What a nightmare it has been! The lack of communication and preparedness on this end by the relocation company was ridiculous. First we were getting our items last Wednesday, then they called and cancelled, saying there wasn't any more room on the train into town for our container. Really? They couldn't have reserved a spot for us in advance, thinking it might be nice to get someone the contents of their entire home by Christmas? No, it was great living like squatters in one room of our place, without the necessities to do much of any celebrating (thank god for the Christmas market!). We then heard our items might be coming this Monday, and emailed to confirm. Didn't hear a thing until we called THEM Monday a.m. to ask what time they were showing up. Oh, not until the afternoon, they tell Russ as he's taken the a.m. off to help with the movers. Also, if we wanted them to release our stuff, we had to pay them 160€, with no notice and no invoice, for the moving truck's parking permit before they'd take anything off the truck. That was a huge fight we thankfully won (they're billing us), but yet another strike against them. Not to mention the fact that the permit they'd set up in front of our building is on a tiny one-way street a truck of that size can barely maneuver down. Good planning!
Once the driver was finally able to get his truck onto our street (nice guy, American, here by way of the army and from Miami), the movers themselves were another story. Naturally, they spoke no English to make things at all easy for us. Then they proceed to trash our apartment (busted our radiator off the wall, gouged the beautiful old door mouldings) setting up the scariest ladder/elevator thing outside our living room window to get everything up to us - and I mean everything: huge bookcases, tables, our 8ft leather sofa. Needless to say, just about every piece of futniture arrived with some kind of scratch, chip or stain on it.
Since it was so late by the time they'd gotten everything upstairs, they said they would come back the next day to unpack everything. They actually expected us to sign the form saying we'd received everything and it was free from damage. Um, no - nothing had been unwrapped or unpacked, and I was still missing a few of the box numbers from my quick tally as stuff came in through the window. After another fight on the phone with these guys' boss (apparently they couldn't leave without us signing, even though the job wasn't done) and some very rude behavior on their end, the boss let the guys go home and told us "to do whatever," which meant releasing our liability once the job was done the next day.
Next day was more of the same: no English, abundant smoke breaks, trying to get out before the job was actually done. I actually felt like I was in "A Day Without a Mexican" - much in need of some good workers (ah, the first pang of missing CA life). All said and done, I'm just happy we got all of our stuff and can finally start making sense of setting up a household here. It was easy to feel like we were just visitors here. Now, this is it - all our stuff is here and this is where we live (enter "yikes" here). And with all this hassle, we are not moving anytime soon - I'm talking years. Sorry friends and fam, you'll just have to come visit us in Europe!
In the midst of all the organizing the piles and boxes, I have something else important to do today: give my husband a good birthday. I'm sure he'll be working late tonight to make up for all the time off with the movers, but I hope we can at least get a little celebrating in. It's bad enough his day falls between the all-encompassing holidays of Christmas and New Years, but in the midst of all this, it's been practically forgotten. So if you can, please send him some birthday wishes and remind him it is an important day!
Happy birthday my husband - you're the best!!
I'm off to clean house, run errands and draft a letter if burning hatred to the moving companies. Till next time ...