely packed the diaper bag and formula… I’ve also heard stories of unpacking at the new station and finding very, very ripe trash bags, usually with used diapers in them, and still with the prominantly placed sticky reading “do not pack – garbage!”.

          Though our stuff did go into storage for a few months when we first moved from VA to CT, and when it came out, we were missing one of the dining table benches, and all the cushions for the sofa. The movers/storage folks miraculously found them three or four months later. They also seem to have lost a box or two of books and a foot locker of vinyl (of course the good stuff you want to reread/rehear and which is no longer available).

          • Any kind of movie videos will vanish if someone else packs. Air pistols, especially those that look like combat pistols and revolvers, will vanish because someone will go “whoopee, they actually left a gun for us!”

    • I would probably double check that that pile of cloths is laundered. If it was my random pile of cloths from next to the bed that got put into a box and labeled I figure there is a 50/50 chance it has been laundered or is still waiting to be laundered which is why it is in that pile in the first place. 😉

      • Yeah. I’m re-washing just in case.

        • Peter was a little surprised that one of my first order on the to-do list was “Wash everything. Clean or not, even still on hangar, wash everything.”

          But it really cuts down on allergens, dust, musty smell / mildew, and provides a great checkpoint for The Second Great Winnowing, also known as “Now that it’s unpacked, is this worth keeping?”

  3. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    There’s nothing like moving. It’s all just crazy every time.

  4. Captain Comic

    To: Most Mischievous Mistress of Mayhem (IntSecRef decode – Sarah Hoyt)

    From: Evil League of Evil Faceless Minion #6969 (IntSecRef decode – Davi…Wait, didn’t we cut this guy loose after last year?)

    Re: Once More Into the Breach

    Have obtained access to Annual Conclave of Liberalism (classic form “WorldCon”) and am prepared for dissident activities.

    Insertion to environment is through sub-class transport (ref: Delta economy (cc: HR Rep w/attached form 774 – Request for Hazard Pay)).

    Distributions this year are at subdued level with badge ribbons reading “WRONGFAN HAVING WRONGFUN”.

    Request for flyers is regretfully denied because… printer died? Yeah, my printer died. Flyer production/distribution has been handed off to ELE Faceless Minion #3030 (IntSecRef decode – Earl from the Loading Dock). I realize that past interactions with FM #3030 (ref: HR complaint – Stealing my pizza from the break room refrigerator!) seem negative, but the past is the past and we must move forward. I am sure that he is up to the task and any potential blowback.

    Will observe subject 10 Pounds of Bull in a Five Pound Sack (IntSecRef decode – Mary Robinette Kowal) for potential future operations.

    Will update as possible,

    Your most humble and obedient servant,

    Faceless Minion #6969

  5. “-The box marked “Tea set, dining room” SHOULD of course go to the files and financial stuff room. OF COURSE.”
    How were the movers supposed to know which room was the dining room if the furniture wasn’t in yet?

  6. We woke up to the dulcet beep, beep, beep of the computer power supplies warning us electricity was out.

    You probably need to insist Dan check the DiLithium crystals.

  7. I’ve heard many a horror story about big interstate moving companies who are required to be licensed federally. You’d think that would help, but all it really does is eliminate competition.
    Folks who failed to check out the reputation of a company would find their household goods held for ransom until they paid a “service charge” that could be two or three times the agreed to original fee.
    I think it got so bad and so well documented that they were forced to clean up their act to a degree, but you know the ones on the low end of the curve aren’t hiring people for their intelligence.

  8. “One wonders what would happen if a RATIONAL moving company appeared. And yeah, this is the best we’ve ever had…”

    Having spent the summer after I graduated HS working for a moving company (“This is why you will graduate college!”), I can tell you what the main problem is. While the driver (for long distance moves using a semi anyway) needs to have the minimum intelligence needed to get a CDL, the only qualifications required to load/unload the trucks are either being young enough to think your back is indestructible or desperate enough not to care. You’ll note that having a room temperature (Celsius) IQ or being able and willing to read are not listed above.

    In addition, if the labor is being paid a flat rate instead of hourly (dunno what’s the norm out your way; my dad mostly did east of the Mississippi when he was driving for Mayflower.); the only thing most of them are going to care about is moving stuff as fast as possible so they can start converting their pay into used beer. Dad occasionally had problems with people trying to un/load faster than he could inventory it leading to him having to search the heaps of boxes for unaccounted items to confirm everything that was supposed to be there was and that everything that was supposed to stay on the truck stayed.

    • Last move (from apt to storage unit I was only going to need for six months – that was 2008. I’m still using it.) I had to take over re-labeling and numbering the boxes, because the [censored] incompetent fool of a “crew boss” couldn’t keep track of numbers and refused to accept the large words like “Books – office” and “dishes – fragile – kitchen” as labels on the boxes. And then they broke one of the bookcases Dad Red had built. Broke solid red oak. From then on I’ve moved my stuff, first from storage to Schloss Red, and then in part to Redquarters and part back into the same storage unit.

