New Year, Then

New Year’s Day. I’ve had a blog in mind — a couple of them, actually — since about the Winter Solstice, because in a lot of ways, the dark of the year seems like a more reasonable closing of the old year, so the day after would make a better beginning. But we have what we have, regardless of the calendar you use, so instead, A Comparison of the Life I Was Living two years ago (end of 2011, to be slightly more precise), and the one I’m living now, which will be here. The tale of two years ago will mostly come from posts on Making Light.

Brief background is that my move-out date from the house I’d lived in for nearly 40 years was fast approaching, and I had this unhelpful idea (loaded into my head by my mom, unfortunately) that asking for help was a waste of time, so I spent far too long trying to pack by myself. Twelve hundred square feet, plus a garage that had turned into a storage space. It wasn’t working, the move date was rushing at me like a freight train and I was moving at a crawl, so my cousin stepped in long distance and asked one of his friends to see if any of his students (the friend teaches martial arts) would be willing to help.

The friend, as it happened, had a student who was a mover, so friend negotiated the deal for me — and very reasonable it was, too. The mover, however, wasted no time in nickel-and-diming me, nor was he the most reliable person in the world as far as timely arrivals or amount of work accomplished. The entries below cover a little less than a week, with my final move-out being December 19, 2011, and other than egregious typos that SCREAMED at me to fix them, and changing the times to reflect my local, it’s what you’d find if you went to the original entries.

And…here we go…

Posted on entry Open thread 167 ::: December 16, 2011, 9:54 AM:

Haven’t had time to check the thread the last couple of days, but wanted to update all y’all.

Wednesday afternoon, when my mover left after a few hours because he wasn’t feeling well, the being-out-by-10:00 AM-Friday-with-temporary-safe-haven-for-cats-and-me thing looked doable. My bed was on his truck to go to storage, but we agreed to skip the trip because that was the only thing ready to go. As in, Room of Books was not much dented by my efforts.

Yesterday, everything went to hell.

Cat Friendly Friend of Friend wrote to tell me that she’s getting very paranoid about having all my cats there even as I work to find homes for them — and has asked me to sign an agreement to the effect that the 10 I’m re-homing will be out by December 31. To which I agreed, of course, because she has worries of her own.

Mover was supposed to be here at 9:00 AM. At 9:45, I called, got his voicemail. At 10:30, I called again, reached him, and he wasn’t feeling well but would be here…as soon as he could scare up a helper, due to the guy who’d worked the last couple of days also being sick. But he (mover) expected to be over “soon”.

Arrived 3 1/2 hours late. Without the gal (girlfriend of relative of his) who’d been doing a good job helping with packing and cleaning (where we can clean). She was due to arrive “soon” but had had to find a sitter. She got here at…4:30 PM.

In the meantime, mover and helper #3 arrive, begin clearing garage, which had barely been touched to that point. My bed, still on the truck from the previous day, was moved off the truck to allow loading of crap to take to dump and placed in the open where it wouldn’t take up space needed for clearing/loading.

At some point during the day, when things were starting to look a tad cloudy, Mover mentioned that a storm was on the way, a big blow from up Oregon way. To which I replied that wasn’t funny, or I hope it holds off, or words to that effect. A little before 3:00, the mover said he’d better hit the dump, as it closed at 3:30. I looked at the sky, considerably darker than before, then looked at my bed and said didn’t he think we’d better move it into the garage? He said he wouldn’t be gone long and everything would be fine.

A little while later, I realized there were some things I needed to pick up re: the cats. I called mover, told him that he and helper #3 might as well grab a bite of lunch, and asked him to keep trying to get a hold of relative’s girlfriend to let her know that I had to leave. He said she was very close to the house, but she didn’t get here by the time I left 5 minutes later.

Due to a massive accident of some sort involving a tanker truck and the 60 Freeway (I haven’t had a chance to check the internet for details, so y’all may know more about it than I do[*]), even the surface streets are crowded, so it took me longer than expected to reach my destination. While there, it began to rain. Complete with lightning and thunder, and soon it was pouring. By the time I got home 20-30 minutes later, my mattress and box springs were soaked.

About that time, relative’s girlfriend arrived, found me absolutely frantic, halfway between raving mad and crying all over myself. She heard me leave a highly charged message for mover, asking when he planned to be back to take the rest of the stuff to the dump, which would now include my mattress and box springs. Then she elected to stay a while to help me pack books, if I could give her a ride home. Fine.

