The Move from H*ll
Friday, October 31, 2014
What a horrific ordeal. I've been AWOL a lot longer than I expected.
We were supposed to move to a rental house on the 16th. We've been planning this with the leasing agent / realtor since the first week of September, when we gave a deposit. Since then we've been in the house several times making move-in and deficiency lists, which we duly forwarded to above mentioned agent. I gave her hand-written lists, verbal descriptions, and emailed lists. She gave us a copy of "her" lease - evidently not the final format of the lease we were to sign - to which I made changes and amendments. I also made up permission forms for items requiring them in that lease.
The work being done in preparation for our move was going so slowly, it may have as well been stalled. She's very ... er... "frugal". So she uses part-time handymen and scrimps with expenses. That's okay by me, so long as the work gets done. I'm not fussy. The only thing(s) I insisted upon were three: first - I need the garage doors and their openers to work. I'm disabled. I can't get in the house any other way, and I can't lift garage doors. Second - the commode that I would be using is an older one, too low, and round. I need the handicap height and an elongated bowl. This isn't something I can put off until it's convenient, naturally. And third - previous tenants had *GLUED* carpet underlayment onto the beautiful natural wood floors, which we all wanted removed. Can't move in furniture until the floors are finished, to whatever degree that was likely to occur.
She had kindly (?) given us permission to move in ahead of the lease schedule; that was to begin on November 1, but she said we could come in on the 16th of October. That made us very happy, since there were things we needed to complete at our previous apartment after we moved, and our lease was up there on the 20th of the month. That left a narrow window of time to make those repairs. Great!
The first thing we had to do was contract with an aquarium maintenance company to move our enormous (120-gallon) marine tank and associated paraphernalia. That was done the day before, the 15th, so that it would be settled and that crew out of the way before the house movers came in.
On the 16th, the movers arrived at the apartment at around 9 am and started loading the place up. DH delivered me over to the new house to direct placement of all our furniture and boxes. The garage doors were not fixed when we got there. The house's inoperable refrigerator was still standing in the middle of the kitchen. The floors were a bit tacky from the "refinishing" that had been done - which was only started on the Sunday prior to the move, for reasons unbeknownst. We put down a drop cloth and a runner carpet to protect it as much as possible.
The utility companies came in to transfer service and get the cable running. When that started, my husband left the movers and came over to direct the utility folks. The movers were nearly ready to come as well. Two trucks and 6 movers.
At about 11 am, the realtor showed up. The trucks are on the way (only a 10-minute drive). She's got a look on her face. When she said how are you doing today, I had a dread suspicion. I said, well, I *was* doing okay, but it doesn't look like that's going to last. -?- Then she proceeds to tell us that we "can't move in today". What?!? She'd known this for weeks. We were there on the previous Sunday and all was well. She knew this. But now, with everything in motion, we can't move in? Well, no. We don't have a signed lease. Soooo --- how come? I gave her a print copy of *HER* lease, with my amendments, copies of the permissions, and a print copy (again) of the move-in checklist on Sunday. Now she tells us that her email hasn't been working for several weeks, so she never got any of the emails I sent. She can't finish the items on the checklist I gave her. And, since I made changes to the lease, she couldn't sign it until the attorney approved it (who ever heard of a realtor or owner's agent who couldn't sign their own lease?!?).
Now we've got two moving trucks out in the street blocking a busy medical plaza entrance, crews standing around burning daylight, and the realtor has to go to the attorney to get approval of the changes I'd made. This was after a semi-hysterical interchange between us and her to find out what we could do to save this situation. Well, she had us sign that lease, but she "couldn't" sign it, and went away - presumably "coming right back" after meeting with the attorney. So we waited. I swept floors. We waited some more. We tried to call her on her business phone and her cell phone: the voicemail was full on the landline and no answer on the cell. We waited some more. The movers are getting antsy now, so the owner tried to call her. Three times. Same (non)response. It's now approaching 3:30 pm. This moving company doesn't store anything. They move it, finis. We can move it in, we can take it back, or they can unload it in the street, but it can't stay in the trucks.