      • Last move I made, my only four-wheeled vehicle was a Triumph Spitfire. With the top down and some strategically placed blankets, you *can* move furniture and ceiling-height shelves in a two seater sports car…

      • I hope you demonstrated how tough that oak was on the crew bosses head then.

        • I got him fired. Him and his #2. The gal on the crew had it together and was the only useful one of the batch, so she got bumped to crew boss and apparently did a good job of it.

  9. I hate, loathe, and abominate moving. It’s right up there with going to the dentist. Which brings me to the realization that in the last forty years I have not taken myself to the dentist even once (haven’t gone since Cedar was two weeks old, though I DID take the kids periodically), but we have moved twenty times (if I haven’t forgotten any, and counting four months living out of a vehicle as a house). The longest I’ve ever lived in one house was the twelve years that we were in Cedar’s dad’s old house in New Hampshire.

    So I guess I must hate the dentist considerably more than moving….

    • I’d avoided dentists for forty years, until a wisdom tooth had to come out a couple of years ago. Modern dentistry is *way* different than the Comfy Chair, rubber chocks, and the spit sink. Didn’t feel a thing, and the dentist had all kinds of fancy stuff, like digital X-rays (no film!) and a big monitor right there by the chair.

      • Ayup — my dentist uses a micro-camera on a wand to “film” my mouth interior and can even store it digitally on their computer. On the rare occasion a crown is required they have a 3D printer/milling machine able to produce it while I wait.

      • I’ve been at large since 9/11. I had an appointment, cancelled it, haven’t gone back except for two emergencies.

        • I have some medium awful teeth (bad choice of parents) and had gum disease with attendant surgery 25 years ago. I have to go back regularly, but I got a lead on a really good dentist after my first dentist up here sold his practice to a jerk. Really Good Dentist is a keeper, with a great hygienist and with a second dentist in the practice good at emergency work.

          • Missed saying this; small cities have a potent word-of-mouth referral system. It helps a lot. (Pun unintended. Really!)

            • Aye. I heard nothing but good things about one place in town and after years (and years and years…) went to see a dentist, that one. He denies it’s Star Trek, but compared the medieval torturers masquerading as physicians I encountered in the 1970’s, it’s close enough. Alright, it’s not “wave a buzzing cylinder around all is dealt with” but it’s not “This will sting a bit, like mosquito bite” but only if it’s some sort of evil hyper-nasty robosquito and then the anesthetic so administered only almost works. Now there this water-pulse (and who knows what else) setup that numbs enough I’ve actually turned down the offers of chemical anesthesia. I would NOT have predicted that.

              • I have memories of one hygienist who was doing root planing. I made some joke about falling asleep while she was working. She wasn’t joking when she said that wouldn’t happen. Never saw her again, perhaps Dr. Mengele needed an assistant.

      • Had to have teeth pulled in the Philippines – was fortunate enough to have had a good dentist that other than feeling her pulling I was in no pain – to her shock I fell asleep on the chair while she wrestled with a molar. Lately, am dealing with two root canals. The dentist we go to is good; I felt nothing. RES’ dentist sounds fancy!

        • Dentists don’t like to give me enough Novocaine to make it painless. My good dentist made it less than excruciating, although the root canal was pushing the borders. But I’m really sensitive, and resistant to the drugs.

        • I will allow I’ve had traumatic dental experiences. There was the impacted wisdom tooth removal in which an infection got into the muscle of the jaw, causing it to clamp so tightly that I couldn’t slip a Necco wafer between my teeth. That lasted for two weeks of migraine-level pain and left me at 135 pounds on a six foot frame. For years afterward I required
          “nitrous” for any procedure more intrusive than a teeth cleaning.

          That was cured by an emergency root canal. I had several “milk teeth” with no replacements, each of which took root and each of which has required subsequent strong actions. This particular one was “discovered” when the dentists was unable to numb it sufficiently for a filling, determined the tooth had gone and packed me off to the oral surgeon for emergency root canal. At the oral surgeon’s I was unpacked, put on gas … and subsequently forgotten. What followed was several of the most relaxing hours I have ever enjoyed, breathing anesthetic while reading a Travis McGee novel. Fortunately for all concerned, a dental assistant discovering me in a presumably empty “theatre” alerted the surgeon to the need for attention t details.

          I can truthfully claim to be among the few people to have ever enjoyed a root canal.

          • A dentist I had in NY (the neighborhood was packed with them–I assume the competition was fierce) had as a motto and policy: We cater to cowards! I was never on nitrous or unconscious, but I got as many shots as I needed to become numb. Dentist said the more shots I needed, the more likely the tooth was dying.

