Moving hell

The movers finally arrived yesterday, over three weeks (!!) after picking up our stuff. They’re gone now, and in their wake is a mess of epic proportions.

We would’ve been better off setting fire to everything we owned and starting over again.

Setting aside the fact that they were weeks late leaving New York to bring us our stuff, and that they’ve postponed delivery three times since they departed… when they actually arrived onsite, it was a complete disaster. We took a thorough inventory while packing, and thus we knew exactly how many boxes should be coming to each room, and precisely what was in each box. This has been helpful in evaluating the carnage.

First, and for me most distressingly, the most important box from my office is missing. There was one box that had all of my dad’s stuff (like the Indian Guides stuff we did when I was a kid, and some Father’s Day cards I made him that he’d kept, etc.) and his ashes, in their commemorative Jim Beam bottle. (No, really, I had his ashes in a Jim Beam bottle… It seemed appropriate.) Now they’re all gone somewhere, and I have no way of knowing where.

The movers also managed to somehow lose the most expensive box in the entire house: the one that had my desktop computer in it, which is the most expensive possession I have outside of the new vehicle. (Yeah, we bought a Jeep… more on that later.) Inside that one box was also the collection of textbooks for the courses that I’m currently teaching. You can safely assume that I am absolutely screwed, professionally speaking.

Of course this is entirely my fault, because my dumbass not only labeled the box “FRAGILE” but also slapped an “ELECTRONICS” label on it, and emphasized to the movers at pick-up that the box was very important and needed to be handled carefully. I might as well have written “STEAL ME” in big block letters on the box…

I’ve locked the computer remotely, so if it it was “lost” (i.e. stolen by the moving company) and someone eventually tries to power it up, I’ll get an alert and the computer won’t work. But that’s not much comfort, if it gets sold to a pawnshop, and the less obviously valuable stuff tossed. At this point, I just have to assume that I’ve lost them all. There’s not much to be done about it.

There were a few other miscellaneous boxes lost in transit, but nothing too terribly expensive in them. There was, however, remarkable damage to many of our boxes, including some marked “FRAGILE”. Here’s one, just as an example of the madness that came off that truck:

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And there are plenty more where that came from.

The movers’ treatment of the boxes that actually made it here had predictable results. For example, the second-most expensive item in our home, next to my computer, was a chandelier that Sal bought from his work. Normally that would’ve cost several thousand dollars, but he got it at an incredibly steep discount because it was a display model that had already been hardwired into the ceiling there, so they can’t resell it to customers… but employees can get a stunning bargain.

It’s a good thing that we only paid a few hundred dollars for it, because it’s absolutely shattered. Despite us wrapping it in bubble wrap and carefully packing it into a large box marked “FRAGILE” all over, it was crushed. Totally unsalvageable.

Other things were damaged, too: one of my filing cabinets was somehow busted open, despite being wrapped up in blankets. (I’ll call that a win, compared to the filing cabinet that never made it here… and naturally, that one had our passports, our birth certificates, and a ton of other “vital records” stuff for both Sal and me.) One of my computer monitors has a giant crack in the screen, but I suppose that’s okay since the computer itself didn’t make it here. Three of the boxes of dishes and glassware were so banged around that half of the contents broke in one way or another, including two extremely expensive champagne flutes that were given to us as a wedding gift.

It’s all just a mess… and the worst part is, the insurance claim is going to be next to useless. I have no actual evidence of what was in the missing boxes, so it’ll be difficult to prove what is gone. And, it turns out that one of reasons our move wasn’t very expensive is that it included what’s called “basic valuation protection”, which is only $0.60 per pound. So even if I can convince the insurance adjusters that stuff was lost or broken on the move, the payout will probably be almost nothing.

I just keep reminding myself that it’s all just stuff. Sal and the dogs and I are all here safely. Hell, even the fish and the plants survived being transported down here in the Jeep. Everything that was lost or broken — with the exception of my dad’s stuff — can all be replaced.

Still, it’s incredibly discouraging. This is not how I wanted to begin our new venture here in Florida. And since I’m going to be gone for most of the rest of the month of April, I don’t know when I’m going to be able to do much about any of it.

Deep breaths.

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