Recapping the Move From Hell.
June 25 (M Day-2): Saturday before moving day. The plan was to go through each room in the house and make sure everything that needed to be packed was packed. This day was to be the last big push, and Sunday was to be relatively relaxed. Learned very quickly that Mrs. Chairman had done virtually no packing, so by the end of the day for what was supposed to be packing close-out, we were only halfway through the top floor (main floor and basement remaining) by 10 PM. We stopped, having been at it since 7 AM.
June 26 (M Day-1): Sunday before moving day. Continued from Saturday. Finally finished the top floor by 12 PM, after starting the day again at 7 AM. Main floor moves a bit quicker, until the kitchen and pantry areas. This was known going into Saturday, but since Saturday had been blown, packing gets a bit frantic. Several items here will not get into boxes, and we end up having to move ourselves. By 6 PM, we are moving, finally, into the basement. I had partially disassembled the pool table thinking I was smart enough to do this, and having been told the moving company would move the parts if we would take it apart. Realizing a few days earlier that I wasn't smart enough, we contracted a speciality mover for pool tables--the same folks we bought the table from in the first place. They told us to do nothing as it would void our warranty--so there I am now reassembling what I had taken apart. 7 PM comes along, Mrs. Chairman wants to eat out, so we go to Pho Royal (a Vietnamese place) in Sterling for pho (Vietnamese soup). We're back at eight and at it again. We get to 10 PM, pool table is together, main room in the basement is finished, but the storage room and the garage are not done--harking back to the day before and time lost. They would not get done before M Day.
June 27 (M-Day): The movers show up promptly at 9 AM, as scheduled, and start right into it. No real problems here other than time, and learning they won't move plants (we did convince them to move some very large planters, with plants, from the deck, however). More things to move ourselves. But note that I said time was an issue. Two of the nine movers that were supposed to be on the job were not, they would show in the afternoon--known to the movers, not us. This slows down the process of getting things onto the three trucks. They are finally done emptying the old house (as much as they could) by 6 PM. Everthing from the trucks, with only 1 broken piece of glass (easily replaceable), is moved into the new house by 11 PM. Of note: during reassembly of the dining room table, one of the movers noted he had given me a baggie with the nuts and bolts in them (nope). I indicated that wasn't the case; back to the old house with cell phone. Interestingly, the person that said I had the nuts and bolts was able to precisely (to the exact physical location) able to describe where the stuff was--yep, he gave to me, right.
So far a typical move. But here's where things unravelled, and fast. During the move out from the old house, my wife got a phone call from the folks who were putting in a wood floor (in place of the existing carpet) for the new owners. They had been given permission to start on Wednesday (our closing was 5 PM Thursday). They now wanted to start on Tuesday--the day we wanted to get the stuff missed by the movers. We said no. They called the prospective owners, then called us back: "how about Tuesday afternoon?" We said, "No." Moments later, another phone call. Tuesday at 6 PM? My comment to Mrs. Chairman was "what part of Wednesday do they not understand?" Mrs. Chairman told them, "No, Wednesday."
June 28 (M Day+1): Tuesday. The temperature would reach 101 degrees in the shade, with humidity at 55%. And we were working to load a U-Haul with the stuff missed by the movers and the stuff we didn't get packed (remember the storage room and the garage?). Around 1 PM, the air conditioner on the top floor of the house dies. Mrs. Chairman makes a call to the real estate broker handling the sale of our house and gets the name of an a/c repair company, and makes arrangements. Time continues to pass, and we're still boxing and loading "junk" onto the U-Haul. At 6 PM, we come to the realization we won't finish on that day. We are all very sore from working in the intense heat of the day (having consumed half the Potomac's water flow during the afternoon). Mrs. Chairman calls to extend the truck one day--U-Haul says "ok," sort of. We can have it one day, but have to get it back by 7 AM the following day as the unit has been reserved. (The specific truck? I suppose it's "going home" as it had Arizona tags.) We get some fast food and get back at it, finally leaving the house at 9 PM with a full truck. We finish emptying it into the garage of the new house at 10:30 PM. No sorting, just off the truck.
June 29 (M Day+2): Wednesday. Shear chaos, including some major legal problems. We're back trying to finish our move out of The Cottage. The hardwood floor layers are there and at work, and the a/c repair person arrived at the same time we did. Shortly after we had backed into the driveway next to the garage with the U-Haul, a 20-foot truck pulls up, and some Koreans get out. They ask me in very broken English ("oh, this is going to be wonderful," I'm thinking) if they can back the truck into the area, saying they'll only be an hour. I size up the truck, which is a moving van(!!) and realize there's no way it can be empited in an hour. I say no, can't do it guys. They say all right. Off I go into the house and get to work.