          • RES, that’s horrible! The worst issue we had with a dentist was with Juniper, my mentally handicapped youngest. She has to be put out for dental work, and the last time she saw a dentist, he forgot to remove one of the toothed spacers he was using in the back of her mouth to keep her mouth open while he worked. She doesn’t communicate very well; she suffered through two days of being unable to eat or drink anything while we tried to figure out what was going on. Finally discovered the device, with sharp metal prongs holding it to her gums, called the dentist, decided we’d try to get it out ourselves since it was late at night, and her dad managed to get it out with his leatherman (he spread the prongs). The poor dentist was afraid we were going to sue him. Thing is, if she had been able to talk, we’d have gotten it out a lot sooner — I felt so bad for her, suffering through that and unable to tell us what was going on.

          • Getting the wisdom teeth out was not in itself bad — a combination of novacaine and sedation — I remember floating out twice to answer a question with “yeah, doing fine” — but it was a nasty impaction, and my industrial strength drugs were on a self-enforcing schedule for a couple days. (It’s 3 in the morning! Time to take your pain killer!)

            AND — everyone else came down with the flu, so I was the healthiest person in the household, and then I came down with it. My oral surgeon was not pleased with healing when I got the stitches out.

          • When I needed my wisdom teeth removed, my “we cater to cowards” dentist—who was great!—looked at the XRays and said that I should really have the extraction done by the Oral Surgeon.

            They put me on Nitrous, then gave Novocaine (or equivalent), then started work. Part-way through removing the first wisdom tooth, the Oral Surgeon had her assistant call out to the front desk to “cancel all the rest of my procedures for the evening.” It was about 18:30… so that was _not_ what I needed to hear.

            Later on, through a rather drugged haze, I heard the oral surgeon tell the assistant “Give me the number 12.” That didn’t sound too bad, until the assistant responded by saying “Oh dear!” and then had to root through one of the drawers because that particular tool was not on the usual list of necessary supplies. Trust me: “Oh dear!” is NOT something you want to hear from a surgical assistant!

            They got my wisdom teeth out with a minimum of pain (mostly due to moby drugs), in about 3 ½ hours. When we stopped by the pharmacy to pick up the prescribed pain killers, my wife had to come out to the car to bring me in so I could show ID **in person** before they’d fill the order for the pain killers.

            According to my memory, the next four days never happened. My wife tells me that on day two I called her over in great excitement, and told her I’d made a HUGE discovery that would make us RICH! When she asked me what it was, I had her bend close and whispered… “The walls… Meet in the corners… By the ceiling!” I don’t remember this, but it seems perfectly plausible given the drugs.

            • The only real “interesting” statements between the dentist and the assistant I remember was while getting a filing, “Give me a big glob of that goop. More… no, more… he’s got REALLY big teeth.”

              Although having his pliers slip while trying to pull a couple of teeth was also an interesting experience. Fortunately, he didn’t smack my upper teeth with it when that happened.

              • Broke a First Bicuspid (the one with the Looong root) early this year, and had to have it removed in an emergency. My teeth look a wreck. I inherited brittle crowns from Mom, and would have done more work last year (implants were the plan until the announced shutdown/move delayed that), but anyway, the lady dentist thought it’d come easy (hey, look at how bad things are, they must be ready to fall out right?) and the small broken part did . . . sorta. the little bit of it still attached to the gum really didn’t want to let go, The rest still attached to the root? About an hour and a half of the assistant holding my head in place and the dentist punching me in the face cutting gum away, grinding a foothold for the pliers, pulling, chip, slip, repeat.
                She said that it was one of the hardest extractions she did, and I definitely do not have gum disease. Those teeth are very attached to the skull. Took long enough she had to reshoot me, and it took more than the usual amount of Novocaine to start with. Normally I can get the normal amount and not be bothered in the least. The first set of shots she didn’t really believe i could still feel, but a test pull on the small bit showed otherwise, and they used something needing a bigger needle, and it affected my eye slightly, yet after an hour it was wearing off so boosters were done.

    • I went after a ten year break and when I told the dentists I saw the “new boat” look in his eyes.

      Some x-rays and an exam later he told me I needed a deep cleaning and the fillings the Navy put in 20 years earlier were starting to leak and would need to be replaced in the next couple of years. He said the latter was normal.

      I did feel bad about his boat.

      • Well, i went to the dentist who told me I needed my filling replaced.

        I have to admit the one that had obviously broken into four separate chunks was pretty persuasive.

  10. ‘S OK Sarah. My alarm went off this AM and I was still dreaming, misjudged things and tripped over the cat ramp (plywood and pieces of 2X6 with carpet on the top). Bruised my leg, scraped hide off my shin and thought I’d sprained my wrist (just banged it really well). Then the lightbulb in my closet burned out. I was almost scared to touch the computer for fear of it doing something wonky.

    • My morning was bruise-free, but it involved getting to the doc’s office for an appointment 20 minutes before it opened. First one in the door, and it still took them 20 minutes to get from the paperwork to calling us back, and then 47 minutes for the nurse to come in for 3 minutes to check the paperwork, then 32 more minutes before the doctor appeared to do the necessary. Not that I was timing them or anything.

