Herein lies the story of the move as it happened. The intrigue! The mystery! The crushing disappointments and the joyous triumphs! You’ll be transfixed! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry!
We arrived in town in the afternoon, and the landlady had been cleaning out the place for hours. The fellow who lived here prior to me was not what we shall call the cleanest of people, and there was a lot of cleaning to do. I have noted the very good job she did on the bathtub and the sink, and I applaud her for it. I have been taking Oxy-clean to the walls, fridge, cupboards, and counters ever since. I think there should be a law that everyone who rents should use Tilex Fresh Shower every single time they use their showers or tubs. It’s just the smart thing to do. And here’s a tip for renters everywhere: staple guns were not designed for put up posters.
So on the very first day, with my new keys in my pocket, I plugged in the phone and discovered, in spite of my three-weeks-prior request to have phone service as of the first, I had no dial tone. I called the phone company on my cell phone and they confirmed that, indeed, there was no active phone line. This was at about 8pm. I was worried about the next day, since everyone and their cousins would be arriving with various stuff. The nice woman at the phone company said they were still working on it, so sorry, and hopefully it will be working by the next morning.
That first day, my brother-in-law put up my curtains. I’m really glad he did that, because the curtains make a world of difference. I put olive curtains in the living room (to contrast the red couch) and yellow curtains in the bedroom. (Yellow is my favourite colour.) The yellow was the best decision I’ve made in ages; the quality of the light in my bedroom is so warm and so beautiful. But at that point that’s all there was; curtains. I slept on a thermorest that night.
The following morning the movers I hired arrived. They had come to my parents’ house at 8am, packed everything up, and were at my place by 9:30. They cheerily moved all my things in, had a drink and moved on. The entire move cost me $300. I couldn’t have moved for less, and in this case I didn’t even have to lift a finger.
The moment the movers left the cable guy arrived. He seemed confused that I hadn’t tried to hook up my tv yet.
“It just arrived,” I said. “About 10 minutes ago.” Surely everyone in the world checks for cable the moment their tv staggers into the apartment, right?
The cable guy was miffed about the funny wiring in the building, and said that possibly the broadband wouldn’t work at all. When it comes to internet access, everything else can come to a screeching halt; I thought, well, I guess I could cancel cable and get DSL. And then I remembered: no dial tone. Checked the phone; still no dial tone.
But the cable guy was worried for no reason; once he got into the basement to do whatever it is he does to the wires, everything was fine. I set up my router and was back online. Ah, sweet sweet drug o’mine.
Called the phone company back. Now they tell me that my phone was actually connected before 5pm the day before, which was odd, since at 8pm the record seemed to show that it wasn’t. Anyway, the problem now appeared to be within the building, so they would have to send a technician to look at it. They would send one the next day, between 9 and 5.
“9 and 5?!” I said. I mean, come on. I just moved. I have things to do!
“We can call an hour before,” she said, very nicely. “How’s that?”
“Great!” I said. I didn’t expect to be more than 15 minutes from the place anyway. And I would need to alert the landlady, who had the key to the basement. An hour would be perfect.
In the meantime I decided to put my table legs onto the tables. (I have one little one in the kitchen and a bigger one for the dining room. Well, dining area, it’s in the room room as the living room.) I must admit that at first I tried to put a leg on the wrong side, but I figured it out eventually. Everything was slightly wobbly, having no tools, but at least I got one of the tables standing upright. The other I got standing upright when a second cable guy arrived to test my signal strength. Sure, he was there to check the line, but I got him to help me turn the table over onto its legs. There are some things you just can’t do by yourself.
Later that afternoon, the Sears people arrived. Two guys, both looking overheated and tired. While my fabulous movers moved three times as much stuff, the Sears guys took about the same amount of time. Mattress, foundation, bed, dresser, bedside table…and the last, the couch. But before the couch came anywhere near my living room one of the delivery guys came to find me.
“We broke it,” he said. And so they did. There it was, sitting outside on the pavement, an arm completely wrenched off. “We’ll call you about getting a new one delivered.” And that was that.
So, couchless, I returned to my little abode and looked at the bedroom. A lot of furniture, a lot of plastic wrap. I decided, heck, I’m a grown up, I can put this stuff together. I put two tables together, after all.
Putting together a queen-sized bed in a tiny room all by yourself is not what I’d call easy. It was hot and I was exhausted, so by the end I was sticky and worn completely thin, but I did it. I didn’t trust it, though. It took me about two or three hours before I would actually lie down on it. Since I put it together myself, I wasn’t convinced it wouldn’t collapse under me. But it hasn’t so far.
The next day I tackled the actual unpacking. I put most things away, but I was confronted with one problem: no bookshelf. So every other room was looking presentable, but not the living room, which consisted entirely of miles of plastic wrap, two empty suitcases, many empty boxes, and two boxes full of books with nowhere to go. The living room was seriously harshing my groove.
All day, while feverishly unpacking and finding places for the various things that have survived the multiple purges my belongings have endured, I was waiting for this fabled call from the phone company. At 5:30pm I had lost what little faith in them I had; no phone call. So I called them.
“Yes,” the man said. “They’re scheduled to be there at 6pm.”
“Really!” said I. “I was told I would get a call.”
“That’s not guaranteed.”
“Helpful to know…NOW.” I have a hard time keeping the annoyance out of these conversations. I realize I’m not talking to the person I should be mad at, but still. “So someone will be here at 6?”
“Yes,” the man said, unfased.
Unconvinced, I called the landlady and told her about the possible 6pm. She arrived; the phone company guy did not. At 6:30pm I called them back.
“Ah,” a new woman said. “Let me see…yes, the appointment was missed.”
Missed! Was it! Well, that solves that mystery.
I gave them my landlady’s number and I’m going to leave it to them to sort this one out. So: still no phone.
Then Saturday the nice folks who birthed and raised me arrived to see how I was getting along. My father installed a new toilet seat for me. (We have a bit of a tradition in my family of always installing wooden toilets seats everywhere we go. It’s a bit of a fixation of my mother’s, and who am I to argue.) We measured the space I had and considered where we could find a bookself that would actually fit into the car.
Why, where else? Ikea of course.
Every trip to ikea takes 15 million years, but not this one. This one was a rush job, an emergency run through the display area to find bookshelves. It was like a stealth ikea mission. I was momentarily sidetracked by the kitchen department and the lighting department (no one can completely avoid distraction and remain human) but with my mantra of “stay focused!” I managed to get in and out of there in about 30 minutes. Bookshelves bought, shoved into the PT cruiser, and then back home to put them together before dinner.
Right now it is Sunday afternoon. I have completely unpacked. My table legs have been tightened with my new thingy with the adjustable jaw that you use to tighten bolts. I am now the proud owner of a thing they call a “hammer”, and I have put up some of my various framed items. My fridge is still almost completely bare, but I think I’m ready to go.
Now all that’s left is to be nervous about starting my new job first thing tomorrow morning.