A few moments later, I take some stuff to the U-Haul. The moving van is in front of the truck blocking our way out. I get the attention of one of the guys and say, "no, you cannot park here." They say all right, and I go back into the house.
A while later I am back out at the U-Haul with another bunch of stuff. Not only is the moving van still there, but THEY ARE UNLOADING STUFF ONTO THE DRIVEWAY!! Meanwhile, another van has arrived and has moved up to the front door.
THE PROSPECTIVE OWNERS (closing was still over 24 hours away) WERE ALREADY MOVING IN!!
In a panic, Mrs. Chairman and I are talking it over. She doesn' want to raise a big stink, but I still want to make sure we can get out of the driveway. Mrs. Chairman doesn't want to tell them in Korean what the score is, so I take it on myself to see if I can get through.
I find one of the guys on that truck who spoke passable English and passed the following message:
"Under Virginia law I have to notify you that you are trespassing before I can take any further action. I am telling you that you are trespassing. IF YOU DO NOT MOVE THIS TRUCK IN THE NEXT 10 MINUTES FROM HERE TO THE PLACE I TOLD YOU (around the corner of the house) I WILL CALL THE POLICE AND ENFORCE A TRESPASSING EVICTION!
Some hurried and emotional discussion between the folks on the truck, all in Korean, ensued. I presume the discussion was with the foreman and I did hear the work "police" uttered in Korean (it's not too different from English). They shuttered the truck and moved it.
We, on our part decided not to clean the house any further as we couldn't work around these arrogant people.
At 4:30 PM, left and took the last of our stuff to the new house, unloading all into the garage as was done the previous day. The truck was returned to U-Haul at 6:30 PM. Everyone went out for pho again, this time in Vienna. Drove through a horrendous thunderstorm on the way home.
June 30 (M Day+3). Thursday. Pool table moved without incident, though it is obvious the new owners have moved in almost completely, and totally extralegally. Fortunately, no one was hurt, so we didn't face any liability problems. At closing, the new owners complained the house wasn't clean. Bless her heart, Mrs. Chairman retorted: "If you hadn't tried to move in early, we could have, and would have, cleaned the house. It became your problem at that point, and is your problem now. We will do nothing."
God bless her!
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My Iditarod / Whirlwind Move
Or, How I Spent My Summer Vacation
Aperitif: The Players
Sally, neighbor in old place
Mike, best friend
FReepers and other friends who prayed for me
Chris, neighbor in old place
Jarrod, neighbor in old place
Mark, Gretchens son
Brandon, Marks friend
Katie, Brandons fiancée
Hector, Kristy, Sabrina, new neighbors
Baldemar, new neighbor
Mario, new neighbor
Steve, new neighbor
The Manager, new place (name withheld)
Maintenance man at new place
This is GretchenM and son, Mark, "a few years ago."
I was really sick with mono when this was taken.
Hors d'oeuvresReason for the Move
This may sound like an exaggeration to some, but I assure you it is accurate. I feel as though I have crawled over broken glass through Death Valley for a very long time, to find a church like the one I found 40 miles from my old home. For the past 14 months, they have had at least one person be healed, and often many people, in every Sunday service. I need a lot of healing. These people are doing an excellent job of getting the love of Jesus into their own hearts and sharing it with others, as well as sending missionaries around the world on a regular basis. Theyre my kind of believers.
I found this church by attending a series of Christian healing conferences, beginning in 2001, when the Lord graciously healed my increasing, and by natural means, incurable, deafness. (Unless one has been deaf or partially so, it is difficult to identify with what this means to me.) The church is intimately associated with the group that sponsors the conferences.
Saturday, July 30, 2005: Moving Day Minus One
Sally came over to help pack my kitchen, etc. Thank God for friends, because I had been very ill for the prior two weeks, and had a lot of difficulty getting packed.
9 AM Sunday, July 31
The move began, or was supposed to begin, but the moving truck wasnt ready. (Here we find a clue to what follows.)
Chris and Jarrod moved boxes out to my parking stall while Mike went after the truck.
This is my friend, Mike, who has taught me a very great deal about the nature and character of Jesus as described in Proverbs 19:22a, What is desirable in a man is his kindness.
Between 10:00 and 10:30 AM
Chris and Jarrod left for their paying jobs. Mike, who had a head and chest cold, arrived with the truck; also, Brandon and Katie arrived in Brandons van. Note: showing up in an empty van to help move someone is a very good idea. I hadnt met the 21-year-old Katie; shes a remarkable young woman, studying to be a commercial jet pilot (737s). She will graduate from college early, this December. I really liked her. Brandon and Katie loaded up the van while I worked inside.
