Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Beaten down by logistics

I think I should have joined the Foreign Service.

When I was growing up, we moved every couple of years, frequently to far-flung locations. Cyprus to Virginia. Virginia to Venezuela. Virginia to Israel. Virginia to India.

These moves were unquestionably massive undertakings, involving all of our furniture, art, rugs, tchotchkes accumulated from years of living around the world, cars. But in the grand scheme of things, they were pretty easy, because the government took care of everything. They scheduled the movers, and on a given day armies of strong-armed lads would show up to box up our stuff and cart it onto big trucks. We had sea freights (which took a long time) and air freights (which arrived quickly). In the meantime, if we needed something to sit on or sleep on until our stuff arrived, the embassies had warehouses full of furniture for our use. In fact, if you didn't want to take your own stuff, or if you didn't want to take all of it, you could simply stock your house with embassy furniture for the entire tour. I think we did that in Israel -- some of our furniture was ours, but I remember alot of it being embassy stuff.

And of course, the government paid for everything.

I'm at the point where I would kill for that kind of arrangement.

Because my life these days is consumed by my list of things to do, very few of which can be taken care of with just a single phone call. Hiring the movers involved days and days of phone calls, compiling lists of furniture and effects, estimating weight and cubic footage, coming up with dates. Renting a house in Denver (Kathleen did most of the legwork on this), including poring over listings on Craigslist, figuring out which neighborhood would work. Renting our house here, including interviewing prospective tenants, finding a property manager, drafting a lease that met all of Hawaii's quirky legal requirements, organizing a walk-through. Renting a car in Denver to cover the time between when we get there and when our cars arrive. Same for renting furniture, since our stuff won't be there until about a month after we are. Setting up utilities. Getting Zeke into daycare. Then I spent 4 hours on the phone yesterday trying to work out how to ship the dog (long story short: our flights connect through Las Vegas and require a change of airlines, which makes shipping an animal prohibitively complicated, so we have to ship him as unaccompanied cargo on another airline that flies direct, and have Kathleen pick up the poor mutt at the airport).

Of course, in addition to the complication of organizing it all, there's the cost. Which is huge. Like, 5 figures. Luckily, we're getting a big tax refund this year, and my parents have been incredibly generous about helping to pay for the move (they're very sweet, plus they benefit by bringing their grandson closer to them), so it's doable. But we're still going to start our new life saddled with massive debt.

After this, I'm done. I'm not moving again for a long, long time. If Jason decides he can't be happy in Denver and needs to move closer to the ocean, he'll have to go without me.


  1. Yes. Moving without the government footing the bill and providing house, furniture, etc etc is a huge hassle and tremendously expensive. Ugh. I feel for you guys. But soon you are going to be happy in Denver and this headache will be behind you.

  2. I'm exhausted just reading this! You're in my thoughts and I hope the move goes smoothly. You'll be settled in Denver before you know it.

  3. It will be over soon enough. But right now I'm at that point where I feel like a hamster on a wheel, having done so much work but still feeling like there is an insurmountable left to do. It's exhausting and annoying.

  4. I feel you! I swear moving my things myself from my little Atlanta apartment to Anthony's house a few miles around the corner was much much more stressful than moving from Atlanta to Stavanger. Our moves are pretty much the way you moved as a kid.

    But then again, all that said....

    You're in the thick of it...hang tough for a little longer and you will be all settled, practically across the street from dear K and getting into mainland life. It will be sooooo good and you'll get out from under soon!

    I'm so excited for you.

  5. You are so organized! I read this post, thought out our move across the county in a couple of months and broke into hives.