I was done with it by then. Joe was starting to talk about unloading into a storage garage and staying in a hotel for the night. But with a beginning like this, I had very black suspicions about how the remainder of the term for the lease was likely to progress. I called our apartment community and threw myself on their mercy. It is unbelievably unlikely for first-floor apartments to be available. We couldn't go back into ours - it really was tired and we'd outgrown it. By sheerest serendipity, they had two first-floor units open that we could move into immediately. One was actually identical to the one we'd vacated, but because it was just a lateral move, there was some corporate approval needed, and the property manager was away until the next day. Another unit, slightly larger, was also available. Joe sent me over to look at it. He said, "just pick one". So I checked out the larger one, and it looked nice, and I said this will be fine - please come and look. So he turned the movers around and came to look. I was in the office signing the lease when he came in to look. I switched places with him, went to collect the movers from in front of the old place, and told them where the new unit was. I had to go back to the office then to finish paperwork. By the time we got back to the apartment (a matter of maybe 10-15 minutes) the movers had put it in high gear and were about halfway into moving all the furniture. I had to redirect and get them to move some things, but after that it went quickly. Even so, we had to pay about 6 hours' OT for 6 guys. And, remember, there was a big fish tank to bring back. I was petrified that the realtor would lock the place up and hold our fish ransom.
So we called the fish guys, and told them our tale of woe, and they and Joe got up at the very crack of dawn to go back the next morning to retrieve it. The realtor had either left the house open (a typical condition) or had left the key in its accustomed spot, so they were able to get in and get out with no trouble, other than the emergency schedule. The realtor has never been able to make it out there earlier than 11 am, so we were good with the early routine. This entails another moving fee - these guys are a new business and can't front an expense like this for free, nor would I expect it of them. So we've got two aquarium moves on the books now, in addition to OT to the house movers and a nice drive around town for the furniture.
Meanwhile, if I'd had a spare moment it would have been very nice to be able to just have a nervous breakdown. But I didn't have the time.
The next fear was the "deposit" we'd given on the 6th of September. She gave us a handwritten receipt (?) for it, but it only said "to hold" the property. That's fine and well, and she did "hold" it - meaning she didn't show it to anyone else. But for some reason, I wasn't satisfied with that, and asked her how she came to the figure she gave for that "deposit". She said it was for the last month's rent and a security deposit. I asked her (and thank gods I did) to specify that on her receipt, which she did. I sent a certified letter yesterday demanding return of that fee; I don't know how you can have a "last month" when you never had a first month, nor a security deposit when no valid lease was ever presented or signed. I'm suspecting there will be a quibble with this. But I've got her receipt, and we have a friend who's an attorney, and if she declines to refund the amount, perhaps a request on that attorney's letterhead might provide better prompting. I hope it doesn't come to that... but we've depleted nearly every penny out of our savings fund now to finance this disaster, and we need that money now.
Since then we've been trying to reorganize the new apartment. I can't find so many things... I hate moving - even normal moves! much less this fiasco. And, since there was no expectation of having to reload it, the movers pretty much stirred our garage here to the point that everything is in terrible disarray. The house had an enormous garage, and it would have been simple to offload anything into there and rearrange at leisure and with some organization. Luckily they weren't able to load the entire garage to move, and were planning to send one truck back to do that... when everything fell apart. So we've still got that garage here, but it's going to be a monumental task to empty it and refill it so it can actually be used. And that will get at least some of the boxes out of the apartment, which has been our ongoing problem. I'm thankful to whatever powers-that-be that the fish guys also will do light maintenance and handyman-type tasks on the side. One happens to be a retired nurse, has a chauffeur's license, and has been helping me get to appointments and doing errands and building bookshelves... whatever I set him to. He probably would be perfectly amenable to helping rearrange the garage. His partner would help too, but he did some damage to his back and can only lift so much, like my husband is limited as well. Even so, I think that will be a help.
So things are v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y getting to a point where it feels like we have some kind of life again. I'm so exhausted... I have an autoimmune condition, and my resources were at a low ebb to begin with, after a long several months of house-hunting and packing up what I could. The move itself finally knocked the slats out from under me. Usually I can recover from a busy *day* with a couple of days' rest. I don't know if I'm going to recover from this or not. I can barely get up from my powerchair these days... my knee is very painful at the moment. I hope it will get better. I have no way to know at this point.
So I've been absent here since just before the "move". I have no idea what I've done to myself, dietarily. Nothing good, I'm sure. I've been succumbing to junk food (even when it tastes nasty! what's wrong with me?!?) and intermittent with my meds - prescription and supplements... so maybe if I get back on my old routine things will be better. I hope so. I'm trying to make some inroads starting today, at least.
But I've got boxes of books waiting for me to put them on my new shelves, and I have no idea if my knee is going to let me get that finished today or not.
At least I'm back to SP. I didn't want anybody to think I had perhaps gone the path of our RUSSELL, though (I still think of him and miss his presence), so I thought some explanation was in order.
I'm not a religious person. But any "prayers" and supportive thoughts directed in my general direction would be gladly accepted!