      • Not that I was timing them or anything.

        No, of course not. 😉

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        A couple years back, I had to take Mom in for a check-up with a new doctor.

        While we got to the exam room quickly, after a half hour (or more) waiting for him to show up, I started standing right out side the exam room.

        I suspect that the nurses saw how annoyed I was even though I was polite to them.

        Mind, it was a case where the clinic was very very busy that day and it was unusual to wait that long.

  11. Heh. My wife has quite a few stories about this, and I, and our family and friends, were the movers. After dropping our too young to help kids at her mother’s, she returned to find half the house already moved, which wouldn’t be bad except she was going to coordinate things, and we coordinated things about like you’d expect: We set things where we thought best (ie, closest point inside the doors) before going back for another load.

    We had everything moved before lunch. It took a good deal longer for my wife to get things sorted out.

  12. scott2harrison

    Last time I moved, I had packers. I think that the company just hired them on a street corner, at least one of them was a thief and they were generally not very satisfactory. Should I ever move again, at the first sign of a problem with one of the company people, they are going to be out of there.

  13. I have wondered for some years about a (so far as I know) fantasy moving company, geared to the wealthy. You get their software, do a quick run through on what goes where in your new floor plan, turn it in, and go on vacation. The company does the rest, right down to putting the books on the shelves according to library standards (Dewy or Library of Congress, your choice).

    I can’t imagine people like Bill Gates do their own moving, but I’ve never heard of such a company.

    Has anyone else?

    • The rich probably get new furnishings to go with the new house. A few small boxes of personal effects and clothes that are shipped from one place to another would probably be all.

  14. Sarah, there are many thrift stores that can sell you a nice table. You needn’t use your laundry

  15. In last 6 years, I have moved 6 times. Did all myself cuz I’m an untrusting sob. It sucks

  16. My experiences in 13 moves since 1980 can be condensed into a few maxims:

    (Just like with kids) No matter how closely you monitor your mover, as soon as your back is turned or you are distracted for less than 30 seconds they will do something irreparably stupid.

    If you pack your own boxes you throw out more stuff before you move. But you still can’t find all the stuff you packed.

    Don’t open any boxes you don’t have to, then they are already packed for the next move! After that move, its like Christmas when you find out what’s really in that previously unopened box (maybe the label was from a previous move).

    • Number all the boxes. Tick them off at the new house. And don’t let the movers leave until someone at “the warehouse” or “the other truck” produces any missing items. Because once they roll, good luck locating them again…

  17. Two moving adventures for us. In 2000, Julie moved in and we contacted a “low cost” moving company to take the self-packed boxes to my house. They blew us off the day of the move, and we rented a crappy U-haul from the mini-mart down the road. As it turns out, that company built a horrible reputation, and we were actually quite lucky.

    In 2003, we escaped Silicon Valley (Worldcon 2018 is in San Jose?! I pity the fools.) to move to rural Oregon. We had 2.5 weeks from accepting the offer to get out of the house, so we scrambled. Rented 3 storage units and a Ryder box truck. Lots of trips to disposition the stuff, everything a blur.

    After the deal was complete, we shelved the idea of doing multiple trips to Oregon, and had Mayflower do the house stuff. My shop contents were in the third storage unit, and I really didn’t want to have others mess with it. ‘Sides, I really didn’t want to explain why the ammo cans were so heavy…

    Loading was good; I drove down to oversee and to pick up one of the more awkward machine tools. The local crew in Oregon was in a hurry for beer, and they ended up putting the vast majority in the living room. Julie put her foot down when they tried to stick the couch on end with the boxes… I didn’t do the inventory, but only one box never showed, and that Tupperware might have gone to charity. If not there, it went to Seattle.

    Doing the shop stuff was less nervewracking, especially since I knew which ammo cans held the .45 ACP. There’s one stretch on I-5 that gives me the willies (the bridge at Lake Shasta’s Turntable Bay), but it was OK, and the final trip to get the last of the tools was a breeze. All the storage units were on the “first 90 days is cheap” plan, and we were out in 60, so that worked out fine.

    Eventually, we’ll have to move to a smaller place; too many acres to take care of. By then, we’ll not be very interested in moving the boxes ourselves.

    • I knew which ammo cans held the .45 ACP.

      You packed Arroz con Pollo in ammo cans?

    • There is no storage here. Oh, there are a TON of storage businesses, but even my now former land-lady’s unadvertised, unlisted set of units in middle of nowhere is full (you had to drive by them to know they were there and get the phone number). The chemical engineer who moved from Texas just before I did is renting in Green Bay, and paying a ridiculous amount a month for a climate controlled unit and got lucky to get that.

    • > blew us off

      See also: plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cable TV technicians, roofers.

      “Maybe you’re finding times are hard because you suck at being businessmen.”

      • “Maybe you’re finding times are hard because you suck at being businessmen.”

