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Answering to a Hire Authority
January 7, 2014 - Diane Laney Fitzpatrick
As a self-appointed queen of moving, I know all the tricks. What I haven't experienced in my own eventful 16+ moves, I heard and read about other people's moving stories. I've read up on and researched how to label your moving boxes, how to sell your house on your own, how to pack weirdly shaped knick-knacks so that only the ugly ones from your husband's grandmother break (accidentally, of course), and how to blend into your new town using fake accents and high-calorie desserts.
But with all that information and experience under my belt, I'm here to tell you that moving is not a do-it-yourself occasion. This is no time to go all Martha Stewart and act like you're some jack-of-all-trades who can orchestrate your own move.
My husband and I used to be big DIYers. When everyone else was sending their shirts out to be cleaned and pressed, I set up my mom's ironing board in my family room and ironed not only dress shirts but jeans and t-shirts, too. He cut our grass and trimmed bushes. I cleaned our house from top to bottom every week. He painted every room in nine of our 11 houses. Every Spring, I precariously leaned out way too far, a bottle of Windex hooked to my belt and a roll of paper towels worn as a sleeve, to wash our windows.
I'm not saying that's not all well and good. We don't do that anymore, but it's still OK for die-hard overachievers. I'm saying, when it comes to moving, don't be a hero. Get out your checkbook, bite the bullet and pay someone to do something.
Some of our moves were in times of my life when we couldn't afford a $2-an-hour teenager to help carry boxes from the house to the mini-van. We did everything ourselves and I still have scars. Also a particularly haunting recurring dream in which I open the kitchen cabinet in my new house and it's full of Barbies and Kens naked from the waist down. Trust me, you don't want to live with that.
My advice is to pick up the phone and start hiring. If you're moving for a job and you have a corporate relocation plan, you can find yourself sitting in a corner on moving day with your feet propped up while your minions do all the work.
They do what they do best - moving your belongings from Point A to Point B with minimal breakage and/or loss. You do what you do best - playing Bejeweled Blitz and knitting scarves.
On my most recent move, from South Florida to San Francisco, our moving crew promised to take care of everything on the day we moved into our house.
"All you have to do is sit here by the door and cross off the numbers from this Bingo sheet as we yell out the box numbers we're bringing in," the head mover guy said.
I liked that idea. I set up my iPad in a little nook by the front door. The first comfy chair that came in the door, I hijacked, along with a box I was pretty sure contained Rice Krispy Treats. I was set.
Four moving guys brought in boxes and furniture, put things in the rooms where they belonged, and yelled out numbers to me. I checked off numbers, played Bejeweled and ate myself into a Krisptastic near-diabetic coma.
It wasn't long before marking off the Bingo sheet was really starting to cramp my style. (Movers call it a Bingo sheet because they want you to think it's a fun game. It's not.) I missed a 500-point string of jewel match-ups because the boxes were coming in fast and furious, and I could hardly keep up with the numbers on my sheet. The sheets themselves were sticking together and to my fingers with sugary-marshmallowy-krispy-treatiness.
Who can I hire to do this for me? I thought. I toyed with the idea of slipping a few fives to the moving guys on break to take turns doing the Bingo sheets for me.
It turns out, there are some moving jobs you can't hire out. Not many, but some. And marking off your own Bingo sheets is one of them. We could change that, however. By my next move, I'm hoping that some entrepreneurial college kid starts hiring out himself and his friends to check off your Bingo sheets on moving day, order pizzas for the moving crew, and run and get coffee and more food for me. I'll be in charge of video games and knitting.
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Diane Laney Fitzpatrick is the author of Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves. Her Just Humor Me column runs here and on her website. Learn more at www.DianeLaneyFitzpatrick.com.
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