Friday, July 1, 2011

Moving: A Story of Hell

Dave and I are now residents of Pennsylvania, a fact I take great happiness in. However, given what it took us to get here, there were points where I wished we had just stayed where we were.

The ordeal began on last Saturday, when we drove to Maine for the last time. Dave's mother, with whom we are going to be living, came up with us to help in the moving process. If she hadn't come with, I don't think we would have made it at all.

We got to Springvale at about 9 Saturday evening and packed for a few hours before going to bed. Sunday morning we went to Portland for brunch at Ri Ra, one of our favorite restaurants in Maine. We put off packing for a few more hours before getting down to it, deciding to call it an early night, and crashing.

Monday we realized that we had a ton of stuff left to pack, and not enough boxes to put it in. We went on a box quest, eventually being saved by the Subway cardboard dumpster. We stayed up late and finished almost everything. Our internet, which was supposed to have been shut off that morning, still lingered, and I was able to watch the season premiere of True Blood - the highlight of this miserable ordeal.

Tuesday was when the real fun began. Our internet was still intact, so I called to find out why. My request to cancel our subscription had apparently been entirely lost, despite the long conversation I had with the girl about moving to Allentown. The mistake was rectified, but this was not to be the last, or worst, instance of someone failing at their job we encountered that day.

The previous week I had reserved a Budget truck online. We had used a Uhaul last year and it cost almost $500, so we chose to go cheap and use a different company. I cannot express how big of a mistake this was.


Monday I called the truck pickup location to confirm that the reservation was set. I was assured that we could come get our truck on Tuesday any time after 10am. We arrived at about 11, only to discover that every truck had been taken by a group needing to transport fireworks. Not only was the truck I had reserved and confirmed not there, no one called to tell me. My lack of physical violence was a feat I ought to be congratulated on. The employee I had confirmed the reservation with was as unapologetic as it is possible to be, and the only reason I didn't kill him was that he was not actually there.

We drove to the next closest Budget location, 30 miles away, after being assured that they had a truck and that it would be there when we finally got to it. The employee we talked to at the second location was at least polite, if a bit dim. Unable to perceive my barely controlled rage, he thought it would be a good idea to "mess with me" and act like he didn't know what I was talking about when I identified myself. I came close to slapping him as well.

We finally got our truck, for $350, already not worth saving any money on. Then we started driving the thing. After about 30 seconds on the highway Dave and I began sniffing, and looked oddly at each other.

"Do you smell that?"

"Yea. Is that... cat piss?!"

It was.

We were so happy at finally having a truck that we didn't immediately turn around and take it back, which in retrospect we probably should have done. Maybe we thought the smell would dissipate. Maybe we thought we could ignore it. It didn't, and we couldn't. After a thorough cleaning, Febreze, air fresheners and a few squirts of Dave's precious Armani Code, the smell of feline urine persisted.

We began packing the truck, not at the 11am we had been aiming for, but at 4:30. With the help of Tyler we were able to get everything we had packed into the smelly thing in about an hour and a half. We went to go get a lock for the truck, something that really ought to be complimentary, considering the astronomical cost of renting the damn thing. We found one that can withstand gunfire, but stupidly forgot to check how big a lock we needed, so naturally it was one nanometer too small. My mother saved the day by randomly remembering the combination of the lock we had used the year before and still had.

We said to hell with it after that and went to dinner in Portland, at the amazing Hi Bombay! There didn't look to be that much left to pack, so we weren't worried about finishing it, and cleaning the apartment, the next morning. We aimed for a noon departure. Ha.

As anyone who has ever moved before knows, it never goes quickly. It took far longer than it should have to pack the remaining crap - where did we get so much stuff?! - and cleaning was dreadful. It was about 95 degrees inside and cleaning spots of black mold off the bathroom ceiling was the least offensive thing we did. We better get our damn security deposit back, because that place hasn't been cleaned that well in years.

At 6pm we locked the door to our now hated apartment for the last time, got in the truck, and drove away. We were already feeling a bit crazy, as you can see from the borderline homicidal grin on Dave's face. We hadn't even gotten started.

I don't remember the drive from Syracuse to Springvale last year being that bad. Of course, our truck was smaller, we were driving during daylight hours and the drive itself is pretty easy. Not so going Springvale to Allentown, which involves seven states and a close encounter with New York City.

At 1 in the morning I was deep in an anxiety attack as we drove down a stretch of highway not meant for commercial vehicles, where we had already seen a tractor trailer get a police escort off the road and were there was a tunnel every mile, steadily decreasing in clearance height. Bless Dave for being calm, used to little sleep and able to put up with me, because he let me pass out for about two hours after my heart palpitations stopped. I slept through the Tappan Zee Bridge and the ten miles of unpaved road, and woke somewhere in New Jersey. The first thing that registered upon waking was the smell of cat piss. I considered leaping from the moving vehicle, but I was still too tired. We made it to Allentown at 4am without further incident, and were unconscious in minutes.

Wednesday was devoted entirely to unpacking the truck we had not 36 hours before jammed with all of our worldly possessions. Splitting the boxes between the house and the storage unit (which we filled) we unloaded everything and took the old, unwanted bed to Goodwill. The woman Dave's mother had talked to, who had assured her that Goodwill takes beds, was no longer present, and of course Goodwill doesn't actually take beds. I think murder crossed all of our minds then.

We finally got rid of the evil bed today - truly, I pity whoever ends up sleeping on that thing - and the truck was returned with 5 minutes to spare. My demand that the thing have the shit cleaned out of it before it is unleashed on some other poor, unsuspecting individual fell of deaf ears and, too tired to argue further, we left.

We still have boxes to unpack but I have my desk and my bed, so for the moment, I am happy.

Did I mention that Dave's mother is in the process of selling her house? Yea, we get to do this again in a few months. I can't wait.

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