Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The big "little" move

I need to write myself some “tips” for next time because I'm sure I'll forget what I've learned in this move.

  • Get a bazillion boxes and pack everything and tape them closed (because the kids will pull stuff out if you don't) Don't leave any basket unpacked because the kids will get into it.  If you can though pack the stuff already organized.
  • Pre-make gf foods so that meals are easy and/or buy convenience foods and easy snacks.
  • Take down the pictures and wall hangings as one of the FIRST things instead of the last and wrap them in towels and blankets and tape it all down so they are protected and now the walls are ready to be cleaned and nail holes fixed.  Don't let other people help you pack unless you know them really really well.
  • Do a deep “spring cleaning” in the weeks BEFORE you move so that when you go to clean it at the very end it won't take as long!
  • It's hard to know what to leave out and what to pack so think of it in a reverse way... “Pack” as if you are going somewhere.. what are the basics of what you need for a week or two? Now really pack everything else and leave that bit out.
  • Tape colored paper onto the boxes and have a “key” that shows which color goes into which room (green for kitchen, blue for bedroom, pink for girls room, etc.)  Writing doesn't work as well because you can't see it as clearly.
  • Plan to have people come and move all the boxes in one big go instead of trying to do the layer moving.... because that's what your husband would rather do.
     Also, don't keep any sharp-edged furniture near a place where the kids play!

    And now the long version of our move for those people that like too much detail.  ;)

    It was a beautiful Thursday, sunny and not to hot or cold. The manager at our apartments thought she'd be able to get us the keys that night instead of the next morning. Yay! I'd finally get to see the new place and do some prep-work to get it ready for us to move in (you know, putting in shelf paper in the kitchen and cleaning those spots that they missed.) The kids were abnormally clingy that day and the baby wouldn't let me do anything without holding her, but I managed to pack more stuff from the upstairs and bring it down to the dinning room so it would be ready to move to the car. That night comes and I'm totally worn out and an emotional wreck (not exactly sure why... pms? Just the usual depression of missing my home and family? Not enough sleep? Or all three?) Anyway, when they said they couldn't give me the keys early it was a little disappointing, but then it wasn't just that they couldn't give them to me early, they were now going to have to give the keys to me at the END of Friday. We were having some guys come that Friday night to move the super heavy stuff (like my piano and wardrobe) because it was the only day they could make it work. So, any prep-time I had to move things and clean and all was gone. On Friday afternoon (while the baby slept) I was able to get the landrover cleaned out and the seats all down (car-seats and boosters out of the way) and got it half loaded. Then (while the babe was still sleeping) somehow the girls went from quietly watching a show to playing (aka pushing) and then Lily is screaming with her head down on the side of the coffee table with her legs on the couch and Renna looking guilty. Note to self-- never leave wood furniture with square edges by the couch.. or bed... or really any place in the house where the kids might fall and gash their head open. Yeah, she had a cut above her eye and it was bleeding a little too much and it was a little too open to not need stitches. My car was incapacitated at the moment (I would have had to unload it by quite a bit and then put the seats back in.) Plus the baby woke up because she heard Lily's very loud crying (so she was cranky and wanted help going back to sleep.) So, there we were. Lily laying on the couch patched up as best as I could do. Renna feeling sensitive because she'd gotten in trouble for pushing her sister. Me holding the sleeping baby and it was about 4 pm. The guys were coming at about 6 and then the manager called to tell us that she had the keys for us. … yay...

    I was texting Youssef who came home early to take Lily to the hospital for me and he was getting more and more anxious and stressed every second. I managed to finish packing the Landrover (which was pretty necessary as all the stuff was blocking the furniture that the guys were going to move!) And then went over to the new apartment to see it for the first time. On the way there, the guys that were supposed to set up our internet (that Youssef was so “on the ball” about getting scheduled as soon as possible) said that they'd been waiting for quite a while. So, Renna and Grace and I had to hang out at the new place while they tried to set up the internet. I did a few bits of cleaning while I was there and just got a feel for what was different about it (same layout, but 10 square ft bigger) and was pleasantly surprised to see a few extra shelves here and a few extra inches there. Getting to see the place was helpful in knowing where I wanted to put stuff. The internet couldn't be set up though because they thought the cable must have broken somewhere between the outside box and the connection inside. So, internet was off until the next Thursday when someone could come and fix that.

