Packing Up da House

Packing!On Monday & Tuesday, Feb 20th & 21st, we had our house packed up by Allied International.

After another restless slumber, a crew of six men in a large truck showed up at 8:30 am with vast amounts of wrapping materials. The foreman surveyed the house, determined there wasn’t enough room to actually ‘work’, and ordered everyone to empty out the hallways and some of the rooms of the boxes we’d already packed. With nothing to do ourselves, Bruce & I sat in my office and observed the madness. The men were working so rapidly, putting together boxes, packing, then taping them up and stacking them in the hallway. At one point during conversation, Bruce & I were stopped mid-sentence by the cacophony coming from the hallway.

I tried to rest, but couldn’t relax, so I went for a walk and chilled out in Dolores Park. It was a gorgeous day and I soaked up the vistas of this beautiful city. An hour later I walked back to the house and found that I couldn’t get up the stairs. The men (there were now nine of them) had turned our three-story staircase into a ‘chute’ using pieces of cardboard jammed into the steps, and they were chuting boxes down one after the other and loading them onto the truck. As I observed this from across the street, I thought to myself, “So much stuff. So much crap. When did we accumulate it all? Did it make me happy? Or was it a burden?” Of all the things we have, there are only about a dozen or so items that I really love; the rest is meaningless and which I could probably do without. And then I had this fleeting thought: If the container were to mysteriously fall off the ship, it would be okay! It would be possible to walk the earth lightly unencumbered by so many material things. (This was a fleeting thought though as the ‘artist colony concept’ we are going to try and create will likely require us to have some stuff: beer making equipment, backpacking/camping gear, ski gear, books, music, games, gardening tools, workshop tools, sewing machine & materials, guest beds, etc. Oh, and my shoes, and my bags, and some faux fur coats. OKAY, OKAY, I’ll admit it — WE ARE STUFF HORDERS AND WE LIKE IT. So there. But we’ll get to experience living lightly while we wait the eight to ten weeks for the container to arrive.).

During a lull, I managed to haul myself up the stairwell and back into my office where we waited for the afternoon to pass. At one point we heard the men laughing like little kids. I peeked out to see what was going on – they were chuting themselves down the stairs to go on break!

At the end of the day about 80% of the house was packed and loaded into the truck. The foreman told me that the container was not going to be brought and loaded at the house as originally thought – instead they would load a truck each day, bring it to the warehouse, and then reload it all into the container.

Moving Day 014.jpgDay 2 — They arrived with a smaller crew of four at 9 am. I thought it would only take a few hours to finish up the job. It actually took longer than the previous day and they didn’t wrap up until after 5. Bruce & I holed up in an empty room with a borrowed table, a ‘staying behind’ chair, carpet, and telephone, and a couple of books. Time passed so slowly. The house was emptying. It was weird to see how big the rooms were when devoid of stuff. I felt both sad and excited.

The Final Count: 15,020 pounds (the estimate was 14,600), 470 individually marked items (beds, boxes, furniture, etc), $11,715 dollars for door-to-door service (includes delivery and unpacking on the other side).

We celebrated with champagne that evening in our empty house, sitting on the floor, eating dinner, and toasting to this accomplishment. We’d spend the next week ‘camping’ out in our house, sleeping in our sleeping bags, using empty boxes as make-shift tables, tending to the remaining tasks on our list.

A week later and we got word that our container was booked on the Pacific Link. The woman couldn’t tell me when the vessel was due to sail {strange} but did know that it was scheduled to arrive in Christchurch (Lyttleton Harbor) on April 23rd. Tack on another week or so to clear customs and schedule delivery and we’re looking at seeing our goods sometime the first week of May. Holy cow! We’re going to be traveling nomads for the next nine weeks.