Posts Tagged ‘Moving’

Our last two moves were a somewhat protracted experience. We opted to pack ourselves to save money. (I’m nothing if not frugal.) Neither time did we adequately consider just how long it takes to pack, or just how much stuff we needed to move ourselves after the movers come. What seemed like just a box or two always turned out to be a couple of car loads. Moving last time was difficult with just one small child so we decided to look into a packing service this time around.

That’s a lot of boxes

The packing quote came out to be a little less than a week and a half’s with of rent since our rent was so high. Mathematically speaking if it helped us turn in our keys 10 days sooner, we’d come out financially ahead. Despite this, I still felt the need to continue my packing and organizing effort. For a week prior to the move I devote every spare moment to packing. Well I only saved us two hours of the packers time, despite putting way more than 2 hours into my packing effort. That was not time well spent on my part.

Lesson learned: Spend the energy on purging, not packing.

The packers were super quick in part because they don’t organize the way you might. They take a box to a room, fill it, and get another box. There’s not thinking involved. No “where will this go in the new house?” or “is the vacuum cleaner still working well enough to bring it?” Everything comes, and everything comes in whatever box it fits in. Even things that you think are clearly trash because they most definitely do not want to be wrong! Our movers even packed the used underpad we were using as a play-doh catch mat, dried play-doh crumbles and all. And finding it again? Oh boy.

One might think the time spent unpacking is linear in terms of the number of boxes, but for me it’s more like exponential. I am determined not to have a junk closet so anything I unpack needs to have a place to go. When I encounter a box whose items don’t have a clear home my progress slows substantially. Keep or toss? Find more room on the shelf, or put it back in the box? After a long day when you’re only partially settled into a new place, longing for bed, back in the box is a tempting choice. The greater the number of boxes the harder it is to actually find anything as you need it.

There’s also a monetary cost associated with carting all that useless stuff around. I’m paying for the movers to pack it, the space on the truck (assuming a non trivial volume – Which it is!) and the movers time to cart the boxes off of the truck once we’ve arrived at the house. The monetary cost is probably small, but still non zero.
My time would have been better spent figuring out what we no longer wanted, donating what still had reasonable utility and purging the rest.

Oh well. Only 50 boxes left to go. Make that 49.

October 20, 2013

A Better than Expected Home

I mentioned earlier that I wasn’t super in love with our new apartment. I didn’t want to dwell on the fact that I viewed the apartment as the best in a set of not great options. After all there are a lot of really awesome positives going on for us now: graduating, starting an awesome job, even selling our home in a (localized) good market. Domingo even graciously volunteered to take the long commute. Focusing on the negative just feels ungrateful.

I’m happy to report that the new place has been growing on me. All four of us are enjoying it here (feline and toddler polled.)

When we first brought Nicki into the new place, she ran around in circles. Even with all our boxes crowding the living room she had so much more carpeted space at her disposal here than back in the house. The only carpeting in our old house was the second floor, and the only ‘runway’, so to speak, was the hallway landing near the stairs. Not exactly a safe space to run. One of her favorite activities is chasing Lily. After reading the Tickle Monster book, she chased Lily around saying “tickle, tickle, tickle!” She’s also tried several times to catch and hug Lily.

Lily’s enjoying the new place as well. We plugged in the Feliway diffuser before picking her up from the kennel. I’m not sure if it actually works, or is just placebo. Regardless, we’ve used it every move and Lily always seems to adjust very quickly. After just thirty minutes timid investigation she was already showing signs of being happy with her new digs. She even came out and curled up next to me on the couch for a nap. Maybe she too enjoys the carpet over hardwood floors as well, but whatever the reason she seems to prefer the new home too.

One thing I’m surprisingly happy about is the closet space. The closet spaces are a little larger than they initially appeared. Our apartment is a little irregularly shaped, and the builder extended the closets into the empty spaces. It wasn’t until I was putting stuff away that I noticed it. I actually think we will be able to store everything without needing external storage! I won’t know for sure until we’re unpacked, and we’re not even half way there, but so far so good.

Another thing I am smitten about the apartment is our fireplace. It has a eyeball light pointed to where one might mount a wedding/family photo. Love! If the next place we own doesn’t have one, it’ll be on the short list for home improvement upgrades.

Our wedding photo as a painting. This was a Micheal’s brushstrokes portrait.

Speaking of mounting photos, I decided to move our wedding photo to the master bedroom. The wedding photo is in a great spot (although I admit that was coincidental) and you can see it from the hallway, and the master bath. All entrance way and kitchen photos/wall decor are also mounted. I’m a bit frustrated with myself because I broke one of our wall shelf pillars. I was just a little too tired, and a little too frustrated, and I forced it when I shouldn’t have. Since little cracks have a way of turning into big cracks, especially in earthquake country, I’m contemplating buying another one and keeping it in the box – as a backup. Isn’t it funny how much perspectives change? I remember when I bought it five years ago, $25 seemed like a lot for something that was just decorative. Now I’m willing to spend that much on something that’s going to sit in my closet without a second thought! I’d love to buy a second wine glass wall art. I will be crushed to lose them. But it looks like they have been discontinued.