    At this point, Youssef is still gone with Lily as she gets 5 stitches and I am having to make dinner for the two little ones and myself (I was SO thankful that I'd gotten gluten free mac&cheese!) It was getting close to the time when the three guys were going to show up and I hadn't heard from Youssef yet and didn't know when he'd be home. My piano HAD to have at least four guys to move it and I didn't know who else to call or ask to come over. I did end up calling a friend to see if her husband could make it, but they were on their way to a meeting and couldn't send him. They gave me the number of another friend (I didn't have internet so couldn't find some of these connections myself since I don't normally call these people.) But I was able to get a hold of Youssef and found out that they were on their way back home so I didn't need to call anyone else. The guys showed up before Youssef did, but they were able to take my wardrobe out with just the three of them and Youssef and Lily showed up before they'd gotten it all the way down the stairs. Lily was a trooper, but it was NOT fun for her of course to get the stitches! And we had a time keeping her less active (no running, no pushing!) so she wouldn't bonk it and open it up again.

    Anyway, by the end of Friday the large furniture was over there and Youssef spent a few more hours moving “his own” stuff. He didn't think my method of filling up the Landrover and then driving it over was as efficient as walking armloads back and forth, so that's what he did. He got a good leg workout and said he was thankful that he didn't have a job in manual labor.

    Saturday morning arrived and we got up early to move the large stuff over first before it was going to rain! Yeah, it was now cold and windy and rain was threatening to come. Mattresses and the other large stuff that had to be walked over needed to go first. I'd built the bunk bed IN the girls room and didn't want to take it all apart so we hoisted it over the half wall in their loft room and lowered it down. This completely freaked Youssef out for some reason, though it worked perfectly well and we didn't drop or scrape anything. It was much faster then trying to take it down the stairs (and actually it wouldn't have fit down the stairs anyway.) When we got to the new place we hoisted it back up the same way (that was a little trickier but we were able to do it with just the two of us.) After that and doing the girls mattresses and taking other two person things over the last thing I had to help with was the queen mattress and I'll tell you what.. my arms weren't working so great at that point. BUT we made it through and none of those things got wet. We were now to the stage were Youssef could unload the Landrover and I could put those things away quickly so that we could go back and pack more and load and unpack (you get the idea.) Youssef called the unpacking/putting away part “digesting”... My job was to “digest” the stuff he brought in. At some point I had to stop to feed the kids, but Youssef didn't stop then and even though we'd had a few offers (from neighbors) to help us move we'd talked about how that wouldn't help because we hadn't finished packing. See, we were packing things at one location and taking it to the new place and unpacking in virtually the same location since the floor plans are almost identical. Takes longer than it would to just move boxes of course, but if you look at the time it takes to organize afterward with the unpacking this was saving me time later. The problem of course is that you have to do most of it yourself since no one can really help pack and organize your own things. We'd talked about it several times though and I thought I'd explained this “layer” way of moving.

    Then to my surprise Youssef comes in with a neighbor (not just any neighbor, but the one that is a little too intense and a little TOO friendly and we find out later she has some boundary issues) and Youssef said that she was helping us move. She was unloading as he spoke so I couldn't really say “oh no thanks we've got it covered” … yeah, so I'm in the new house needing to go to the dollar store to get shelf paper and a stranger is in my old house “packing” by doing things like, pulling out a little scrapbook present that I'd made (that was in a GIFT bag already) and jamming it into a plastic grocery back with my ratty recipe books. She did things like taking my spice rack and dumping it upside down into a bag. Actually, everything that was in a basket (that I'd organized in my kitchen) she turned upside down into bags. See, the layering way of moving is actually easier if you DON'T do stuff like that! I was planning on just taking stuff out of one closet or cupboard and putting it all in the same box or basket and taking it over so that I could just put it right away. As it was I found all of my silverware and utensils and every tiny thing that was in the drawers in my kitchen all jumbled together in a box. So, I had to wash even more things than I'd have needed to. Talk about a full load of dishes with just all the silverware and servings spoons and all? Yeah, not so helpful. I worked on some of that while putting the shelf paper in. At some point during my trying to get the kitchen actually ready to receive the mess that I was being given, the lady's husband came over to “help” too. He was probably more of a help as he seemed to be getting the big stuff instead of trying to pack all the tiny things. We'd talked about another friend coming and probably would have been ready (with boxes and things actually ready to go) but with the two neighbors helping we really had too much “help” but Youssef decided that we needed more help and instead of canceling with this friend he asked him to come over.

