This morning, I'm sitting in my office chair, with my laptop on the desk that had once been owned by my grandparents. I haven't done this in a week--my possessions have been in a warehouse or a truck. A week ago, I was fretful about the movers and all that can go wrong in the three hour narrow window of moving time that our condo gave us.
Happily, that experience went as well as I could have hoped. The movers showed up on time, took good care of our stuff, and got it all out of the condo in the time frame we had to get it done. We, too, headed out. And then, we got to our new-to-us house in Arden, North Carolina, and we strategized, since by last Friday, it was clear that it could take some time for our possessions to catch up with us.
On Tuesday, we got the phone call that the moving van would be to us by Wednesday from noon to 3. We needed to have cash to pay the balance. Happily, we could make that happen. Yesterday morning, we got up and moved stuff around so that the movers would have an easier time. I went to the bank where extremely helpful tellers assisted me in getting money moved from savings to checking to cash--such a contrast with the South Florida branch that wasn't as helpful when we needed money to close on the house.
And then we waited. And we waited and waited and waited. Unlike the furniture delivery that happened at the earliest part of the delivery window on Tuesday, the movers didn't arrive until 3:30. In some ways, they were efficient--the stuff was moved in by 5. In other ways, they were not. For example, one of them wore flip flops. Another one of them grumbled the whole time--the whole time--about the work habits of his fellow workers and about the people who had packed the items, as he disapproved of the amount of packing tape used.
In another half hour, when it's a bit lighter, I'll be putting all that used tape into garbage bags; the team didn't take the trash with them, which I found odd. But at that point, I was just ready to be done with this strangely non-communicative/sullen team of movers.
It could have been worse. The only damage that I see right now is that we have a coffee table with a broken leg; happily it's not a piece of furniture with sentimental value or economic value. Truthfully, most of our furniture has no economic value.
Did all of our boxes arrive? I think so. A box that's not ours came into our house, and I caught it and sent it back, which made it hard for me to trust that all of our boxes came to us. Our 6 foot ladder is not here--when I mentioned it, one moving guy brought another ladder off the truck. It was 4 feet tall and had someone else's sticker on it. Each of our possessions had a green sticker, which coordinated to a packing list--I was so impressed with that part of the packing process. The box that came into our house that wasn't ours had a red sticker on it--when I pointed it out to the mover, he said, "They could have put a different sticker on it." I could see some clothes peeking out of the handholds--those weren't our clothes.
I went off to a neighborhood meeting, which my spouse joined by way of Zoom. He got possessions sorted while the meeting happened--which is why I'm at my desk. Part of what we paid for with the movers was re-assembly of furniture, which didn't happen. My spouse picked up that slack.
So, was paying for movers worth it? If you asked my spouse and me, you'll get different answers. He thinks we would take better care of our possessions, but I remember all the times we didn't, when we just shoved stuff in the U-Haul willy-nilly and hoped for the best. There was no wrapping of furniture and taping the wrapping so that it stayed in place.
I think it was worth it. We probably paid $1,000-$2,000 more than we would have had we done our own move. For me it was worth it to have the extra muscle and to have someone else drive the truck across the mountains and navigate the driveway. I felt stress about that, but I'd have felt more stress if my spouse drove the truck. I am still working on getting full use of my right hand back, and picking up some items is tough. I would not have been as functional a partner in a move-it-yourself experience as I would want to be.
Again and again, I've been struck by how expensive it is to move, and how lucky we are to have resources: financial, emotional, and physical. I am able to work from a distance--if we were trying to move and trying to be functional in new jobs, this experience would be SO different. I always think of these factors when we hear people on a national/international stage wonder why people don't just move to where the jobs are better or the cost of living cheaper. It takes a substantial amount of money, time, and energy to move.
Now let me go to put all the trash left behind out to the curb--our first garbage pick up should be today! I am also aware of what it costs the planet when we move: gas to power the truck, plastic to create the tape and the water bottles, on and on I could go. I used to joke about all the trees I would need to plant in retirement to repay the planet for all the paper my job required, but at least that was a renewable resource.
I hope that we can put down roots here, roots for the long term. I hope the trees on the property outlive our roots.