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!

Shout Out To Those Scrubbing Bubbles!!

You may be wondering why it took me so long to pack up my belongings, especially since I swore to you that I got rid of a ton of things.  Yes indeedy, I sure did unload lots and lots of stuff!  There are probably hundreds of people out there right now wearing my clothing, eating from my dishes and listening to my old albums.  But I still had a lot of stuff in the basement.  You know, that big, often ignored, hole in the ground under your house, (which is, in effect, another house), into which most of us shove lots of “stuff that I will use someday”.  Oh yeah, some of us also have superfluous items in the basement like furnaces and washers and dryers, but for the most part, basements are storage spaces for stuff we cannot part with.  Remember that George Carlin routine about stuff?  Well, that about sums it up I think.  For those of you too young to get that one, just go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac.  It explains a lot about …..you guessed it….stuff.  We also put things like canned food  in the basement.  Thanks to my basement and BJ’s Wholesale Club, I am pretty much prepared for the next flood, hurricane, blizzard or apocalypse.

After working on the upstairs for what seemed like enough time to pack Buckingham Palace, I had the upstairs (the place where I lived with stuff I used on a fairly regular basis) under control.  Despite my efforts to avoid it, I realized I had no choice but to move on to the dreaded “basement stuff” (the treasures that I would undoubtedly need if I was foolish enough to throw any of it away).  Being the black holes that they are, basements tend to get a little dirty and dusty along with everything in them, and well, just….eewwwwww.  There was just no way that I was moving my stuff DIRTY!  Oh hell no!  What if one of my neighbors at my new Florida home stopped by in the middle of me unpacking Connecticut basement stuff?  There was no way I was going to have them think “Oh my God…she seems nice, but what a SLOB!”.  Nope.  I am not having that!  My STUFF may be a lot of that other name George Carlin uses, but it would be clean before any of it saw the inside of a box headed to Florida!

Now this is where the bubble guys came in.  I would like to say that I am immune to advertising.  I am a highly educated consumer who does not make purchasing decisions based on silly TV commercials.  HA!  That was the huge lie I told myself for a long time – until reality hit me one day while I was standing at the cash register.  Make me laugh with your commercial and you have my attention.  Then provide a coupon in the BJ’s circular and that’s it….Sold!  And folks, I am here to tell you about a product that makes light of years of collected basement grime and makes you and your stuff the pride of any new neighborhood.  – Scrubbing Bubbles!    “But isn’t that just for bathrooms?” you ask.  Not in my Phyllis Diller book of house work it isn’t!!  Anything that makes it such that all I need to do is spray, sit back and watch the dirt run down is good for just about any room and any item in the house, I say!  Those cute little scrubber guys flying around on my TV screen one day caught my attention.  That and the BJ’s coupon, which enabled me to buy something like 6 cans of the little guys.  “Six cans for a single person with one bathroom?  Are you nuts?” you may ask.  Hey….Its not like they are going to go bad!  And as it turns out, 6 cans of that stuff is a cleaning gift from the Universe (or SC Johnson I guess) for a major move.

I went into the basement armed with my Scrubbing Bubbles and started to take things apart.  My food storage cabinet for example.  It is one of those four shelved plastic units I bought from Home Depot a few years back.  I put it together, started shoving stuff onto it and there it sat, doing its duty, but getting a little grimy as well.  I unloaded it, packed up the food and then took it apart, brought it outside and sprayed the heck out of it with those little bubbles.  Five minutes later, I sprayed each piece with the garden hose and VOILA!  Brand new again!  God I love those bubbles!  I also have a garden fairy that got put away every autumn without a whole lot of fanfare.  She is going to Florida bright and shiny now due to Scrubbing Bubbles.  Now don’t get all judgey on me about her before shots…remember – you too have basements with surprises in store!  Here she is in the process of being Scrubbing Bubbled.

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And here is the finished product!!

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Isn’t she beautiful now?  Oh and yes, there are other things that I just could not part with, goofy as they may seem.  This face will probably find itself on a palm tree soon – clean thanks to my little Scrubbing Bubble friends!  THAT is definitely something to smile about!  And oh yeah….I still have a few cans left if you need some…..

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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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Welcome! Come dip your toe into that scary water with me!

There are so many blogs out there these days about making our lives better. About taking brave steps.  About Change.  CHANGE.  That dirty little 6-letter word that strikes paralyzing fear in the hearts and souls of so many of us otherwise rational people.  You might be wondering then, why I am even considering writing a blog about change.  Hasn’t that been “done”?  Here is my story and why I want to reach out to all of you.

I have decided to sell my home and move to Florida.  Yes, I know millions of people have done that.  But here is the twist.  I am a New Englander.  I am single.  I am a woman.  And I am a baby-boomer.  What a time of life to FINALLY get adventurous, eh?  I do doubt that I am the first single woman to do this at my age, but I don’t know any others and maybe you don’t either.  My hope in writing this blog is two-fold – first that I will gain support from my readers as I venture across this emotion-packed experience and, second, that perhaps I can help someone else considering embarking on the same adventure….or cliff dive into the unknown, depending upon your perspective or level of fear at any given time.  AIEEEEE!  I can’t be the only person just a bit intimidated by this.  Actually, I went to one of those local AARP “Life Reimagined” meetings about a year ago and there she was – a single lady who wanted to move to Florida, but was scared.  Sweetie, I know just how you feel and I hope you are out there reading this.  So…. let’s do this together!