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Monday, August 20, 2012

My Moving Experience

Though other things have been happening the past few weeks, the dominant theme has been MOVING.   No, the theme hasn’t been moving, I’VE been in the throes of moving from the house I sold to a new rental house.

Thank goodness I didn’t ship all my worldly goods to EC via a container like some folks do.   One look at the bureaucracy, red tape, rules, gotta dot your I’s and cross your 3rd and 5th toe at 2pm every other Thursday and, of course, the ungodly cost…I chose to sell all my things and store stuff I couldn’t let go of, at my Mom’s, and bring only what I could cram into 3 pieces of baggage.   Once here, I bought what I needed to fill the gaps.

The point is, when it came to packing up my Cuenca house (which I sold) it didn’t result in 97 boxes…more like a dozen.  I started a few weeks before the final date of handing over the house to the new buyers which, by the way, are a lovely couple (Franny & Robert) from New York. 

I’m going to digress now (big surprise).  I’m VERY flattered and amazed at my (blush) pseudo-celebrity due to my blog.  I’ve been approached many times at restaurants, social gatherings, etc by people who recognize me from the small close-up photo at the bottom of my blog…’excuse me, are you Dano?   I read your blog all the time’.  Several people have told me the blog was very helpful to them during their decision-making process on whether to relocate to EC or not.  What an honor!!   Maybe I’m not such an ‘Ugly American’ after all!!!   PPPFFFFFF!!!!!   When I drive people around the area, we often have conversations such as ‘oh, I remember you wrote about that in your blog’ or ‘how are your pets doing?’ or ‘geez, you sure were getting beat up by that reader!’. 

Well, one day, the ‘lovely couple’ engaged a real estate agent who called me to set up a time to show my house.  They heard him say my name and inquired if that was THE Dano who writes the blog?  Yup.   When they arrived at my door, Gracie (my dog) ran to check out the visitors and Franny said ‘oh, there’s Gracie!’.   I asked them how they knew her name?  Because they read my blog!!!  What’s more, she is a published author and editor by profession!   GAWD…talk about flattering and intimidating at the same time!  Anyway, they loved the house and remembered the various blog entries about the remodel process and now they were seeing it live and in person.   They went to see a few other properties, but by the end of the day, they offered to buy my house, which I wholeheartedly accepted. 

Which prompted the move.  See?  There was a GOOD reason for digressing!!

I had to find boxes.  Where?   Back home, I’d normally head for the liquor store.  Ummmm…noooo….not to take the stress out of moving, but to get BOXES!!!!  Not here.  I could NOT find any place to get used boxes.   I checked the yellow pages (which usually is worthless here) and found a company who makes boxes…boxes for pizzerias, boxes for any company who needs a box with their logo, etc.   I drove to their plant and purchased 20 or so boxes of 3 different sizes, which they made for me, and I picked up the next day.

Then, I needed packing material.  Here in EC, there’s very LITTLE in the way of one-stop shopping.  Back home, a run to Home Depot or Lowes, and you could pretty much get everything you need.  Here, I didn’t know of any place that I’d been in the past that sold packing material such as rolls of Styrofoam padding or bubble wrap.   Ultimately, I found a business who sells just that, and only that.   They had the tape, the tape dispenser thingy, Styrofoam, boxes, bubble wrap and all those goodies.   Funny thing…they said bubble wrap is NEW here!!!  I had to ORDER the bubble wrap and pick it up a week later.

As I said, I started packing boxes early so I wouldn’t get slammed at the last minute.  I packed things I knew I wouldn’t need for a couple weeks.   During this time, I was also looking for a place to rent.   After the initial fiasco with the wicked woman who wanted to charge me $200 a month for utilities, I was able to find a rental in a nice neighborhood.  

The house is brand new.  It’s situated in the back of a large property with the owner living in the big house in front.  The house was intended for their daughter to live in (family live with family it seems forever here!!), but they ended up deciding to rent it out.   It’s directly across the street from a river and a block down from where two rivers merge.  The neighborhood has NO commercial businesses.  It’s strictly residential, so the vast majority of the traffic in the area is just locals who live there which translates to…..QUIET!!!    Well, if you don’t count the dogs barking and car alarms chirp, chirp, chirping and whoop, whoop, whooping. 

It’s a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, two-level house with an office, shared laundry in-between the owners house and mine and, likewise, a small gym.  It does NOT have a dishwasher….WAAAGHHHHH!!!   The fridge is small, doesn’t have an automatic ice-maker, and no in-door water dispenser.  DOUBLE WAAAGGHHH!!!   I iwill survive....sniff, sniff.  The property is gated with an automatic opener, lots of parking space, and a multi-purpose concrete court used for volleyball, basketball, and soccer.  

The owners have FIVE dogs, comprised of shitsu’s, pekingese, one kooky bulldog and 4 parakeets and 2 outdoor cats and, ohhhh, two sons 25 and 27, daughter 23 and her 3 year old son.   When I moved from the states, Gracie lost out because she used to have free roam of 1/3 acre on waterfront but was relegated to a small yard behind walls at my former Cuenca house and had no doggie pals.   The cats (Bozo and Chip in case you forgot), won big-time as they were forced to be inside-only at my states house due to the dangers of raccoons and the property not being securely enclosed, but in Cuenca the property was fully enclosed and they could freely roam outside without any fears.    Now, it’s reversed.   The cats are back to being inside-only because the rental property has places to escape.   Gracie, however, now has 5 other dogs to run around with.  Dog-poop-pickup-day will be very different here.