And I made the call I dreaded having to make: to bank guy, explaining the morning delay and the mover and the rain and my bed and I’m afraid I came as close to real meltdown as I’ve been during this. I told him that there was no way I could be out by 10:00 AM today, that if he could do anything, great, but he might as well not make the trip. So he’s all understanding from a personal point of view but gives me the professional tap dance, says he’ll pray about it and see what, if anything, he can come up with…then decides to offer a little more proselytizing, to which I said, politely, thanks but no thanks.

Honestly, if he thinks fucking up my life is the way his version of god is going to make me a believer, he’s out of his mind.

Anyway, relative’s girlfriend and I got almost two sections of my bookcases boxed (out of five) in a couple of hours. While we worked, mover called her a couple of times to check our progress, basically to figure out if he should come back. Ha. She let me speak to him once, but I have no idea now what I said to him. After I took her home, I went to buy more boxes (since we’d gone through all but 2 of the 20 I’d bought a couple of days ago). Got a call from my cousin, who suggested I go see the friend of his who hooked me up with the mover. (Cousin’s friend’s phone had been cut off, or I’d have already been able to tell him about it.) So I put my boxes in the trunk, fought traffic to cousin’s friend’s location, and while he was finishing up stuff, I explained to his wife what’s been going on. Then I explained it to him.

And he’s pissed.

He said the price he’d arranged for me (a very reasonable price) was supposed to have covered EVERYTHING related to this job, from the packing to the runs to the storage space to any dump trips to the final cleaning–and that if the mover had brought his 30′ truck on day 1, as had been (friend thought) the arrangement, I might not have had to ask for the extension from Monday to Wednesday, let alone the one from Wednesday to today. He also said I should itemize what I’d given the mover to knock down the amount of additional cash I’d owe them (that I shouldn’t owe, due to mover’s agreement with cousin’s friend), and that, since mover had taken said stuff with the understanding it was barter for service, I’d be within my rights to report him to the police.

Tempting. Anyway, while I was still there, cousin’s friend tried calling mover, who didn’t pick up. Then he called mover’s business partner (I think), told him …anyway, cousin’s friend sounds like he has every intention of getting me my money back, and I said I’d like the china cabinet back too. (And if I get it, I’m going to offer it to cousin’s friend for intervening on my behalf–because let’s face it, I can’t afford to move up another level in storage spaces.)

When I left cousin’s friend last night, the plan was that the mover’s would be here at 6:00 AM, and that cousin’s friend would come over after dropping his kid at school and put the fear of god or somebody into mover.

In fact, mover and helper #3 arrived at 9:30. I asked them to make another dump run, not hiding the fact that I was still pissed and letting him know that I still hadn’t heard from bank guy, and so didn’t know whether I’d get an extension or not. Cousin’s friend is going to be over relatively soon for the Conversation…and I did get a call from bank guy: I have until 11:00 AM on Monday the 19th.

Back now to purging old canned goods and wine and so forth–they might as well take as much now as possible, even though I can now put final dribs and drabs in the trash can that goes with the house, something I was afraid to do otherwise since there wasn’t going to be anyone here to put the can out for collection and I didn’t want to risk “broom clean” including the trash cans.

Sorry for the long rant. Been at my wits’ end. More good mojo re: cat adoptions greatly appreciated. Thank you all.

Posted on entry Open thread 167 ::: December 18, 2011, 12:25 PM:

Many thanks to all for the good wishes, mojo, etc.

Unfortunately, things are still a clusterf*ck. Sorry if this reads like telegraphese, but best I can do right now.

Yesterday went pretty well, with two of mover’s crew here (NOT due to mover, [they are] not relying on him for payment–willing to wait for my cash-for-keys money or, if I don’t pass “broom clean” inspection, a couple of unemployment cycles) to help with packing, cleaning, and transport of (almost all) large items and many small to 2nd storage space. They worked themselves ragged (gal crew did major cleaning of bathroom and office, yay!), but much got done. Still much to do, with final emptying of kitchen (“starter kitchen” amount of stuff which will go at front of unit for easy access), linen cupboard, bathroom cupboards, one closet (office storage-type items, not huge amount), breaking down my huge computer desk so it can get out of office.

To add insult to injury, yesterday the bank served me with eviction papers (the ones they filed 11/30 but had not previously served). Bast*rds. Five calendar days to respond, assuming the response I filed to the not-yet-served action doesn’t count. Have to call Legal Aid Monday or Tuesday.

Ordered new dumpster yesterday–it’s filled. So is regular trash can. Still more trash. Much too much trash. No idea where to put it. Might ask neighbors if they have room for some in their bins.

One of the crew who was here yesterday also agreed to come back today to help with final crap (including breaking down the desk). Got a call this morning that he slipped and fell, knocked himself out, etc., and therefore — and most understandably! — would not be able to help me today.