    It was pretty clear that the two guys were a bit miffed at how we were moving (I would have been if I were them!) and I was embarrassed about the old apartments condition and not sure how to stop the train wreck. I'd planned on throwing things away and cleaning appliances and stuff before moving them, but the way things were going I found my good gf chocolate in a bag with a thing of white flour (that was given to us for Youssef way back in the day that I never used because of the allergy thing and was going to throw away) .. That was a bit discouraging (both were open because I nibble on the chocolate for a long time.) I'd planned on organizing while packing (by throwing at least all the girls toys into their own boxes and all things that go in the same room in the same boxes.) Youssef was running like a mad man trying to move everything before the rain got worse (when everyone left the sun came out for a while, so my plan would have even worked better with the weather.) So, yes.. I think everyone was relieved when the extra people left (especially them I'm sure!)  I was probably dehydrated too because all the water that I had in a water dispenser for drinking (the tap makes me feel a little ill) was dumped out by the “helpful” neighbor. But I was more worn out from trying to deal with the train wreck then if we hadn't had so much “help.” Actually, when Youssef and I talked about moving in the weeks before I'd always said how I was more worried about too many people helping than not having enough people. We needed people for a few specific jobs, but other then that it was better with just us. What with all the stuff going on I think we finally actually finished dinner at almost 8 or something. Needless to say, the girls got to sleep pretty late. The baby finally went to sleep around 11 or something, and we'd pretty much untangled the stuff dumped everywhere. I was just turning off lights when the neighbor that had helped us knocked on the door. Hmm.. yeah, boundary issues? 11 pm or so and the kids are finally asleep and me in my pjs and she's asking if she could clean the old apartment for us because she'd offered to do it with me on Sunday and they were going to be gone on Sunday. I told her that we hadn't finished packing and moving everything. “Oh, I can do that for you.” She says. Yeah, I must have looked a little panicked when I tried to politely refuse by saying that I wanted to organize it while packing. So she offers to clean it up Sunday night because she's a night owl anyway. And I couldn't go to sleep till 2am because I was fretting and overly tired. I was actually worried that I wouldn't have it all cleaned before she came to “help” …..

    The next morning was “spring forward” so we were behind according to the clock, but we actually made pretty good time moving all the last of it out of the apartment. I went and had the girls help pack things and tried to make it fun for them (by sounding more enthusiastic then I felt.) We worked for a few hours and then had to break for lunch, but we got the landrover full again and the only things left were stuff we had to carry over (like all of my art) because it would have been more of a pain to package it all up for transport than to just carry a few over at a time and make several trips. Another neighbor (a nice sane one) offered to help and it actually did help because I had to nurse the baby to sleep and that way Youssef didn't need to take so many trips by himself. They chatted and it sounded like we could be friends with her and her husband.

    Around 5 or so that night we'd gotten everything out of the apartment and had to break for dinner. I was pretty tired and dragging my feet about going to clean it, but once I got over there I started to feel better in all the quiet. It got dark pretty fast though and I couldn't see what I was doing. It took so long just to take all the thumb tacks down and do other little things to get it ready for cleaning that by the time I was ready to clean it was almost 9. Youssef came over with me then to help with some of the stuff (washing marks off the walls and cleaning the blinds and so on) but when I had to leave to put the kids to sleep that was right about when the crazy neighbor came to “help.” I didn't know at the time if it would help or not, but lets just say that I had to re-clean everything that she cleaned. When I came back with the little one after putting the older ones to sleep she was convincing Youssef about all the places we didn't need to worry about cleaning. “Oh you don't have to clean the blinds.... Oh you don't have to worry about that or this because I've been here so many years and so-and-so didn't get in trouble for not doing that.” Well, I was determined to leave the place in better shape than when we came to it, so I just ignored her and said that I'd rather do too much than too little and it actually did say on the cleaning list from the management to clean the blinds and wipe everything down and so on. It was 11 something when we left the place. It still wasn't totally done and she'd offered to stay behind and finish, but I wanted to just wait and do it in the morning. It actually took me ALL the next day to finish the deep cleaning, but I think it was worth it. I left it in a condition that I would be comfortable moving into! Obviously they will paint and so on, but it was cleaned up better than the one we've moved into.

    I'm NOT ready to do a deep cleaning here yet though. I will of course, but only after I do all the organizing. It all turned out fine I suppose. Youssef was going to take the library dvds back on Saturday since they were due that day, but we missed that window and I was afraid we'd owe some late fees. No internet for several days so I couldn't renew online or even check what was due so that was frustrating. There was only the one case of major accident with stitches and all the cleaning and moving DID get done in the time amount that I thought it would... except we were given the keys a day late so it bumped the completion to the end of Monday instead of Sunday.  Still though, it's all done and I'm thankful to be here.  I needed to write this all out for myself so that I could know what to do next time.  I hate moving.