Role Reversal

First of all, I am proud to announce that I am officially hooked up as a designer for Ravelry! It’s easy to do, and I’m sure no big deal for most people, but today, it feels like an accomplishment. I think it’s just the first step to becoming and honest-to-goodness serious pattern writer. It means I’m really going to do it – or at least try. My first pattern listed is the Colorado Scarf I made for Michael. Here is the Ravelry link to the pattern. I also posted it on a new page I just made for my blog here. Woo-hoo!

serra-helps-pack

jumbled-officeSo, anyway, I had a meltdown this morning. Michael has been dying to get the packing started since October. Months ago he acquired a bunch of free boxes from a Craigslist posting. They have been sitting in my office unassembled, waiting to be filled with our belongings. I chose this morning to get a serious start on the whole thing. I figured it would be leisurely, and that I would have time to pack things just so and to really think about whether I wanted to bring each particular item with me to our new house. I assembled at least a half dozen boxes and started taking the books off the shelves in the office. It felt good.

After I had packed a few boxes and begun to feel a little frustrated that my office was so full that I had to wade through the unpacked boxes, Michael called me. That’s no big deal – we call each other several times a day anyway. Apparently the movers contacted him to plan and schedule our move. I’ll give you the condensed version of that conversation:

M: “The movers said that they won’t insure our stuff if we pack it ourselves. They are going to send someone out the day before and pack it all up.”

B: “You mean to tell me all the hours of work I did this morning were for nothing? One of those boxes of books was too heavy for me and I had to slide it from the office to the kitten room in order to get it out of here.”

M: “Well, you don’t have to undo what you did, just don’t pack anything else. Unless you just want to, but then if they break it they won’t let us make a claim on it.”

B: (This would be the meltdown – imagine the cadence of the speech getting faster and and higher pitched as it goes along) “What the F@#$? The last time we let movers pack us, they sent 2 guys to pack up the apartment in Tallahassee, and one of them left after being there for maybe ½ an hour. They just packed our stuff up however they felt like, and there was no organization to it at all. I wanted to be organized this time. Besides that, the 1 guy left at our apartment was, surprise, not able to finish, and they were scrambling to pack it all while loading the truck. Things got lost, it was stressful – not good. I don’t tend to be anal about a lot of things, but I was a military dependant for crying out loud, and I think I am just as good as they are about packing, maybe better because I care about the possessions. To add to all of that, I wanted to go through everything and decide if it was worth bringing with us. How am I supposed to sort through our crap if I can put the keepers into boxes. Forget it, I’m not moving.”

M: “How about I call the movers and tell them about our last experience and make it clear that this won’t happen again?”

B: “Whatever.”

(Hang up)

B: “This is going to be a nightmare.”

By this point, I am so anxious I can’t sit down. I angrily rip the tape off of some of the boxes I reassembled. I think terrible thoughts about the f@#$ing people who are going to come mangle my things. Why can’t it be that one of the few things I feel I must have absolute control over goes in such a way that, well, I have control? I need a distraction or I am going to give myself an aneurysm. I have a flyer to work on for Carisa (Rattie Ratz is having fundraising festival thing they call Wonderful World of Rats), so I call her to make sure she can send me some of the graphics I need.

Carisa is one of my best friends in the world, but in many respects, we couldn’t be more different (this is not necessarily a bad thing – we balance one another). Carisa is hyper-organized in her daily life – I am not. Carisa tends to melt down when she has something stressful coming up – I don’t. As a matter of fact, Carisa has often called me for advice in stressful situations – I tend to be calmer and can come up with creative, simple solutions. I am not sure that I’ve really ever called her for something like that. That was about to change.

While I was on the phone with Carisa, I told her about my meltdown. She told me that the movers sent too few people to help them pack for her last move, and one of them had to leave early as well. So, the nightmare situation is not uncommon. She lost control of the packing/organizing, and on the day they were loading stuff onto the truck, the movers just tossed random, unrelated things into boxes. Some things got ruined. That’s what I was afraid of. I have a lot of handmade, irreplaceable things.

While she couldn’t help me with the moving company’s likelihood of not sending enough people and having them carelessly handle my stuff, she did have an organization suggestion (that is her speciality after all). One of the big goals I had for packing was to separate out things from the dual-purpose rooms I have now into groups that would go into the new single-purpose rooms in the new house. For example, I have craft things in my living room, bedroom and office right now. In my new house, my craft things get their own room. Carisa pointed out that I could just group things together that belong in the same room, reducing the likelihood that the toilet paper would be packed with the dishes and that my yarn would be packed with the cat food. I realized at that point that my kitten room is empty now. The kitten supplies I am taking to Colorado will fit in the plastic bin I currently use as a kitten crib. Perfect, I can move all my craft things into the kitten room. Then I have more room in the office, bedroom, and living room to store things that could at least plausibly end up there in the new house. Yes, this could work.

So, while it didn’t solve everything, my conversation with Carisa did at least take the edge off. I could focus once again, and rip the tape off the assembled boxes with just a little less malice. I could see straight enough to write this blog post. And just maybe, I can make my appointment with the endocrinologist this afternoon without killing someone in a road rage incident. Maybe I should keep my cell-phone handy.

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2 thoughts on “Role Reversal

  1. I’m irritated for you! I hope you have a better experience this time around. Can you be present when they are packing up your stuff to tell them what to do and what not to do? I would be all over them. I don’t trust other people with my things!

  2. Hi Barbara,

    We had the same problem. When we moved to the US, they packed our things, except for the books that were still in boxes from our previous move and we were lucky, not too many things were broken, but still they packed a few things very carelessly and we were upset. On our move back to CH, we didn’t want that to happen and we also wanted to pack a few things ourselves, like the books again, to be sure they will not be damaged. Then they said that if we packed ourselves, it wouldn’t be insured. So we asked for details about that, it meant that if it broke in the box it was not insured when packed by us, but otherwise if they lost the box or the box was broken, it was still insured. Not too sure about the insurance anyway, as they will try to pay the least they can if something happens, you know how it is. In the end we knew that we could pack better and decided to do so, except for the breakables (dishes, glasses, etc). We packed ourselves almost everything that was important to us and nothing was broken. When the movers came to pack the rest, it was such a hurry and a mess, you cannot keep control. I did my best and was able to tell them a few things, but they have absolutely no idea how to pack electronics and the like, they just stuffed it on top of each other in a box. I think they have no idea of the value of some things either, or they don’t care. It is not their fault, but if you like something a lot, I believe that you had better pack it yourself. Especially your knitting. It won’t be broken anyway in the box. But make sure that it is insured the same way our move was. (if it really was… ) We only had 2 things broken, a turntable and 3 mirrors of our cupboard, both packed by the movers. Didn’t get anything for that, but we didn’t try hard, it is an old cupboard anyway and Ikea, not worth much.
    The move is probably stressful whatever the way it is done. When I read your conversation with Michael I thought of the many similar conversations I had with Arnaud. It is probably always like that…
    Meanwhile I see Serra is having a good time 😉 I hope you manage to keep the level of stress as low as possible and wish you good luck.

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