        This is true of an appalling number of small tradespeople, as you’ve listed. If only there were some form of training to such people, to help them better understand that their job, like that of an author, not only involves performing certain tasks but performing those tasks in a professional manner in a way such that customers do no dread having you back. Something like trade schools (perhaps occupying the last two years of K-12 education for those not gong into deep debt for a college degree in obstreperous uselessness) or apprenticeships to experienced tradespersons?

        These days it seems many such tradespeople have learned to resent those who give them an opportunity to earn their living, plying the trade they’ve wrked so hard to perfect. Why, I’ve even heard that some authors despise the readers of their books, presuming it is the purpose of a reader to appreciate the intricacies of skills writers employ rather than pursue a few hours mere diversion from their mundane lives.

    • > storage units

      There are probably ten of those within a ten mile radius of my house. On trips, my wife and I make a game of spotting them. They range from half a dozen closets in a steel building to (a couple of towns over) a converted indoor mall which boasts air-conditioned storage.

      A friend lives in a very rural area. Someone down the road put up an 80-unit storage lot. When I made a comment about it, he said every bay had been pre-rented before the place was finished.

      “The mind, she boggle.”

      Another friend rented a 10×30 unit for just under $100/mo. He stopped by one day when we were out running around. It contained a chair, an old tire, and a couple of boxes of records. Since he had two storage buildings at his house, one of which was empty (I’d helped clean it out…), *and* he was in fairly dire financial straits, I asked why he was renting spending the money. He got very defensive and a bit hostile.

      That sort of thing is why I don’t write fiction. I have *no clue* what goes on in most people’s heads…

      • We get a lot of retirees from California and Washington, but usually of modest means. (Those with more money go west of the Cascades.) I’ve been told by the people at our mail drop/storage place that frequently a unit is rented when folks move up here, (presumably into a smallish house or apartment) and not cleared until they die.

        Our shipping/storage place is doubling its capacity.

  18. A bunch of miscellaneous unsorted laundry is “Sarah’s bedside table.”

    Reminds me of college.

  19. James Schardt

    Ah, you experienced the American branch of the Drei Stooges Moving we had leaving Germany. Good to see a company so incompetent going so strong after all these years.

    • You had them too? Finally showed up at 2100 to start packing us out after not showing the first two times they were scheduled, and were there until the wee small hours. Got back to the States to discover that they had not merely pulled the usual sort of nonsense such as packing full cans of garbage, but had broken half our stuff and stolen everything that looked semi-valuable (some of which we didn’t discover until a year later when we finally got into a real house and the larger items came out of non-temp storage).

      Then their US franchise picked up where they’d left off when it was time to unpack us. Those clowns got angry when told the contract payment included actually unpacking the boxes and putting things away (I was stuck on my own that move without friends or family in the area and a spouse a month behind me, so I actually needed the service for a change), stated that meant they only had to unpack it onto the nearest flat surface and proceeded to dump all my earthly belongings onto my living room floor in a pile and left.

      Pretty sure that was also the move where we opened a closed cigar box, that was sealed in another box with some other mementos, to discover the body of a mummified frog, which I’ve been scratching my head over for nearly 20 years now.

      Seven official military moves (not counting the DITYs) and that one won the award for most incompetent service ever.

      • We moved every couple of years when I was growing up. My Mom carefully packed everything each time… and bought all new stuff at each new house.

        When she passed away 20 years after the last move, every closet was filled with taped-up boxes, some of which dated back to the mid-1960s.

        • We finally sucked it up and unpacked most of the sealed boxes that had travelled around the world about 5 years after we got into the ‘forever’ house. But I would not swear even now that there aren’t a few still tucked away in a corner of the attic. Right next to the trunk full of music books that have sat the since the first time I graduated college with the full realization that I despised teaching and would starve to death before going into the public school system.

  20. Imagine the worst.

  21. I got over on the movers when I had to leave Omaha for Portland.

    Since most of my stuff is reasonably rectangular, and not easily broken, I put it in boxes, and availed myself of UPS’s “pick up at home” and “ship via slow boat through China” options. The movers only got to deal with Furniture — which, according to the movers I know is The World’s Biggest Pain-In-The-Ass for them.

    Moreover: The cost for the movers to move *everything* was $4,000; the cost for UPS to move the boxes was $400, plus another $400 for the movers to move the furniture.

    “Looks like we win.” >:)

    • Last time I moved I 90% of what I owned was books. I didn’t bother to move furniture; unlike many people, I figure it’s easier to abandon the old stuff and buy new furniture from Goodwill or a flea market.

      Now… I got the big grinder into place years ago, but I’d have to hire riggers to move it out. It weighs around three thousand pounds. And it’s not the only big machine.

      • One of the reasons why I don’t own a Bridgeport. I can move the Mill-Drill and the 12″ Atlas lathe with an engine hoist. Everything else is a little bit easier to move.