Mark had to work, had hoped to arrive by 10:30 or 11 AM, but couldnt get there till 3 PM. Mark, Mike, and I all have had bad back injuries; Mark's and my backs really acted up during the move. This is my son, Mark, recently. >
The weather was in excess of 85 degrees. Need I say more.
5:05 PM Sunday
With the truck not quite fully loaded, Mike asked me when the apartment office closed. I had planned to pay the rent and get the on moving day, but with the truck not being ready and my sons late arrival, that salient was overshot. The office closed at 5 PM. I called the maintenance man who said he didnt know which apartment the resident manager lived in (hello?), and didnt have her phone number. No problem, says the resourceful Katie: we drive up there and knock on doors till we find a tenant who does know. (The Resident Manager later told me that the maintenance man truly does not have her phone number. Does anyone else find this odd?)
Next problem is we didnt rent a big enough truck and would have to make two trips, so instead of paying $10 more for a larger truck, I had to pay about $70 more in mileage and waste a lot of time.
Between 6 and 7 PM
We arrived; Steve, a helpful tenant, saved us the door knocking. He had talked to the maintenance man, so he knew there was a tenant on the way who didnt have a key and he was very helpfully on the lookout. Steve told us where The Manager lived. Eventually, she came to the door and took the rent and gave me the key. This was fortunate, for later that night it rained hard and everything I owned would have sat on the lawn in front of my place getting soaked through, being a prey to any neighboring thief, and I wouldnt have had the help, or dollies, needed to take things up the stairs.
In the run up to this move, I ran out of my migraine medication and the med that I take for back pain, of which I was experiencing a great deal. My doctor, it turns out, was on vacation. Eventually, his partner filled it after various miscues with the office and pharmacy.
Next problem is Brandon and Katie had to leave for another appointment and after they unloaded his van, they couldnt stay to unload the truck. Representation of the sad moment: They had told this to me while Mike was away and when Mike heard it, he was getting a bit overwhelmed, knowing the truck had to be returned at 9:00 the next morning, 40 miles away, and there simply were not enough hands to get the work done timely.
For some unknown reason, all exterior lights at the new place were turned off, so we trudged in deep darkness through the breezeway and up the stairs to unload the trucks contents.
As Mike, Mark and I labored at unloading the truck and car, several neighbors were outside visiting. Heres where Hector, Kristy and Sabrina come in. My son eventually asked Hector if some of the men would mind helping to unload the truck. (Hector had just told his wife, Kristy, If they ask, we will help. My son told me later that he kept thinking of a lesson Id taught my mentee, that we cannot assume others will make the first step toward friendship, and sometimes WE have to take the first step.) So Hector, Mario, and Baldemar helped haul the heavy things, furniture, boxes -- much of what remained, till around 10 PM. I am forever grateful to these men.
I chatted a few minutes with Kristy and her daughter and some other neighbors who were outside. I dont know quite how it happened, but Kristy, in those few minutes, asked if I would teach her daughter how to read. Sabrina is eight, will be in third grade, but she is reading at a first grade level. At one point, Sabrina, who seemed then and since to be a bright, engaging, fun, creative child, looked up at me and asked, Will YOU teach me how to read? I asked her mom if Sabrina is being taught phonics; she didnt know the result was I gladly told her I would read TO her, and we could work on what the letters sound like. Sabrina was delighted. Later, Sabrina told me she loves to do arts and crafts. When I paid a return visit to her and her mom (who had brought me a delicious swirl cake, and then a pasta salad), Sabrina said, I know! We can read the Bible and then draw pictures of Jesus and all the other people in the Bible! I asked her if she loves Jesus and she, nodding fervently, said, YES!
Bad news: my computer desk wouldnt fit into my room so I had to donate it. Im using a writing desk with no keyboard tray till I can get a replacement.
Late Sunday evening or early Monday
Mark, Mike, and I had all been sweating profusely in the heat and with the work, but finally the truck was empty. We returned to the old place to load up furniture that I was giving to my son; he helped load up the remaining furniture in the moving truck, then he had to go home.
The ramp to the moving truck wouldnt go back into its slot and so, at 1 AM, we created what seemed like a 20-minute salute to all the noise my former neighbors inflicted on me over the years at that hour, until we finally got it unjammed and slid into place. Mike started the very noisy truck and we left, perfuming the neighborhood with diesel, wondering how many people were saying wonderful things about me under diesel-choked breath.
