The horrors of moving. : LUSENET : ASTRUC : One Thread

I'm moving for the fourth time in two years, so just when I'm thinking I have a system down, I realise my head is jammed so far up my ass I may never see daylight again.

Share your moving horror stories. Share your not-so-moving horror stories. Okay, bad pun, but I'm tired and I really just want to go to sleep and stop trying to be so clever.

-- Sara Astruc (, July 23, 2000


In the 16 years since Ive been out of school, I have moved about 10 times. The worst one was 10 years ago, when I was scheduled to move about 20 miles within Connecticut. My father was going to help me, bringing along his pickup truck. But the day before, he backed out, giving me some vague explanation of a domestic crisis. In a panic, I called my best friend who volunteered both his van and his labor to help me with the big stuff. I was badly disorganized and he really helped me get it together. He refused payment but I insisted on giving him my TV, which I think he still has. But after we moved, I had a lot of cleaning up to do in the filthy, empty apartment and I finally staggered out of there around midnight. Four years ago, I hired movers for the first time, and a cleaning person to scrub the place out afterward. What a difference!

-- Andrew (, July 24, 2000.

Well, OBVIOUSLY there had to be something to go wrong moving to Tashkent... but I don't know if this counts...

Storing my furniture wasn't a problem (I have the perfect fiancee), and I was moving to a furnished apartment. All I really needed were my clothes, a lot of books, and a corkscrew (if ever you go to Central Asia bring one, along with a can opener). Unfortunately, the check-in agent at American Airlines (yeah, I know, Air Greyhound) insisted I was 50 pounds overweight with one bag and simply HAD to empty it. She would not let me pay for the extra weight and refused to contenance cutting me slack for the rest of my bags that were underweight.

I had to unload fifty pounds of books, run them through the terminal and dump them in a locker (later picked up and shipped to me by the same fiancee... what a gal). They actually had to open up the plane for me after they had sealed it. Bother.

The irony kicked in on the flight from Bishkek to Tashkent. We had half a dozen people loaded up on an ancient twin-engine Yak, and the pilot was more than willing to accept a bribe (half the cost of paying for oversized luggage on American) to load up luggage nearly twice the limit imposed in the States. The only downside was loading up the luggage ourselves. Of course, then you just have to make sure you don't load up so much luggage the plane can't make it off the runway (has happened in the past).

A little practicality and common sense would have saved me a world of annoyance, made my move easier, and spared me the difficulty of teaching without many of the books I needed. I guess that's too much to expect in modern America. Fegh.

-- Alex (, July 24, 2000.

When I moved back from PR China, after living there and acquiring stuff for 3 years, I had this antique Qing dynasty armoire. It was huge and had bought for only $100 from the guy who used to live in my apartment and couldn't bother shipping it. Then came my time to ship it. Had to have a box made. Rip off $100 (in CHINA!) or not at all. Box too small. Huh. New box bribe $25. Shipping: $500 (not including bribes and insurance). Special price for you, Mr. Foreigner. Uh... fuck it, keep the damn thing. Gave box and dresser to my friend John, who had it shipped and GAVE THE DRESSER TO HIS MOM! Every time I think of it... Oh well.

-- Bob van Pelt (, July 24, 2000.

I once moved four times in fourteen months: from my parents' house to a mostly-furnished sublet; from the sublet to an empty studio; from the studio to an empty condo; from the condo to the empty first-floor apartment of the duplex where I live now and have for six years.

I used family for the first three and then my father insisted on paying for movers to execute on the last one. I wonder why? I guess he got tired of schlepping his daughter's things back and forth and around the same two-mile radius.

After the last move, I instituted the one-in, one-out rule: for every bag or box of things that come in, one bag or box of things needs to go out (by way of donation). The only exception to that rule is, of course, books.

Though I have no immediate plans to do so, when I do move from here I plan on taking advantage of the place I'm at in life where I'm not in need of taking the hand-me-down furnishings with and selling everything but the bed, the coffee and kitchen tables and my electronics.


-- Maureen (, July 25, 2000.

When I moved here with Katrina a couple years back, we stopped outside Dallas to spend the night in a hotel. In the car were all my belongings, nearly everything I ever managed to acquire in 29 years, which of course wasn't much, and I really didn't know Katrina all that well, as you will remember.

So, about four in the morning, I woke up to find myself alone in the room. In my half-sleep, I looked for Katrina and she wasn't there. I looked for my pants. No pants. My God, I thought, she's ditched me in Texas with no pants, no money, no stuff, no way to get home.