I haven’t mounted the wall decorations for the office or nursery yet. They’re also the least unpacked rooms. We needed to order new furniture for both rooms (a desk and bureau) and util they arrive we’re not sure what the ultimate layout of the rooms will be. I also know I went a family photo for over the fireplace, but am not settled on which one. Or even whether to use an existing photo, or try and take a new family photo.

Decisions, Decisions.

October 17, 2013


It’s finally here – Moving Day!


We started the day by sending the under 28″ crowd to their respective care providers. I dropped Nicki off to daycare and Lily to “kitty camp” (our euphemism for the kennel). Boarding Lily for the day was a lesson’s learned from a few moves back. I had six of my friends help me move apartments, and in the hustle we noticed Lily was missing. She turned up under the kitchen sink – a hiding place she had never explored before, and that I almost didn’t think to look – after several moments of sheer panic and near tears thinking my indoor-only, can’t-fend-for-herself kitty was gone forever. While I wasn’t worried about Nicki running off into the wild blue yonder if a door was accidentally left open, I thought the transition would be easier for her if the day was as normal as possible.

Drop offs went longer than usual for obvious reasons. There were hugs, and near tears, and more hugs. Nicki has really bounded with her teachers, especially the ones that have been with her from just two months old! They’re her second (and third, and forth) mommies! Linda over at the boarders also takes amazing care of Lily – so much so that she actually sends us Christmas cards of our own cat!

When I arrived back at the house the movers were already there. They got the house packed up in just over two hours. The only hiccup was the crib. It wouldn’t fit through the door assembled and they weren’t willing to unassailable them. No problem, I’m handy with tools, right? Unpacking went just as smoothly.

Side note: I highly recommend Jericho Moving and Storage. I’ve hired professional movers three times and these guys are hand’s down the best. Everyone was great, courteous and extremely professional. The final bill came out to be 16% less than the quote, and that’s after we purchased insurance!

After the last of the boxes were in the apartment it was time to pick up Nicki. Lily got an overnight stay since there wasn’t time to get them both, and daycare highly frowns on overnight stays. The plan was for Domingo to make her dinner while I assembled the crib when we got back. That’s when we hit our first and only major snag.

The movers did dissemble other furniture. (I’m sure they just didn’t want to disassemble the crib for liability reasons.) They taped up all hardware components to the respective furniture to make reassembly easier. When they brought the furniture in, I noticed a cam connector on the floor near the entrance way. I set it aside figuring we’d eventually discover what it belonged to.

When I tried to assemble the crib I noticed that not one, but five of the eight connectors were missing. I had managed to keep track of the screws, but had somehow failed to notice the connectors and five had fallen out of the crib posts in transit. Panic. We didn’t exactly have a plan B sleeping option.

Luckily I had friends in the area who could come over and lend a hand with Nicki while Domingo and I tried to solve our crib fiasco. While I waited for our friends to arrive, Domingo went to the hardware store armed with what we thought was one of the missing five connectors. I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this. When he got home we realized the cam connector didn’t fit in the slot. Not even close. It must have come from a different piece of furniture. I pried out one of the remaining three connectors and realized it was actually a cross dowel. Back to the hardware store Domingo went.

Success. And only two and a half hours behind schedule.

Another side note: Baby Bargains recommends never buying a crib second hand because of the risk of missing parts/hardware. The guy at the hardware store kept referring to these times of items as “assemble once”. After this experience I’m inclined to agree.

October 8, 2013

Difficult Transitions

Things are looking up. We signed a lease on a place to live, and have a new day care for Nicki (2 of my 3 goals for October). We’ll even be moving in time to give us a few visit days giving Nicki a chance to adjust before she has to start at the new place. Win! And the fact that we will be all moved in shortly before Black Friday and just in time to take advantage of sales to buy anything extra we need for the new place? Extra bonus win.

When I first started searching for daycares I couldn’t find anything with an opening. I kid you not, one place didn’t have an opening for the toddler room until 2015. There are toddlers on the waiting list not even born yet. And houses? The average house rental on zillow gets 300+ views in the first day they’re listed. One place had an open house that lasted for just 10 minutes. Seriously, that’s not an exaggeration. Complicating the search was the fact that we really wanted to have the daycare and new living arrangements lined up and somewhat co-located. So I didn’t feel comfortable acting fast. I didn’t want to sign on the dotted line until we had workable options for both figured out. Needless to say, the last couple weeks were not fun.

