Moving Days: 2 1/2 Years Overnight

So, this is what our house and yard look like after being away for 2 1/2 years.

Front Yard

The front yard isn’t bad. It needs trimming around the edges and the trim around the garage door needs to be painted. Things don’t look too bad out front. Let’s see what the inside looks like.

Dining Room

The dining room looks pretty much like I left it. My curtains are still there. The walls all look good. There are a few more scratches on the floor, but that is okay because we want to replace it anyway. I kinda wish that light fixture was gone, but I’ll take care of that later.

Living Room

The living room is still there, like it would have gotten up and walked away. Silly me! The carpet is ten years old and has seen some action from little kids and pets. It’ll be a goner in no time.

Josh's Room

Yup, Josh’s room is still orange and the valance I made with no sew tape is still hanging there.

I won’t bore you with the rest of the bedrooms. They all look okay and make for very boring pictures when they’re empty. Although, this carpet has to go! The bathrooms are okay too.

Shall we look at the kitchen?

Kitchen

Yay! My most awesome Kenmore Trio fridge is still there along with the oven that can fit four cookie sheets at the same time! This kitchen is going to get a workout.

Kitchen floor

Ohhhh, that floor looks bad. The grout is not, NOT suppose to be that color. It should be much, MUCH lighter and blend in with the tile. Ewwwww. I’m gonna have to get down on my hands and knees and fix that.

Kitchen cabinet doors

Ohhhhhhh, man! The surface of my cabinet doors are peeling off! Darn it! Not every door is like this, maybe four or five. Yeesh. I was hoping to “save” these cabinets, but now I know they’re goners too.

Laminate countertops

Holy criminy! My laminate countertops are coming unglued! I think I’m coming unglued too.

I have to get out of here. What does the backyard look like?

Backyard

What in the hell happened to my backyard?

Over grown bushes

The bushes and trees are overgrown, but at least they’re growing, unlike my nonexistant grass!

Washout

I’d say 1/4 to 1/3 of our lawn is gone, washed away. It really looks like there was a river in our backyard what washed away the new sod we put down before we moved out. Balls. Big bouncy balls.

Fence

Our fence needs some repair work, including the gates which are warped and the hardware is tore up. Dang it! It won’t be all flip flops and sundresses for me around here. More like boots and cutoffs!

To sum it up, I think our house went from needing cosmetic changes to a “fixer upper”. In my brain this change took place overnight, but it really is what happens when you don’t live in your own house for 2 1/2 years. All the priorities I had before setting eyes on the house have been thrown out the window. Painting and replacing the floors are simple fixes compared to the work we have cut out for ourselves. Losing a few lbs won’t be a problem because there will be some serious physical labor involved. There is plenty of blog material for the future!

Has anyone else been surprised by the condition of their house after a long absence?

Moving Days: 8 Weeks and 9 Beds Later

Monday, July 9

3:15 pm.  We are anxiously awaiting delivery of our household goods from Germany. Only two more days to wait. In the meantime, I’m wondering when we’ll get the keys to our house. The inspection of our house by our property managers was suppose to happen this morning since our tenants are supposedly all moved out. We haven’t heard from our managers, so I’m wondering how things went. I think I’ll have to give them a call shortly. I just can’t stand the suspense. I’m curious what our house looks like after two and a half years away. When we left, we sincerely didn’t expect to ever set foot in the place again, let alone live there. But now that it will be our home once again, I can’t help but wonder if Joshua’s bedroom is still orange. Did our renters totally trash our newly sodded back yard? Is my beautiful Kenmore Trio fridge in good condition? I expect the floors and walls to look like crap, but will they be disgusting? Oh, I can’t hardly stand the wait anymore!

7:15 pm. I called our property management company at 3:30 and the person I needed to talk to was busy with another client. I’m still waiting for a call back, but I don’t think I’ll get it this evening. I want my keys! I want my keys! Someone will be getting a phone call in the AM. Better believe it.

Tuesday, July 10

12:34 pm.  We can pick up the keys this afternoon! Hooray! I’m feeling a bit nervous and excited.

Nearly eight weeks ago the movers packed up our household goods. Since then, Josh and I have slept in nine different beds. I’m so grateful we had so many family and friends we could impose on. We made messes of their homes and ate their food. We were most certainly very bad company, you know –  grumpy, irritable, sloppy, grumpy and even more grumpy. Thank you to everyone for putting up with us.

This experience has taught me that a place to call my own, a place to relax and be private, is very important. I used to think that interior design is a shallow hobby, but now I know how important a comfortable place of my own is to my well being. I can’t wait to get my stuff and put it in my house!