        • Yeah, a Bridgeport is a rascal to move. And then there were the injection molders. A not-too-small Arburg and a will-that-even-fit-in-there Battenfeldt. By comparison, the household stuff was easy. Still annoying, but not terribly difficult.

        • The word “Atlas” sends the denizens of into paroxysms of outrage, but my 10×52 has made a lot of money for me over the years.

          I’ve thought about buying a Monarch badge off eBay and putting it on the lathe, then putting a picture of it in my tagline, just to tweak them a bit.

      • I think only 60% of what I moved was books – but some of the remainder consisted of unopened boxes from two moves earlier.

      • Feather Blade

        unlike many people, I figure it’s easier to abandon the old stuff and buy new furniture from Goodwill or a flea market.

        We learned this one moving from the West to Mordor-on-the-Potomac.

        Though to be fair, most of the furniture we abandoned prior to the return trip had to be discarded because it was infested with bedbugs.

    • Sounds like a variant of the TRX Travel System: “Never carry what you can ship ahead…”

      I’d be a flashing beacon to the “security” bozos at border crossings.

      “You’re planning to stay in our country for two weeks, yet you only brought one pair of underwear?”

      “I’m wearing one and that’s for emergencies. Why, don’t stores sell underwear in your country?”

  22. I’ve never had the joy of having movers besides self to learn the wonderful things you had to share …

  23. Yep, this sounds about right. Movers everywhere employ creative labeling on the front end, which leads to the movers on the back end using intuition or a broken decoder ring to figure out where things go. Our current move has been relatively uneventful (storage and air freight successfully delivered), but we’re still waiting on the large shipment that’s coming on the slow boat.

  24. Someday someone is gonna invent a robot that’s simply a pair of legs that can navigate any kind of stairs with a flat platform on top, and they’ll revolutionize moving. I’d buy two and use ’em as end tables between moves.

    • Sort of like the mule-dog-robot things the US military has been trying, but smaller and able to do stairs? When done, park, cover with a nice tablecloth, and instant end tables.

      • Precisely. As the owner of more books than good sense would warrant I hope science makes it happen before I completely destroy my knees in subsequent moves. It’s the stair climbing that gets ya…

        • Tell me about. My friends hated* me for days after helping me move, as all the books had to go down to the basement – and that was with moving over half the books myself before they arrived to help. This is one of the reasons I love ebooks these days.

          * Complained at would be more accurate.

          • I helped move a couple – both grad students – out of a basement apartment. A deep basement apartment. At least the guy had been Army logistics and had everything staged for the truck before we got there.

      • Ever see one of those stair-capable wheelchairs? They used triangular tracks that look like they came off some kind of moonbuggy.

        Get one of those from eBay or Craigslist, saw the seatback off, and there’s your complete moving chassis, ready to go. All you need is the computer and sensors… and the software for that sort of thing could be adapted from one of the open-source “battlebot” packages.

        Heck, you could probably do it with an Arduino if all you wanted for was it to follow you around. That’d probably cost around $100 by the time you got the computer, all the sensors, and assorted doodads.

        Extra points if they go “quack!” while following you around…

    • Or stick a glass, wood, etc. tabletop across a pair of them and use as a coffee table. Depending upon size, perhaps even a dining room table?

  25. Chris Nelson

    My place of employment moved recently. Some observations:

    Moves almost always take place in the worst weather. July and August in Texas especially.

    Not matter how many notices are sent to clients and remote employees, they don’t care or understand about even a short outage that didn’t even affect their projects.

    The young and able body disappear as soon as their personal equipment is moved. Leaving the older gimps to lug servers and UPS equipment down the stairwell… (Movers don’t touch any equipment deemed essential.)

    New office doesn’t have automatic flush toilets, so folks leave “calling cards”… Memos were sent on how to flush a toilet old school style.

    The folks lucky enough to get offices and not cubicles won the A/C lottery and can hang meat or ski in the said offices. (Us in cubicle land are fine… I wonder what’s going to happen when January arrives.)

    • Trust me, March in Pinedale Wyoming is worse. I mean, there were only about three feet of snow on the driveway, and it was pretty compacted, and the uhaul didn’t qukte get stuck but it was awful close, and we did see highs above zero farenheit . . . I have either been pregnant or had a baby under three months for every move, and we’ve never had money to hire help.

      The definition of a good friend is the guy who helped you move the piano last time who drives three hours to Pinedale in March to help you move it again.

    • > New office doesn’t have automatic flush
      > toilets, so folks leave “calling cards”…

      At an IT job with a hospital affiliate, there was the “Mad Pisser.” Countertops, the mirror behind the sink, toilet rolls, towel dispenser, floor…

      One day all the techs were out on assignment. The only two males in the building were the Director of Information Services (who insisted on being called “Doctor”) and myself.

      So, shortly before lunch, I met him coming out of the bathroom as I’m going in. And there’s fresh urine all over the walls.