With my thesis turned in to my committee, I actually had free time so I was able to do most of the leg work. Once I had a short list Domingo took off work and saw the final choices before we committed. We now have both a daycare and a place to live.

We both really like the new daycare. It’s not perfect, but neither is her current daycare. The new daycare’s strength is the toddler room whereas the old daycare’s strength was the infant room. They have so many different kinds of toys, and do so many stimulating activities. We both can see Nicki thriving there. We’re a little worried about the transition, but hopefully the visit days will help familiarize her with the new teachers.

We’re not as keen on the living situation. It’s a fine place, but it feels a little like we’ve settled on something that works rather than found an ideal place. Given the difficulties of finding a house rental (and the horror stories we’ve been told by friends) we opted to do an apartment. The new place has 13% less living space than the current one, and very little storage, which means we will have to part with some things. I’m tend to create emotional attachments to everything (even the baby gear that’s busted – that’s Pooky’s broken stroller that we used when she was just a tiny newborn!) so I’m not looking forward to that process. I’m already feeling a little emotional over a recent trip to good will and it was all stuff I had forgotten about in the garage!

Of course the new place has it’s positives. One benefit of the new place is it has a lot of natural light. After struggling with the lack of light in our current house this past year, I’m very much looking forward to that! It’s a convenient location, close to day care. We even found a really nice local park, far better than the one we’ve been going to! I’m hoping that once we transition to our new lives, and the stress of moving is behind us, we’ll start to enjoy it more.

That just leaves selling our current house on our to-do list. We’re feeling optimistic about that as well (although I don’t think we’ll be ready to sell for a bit). After watching our neighbors’ houses sell we’re fairly confident that we can get back what we paid. I think we might even end up a little ahead. Of course this depends on the government shutdown ending soon and the economy not melting down. I’m hopeful for that too.

September 28, 2013

Baby Gear to be Left Behind

With our pending move we have been sorting belongings into the keep, donate and discard piles. I loathe waste. I hate getting rid of something I may want to use again later. It’s part of the reason I hold on to so much clutter. Hey, sometimes it’s useful! Like the backrest pillow. I bought it for college, but never really used it. It followed me from apartment to apartment and finally our home where it came in handy for Halloween photos with our 3 month old.

We’re moving into an apartment and won’t have room for everything. While we intended to buy gear that would last for multiple kids, not everything has held up as well as we might have hopped. It will cost more to store some of these items than it will to repurchase them. So as much as I hate waste, I’m afraid it’ll a fact of life.

Here’s the gear that we were very happy with, but won’t be making the trip with us (and what we expect to repurchase for the next baby.)

Lamaze Space Symphony Gym

Nicki loved her gym, and continued to play with it beyond 7 months. It was definitely one of our best purchases. Alas, she expresses her love in the form of destruction. Since she loved her gym for so long, she got quite good at manipulating it. She loved to bend the bars over her head, and yank the off the toys. The sad little motor that sways the bars no longer has enough strength to do a full rotation.

Beating up her beloved gym. (7 months old.)

After much debate we decided to donate the gym. The mat is still in good shape and there are plenty of gyms where the bars don’t move, so a dead motor shouldn’t be a deal breaker. We’ll likely replace this one with another Lamaze Gym.

Blooming Baby Bath

I was so excited about the blooming bath, but it didn’t fit in any of our sinks. Instead we ended up using it as a soft spot to dry her off on the blooming bath. When she was big enough to sit in the tub on her own, I would also kneel on the blooming bath to spare my knees from the hard floor. After over a year of use the seam is starting to become undone.

There’s nothing cuter than wrinkly post bath baby toes. (And wow, my 14 month old still has tiny feet, that’s a recent photo!)

Since the seam is busted, I’m afraid it isn’t in good enough shape for donation.

Breast Pump

We were warned in our breast feeding class that most pumps are designed to last for one baby. The motors just aren’t strong enough to last much longer. I used my pump way more often than the typical case due to our breastfeeding troubles. In fact, there was a time I was pumping eight times a day. By six months the motor was struggling. By nine months I was getting so little with my pump it hardly seemed worth it.

I plan on keeping the accessories and getting another pump for the next child. Obviously the pump cannot be donated.

Bottle Warmer

After a year of use, the bottle warmer started to look gross. The reservoir was hard to clean, and over many, many, many uses stuff just built up. I was happy enough with the bottle warmer, but it was a last minute purchase (I expected to breastfeed more and not need it as often.) Next time I will probably do a little more research before picking one. Another non-donatable item.

Snap N’ Go Stroller

The Snap N’ Go lasted up right up until our Christmas vacation (5 and a half months). The morning of our trip out the handle release got stuck, and we couldn’t fold the stroller without a great deal of force to go through security. We managed to force it to open and close during our trip, but that was the end of it’s useful life. Conveniently, that was also around the time we switched over from an infant bucket seat to a convertible seat.