Tuesday, July 9, 2013

First World Problems: the Tropical Storm Edition

I've been noting what's changed since the last time we moved in 1998 and/or bought property back in 1999.  Here's what feels major:  I made a U-Haul reservation online.

It's an interesting business model, since I didn't just make a reservation.  I had to go through several screens, where I had to unclick on choices to avoid renting a dolly or NOT to buy several hundred dollars worth of boxes.

Through the same website, I could hire movers to come help.  It's not as cheap as paying with pizza and beer, but not as expensive as I would have expected.  I'm not sure we need help, so I didn't reserve movers.

Now I'm contemplating cancelling the whole thing.  We may have a tropical storm in our vicinity.  I can put off moving for a week (or as long as I want, for that matter), so why move in tropical downpours?

That's another conversation I didn't have the last time I moved.  Hurricane season was safely behind us in December of 1998 when we moved into our current house.  Yesterday, my mortgage company (to be) rep had an e-mail exchange with my new insurance agent.  Should I pay to insure the property before the close?  If the tropical storm strengthens into a hurricane and we're in the cone of possibility, would we still be covered if we waited to pay until close? 

The answer:  yes, we would be covered.

Yes, we may be closing on a house with a hurricane bearing down on us--the irony (is it irony?) is not lost on me.  I find myself thinking about the trees around our new house.  I think the trees around our old house are bigger and thus capable of more damage if they come crashing down.

I am deeply aware of the fact that even a smaller tree can do an enormous amount of damage if it falls over.

Happily, I don't think Tropical Storm Chantal will strengthen into a hurricane.  I'm hopeful that this storm will be a rain event.  I wonder if my yet-to-be-purchased windstorm policy or my flood policy would apply?

I am trying not to stress about the money, especially not the money that having two properties in South Florida requires.  We're staying in the same city, but when I called about establishing an additional water account, I was told I'd need to pay a deposit.  I plan to call again; I'm hoping that the water department rep was mistaken.

After all, I'm not moving here from a different state.  I've been a water customer with my city since 1998 after all.  Why do I need to pay a deposit of several hundred (yes, several hundred) dollars?  It's not like I'm going to enjoy water for a month or two and then skip town without paying my bill.

In my city, our water service is bundled with garbage and recycling collection, and yes, I'll have to pay at both properties, another irony, since I hardly generate enough refuse to bother hauling the garbage can around to the street on a weekly basis. 

I realize that I'm lucky to enjoy these kinds of problems.  It's very first world, after all, to have more garbage collection than I need, to have running water that's dependable and clean.

And as Tropical Storm Chantal bears down on Haiti, again, I'm deeply conscious of my first world status.  My concerns swirl around a moving van and insurance coverage.  I have shelter that will keep out the rains unless something dreadful happens.  I'm so much luckier than those Haitians who are still living in tent cities, and I feel deeply the guilt that comes from knowing of my good fortune and the dire living conditions of those in less developed nations.

So, I'll continue to give to Lutheran World Relief, the arm of my church that attempts to redistribute resources towards a more just world.  I'll monitor the storm.  I'll make some decisions about moving vans and storm supplies.  I'll pray for the safety of us all.

1 comment:

Jeannine Hall Gailey said...

Dear Kristin,
Stay safe! And from someone who's moved 14 times in 15 years both with and without movers - hire movers! It's very much worth the money, and it will help you do things like clean and organize and set up everything at the new place much faster. (Plus, save the toll on your (and your husband's) joints!) Many of our moves we did on our own, and looking back our trying to save money caused little bits of disaster on days that were already stressful enough. But definitely get recommendations and read online reviews BEFORE you book.