      The “I just got away with something” smirk

      Back in the 1980s I read an article about vandalism at roadside rest stops. They had set up hidden cameras to watch. They’d expected the damage to come primarily from thugs and gangbangers. They found some, but the worst damage came from “respectable” people who thought they were unobserved. Women and senior citizens were amply represented among the vandals.

  26. BTW, have people run across this?

    In plain English, the courts have held that an American citizen child, in public schools, can’t be forced to pledge or salute an American flag — but can be forced to do both to the Mexican flag.

      • I think the problem is that most Americans these days aren’t employing sufficient violence, or non-explicit threat thereof, to keep government officials in check. Back before the War of Independence, craziness like this would get the offending officials burned or hanged in effigy, run out town on a rail, tarred and feathered, etc. Government officials proved much more tractable with the proper incentives. Of course, George III did send troops when he got sufficiently fed up, but that’s a mere detail.

        • There is a simple solution to such demands, although it would be the rare High School student who could deploy the Socratic questioning to get there.

          Student: Please, teacher, what is the instructional purpose of this assignment?

          Teacher: To teach Spanish language and to give students the “cultural” experience of imitating another nation’s pledge.

          Student: Is our pledging of allegiance in any way binding?

          Branch A:

          Teacher: Of course not.

          Student: Isn’t it culturally insensitive for us to mock the Mexicans’ pledge to their flag?

          Branch B:

          Teacher: Yes, that is its instructional purpose, to enable you to understand the feelings of Mexicans.

          Student: Doesn’t that conflict with America’s Oath of Citizenship, requiring us to “entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty”? Wouldn’t such a pledge to the Mexican flag be an empty act, mocking the very real loyalty Mexican citizens feel toward their country?

        • In my old home town (closest one to where we lived), they once beat up the town cop, drove him to the city limits in the patrol car, threw him out, and drove the car back to the station. Of course, in that same town, hotwiring the police car was considered the thing to do when shooting at the traffic light got old.

          Not that I would advocate such a thing . . .

    • Similar to a few years ago, when they held that students could be prohibited from wearing American flag shirts or pins, but Mexican flags were perfectly OK.

      Years ago I read a book (“Company C”?) about an Oklahoma NG tank group sent over for Desert Storm. They were sitting in Saudi waiting to go when word came down that the American flags on the tank turrets had to be painted over because the locals found them “offensive.”

      After the painters left there was a run on flags at the commissary, and the tankers who’d managed to grab one tied them to their radio aerials when they rolled out.

      The rot has been settling in for a long time.

    • Interesting. I knew a few teachers and two others in high school who would not say the pledge to the Texas flag because they felt the wording conflicted with their military oaths and the US pledge. That I can understand and live with. being required to pledge to a foreign power? Nope. Say the US pledge in Spanish. That’s what my high school Spanish classes did. And the teacher read us Mitchner (?)’s story about the students who didn’t understand the pledge and the enemy teacher. I’ve never forgotten the lesson, either of them.

      • What was the title of the Michener story? I’d love to read it.

        • I was close – (both authors wrote long books set in Asia/Pacific). It is James Clavell’s “The Children’s Story.”
          Interestingly, Yahoo’s search engine couldn’t find it. G00gle hit it as the second entry. It’s not “out of print” and you can buy a bound version from Random Penguin. Señora Roberts read it aloud in class when I was in the 9th grade and it spooked me. Then we learned the Pledge in Spanish. Reading the beginning paragraphs of the PDF made my hair curl all over again.

          • Free Range Oyster

            *shudder* I feel sick. Thank you for sharing that, but… I actually feel sick now.

          • The bit about the prayers isn’t fiction, though. Aaron Chazan, in Deep in the Russian Night records that early in the Soviet era this was actually done. (He writes that raising religious children was easier a generation later, when the schools merely ignored God rather than propagandizing against Him.)

            • My mother said that in the late 1950s a refugee from Bulgaria or Romania talked to her grade-school class and described how they had poor, hungry students pray to “Father G-d.” Nothing happened. They prayed to “Father Stalin” and they were given fresh-baked sweet buns and other food.

      • I went into the first grade and everyone already knew the Pledge, apparently from kindergarten. I didn’t know the words, which the teacher couldn’t believe, and treated me like I was some kind of troublemaker. So I stood up and did the best I could:

        “apejaleja toodafah, d’yoonotuh staysa meca…”

        Which was all I could get out of the mumblings of the rest of the class. It wasn’t until the fifth or sixth grade that I encountered the Pledge in a book and made the connection to the nonsense syllables.

        From both the propaganda and indoctrination fronts, the four school systems I’d been in to that point had been miserable failures…

        The first grade was the same California school that tried to teach us that the Pilgrims discovered America.

        Every now and then I come across people who believe some truly batshit things. And I try to cut them a bit of slack, because it might have been taught to them when they were too young to know any better. And they’re damnably resistant to unlearning, no matter how ridiculous their misinformation is.

        • The only beliefs that I’m resistant to change are matters of faith and stuff my parents taught me.

