Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Move is a four letter word

For perfectly understandable reasons, our landlady wants to move.

Into the house we are living in.

Cue the six stages of moving; shock, denial, searching, panicking, bargaining, and acceptance (also known as a numb resignation which saps the very life from one's already weary limbs).

We have two adult cats, who I love in the 'what the hell possesses you to do that, you damned feline?' way familiar to cat people everywhere. And we have an elderly, loving, beloved not-precisely-small dog. Clancy the WonderGoof is a twelve year old Golden, so not so much with the 'dogs under twenty pounds with agent's approval'.

Renting with pets is a bit like inviting strangers to casually rifle through your wallet. Deposits or flat out non-refundable fees are the order of the day. I can understand the property owners' side of this and I sympathise. Nobody wants their property torn up.

On the other hand telling me it's five hundred dollars non-refundable per pet and then renting your property to three college boys from Boise is a trifle mind-boggling. I promise you, my cats don't smoke pot and my dog has yet to throw a kegger for eighty seven of his closest friends. And none of my pets has ever had to have the police called on them, gotten into a fistfight over a football game on tv or dropped out and moved back to Boise to live with Mom and Dad. It's a trade off.

After three and a half days, nearly one hundred phone calls and a lot of driving around with a very patient friend, we found a place. Now, she said with a hollow laugh, all we have to do is pack and haul everything we own to the next town over.


I moved a lot as a military brat and later as a military wife. I've started over from scratch at least three times in my life, where from scratch is something like two kids under four years old, three suitcases and thirty dollars cash. By any standard I can think of, this is an easy move. I have plenty of time, plenty of help and enough money for all the fees, deposits and general costs.

Yeah, I'm whining about having to do it any way. Our last move involved packers and drivers paid for by the company and still managed to be hellaciously miserable in some fairly major ways.

The rule of thumb I learned at my mother's knee: Four moves equal one house fire. Things will get broken, lost, not fit in the truck, not fit through the new house's door, the list goes on. Moving is putting your life in boxes. It's like triage for your choices on everything from art work to coffee mugs. Everything you own has to be picked up and examined and mentally justified.

One approach is just say to hell with it and take everything. That way madness lies. Trust the woman who once helped move a friend only to discover some of the boxes we were hauling down very steep and narrow stairs had been packed for a previous move- three apartments and two cities ago. Out of kindness to our helpers and our now middle-aged backs we have decided to forego this approach in favor of something a little more measured.

So I am taking the time to go through the shelves and cupboards and pulling out the things I am more or less sure one of us cares enough about to actually bother packing, loading, un-loading and un-packing. I'm pretending we won't have any help and the things we'd move even if we were doing it on our own are going to make the grade. The once amusing coffee mugs? The copies of books bought in airports and never re-read? The supplies for crafts I no longer pursue? They can be donated elsewhere and go to someone who will find them useful.

(As a public service announcement, if you are advertising a property for rent- put pertinent information in the freakin' ad. Answer your phone and return your messages. It should not take prospective renters four phone calls to learn you absolutely will not take pets or that the place was rented out a week ago. And five hundred dollars per pet, non-refundable, on top of first and last months rent, a cleaning fee and a deposit? Plus an application fee for background checks, a credit report and contacting our last three landlords? Good grief. Getting a top secret clearance takes less paperwork.)

1 comment:

DataGoddess said...

Dan and I have been sorting through stuff we still have in boxes from when we moved here 12 years ago as well as everything else just so we don't have to move it in the spring.

I can't imagine trying to do everything you have to do in the time frame your landlord gave you. But you're kicking ass, as usual!