Sat in living room and cried. I can do the packing, make repeated storage runs, do the cleaning…but I can’t move the desk by myself, and I absolutely MUST transport cats to short-term abode tonight starting 9:30 – 10:00 PM.

Have made many calls for help. No one can come. One friend has called the ladies with the cottage (they did the housekeeping at the place we all worked, and are AMAZING at it), who said if they couldn’t come themselves, they would see if they could find someone else to help me. No word yet.

Cousin has taken on intermediary role w/mover, who is supposed to be here in a couple of hours to help me. We shall see what happens, but if he doesn’t come and thereby costs me my cash-for-keys money…on the other hand, even if I sue, can I get blood from a stone?

Scared. Angry. Scared. Taking break to go sit with cats, who are frantic at being shut in room and mostly ignored for all of yesterday.

My kitties. My poor kitties.

Posted on entry Open thread 167 ::: December 18, 2011, 12:46 PM:

Cherry on top: bathroom sink clogged; drain de-clogger didn’t.

Rolling eyes. Moving on.

Posted on entry Open thread 167 ::: December 19, 2011, 05:44 AM:

Cats successfully transferred to Cat Friendly Friend of Friend’s place. Took from 10:30 PM to almost 2:30 AM. Ate a little. Two-hour nap (too long; hit snooze alarm. Bad idea.).

Still to do: finish boxing/clearing kitchen (includes liquor cupboard, yee-haw), pantry, office and utility closet (everything but the water heater must go!); clean all rooms (remove curtains, sweep, spot-mop, open windows for ventilation and drying); make storage run — including lamp, egad; ask neighbor if I can leave 2 cat carriers and some dead printers at his place for a few days (why take them to storage?); give remaining yard furniture to respective neighbors; sweep back yard; ask if one of the neighbors will put my final trash bags out in their trash next week; put suitcases and remaining cat accoutrements (litter boxes — shovel out! — and two scratching post/hidey-hole combos, remaining food and water dishes) [in car]; put final personal stuff in car; think about making myself presentable before arrival of bank guy and Field Services (or just say eff it, which I may just do)…

I have just under five hours. Wish me luck, if you would. And thank you for all the luck you’ve already wished me.

Posted on entry Open thread 168 ::: December 23, 2011, 01:32 PM:

Well.

Got moved on the 19th, thanks to the same-day help of my next-door neighbor (both his help and that of the guy he hired to help me do the last of the packing), the neighbors behind me (who took my last load to storage…but who managed to wind up with almost all my liquor, not to mention a few other things that wound up in their driveway so it would be off the property I was vacating, thus allowing bank guy to give me my check), and bank guy himself. Who, of course, took one more opportunity to proselytize to me (and hand me a copy of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity as a parting gift). Egad.

But I got my check, and cashed it. And two of the cats have a new home. (Blog post [on different personal blog] has been updated to reflect who’s been adopted.) And there’s more, of course, including rants and raves and tears and chuckles and hope.

Many thanks. Many many many thanks to you all.

May your holidays be absolutely wonderful. πŸ™‚

***** End of Making Light entries *****

Bottom line is that on the winter solstice of 2011, I probably didn’t have the brain cells to think about it two days after completing the living hell that was the my move. I still try to distance myself from it, as you can see — started out with “THE move”, then owned it and made it “MY move” — because…well, who wouldn’t? And I’m not that person anymore, anyway. Not the one who had a lifetime of safety and security ripped to shreds by the mortgage meltdown, the financial market meltdown, and the job market crash, not to mention my own lifetime of habits and blind spots and lack of self-confidence and who knows what else. Flawed human here. ***stands up and waves***

Both Christmas and New Year’s Eve 2011 I spent sitting on Cat Friendly Friend of Friend’s couch, playing on the Internet…no, watching either Netflix or Hulu on her Roku, because I never could get my laptop to connect to her wireless. Watching the new Doctor Who episodes, no doubt, since I’d barely gotten started on the Christopher Eccleston iteration when I decided to cancel my cable. Happy to do it, too. πŸ™‚ Feeling, if not secure, then at least like I had time to breathe. Turns out that, for a whole lot of reasons, I was wrong. But that’s a different blog.

And it’s the past. I will continue to take the lessons presented to me, use them, learn from them, it will never ever leave me. But Life is better now — see this for a 180 from two years ago — and I believe I can make it better still.

Having friends still helps, though. πŸ™‚

[*] Turned out to have been this.

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One response to “New Year, Then

  1. Pingback: 366 Days of Gratitude and Good Things: Day 23 | Embracing Homelessness

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