The trials and tribulations of moving

By Brian Rickerd Published:

LEXINGTON - No, it wasn’t the estimated $1,000 in tape that made moving out of our suburban home recently a nightmare – even when, some 36 hours before my wife and I had to be out of our house, we ran out of it and had to buy an additional $52 of various tape products only to find that 24 hours later we were down to one small roll of masking tape.

And it wasn’t another estimated $1,000 spent on boxes at a local box store that pained my wife and I the most. On the bright side, during the purchasing I became good friends with the box shop owner who’s a great guy.

So you might observe, as my wife Rebecca (nickname: Little Bear) did, “Maybe the moving company will GIVE us some boxes.” Good point. Problem is, after we had a contract to sell our house, it took so long to get an inspection and appraisal and therefore so long to get a closing date, that we were so far along in the packing process, that I HAD to purchase 90 percent of the boxes in advance.

So, why did we need to start packing so far in advance – in our case, about five weeks?

Because my beloved Little Bear is quite the sentimental and practical sort, which serves us very well in our feelings for each other, but also means that she loathes the thought of throwing anything away. That creates closets and storage space filled with jackets and sweaters, pictures, mirrors – all passions of hers.

At one point I had bubble wrapped some 40 pictures and mirrors, and felt such satisfaction in finishing that mundane task, only to then remember the additional 30 such photos we had in a storage room upstairs.

Total spent on bubble wrap: About $500. I joke not.

If you think you’re going to save money by packing yourself, as we did, take a very close look at your possessions. Trust me on that. You can’t look close enough. And did I mention the four weeks I literally took off work to pack all this?  Though, give Little Bear credit, she did back off and give a lot of clothes and other items to charity.

And did I mention that we did all this to move into temporary housing while we have a house built?

Question: Have you ever heard anyone call the process of building a house a “good experience.” Though, I can’t blame this on Little Bear. I’m guilty as well. Our target date to have the house done is Nov. 30. Don’t etch that in stone. I get it.

And, I’m sad to say, I haven’t even touched on the worse part of all of this.


The worst part was the hot tub.

Four years ago Little Bear and I purchased this four-person hot tub that is seven feet wide and seven feet long and weighs, with water, nearly 5,000 pounds. Without water, it’s still about as heavy as the Lincoln head on Mount Rushmore.

When we put our house on the market in May, I all but begged Little Bear, “PLEASE, let’s NOT try to move the hot tub.”

And when it came time to call moving companies, you could just feel the tone darken when the subject of the hot tub came up. Most wanted nearly $500 to move it, hoping to discourage us, I’m sure.

My frustration about the hot tub was heightened when we received two offers on our house. The first offer greatly low-balled our asking price and also asked that the hot tub be thrown in, at no charge. And Little Bear and I probably would have taken the offer, such was our enthusiasm about prospects for our new house.

A few hours later, we received a second offer for our house that not only exceeded the first offer by at least $6,000 but did not stipulate that the hot tub be included.

Little Bear found this to be great news. But I nearly collapsed at the horror of trying to move the hot tub.

The moving company we chose, a national company, asked only $150 to move the hot tub, which at the time Little Bear and I both found to be great news.

But it turned ominous in a hurry.

The moving company sent out a contractor to assess our hot tub. And the first thing the guy says to me is: “How many does that seat – eight? Wow. Too bad I just sold my trailer that could have moved this without turning it on its’ side. That would have been perfect for this baby.”

The moving company assured me the hot tub wouldn’t be a problem. But, I knew otherwise. I KNEW it.


So moving day comes and the movers show up with a dolly for the hot tub that might be more appropriate for moving a double deck file cabinet. The five movers (four of whom looked about as muscular as Karen Carpenter in her dying days) go to the back of our house and see the hot tub, which sparked a slew of comments like this: “Wow, that thing looks heavy.”

Actually, I’m telling you this part second hand. I was in the house cowering in a corner, unable to watch, while Little Bear was with the movers around the hot tub.

So the lead guy says, “Maybe we should measure it to make sure we can get this in the truck.” My wife offers to get a tape measure.

“Oh, that’s okay, it’ll work,” the lead guy replies.

First, they tried to scoot the hot tub through the grass.  That plan lasted maybe 15 minutes and gained two inches of progress. So they tip the hot tub on its side, which I’m told is not at all good for the hot tub, and try to roll it end over end.

Ninety minutes, literally, later, they have the hot tub on the end of our neighbor’s driveway with a yard trailing behind them that now looks like it’s been plowed to plant corn, and the lead mover says to Little Bear, “Well, yeah, maybe you SHOULD get a tape measure.”

So they measure the entry point in their truck and see that the hot tub will fit, with probably two inches to spare.

Meanwhile, I remained in the corner, out of sight and out of earshot, reaffirming my faith in Jesus.

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  • Don't be a victim of Moving scams. Make sure the moving company you deal with is duly licensed and insured. Ask friends or neighbors to recommend companies they have been happy with in their past moves, and check out the records of these companies' record with the Better Business Bureau. For regulations concerning Intrastate moves, contact your local or state government. Charges for interstate moves are determined by the weight and volume of the load and the distance it is to be shipped. To determine weight, the mover will weigh the van on a certified scale before and after he unloads your shipment. The difference between the two weights is the net weight of your shipment and is the amount on which the final charges are based.