2:30 pm. We pulled up to the house with keys in hand.

My House

You’ll just have to read my next post to find out what we found inside and out.

Moving Days: What is the Deal With Movers?

I have had wide ranging experiences with moving companies over the years. Some were so frustrating, it’s almost comical. The best experiences have been when someone else was paying the bill! That really makes a stressful situation much less stressful, but thanks to the state of the economy, those all expenses paid relocations are becoming rare, at least for us.

I don’t even remember the first move when a moving company actually came and packed and loaded our stuff. Jeromy was in the Air Force and we were getting sent home. Someone made all the arrangements and I just had to be there.

Our first apartment in Alaska

What I do remember from that day is when we went out to free up room for the moving truck, my car wouldn’t start! We were going to ship the car, but we took it as a sign and once Jeromy got the car started, we drove it into town and sold it to a used car dealership. So long Dodge Neon! We moved ourselves on what we’d call local moves for a few years in the DC area. When we moved to New Hampshire, that move was paid by the new employer. So was our move to South Carolina. Those moves went pretty well, but I think that was because we weren’t coughing up the change. Relocation counselors are awesome!

Things got really interesting and complicated when we decided to move to Germany. The human resources person who handled Jeromy’s hire quit right in the middle of our move. I guess our information just sat on a desk and no one else picked up the ball. I’d say we had no help, only the promise of being reimbursed for our expenses after we submitted receipts. I had no advice on how or who to hire for moving our household goods. Thank goodness for the internet, or maybe not.

The company that I hired sent two guys and a truck down to South Carolina from New Jersey. After seeing these guys, had the cast from Jersey Shore shown up, I would have thought, “what nice, clean cut boys.” Instead, I got the original cast of Jersey Swamp. I don’t know where these two crawled out of and I had to let them in my house. Jeromy was already gone to Germany, so it was just Josh and me. To add to the good times, the one who looked like Gimli from Lord of the Rings, you know – short, stocky, hairy, but add gold teeth and chains, he made a mess in my bathroom. I normally get by with natural, non-toxic cleaners in my house, but I went for the toxic, industrial strength stuff to clean up after him. Ick! The two of them managed to cram all of our stuff into this small truck, everything except the cat’s scratching post.

Nice, new and clean cat scratch post.

In hindsight, I don’t know why I let them do this. They strapped the post to the bumper of the truck and drove like that all the way back to New Jersey! It was a funny sight as they pulled out of the driveway, but at the time I was too tired to laugh. That post was very dirty by the time it arrived in Germany!

Now we’re making arrangements with a German moving company. They are well experienced in dealing with Americans and moves back to the USA because they do a lot of moving for the military. I decided to go with this company because the other one I asked for a quote ssssuuuuuuuuuuuucked at giving us a proper estimate.

Company F (not company B, company F for failing) first gave us a quote that estimated 40 cubic meters of household goods to go in a 40 foot container and our car would go in a 20 foot container. I questioned this because we just don’t have that much stuff. I asked them to revise the quote with two options; 1 – car in the 40 ft. container with our household goods, 2 – a 20 ft. container for just our household goods in case we decided to sell the car. Company F quoted what I asked for, but then said a 40 ft. container can only hold 30cbm if you place a car in the container too and a 20 ft. container can only hold 30cbm. The car apparently would take up 20 feet of a container. Well, fine, but I know there is no way in hell we have 40cbm of household goods. I looked at the invoice for how much we shipped to Germany and it converted to 17cbm. We did not acquire more than double what we brought from the States! No way! I know I didn’t buy that much at IKEA.

So, Company F sent out a different person to do another survey. Two days later I received a quote saying that yes, we do indeed have 40cbm of household goods, but this time it WILL fit in a 40 ft. container with the car. How is this possible? Did they figure out how to install some sort of black hole in the container? Would Scotty from Star Trek beam our household goods to South Carolina? The kicker, there is always a kicker, is that this time the 40 ft. container cost €1600 more than the quote when they said it wouldn’t fit. What?! Do these frickin’ frackers think I’m stupid? Do I look stupid?

Me and a pretzel at Oktoberfest in Munich. Silly, but not stupid.

So to Company F I say, “Nein! Nein! Nein! No soup for you!”

Sorry for the rant, but these guys really got me goin’. When I’m shelling out the big bucks, I take this stuff personally and I was offended by their outrageous ineptitude. Anyway, here’s hoping Company A sends their best and brightest to deal with me, I mean help me.

Have any of you had interesting experiences with movers?