Who is Gonna Move Me?

One of the most important considerations which every person moving out of state must make is “Who is going to handle my precious belongings and get them to my new home safely?”  Back in the day, I’d get a bunch of my friends together, rent a U-Haul, buy beer and pizza and all was good.  Now that all my friends and I have become settled into the Ibuprofen-powered set, that isn’t an option.  As I always do with anything major like this, I research it endlessly until I have made myself crazy.  First, I thought of everyone I knew who had moved and asked them who they had used.  Surprisingly, many of them had forgotten.  That was probably a good thing since we tend to remember the people and companies who send us into seething rages.  The only problem, of course, is that I didn’t have company names.  So then I went to that source of all irrefutable information – the internet.  Oh….My…..God.  I would read a review of one company and be relatively assured that all would be well with my world.  Then I would make the mistake of scrolling down the page where dire warnings of gloom and despair would besiege my brain.  “These guys were HORRIBLE!!!  My Mom was standing quietly for too long I guess and they mistook her for a statue, wrapped her up, stuffed her into a box, and shipped her off to St. Louis!  They said that they recalled hearing “some sort of squeaking”, but chalked it up to road noise.  The worst part was that we were moving to New Orleans!  It was months before we saw her again and no one at the office would answer our calls!!!”  YIKES!!…..

On top of everything else, my tenants in Florida waved a lease at me that didn’t expire until December.  It was a little difference of opinion, but I had to concede that they were right.  Which, of course, fit right in with the “Ball Is In Your Park” decision delayer (if you recall my list from a few posts back).  I was able to sell my house and still have time to get used to the idea of leaving Connecticut.  I would be able to spend the holidays with my friends and help Karen finish up the bait shop season.  And I could take a little more time looking for a mover – and now a storage facility.

I started first by calling some of those movers that give you a quote over the phone.  As I walked around my house describing what I owned over the phone to a complete stranger sitting who-knows-where, my brain was screaming “Are you NUTS???  This guy has NO idea if the table you just mentioned is big enough for 6 or for a Heads of State function at the White House!!  And he’s giving you a binding quote?”  I pictured myself in Florida, standing in front of my house screaming at a driver handing me a $10,000 invoice in addition to what I had paid upfront.  The internet had some of those stories too.  By the time a few hours had passed, I was in full-fledged panic and the nerves from my spinal cord injury were on fire.

I researched “how to pick a mover” and tried to find an article that was not sponsored by any particular moving company – no easy task.  I finally did get some useful information though.  I learned that I must be sure that my mover has a US DOT number, which is a unique license number issued by the United States Department of Transportation.  AND my source gave me a database from which to investigate this information!  AHA!  NOW we’re cooking!  With open spreadsheet on my laptop, I diligently compared license numbers, insurance information, years in business, etc., etc., etc.  And when I finished, I had myself a spreadsheet full of DOT numbers, insurance info, years in business and ……..not a whole lot else.  PLEASE!!!  I need someone to tell me who to pick!!  Obviously, the panic was not subsiding any.

After agonizing over this for several days, I employed my “Scarlett O’Hara – I’ll think about it tomorrow” decision delayer mode until I could handle going back to deal with it.  Hopefully, my brain would unscramble a bit as well.  Finally I got up the nerve to think about it again and called two companies who would provide in-home interviews.

We did the tour of my house and chatted a bit.  A few days later, the estimates came in.  I even visited one to see their storage facilities and got a good feel for the office staff.  I then analyzed my silly spreadsheet (made me feel like it hadn’t been a total waste), reviewed the estimates and then made my scientific and well-researched choice – which was to pick the one closest to me who also seemed most capable of dealing with my anxieties.  Alright, alright…not the most scientific but at least I had made a decision!  A few weeks after they had come they had moved my precious belongings out of my house, I was talking with a friend of mine.  She said that the company I used had been her mover and she had just loved them.  Now why didn’t I think to call her sooner?  It would have saved me a lot of Googling, spreadsheets – and angst!  Ah well – better late than never I suppose!

