In the old days, you piled your meager belongings in a covered wagon and you were off. Nowadays, the logistics are a bit more complicated.
Once upon a time, moving in America was hard because there was a good chance you could die en route from disease, accidents, or unpleasant run-ins with Native Americans. Along the way, you’d be isolated, cold, wet, hot, dehydrated, starved, and scared. Our pioneer forebearers were amazingly tough, resilient people, and I am always in awe when I think of what they accomplished.
For most of them, though, trip prep and packing were a bit more simple than they are today. You husband bought the road supplies (a covered wagon, jerky, weapons, oxen,etc.), and you packed up your butter churn, spinning wheel, rocking chair, feathered mattress, meager collection of clothes, and your books (the Bible and Plutarch’s Lives) — and off you went.
Nowadays, I know that I’ll make it safely to my destination, but the details surrounding a move are more . . . I was going to say “complicated,” as I did in the one-liner at the top of this post, but what I really mean is nit-picky. We have so much stuff and we have so many services and necessities attendant on a move. I am grateful for gas and electricity, running water and sewage, garbage pickups, home insurance, internet, and all the other conveniences of modern life, but getting that multitude of details lined up can be challenging especially if, like me, you’re not innately organized. Not really whining (or at least whining only a little); mostly observing.
Movers: This turns out to be the low season for movers and they are hungry for work. I put out a few feelers and they all called back right away, which was great. But then they kept calling and calling and calling. Ultimately, dealing with movers feels exactly like dealing with used car salesmen, right down to the fact that, when you’re negotiating price, they all have to go to the back room and talk to their manager. I did, however, end up with a company that seems reputable and that gave me a price I could live with, so all’s well that ends well.
Utilities: I called all my utility companies here to cancel and all my utility companies there to set up service. The destination utility companies were a problem because, in each case, it took a while to find the specific company for the specific subdivision into which I’m moving. So far, so good.
Except my moving date changed and I had to call all the companies all over again. I’d just like to say that, although it’s been 40 years since companies started playing music when they put you on hold, the music is still lousy. Still, bad music is an improvement over the looped messages telling you all sorts of things that aren’t interesting — but every time the voice comes on, I think, “Oh, it’s my call,” and then perk up, only to slump down again when I realize it’s the loop.
To their credit, all of the employees with whom I’ve dealt at all the utility companies couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful.
Internet and TV: Where I live now, I have AT&T internet but no cable because it’s too expensive and I watch too little. Cancelling AT&T has been a total pain because they relentlessly try to sell you back on the product. Even though I’ve told the reps repeatedly that I’m moving to a neighborhood in which there is no AT&T coverage, and I’ve repeatedly asked to be put on the do-not-call list, I keep getting those darn calls. Nor can I screen them because, thanks to the calls I’ve put out to movers and utility companies and other things, I can’t tell just by looking at Caller ID whether it’s a call I need to take or one I can ignore. Very irritating.
At my destination, I’m going with a company called Spectrum because that’s the only company that serves my region. Having said that, I feel I’m getting a great deal. For $16/mo less than AT&T, I’m not only getting high-speed internet, I’m also getting TV. But what’s really great about the TV is that I’m not getting a 200 channel package that will see me watching only 4-5 channels. Instead, Spectrum offers a 10 channel package: You get local TV plus your choice of 10 regular cable channels. I chose Turner Classic Movies, Fox News, and eight other things I really don’t care too much about. I’m excited about having TCM back in my life.
Packing: I’ve moved a lot over the years. In one memorable five year period, I moved 11 times, including one move that required me to pack for two different destinations. Some of those were student moves, so I only had to pack the car with clothes and other personal items, and some of them involved bigger things and moving trucks. After that five-year stretch, my pace slowed down, and I moved only three more times in a 10-year period. In the past year, there’ve been a couple of relocations too.
Put another way, I am a very experienced packer. It never gets easier, though. No matter how efficient I think I am, I’m not efficient. And no matter how organized I think I am, things just keep slipping out of my control. Very frustrating and time-consuming. And so many boxes…. I’ve got them all nicely labeled, but I still have a suspicion that the things now hiding in the boxes are not as organized as I could wish.
Insurance: The move has required me to switch out insurance. That too was a pain but I ended up with a good deal.
When it came to switching up my car insurance for a different state, I had a moment of panic yesterday that, what with my changing moving dates, I’d ended up with a gap in my insurance. When I called GEICO, my panic escalated when the smart, nice gal who was helping me couldn’t initially find my current insurance because it was completely covered up by my new insurance . . . which only begins in two weeks!
She did finally confirm that I’m still covered under my old policy, so all is good. I can drive with a good conscience. I always think I can actually feel another strand of hair turn gray when I deal with this kind of thing.
When I look back over the last two weeks and forward to the next two, nothing bad has happened. Indeed, it’s all very good and it’s all in service of a happy move. It’s just that all these little things stack up and up, sucking away my time and energy. No matter how I slice it, by day’s end, I’m wrung out. I’m therefore looking forward to the move ending so that I can return to the slower pace of life to which I’ve become accustomed, one that doesn’t see me juggling quite so many balls in the air and that does not require so much phone time.