About ten seconds of sheer panic ripped through me. But, of course, Katrina was in the bathroom and she'd moved my pants in there also. Why? I don't know. Pants fetish, I guess.

Sometimes I still tease her about it. I say, "I know I didn't do the dishes, but at least I didn't abandon you in Texas in your drawers. Don't try that again. I know where you live now."

-- Jim Valvis (, July 26, 2000.

Here's a moving horror story, and it all ended two weeks ago....

We just moved our household, three cats, an eight month old baby and ourselves from Seattle, Washington to Houston, Tx. 2400 miles, yes we are THAT crazy. We did this with no place to live down here, though my spouse did have a great new job lined up.

We ended up staying in Mississippi for a couple for weeks with the in-laws (there was almost blood shed) and then 3 weeks in Residence Inn. Now we have a nice new house - but what an ordeal! The worst part was the driving 2400 miles, I spent most of which in the cramped backseat of my Volvo stationwagon trying to entertain our daughter while my husband drove. Also poopy diapers changed on the side of the highway are not fun, just a little FYI. My father-in-law drove my husband's truck down with the cat's & his sister. We were an interesting bunch checking into hotels at night.

That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger (or something to that effect). Good luck with the move Sara. My best advice is... stop to pee at McDonalds, avoid rest stops because freaks hang out there.

-- Kerri (, July 27, 2000.

It will be three years ago this September.

My family was moving from Ohio to Utah, about 1,900 miles, and I got to ride in the U-haul truck with my dad, on the day which happened to be his birthday. We were towing our mini-van, which held our two caged dogs. First off, the U-haul truck that we got ran like crap. It was leaking oil so badly that every time we stopped to get gas/let the dogs walk at a rest area, we had to add another quart of oil. Also, the emergency brake didn't work (which, could come in handy in an emergency when crossing the rocky mountains).

Add to that the fact that our female dog was in heat, which was making the male dog insane, and one time when we were putting the dogs back in the cages, our male dog turned around and bit my dad in the arm. To this day I don't think the dog actually MEANT to do it; he was such a teddy bear, and I think he was just stressed from the move.. but needless to say, my dad was bleeding all over the place and it was an awful time, and my dad was worried about the dog biting other people or something... so along a country road in Illinois or Iowa somewhere, my dad killed our dog.

To this day he regrets it, and I'm not making any excuses for him; we were both bawling our eyes out... considering it was my dad's b-day and that was HIS dog, but at the time, he felt it was the right thing to do, for some reason. Anyways, it was a really bad time, and very stress-filled. In the three days it took to get to Utah from Ohio, I ate exactly three things... a blizzard from Dairy Queen, a Big King burger from Burger King, and an Egg McMuffin.

I never want to drive that far again.

-- Sondra (, July 27, 2000.

Oh, Sondra, you win. Nobody's ever shot my dog on a move.

And Jim wrote:

So, about four in the morning, I woke up to find myself alone in the room. In my half-sleep, I looked for Katrina and she wasn't there. I looked for my pants. No pants. My God, I thought, she's ditched me in Texas with no pants, no money, no stuff, no way to get home.

About ten seconds of sheer panic ripped through me. But, of course, Katrina was in the bathroom and she'd moved my pants in there also. Why? I don't know. Pants fetish, I guess.

Jim: Maybe Special K took your trousers so she wouldn't have to worry that you'd bail while she was in the bathroom. Or maybe she wanted to sniff them.

I remember when you moved out there. God, that seems like a hundred years ago. Your baby is wicked cute, by the way.

-- Sara Astruc (, July 28, 2000.

Yeah, wicked is about the right word too.

It does seem like a hundred years, but it's only been two. I guess a lot has happened, though I feel strangely the same.

Listen, Sara, speaking of moving, send me your new address so the next postcard or chapbook or whatever I send makes it to you. Thanks.

-- Jim Valvis (, July 29, 2000.

I have to admit, I was very trepidatious (sp?--it's after midnight, my spelling neuron stops firing) about reading this thread, since I'm seriously considering a Chicago-to-Seattle move within 6 weeks of my Bucharest-to-Chicago move. The latter isn't *too* bad, although I'll have to get three large suitcases, one small suitcase, one computer backpack, and one cat in a not-regulation-carrier past the witches of Air France, and this after fighting the "helpful" luggage carriers at Otopeni Airport...hell, I'm frightening myself already.

I don't expect my dad would kill my cat if he (dad, not cat) ends up driving me to Seattle. Even though it *is* I-90/I-94 almost all the way, God help us.

-- Dorothy Rothschild (, August 04, 2000.

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-- Sara Astruc (, September 10, 2000.

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