Perhaps you’ve noticed on my last post that our pickup truck had quite a bit of stuff packed behind the dog’s cages?  If not, go quick back and take a look.  Two bikes, an upside down table, and a few large boxes ready to go.  How could it be possible, when we’d already moved?    Well,  that’s because “there are more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”   Sometimes a person needs to vent.  My time has come.  😉
Moving is never easy, no matter the distance or the size of the house. The fact that we face moving a home and a laboratory within weeks of each other makes it a more serious challenge.  Expecting a lot of stress and a ton of work, we made sure to hire a reputable, time-tested company to help us.   The company we selected, Continental Van Lines, is well-known for many years of service in this country.  Their estimate included packing and moving all our delicate stuff (crystal glasses, china, etc), and our furniture. We finalized the negotiations and made a down-payment 45 days before the move.

The first clouds in the horizon:  they gave us a window of three days (June 19th through 21st) to park their huge truck in front of our home and start working.  We were assured to have the precise time by June 16, three days in in advance of the earliest moving date, but June 16 came and went without any phone calls, emails or lightning bolts from the iCloud, despite our numerous electronic inquiries.  Finally, three days later they answered their phone and although the  information wasn’t easy to obtain, they assured us that their moving van would arrive mid-morning on the final day of the guaranteed window, June 21st.  We were ready for them since the 19th, and unwilling to sit and wait for 3 more days, so we began the packing ourselves, aided by U-Haul moving boxes.  One hundred and five boxes later, as June 21 dawned we awakened with excitement and the expectation of getting our show on the road.  But, we waited and waited and waited some more.  The truck did not arrive.  Then, after countless phone calls and left messages, we received a call from the Continental dispatcher informing us that our appointment with the movers had “slipped through the cracks.”   It’s an interesting English expression, and  I’d say that those must be some huge cracks. 😉  They’d forgotten about us, apparently for at least a week, while we were busy packing the 105 boxes.  It reminded us of Seinfeld’s “Reservations“…   Except that we were laughing when we watched the show. In real life it was not funny.
Facing this fiasco, Continental arranged for an alternative truck to pick our stuff next day, Friday, June 22nd.  It was a company from St. Louis.   I went to the internet and was shocked  by the horrible reviews I read,  some even included the word “criminals.”  Phil again got busy on the  phone to Continental to find out whether they did business regularly with that company.  The representative told us not to worry because “reviews online are for the most part very negative, and do not reflect the overall performance of a company”.  Yeah, right. But, one must admit,  failing to to find a single positive review was not a good sign!  We had no other option but to trust Continental’s arrangements.

The replacement movers:   Two guys in their mid-twenties arrived around 11:30am with a truck that didn’t seem large enough for the job. They looked at our stuff, and gave us a bunch of paperwork to fill out on the exact inventory of everything for relocation.  We offered to make them a sandwich before they started packing the few things left unpacked, but they declined and said they were going to get a quick bite to eat, grab some drinks and return to begin packing and loading.  An hour and a half passed with no sign of the movers, at which time we weren’t surprised when they would not answer our phone calls. They had no intentions of ever coming back, they were on their way back to St. Louis.  That’s when I broke down a little bit, sat down and cried.  Not for long, though.  Ain’t no rest for the wicked.

By then it was almost 4pm on a Friday.  We were distressed and exhausted. Countless more phone calls were made and messages were left on answering machines. When Phil ultimately got to talk to a supervisor, Continental arranged another company to come next day, on Saturday, June 23rd. At that point, we had packed all our stuff ourselves, and were beyond anxious to move, as Phil had meetings scheduled for Monday morning at KSU.
The company that came to our rescue, Quick Moves, is based in Dallas, and we could not have been more pleased.  The two guys, Mark and his helper Mike,  worked tirelessly and did their best to fit our stuff in a truck that clearly was not big enough for the job (through no fault of their own).  They had to rent a small trailer (the only one available on short notice at the U-Haul in town), and also helped us pack our pick up truck to capacity. Still, we had to leave quite a bit behind.  We finally arrived in Manhattan that night at 23:45hs.
The upshot of the saga is that Continental Van Lines never actually moved any of our stuff, but kept the $1,800.00 deposit we paid in advance.  We were relieved and delighted  by the outstanding work by  Quick Moves, and happy to pay them in full, but we still had about 800 pounds of items remaining in our home.  Some of it you can see in the bottom two pictures of the composite photo. Continental at first would not return our phone calls and emails, but after a “little pressure” from American Express, we hope they will refund our money and the saga will have a reasonably happy ending….

Obviously, they will not be moving our laboratory materials in August, we are negotiating with another company recommended from KSU.  As to our stuff remaining in Oklahoma, we are lucky to have a pickup truck and a crazy self-imposed schedule that takes us back and forth, living one week in our almost empty home in Norman, then one week in The Little Apple.  So every trip we make until the end of August we’ll pack the truck and face the road, with as much enthusiasm (and music) as possible!

This was a long post, unrelated to cooking, but one of the reasons to put it all in writing is to help get all facts straight in our struggle to get some money back.   If you made it this far, I might as well close the post on a lighter note.  In one of my many visits to U-Haul to buy packing supplies, I was standing in a long line, together with folks looking as tired and bored as me, all dealing with their own unexpected moving problems. An employee was having a hard time with a client.  Apparently, the man reserved a truck, but his reservation had “slipped through the cracks.”  Here’s what the guy said to make his case (and you must read this with the strongest possible Oklahoman accent):

Listen, sir… here’s the deal:  I’ve got a wife back home, she is 50% German and 75% crazy.  She is waiting to move today. You gotta find me a truck, and you gotta find me one now, or I’ll be in a whole lotta trouble….

He quickly got his truck, and the whole crowd in U-Haul had the best laugh of that day, me included!  😉

Moving: not for sissies!

ONE YEAR AGO:  Hoegaarden Beer Bread

TWO YEARS AGO: Ancho-Chile Marinade: Pleased to Meat you!

THREE YEARS AGO: Shrimp Moqueca