Showings

The “Ball Is In Your Park” decision; the BIIYP, as you may recall, ended quickly with a request for a showing.  Geezzzzzz!!!!  So SOON??!??  This was supposed to take awhile!  I just got used to seeing the sign for Pete’s sake. I was quite comfy in BIIYP and was not ready to have strangers (otherwise known as BUYERS to regular people who list their homes) coming into my home!  No!  I didn’t want to show it!  But the PIA voice started nagging.  I could clearly hear her lecturing me about wasting Marilyn’s time if I wasn’t serious.  About having wasted MY time too.  “Alright ALRIGHT!!!  I’ll show it!  Shutup already!” I hollered to the PIA voice.

So you might think that with my half-hearted attitude about selling, that I would give showing the house a half-hearted effort, but that is just not me.  Nope.  Everything had to be perfect.  Each showing was akin to preparing for a visit by heads of state.   Every tiny speck of dust removed, every pillow karate-chopped just the right way.  Did I mention that I am a Certified Professional Home Stager and HGTV addict?  Well, I may not have really wanted to sell my house, but darn it!  It was going to look like it jumped out of Better Homes and Gardens for every showing no matter how I felt inside!!  Probably the funniest incident happened when I was in such a pre-showing rush and panic, I whipped myself around and accidentally stuck the running vacuum cleaner hose into dog’s water dish and it started sucking up water!!  So that showing wasn’t quite perfect of course since I had to have the vacuum upside down in the basement sink draining out the water.  Lesson learned.  “Budget your time a little better” the voice said…….  At another showing, the PIA voice nagged about giving more attention to detail.  “Maybe next time, you can remember to take down the bra hanging from the clothes line in the basement.”

I met each prospective buyer at the door, at least momentarily.  Yeah, yeah….I know you aren’t supposed to.  I cleared out quickly enough, but I wanted to get a read on the people who might buy “my baby”.  All told, I had a crew that came in and toured 3 times and each time they came, the entourage grew (should I set up a polling station??).  Another couple who came twice and spent at least an hour both times (The house is all of 1,176 square feet.  Seriously???  I don’t take that long to view some of the mansions at Newport).  Then they gave me an insulting offer.  Obviously, after all the time they took to look, they gave not a second’s thought to the problem with ticking off an emotional seller.  They found out quickly enough……  Then there was the couple who said the yard was too big (that would be why there is a lot size and lots of pictures in the listing (sigh…).  The single lady who had a big house and was trying to downsize.  A former colleague who told my agent that she knew my house was perfect because that’s how I did everything at work.  I decided to take that as a compliment and ignore the PIA voice reminding me about my tendency to nit-pick.  Each time, I did NOT want to show the house.  Each time, I ran myself ragged making everything perfect.  And each time someone didn’t want it, I felt myself indignantly asking “And just why the heck NOT???  HMPH!!!”.  Most importantly, with each “No”, I was able to stick with the satisfaction of the BIIYP.  Hey, I had no control over these folks, right?  I was doing my best to make the house look great.  It wasn’t my fault that no one was buying (or forcing me into changing).  So basically, I’d put in a good faith effort to make it look great, and feel a bit put-off when someone said no.  But if truth be told, there was that feeling of “Whew…I dodged THAT bullet!”.  There is probably some technical name for this in the psychology books under general weirdness or wishy-washiness or something along those lines, but I think the term “scared of change” would be most appropriate.

And then THEY came.  I liked them.  They loved my home, but decided it was too small (dodged another bullet HA!HA!).  But then they came back for a second look on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.  And apparently, they REALLY loved my house.  Ut-oh…….

Marilyn called me the following Thursday evening chirping “Well, we are going to have an offer tomorrow”.  My response was “Oh yeah?  Hmmm.  What made them change their minds?”  So after all the staging and yard saleing and furniture listing on Craig’s List and Letgo and Facebook and just general angst, my response to her was “Oh yeah?  Hmmm.  What made them change their minds?”  Well, that’s what she heard anyway.  But what I was actually saying, with wild-eyed, screaming anxiety was “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!   I      CAN’T      DO      THIS!!!!!”  I felt the tears behind my eyes, just waiting to explode onto my cheeks as I struggled to keep my stomach from flipping.   Instead of jumping for joy, I was terrified!  Scarlett came to my rescue.  I didn’t know what the offer would be, Scarlett decided.  It could be as bad as that first one.  So Scarlett wrapped her arms around me and decided “I can’t think about that now.  I’ll think about it tomorrow”.  I love Scarlett.

