Well, you’d think after twenty years of marriage to a guy in the military I’d have this moving thing under control–but I’m afraid our last move brought me to tears (and my knees!).
Worst. Move. Ever.
I texted that to Amy last week as we were digging out from underneath all the damage and breakage, and she replied with an encouraging “they all feel like the worst move ever, but this too shall pass” or something like that. And then I started to send her photos of everything that was broken, since we were documenting it all for our claim anyway. And she was pretty much appalled…trust me, I am, too!
Because it’s always more fun to share your pain with others, I thought I’d show you just a small taste of what I’m dealing with here. First you can see the “before” from the blog, and then I’ll show you what it looks like now.
Here’s what my dining room looked like in our last house:
Here’s my Ballard chandelier after the move. I’m hoping we can bend that arm back into place…it was packed in a box with four other chandeliers and no paper, so it’s no surprise it had a rough trip!
They snapped the scrolls of one of the arm chairs, too, and popped one of the backs off. Yes, the claims process will make sure that it’s repaired, but I can pretty much guarantee it will break again in a future move, because that’s how it works. Things break at the weak point.
The living room didn’t fare much better. My faux built-ins had a rough ride and lost all of their crown molding at the top. Here’s the before:
Here they are looking a bit naked and sad without their molding, but at least all of the dirty hand prints and smudges that the movers added give them a little visual interest:
And do y’all remember my sweet little gold garden stool?
Here it is now…it didn’t get wrapped in any paper, either.
The brand new recliner that we bought for my husband a couple of months ago has a big chip out of one of its feet and an unidentified black stain on an arm:
And while we’re talking upholstery, this was my daughter’s loveseat after I spent weeks reupholstering it last year:
Now it’s missing a length of nailhead trim and is stained on the arm, side, seat, and back. Very little of the furniture was wrapped in blankets…we tried to correct the movers when we saw them loading without blankets, but it’s impossible to be everywhere at once (and I could argue that we shouldn’t have to be!). Our washing machine leaked on the truck, too, since the bolts weren’t put in properly, so maybe it’s from that?
Another casualty of the driver’s aversion to using blankets was my grey armoire:
Not only did it come off the truck covered with rubs, chips, gouges, and scratches, but they broke the door and tore up the newly refinished hardwood floors and the walls in the house trying to carry it up the stairs. I couldn’t handle it anymore and had them put it in the garage. I’m not sure why they left this piece to the very end of the day when they were exhausted (I would have carried it up the stairs first thing like all the other movers we’ve had), but if the owners’ pool table fit up those stairs I’m not sure why this didn’t. The picture just doesn’t capture how damaged it is.
There was lots of other stuff and I won’t bore you with the whole laundry list. There was tons of broken glass and random (mean) stuff like my daughter’s posters that were crumpled up like trash and thrown in boxes instead of rolled up. It got so that every time she came out of her room I would tense up because more often than not she was crying over another broken trinket or treasure. My rolls of vinyl for our Etsy shop were packed in a box and they threw books on top of them, crushing them and ruining them. All of my stationery was thrown loose into a box with heavy items and damaged.
Lest you think we’re mean to our packers and movers and that’s why they treated our things so poorly, we’re not. We treat them like guests in our home; we provide them with water, Gatorade, and popsicles all day long, we buy them lunch (including a vegetarian one for our driver), we tip them, we assume that they aren’t going to steal our stuff and we don’t follow them around like they’re children. That system has always worked out well for us in the past, but this move had more damage than the previous twenty years of moves combined.
The company was Coastal Moving and they are based out of Savannah, so my military friends going to (or from) Hunter Army Airfield or Ft. Stewart will want to take note of our yucky experience and plan accordingly–remember that you can request (or refuse) a specific carrier. Can there be bad packers and drivers in an otherwise good company? Sure, but since this same company assisted with our unload when we moved to Savannah two years ago and damaged my mother’s piano to the tune of $2000 (the only damage we had, by the way), I’m not inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.
If you’ve read our post on moving tips here and here, then I’m afraid I have to add a few more thoughts after this hard experience. First, you must be vocal about staffing. I should have realized things weren’t being correctly packed when it only took them five packer days (two on Day 1 and three on Day 2) to pack our house. Remember, I packed the entire master bedroom, bathroom, and closet, which probably saved them a full packer day, but it normally takes three days! (By the way, nothing I packed was damaged or broken. Of course, I used paper!) If they don’t send enough people to pack or load, you will have them in your house until late in the night and your items are more likely to be improperly packed or damaged because they are hurried and tired, too.
I should have called our inspector when they only sent three guys to unload 19,000 pounds (that’s an entire truck of stuff, folks) on a 105° day. They started unloading at 6am. It took them 13 hours and by then I was so tired (and tearful) that I had lost the will to live, much less the will to chase them around the house and make sure they assembled the beds, put the furniture back together, and set up my washer and dryer (we didn’t have a working washer for a week after the move since the driver said that “wasn’t his job”). I didn’t want them in my house another day at that point, so we waived the partial unpack that we usually have them do. Since my husband was at work at his new job on Wednesday after we unloaded on Monday, I am still buried in boxes. And of course, photographing and documenting all the damage for the claims process makes it slow going, too.
When you move every few years and you don’t have lots of time off in between jobs to fix what’s broken (or the money to replace it), you count on the moving company to be careful, professional, honest, and able to function without direct oversight over every box they pack or furniture item they load. Not to mention that fact that I feel pretty strongly that even though we have to move a lot, we still should be able to have nice things; in some ways, that’s even more important for those of us who have to set up a new home overnight.
In the end, they’re all just things and not what makes my world go round. I debated whether to put it all out there or not, lest I sound too whiny or “poor me,” but as Amy reminded me, if they’re handling our things like this, there’s no telling what’s happening to our junior service members.
Stay tuned as we get it all repaired or replaced–it will happen!