Monday, about 1 AM
Mike and I returned to the new place, using up the movers one obligatory ticket for getting lost during an out-of-area move, when exiting to buy diesel in an unfamiliar area. We went, creep mouse, up and down stairs in the dark, unloading the lighter things for a couple hours.
Monday, 3:30 AM
Stopped to sleep. Or should I say, dropped.
A couple hours later
After Mike got a couple hours of sleep, he hauled the rest of the heavy stuff up the stairs alone and returned the truck, 40 miles away. (The particular franchised truck rental store was run with extraordinary ineptitude by mean people whose purpose seemed to be to gouge the customer and hinder the moving.) Mike returned to drive me back to the old apartment where we spent the day cleaning till it sparkled. (I wanted my cleaning deposit back!)
or, one tired
I learned that The Resident Manager reamed out Steve for telling us which apartment she occupies. I was shocked to hear this, especially when I learned that this event became torch to tinder -- igniting a tenant revolt, fed by many other complaints, that still seeks resolution.
In my many moves (this is at least #27 over the years), I have never had neighbors help move me in or out. In spite of all the wacky things that occurred, beginning with me becoming violently and painfully ill for two weeks, starting on the day I committed to live here, God made a way around every obstacle through the kindness of friends and strangers.
The good news -- and it is very good: I get almost constant marine breezes coming off Puget Sound and didnt have to turn on a fan till it was in the 90s. Even so, the place is not uncomfortable at that temperature. Its much quieter here than where I was. My only upstairs neighbors are God and the rain. I have no downstairs neighbors as that unit is the model for prospective tenants to view. Only two things broke; both were at my hands; each was plastic and very inexpensive. I donated possessions that became blessings to others, and giving them opened the door to sharing a bit of the gospel with the recipients. I have a church home that Ive hungered for and needed for years. When a person needs something, as I have needed this church, and it is withheld for a very long time, we appreciate it with much more fervor than if we hadnt had to wait for it.
Even though I live in the middle of a large city, surrounded by large cities, there are protected forests with wetlands on three sides of me, and just about every store I need is within a couple minutes drive. Im close to my beloved Puget Sound and the breathtaking Cascade Mountains are visible from almost anywhere I go.
The future: looks great!
Last December, when Pastors Dutch Sheets, Colorado Springs, CO, and Dr. Chuck Pierce, Denton, TX, visited this area, one of them gave a word to what would become my new church that the Spirit of God was going to move through the Puget Sound region as a whirlwind, picking people up from all over the area and depositing them at that church.
I heard this after I made the decision to move and had started to pack, and it gave me chills. It is wonderful to know you are responding to the drawing of God but it is amazing to learn you are acting, however unknowingly, in response to His word to fulfill His purposes.
With the unpacking mostly finished, I had the luxury of time and wanted to go to both of the morning services at church because the presence of God is so wonderful and I have been so hungry for Him. I discovered that a rather large number of other congregants do the same thing. The services are full of life.
Another thing spoken to this church was that God was making the place into a Bethesda a place of healing (John 5:2-9), and that people would come from all over the world to be healed here. This, too, is now being fulfilled.
Mike and Mark said they'd never seen a move go with such difficulty. It was one of those things where one had to be in the suspense of the moment, not knowing how things would turn out, to get the whole impact. On the drive to my new place, without the keys, I was remembering what one pastor (Larry Randolph, noted for the humorous way he puts things) said: God factors our stupidity into the equation when He lays out His plan for our lives, and He always has a Plan B. Later, Mike said that same sentence was going through his mind as he drove to the new place, not knowing what awaited us.
I'm helping Sabrina with her homework and reading, and doing arts and crafts with her as rewards for her hard work. She's a delightful child and comes home from school saying, "I'm getting smarter!" I've met some of the other neighbor children and it seems there are a lot of opportunities to show the love of Jesus here.
The original Iditarod race against time was undertaken in 1925 to deliver antidote to Alaskans during a diphtheria outbreak. It is a story of immeasurable courage, stamina and fortitude: of people risking all to save others, and succeeding, using relay teams. My journey couldnt have been accomplished without a very special group of relayers: first, Sally, Chris, and Jarrod in the old place; then Brandon and Katie, then Mark; finally, Hector, Baldemar, Mario, the maintenance man, and Steve in the new place, many FReepers and other friends who prayed for me during the move, and through it all, Mike. I fully expect this move will result in more people being reached with the gospel, as well as physical healing, and a lot of personal fulfillment. In fact, it already is.
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