  27. My second-best move ever was with an interstate company — Atlas Movers. (I was moving in with my parents, from Chicago to NYC, when I lost my job, immediately got a short-term contract ending the same day as my lease, and suddenly realized I was homesick for NYC. My parents were empty-nesting in a large house and encouraged me to move back; in fact, they paid for the move, and since Dad worked for a company which did a lot of business with Atlas Movers, he got the corporate rate.)

    The boxes were bedroom #1, bedroom #2, and storage, and they all wound up in the appropriate places. The stuff being left behind for the thrift store was left behind for the thrift store. The desk I wanted trashed (it was annoying to use, plus heavy and brittle) was *cheerfully* ripped into pieces and tossed into the dumpster. (Cheerfully because I greenlighted just ripping it into pieces in my apartment – they asked, the landlord was starting work on it tomorrow anyway, so I okayed it.)

    The absolute best move I’ve ever had was handled by my landlord / property management company; the two-bedroom air conditioned apartment I’d leased was at the very last moment unavailable because the previous tenant (who hadn’t renewed the lease) refused to vacate at the last minute, and it took the landlord months to get her out, and they’d signed a contract with me promising it to me, and they didn’t have either a two-bedroom or an air conditioned (in a Chicago suburb in the summer) apartment to offer me while waiting. I stayed in a one-bedroom apartment for a couple months, with lots of fans, and when they evicted her the property manager came with a pickup and brought all my stuff (and I had LOTS of books) over to the other apartment. I had been living out of boxes mostly, and I did do a quick round of repacking, but she handled everything else — she directed the movers (well, moving crew; I think she drafted their maintenance people rather than finding movers), she found and brought the stuff that I hadn’t found time to pack, etc. Pretty much all I did was tell people hands off the computer and move it and a suitcase full of stuff I didn’t want to lose track. She kept track of what room stuff had come from and directed it into the equivalent room in the other apartment, except for the futon in the living room which she had put in the second bedroom, so I didn’t even have to give orders, though I think I was consulted a few times. It was *nice*.

    • This points to a fact often overlooked amongst such discussions: for must such affairs it is a one-time transaction rather than a long-term relationship. You will never see those movers again and so they’ve scant cause to worry about giving good service.

      Imagine how restaurants would be if there was never any anticipation of continued business.

      The existence of the Interwebz and such BBs as Angies’ List has likely done much to improve customer service in a wealth of similar enterprises where “One and Done” has tended to prevail.

      • Angie’s List is also a dead tree magazine.

      • Our most recent move was a corporate thing — new job across the country; employer paid (up to a fixed limit) for the move.

        Most of the movers demonstrated a level of competence quite similar to the bad examples posted above. There were two of the packing crew who were really good: the truck driver and the crew chief. All the rest needed to study up to achieve a room-temperature IQ.

        On the other hand, the corporate relocation company went above and beyond to make everything good. They extracted $$ from the movers to repair our dining table. (Yes. The movers BROKE our dining table! Snapped multiple-inch-thick solid teak into two pieces. Don’t ask me how; I just boggle at the idea.) They also extracted a significant refund for services promised but not performed.

        Another example: We’ve been unpacking for the past ~year. We’ve unpacked everything labelled as “Kitchen” and have yet to find our pots and pans. All boxes were numbered & inventoried. All boxes indeed arrived. So those pots and pans are in some box that isn’t a “Kitchen” thing. The relocation company simply bought us a mid-quality pots-and-pans set, and told us to “give it to Goodwill when yours finally turn up.”

        The key concept here is ongoing relationships. (A) My employer has an ongoing relationship with the corporate relocation company. They need to keep us happy, or they lose the business. (B) The relocation company has an ongoing relationship with the moving company. It the movers screw up too badly, it reflects on the relocation folks, at which point see (A).

        I shudder to think what the move would have been like without the relocation folks.

    • I’ll second the Kudos for Atlas. My last move was a corporate relocation which involved a couple of months of temporary housing. The Atlas guys showed up, packed everything except the one bedroom I told them not to open (containing computers, cats, and other things I’d need in the temporary housing), stored it for two and a half months, and then cheerfully unloaded it all into the new two story house. First thing they unloaded was a chair for me to sit on with my clipboard and itemized list of things that were loaded. My total responsibility was to check off each numbered box and tell them which room to put it in. Once the truck was unloaded we did an inspection of the house and a rearrangement of furniture as needed. A few weeks later I called them up and they picked up all the emptied boxes and packing materials. The only things missing / damaged was one of the four plastic pads off the feet of my tablesaw, and a 15 year old rusted out BBQ that should have gone in the dumpster before I moved.

  28. I’m torn: It’s frightfully selfish of me to wish on the Hoyts the kind of life events that cause Mrs. Hoyt to make posts like this one. Or that post on what may be learned from Brasillian soap operas…

    So I won’t.

    But thanks for the laughs!