Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Moving Day

... And we're back!  I survived for 4 days with no internet access, and was rescued by the Virgin Media guys, who mercifully showed up half an hour into the 5-hour window they had given me and had me back online 20 minutes later.  Ahhhhh.

So where did I leave off?  Ah yes, Friday.  Moving Day...

So, Josh had to go into the office in the morning for meetings, which left me to finish packing up all our stuff, clear out of the apartment, and move everything over to the house.  New lesson learned: you can't call a cab here.  You can either hail one on the street, or you can book one in advance (for a fee, of course), but repeated calls to the local cab company got me no further than a recording saying, "Sorry, we currently have no drivers available.  Please try again later."  I eventually gave up and walked to the taxi stand by the tube station, where an extremely nice cabbie took pity on me.  He drove me back to the apartment, waited patiently outside while I wrestled 4 large suitcases and two tote bags out to the front gate, drove me to the house, helped me bring the bags inside, and then dropped me back at the apartment.  Total fare: about $16, including tip.

So why did I go back to the apartment?  I still needed to clean all the food out of the kitchen.  I figured I could just toss it all in a shopping bag, grab a sandwich, and walk back to the house well before the moving truck was scheduled to show up at 1:00.  There turned out to be quite a bit more stuff in the kitchen than I expected, so I looked like a crazy bag lady with three bags full of stuff when I finally emerged from the building.  I grabbed a sandwich at the Subway across the street, and then made a beeline for the taxi stand and took another cab back to the house.  

I stashed all the luggage in the living room with our IKEA sofa (in boxes) to get it out of the way of the movers.  The entire house is only about 1100 square feet, divided into three levels, so there's not a lot of extra space.

View from living room through kitchen, dining room, to back yard
View from dining room through kitchen to living room
The entryway of the house consists of a very narrow hallway leading to a very narrow doorway into the kitchen, and a very steep, narrow staircase.  I was concerned that some of our furniture might not make it through these tight spaces.
I took two bites of my sandwich when there was a knock at the door.  The truck had arrived 20 minutes early, and the driver wanted to know if someone could help direct him into the parking space in front of the house.  I had a brief moment of panic until he explained that he was just in charge of bringing the truck, and there was a crew scheduled to meet him there to unload it.  I did my best to help him maneuver into place on our narrow street, although he almost took out two different trees in the process.  Then we waited.  The driver was very chatty, so I was still outside talking to him when Josh finally showed up at 1:30.
I called the relocation company and asked when the movers were going to arrive, and the same woman who had sent me an email two days earlier to confirm the 1 pm delivery time told me that the truck wasn't scheduled to arrive until 2 pm, so the movers had just left.  Lovely.  While we were waiting, the driver offered to open the container, and pulled out a pair of bolt cutters.  The seal must have been made of adamantium, because it broke the bolt cutters!
The movers finally showed up at 2:20, and -- maddeningly -- said they were originally scheduled to come at 1:00, but had been told by their supervisor that they didn't need to be here until 2:00.  Even better, they had forgotten to bring their bolt cutters, so they tried banging on the seal with a hammer.
I suggested they try the hardware store a few blocks away, so one of them set off on foot while the other kept at it with the hammer, which made a huge racket.  This is not a good way to arrive in your new neighborhood.  The mover eventually returned with a small hacksaw, and they took turns sawing at the seal for about 15 minutes before they finally cut through it and were able to open the container.  At least we know our things were very safe inside!
Since the driver was eager to get on his way before rush hour, the movers focused on unloading the container as quickly as possible, and just piled all 92 boxes on the sidewalk and street in front of the house.  Fortunately, it was a nice, sunny day -- albeit a bit warm for the movers.  We ended up meeting several of our neighbors while we were outside, including two American women, the elderly British couple next door, and the aforementioned Anna on the other side.  Everyone seemed very friendly, and I am hopeful that we will find it easier to make some new friends  in our neighborhood.
Once the truck left, we moved everything into the house, and they unwrapped all the furniture and set it up.  Miraculously, everything made it into the house, but there was no way the box spring for our queen-sized bed was going to fit up two flights of stairs and into the master bedroom.   They were able to wrestle it into the guest room, so we moved the guest bed (which is from IKEA) into the master.  We could not find the hardware to assemble our bed or the twin bed we bought for the other bedroom, so they couldn't set those up for us.  We called it a day and sent them home at 5.  Then Josh and I spent a couple hours assembling our IKEA sofa -- and another half an hour collapsing on it afterwards.
We walked to a nearby Thai restaurant for dinner, then found the box with the bedding for our guest bed, and went right to sleep.

Speaking of sleep, it's almost 1 am here and the cable guy is coming between 9-12 am tomorrow, so I'd better get to bed myself.


  1. Phew! What a job! But I'm glad you are finally back online so I can have my nightly bedtime story. :)

  2. I'm sure you never thought you'd be furnishing a house with Ikea items in your 40s. I'll see if I can make it out there and possibly help you set up shop. I'm hoping to visit before you get a job...


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