By morning, I had gotten hold of myself and was OK with the idea of selling my beautiful little house.  Still not jumping for joy, but OK as lukewarm as my OK’s usually are.  And so there I was…. waiting for the offer.  And waiting.  And waiting.  And then doing what I normally do when I’m stressed – I find something to do.  I took the dogs to the park even though it was 88 degrees.  I don’t have a problem with heat as long as I stay in the shade.  Perhaps wearing fur coats, however, is what made the dogs less-than-enthused.  They sniffed a bit here and there and then looked at me, tongues hanging out of their mouths, as if to say “Seriously????  What is your problem woman??”.  OK.  Home we went.  Since they were hot, I took that as a good time for baths.  Of course, that also means washing their beds.  And what the heck, while we’re at it, I might as well strip my bed and wash my sheets too.  Having completed my “torture” of the dogs, there were a couple of plant stands that I had intended to sand and spray paint.  That kept me occupied for a few hours even though I found myself checking the time regularly and wondering……WHERE…..IS……THE…..OFFER????  Sigh.  The personification of cool am I (not).  Moving on, I cleaned all the windows on my car – interior and exterior.  Finally around 8 pm, I couldn’t take it anymore and texted Marilyn with “Well….Did they change their minds?”  As it turned out, the offer had come in late and she hadn’t had a chance to look at it yet.  I wanted her to see it first.  Silly?  Well, maybe, but I know how I am.  Just in case it was another insulting offer, I wanted to give Marilyn time to come up with her calming words of wisdom.

As it turned out, their offer came in with great financing and a fairly decent first offer.  More hemming and hawing ensued, but not even Scarlett could save me this time.  I had to make a decision.  I HAD to embrace this change.  The price wasn’t quite there, so I countered.

And so the DANCE begins……

For Sale!

In my last post, I left you staring out of my back window with me wondering what I should do.  Well, time passed and the leaves got bigger and greener, the flowers were popping and the chorus of bird songs filled the air.  I spent more and more time staring out the kitchen window while doing my dishes, savoring every bit of nature’s summer loveliness.  But breaking through the peace of that exquisite scenery and the delightful bird songs was………that annoying, pain-in-the-ass (PIA!) voice in my head telling me “Sooooooo….you DO want to end up regretful don’t you?”  UGH!!  SHUT UP VOICE!  By mid-June, Scarlett’s “I’ll think about it tomorrow” became Nadine’s “Alright!  Alright, voice!!  I’ll find a real estate agent!!”.  After four interviews, I picked the one.  Her name is Marilyn and she had no idea what kind of nut she was signing on with, but she seemed like she could handle it.  I can’t possibly have been her first wavering client.

In July, I shakily signed the paperwork that would bind Marilyn and I as partners for the next six months.  And so began the “Ball Is In Your Park” decision; the BIIYP.  Hey I did something, right?  I made a decision to sell my beloved house!  A decision to move on to Florida!  A decision to change!  That was it.  The decision making was now up to the buying public.  It was out of my hands.  Having to make any decision and actually change anything was no longer in MY ballpark.  Whew!  Glad to get THAT off my chest!

A couple of days later, I was in the kitchen staring at my beautiful yard again, when I heard a loud, thump, thump, thump sound.  I went to the front of the house, looked out the window and swallowed my heart.  There they were.  Pounding a “For Sale” sign into my front lawn.  I resisted the urge to run out in my pj’s and bedhead, screaming “Get that off my lawn!!!!  I didn’t mean it!  I changed my mind!!!”.  Instead, I just quickly moved away from the window so no one would see the blood draining from my face.

And so it begins…….

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