Monday, August 3, 2009

Preparation and (sigh) Planning

My apologies to anyone who was looking for posts this weekend. I was too busy to post. Then again, it may only be my mother that is my faithful ready. Not unlike when I was in elementary school.

I’ve noticed that a lot of life is simply planning for life. Planning to get married, planning to have a baby, planning for a new job or for leaving an old job. All of this simply makes my head hurt. This was why when I planned my wedding, I pretty much decide to re-do my sister’s wedding (with the same vendors) and then had the vendors make most of the decisions since they were the experts. Guess what, I LOVED my wedding – it is still one of the best days of my life.

For me, the biggest and most stressful planning is the planning to move (and remember, it’s all stressful to me so this is a biggie!). The concept that all of my life possessions, some irreplaceable and some that should be replaced, will be in the care of a complete stranger for an unknown amount of days completely freaks me out. Even when I did the across town move, having my things out of my sight for a few hours was uncomfortable. But moving to Texas… this was a biggie.

Here are the things that were set to be out of my sight for more than an hour:
1. Furniture and belongings – somebody would be gently shoving all of the things that mean something to me in the back of a van and taking off. I would have a piece of paper that would promise they would show up at the other side.
2. Cars – we were flying so our cars had to be shipped. We would drop our cars off at some random (and might I add sketchy) lot and assume they would show up in Texas, in some sort of serviceable condition, within 2 weeks.
3. Cats – yes, even my precious kitties would be out of sight. Bubba Cat would get to come on the plane with us (due to his heart murmur and my bizarre and slightly abnormal attachment to him) but the others would go in the belly of the plane. I would drop them off at cargo and pick them up at cargo.

This involves a whole lot of trust in a whole lot of people I knew nothing about. And, on top of all this, I would actually have the privilege of paying for all of this. Oh my God, and the logistics. When to drop off the cars so that we could use someone else’s car since someone wasn’t thinking and actually taught a class our last night in NJ (that would be Brian) and so needed to drive back and forth to Philly. Or when to have the movers come so someone would be there to oversee the insanity.

These were the thoughts going through my mind as we left Austin, landed in Philly, and drove back to our house. I think it was when I started to have a severe anxiety attack that Brian told me not to worry he would take care of most of the logistics of selling our house.

Oh my God – we had to sell our house. And folks, that was it, for about a week I went into an intense denial coma of non-movement. Poor Brian literally had to do almost everything by himself. Here was his to-do list:

1. Contact a realtor. We settled on one (to remain nameless so as to keep me legally free from any liable suits) who was a “local guy that only sells homes.” I think the stereotype of realtors came from this guy.

2. Contact movers. We had 3 come out and price our house. Of course we chose the cheapest that, turns out, basically screwed over the mover. I don’t know if you are aware of this little nugget of knowledge, but when you contract with a moving company, they then contract with movers. So, someone from the company comes out and decides we have 2 tons of stuff to move and gives us a quote based on that. We accept the quote. The moving company then calls up one of their sub-contractors, the person who will actually move us, and tells him how much weight and how much we are being charged. So, when the guy who moves us shows up and he sees that the quote was WAY under reality (because we really have 3 tons to move), oh well for the mover. He has to eat it. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy about humanity.

3. Contact a way to move our cars.

4. Identify the best airline for animal travel. I believe it was American (but don’t quote my fuzzy brain). Then find out that the only direct flights to Austin are from Newark and you need a direct flight, because you don’t trust people accurately transporting your kitties from one plane to another, so you have to figure out how to get to Newark. God bless my father who drove us and 2 cats up to Newark at some ungodly hour.

5. Identify what you need for the cats to travel. Then make the vet appointments, take them all there, and get all the paperwork. Oh, you also have to buy airplane approved cat carriers.

6. Locate a Pod. Since we the local guy that only sells homes recommended we de-clutter some of our house and move out some furniture (and because we had 4 weeks to sell, if he had told us to sacrifice a lamb in the backyard, we would have been eating gyros for weeks.

7. Get home pre-inspected. There were a few iffy items we needed to get checked out. You know, nothing big… like if our sun room was falling off the back of the house or if it just looked that way (turned out it just looked that way).

8. Find a painter. Turns out not everyone is into a purple bathroom, or a yellow and orange striped room (these were better ideas than executions).

9. Work with the landscaper to get the house show ready.

10. Occasionally, let your wife out of her straight jacket so she can reach an itch.

And it all worked out. It must have been one of my 200 guardian angels (and yes, I have to have that many to have done as many stupid things as I have and come out unscathed) because our house sold in record time and right before the crash of the market (the people who bought it from us put it back on the market within the year and it didn’t sell for almost 2 years). Brian’s to-do list got done, and we were on our way to Austin, Texas. Yee-haw…

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