Back to moving.  I packed and packed and packed.  Then it was non-stop cleaning.  It seemed endless….wall patching, painting, window cleaning, shelf-wiping, washing the glass sunroom roof, vacuuming, floor-washing, and on and on and on.  I wasn’t about to hand over the house to the buyers without it being in perfect shape.  Silly me.

The new house has a tiny living room.   I, however, owned a couch, two loveseats, and two large single seats.   No way were they going to fit ANYWHERE in the new house.  So, I sold them all…to one of my clients I did some driving for.  Well, at least that lessened the amount of furniture to move, but I still needed to find a truck and crew to do the moving.   In EC, there’s no such thing as U-Haul or anything like it.    When I sold my array of sofas, the guys the purchasers hired to deliver them showed up in a relatively small truck with cattle-type fencing on the sides.  Those guys just kept stacking things up and up and up (envision the back of the Beverly Hillbillies truck when they moved out West).    The loveseat was on the tailgate!   Yes, they wrapped rope around it, but not over the top.  Three guys hopped on board and flung their bodies across the top and away they went!

I didn’t want that.   I posted a request on Gringo Tree for recommendations based on others experience.   I received what turned out to be a great reference to a guy who owns large ENCLOSED trucks with all the moving blankets and pads AND he spoke English!!!    He came by the house to examine my goods (and the furniture, too!!!....RIM SHOT SMITTY…BUH DAH BUM!!!).    He estimated the cost would be $85 and could be accomplished in one trip.  SOLD.

Moving day, he was there on-time with a crew of 4 helpers.  They wrapped the bookcases, dining room table, coffee tables, etc in blankets and sealed them with tape.  The truck was full, but there were still all the potted plants and a few more things to take.  He asked me if he could charge me $20 more for a second trip.  Geeeeeee….I dunno!   ;-)   Sure, it’s ok.   The packing, loading, trip, and unloading took 3 hours.   Then, it was back to the house for a second load, the trip, and unloading again.   Unfortunately, I thought they could back the truck right up to my new house but I forgot the long driveway had a covered entrance and the truck was too high to clear it.  So, they had to unload the truck and walk everything to the house about 100 feet away.    Again, I have to tell you, Ecuadorian men (in this case, YOUNG men) are not afraid of hard work.   They hefted heavy boxes onto their shoulders and hauled them to the house and upstairs when necessary and without so much as a grunt or a grimace.    They had a dolly and my handtruck, but none of them opted to use them even though it would’ve been easier and possibly trimmed time.  I helped out.  I, on the other hand, was dying and leaving a trail of sweat on the ground.  

End result?   The move went smoothly.   4.5 hours of work by 5 guys.   Two truckloads.  Total cost?  $145.

UGH…now the UN-packing and figuring out where to put everything in a smaller house.   Like I said, the house is brand new, just finished construction.   That means construction dust everywhere.   After spending a week cleaning my former house from top to bottom, I now was faced with cleaning another house…every square inch.

I was EXXXXXXXXHAUSTED and utterly FRIED.  For 5 days now, I’ve been tackling the whole move-in process and I’m still not done, though now when I look across the room, I don’t see boxes and disarray.  Things are starting to fall into place and I think today was the first day I woke up without bloodshot eyes from sheer exhaustion.

Gracie is playing with Chahyo, the bulldog who’s just a big loveable 8-month old clutz who should be named, more appropriately, ‘CHUNK’.   The owners have their kitchen door open all the time and Gracie just runs into their house and joins the family gang and gets treats and lots of attention.   All the rules I’ve taught her seem to have imploded.

I have to get internet set up at the house and the water and electricity accounts established here and transferred to the new owners at the old place.  Not a simple feat here via a phone call.   Nope, gotta go to the various offices, provide your ID, property tax records, property ownership records, copies of this and that and who knows what all else.  

WARNING!!!  Bureaucracy Ahead!!!!!


 Dano

Moving crew wrapping the furniture

Moving truck

Dining room table headed out the door

The Crew

My new digs

Volleyball slash basketball slash soccer court

Riverside park and pathway across the street

The river across the street

'Chahyo'  (8 months old!)

The little shitzu


10 comments:

  1. Thanks for the entertainment Dano. Sounds like you've got a great new place - good for you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The new place sounds/looks AMAZING! And the new owners of your former home of fortunate that you morphed into a one-person Maid Brigade prior to their move in date. So are you going to become a homegrown athlete with your sports complex? Or is it only the canine athlete wannabes who use that?
    You are a great guy, Dan, a wit and a fine writer, and I really enjoy your blog.
    May you and your "babies" enjoy good health, peace of mind, and happiness in your new home.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Glad celebrities like you find time to inform the masses Dano :) ...always a fun read when you're on the job! Thanks, Bill

    ReplyDelete
  4. The house looks great, Dano! We love our new furniture, but hey! Quit knocking our movers. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  5. YOUR NEW HOME LOOKS BEAUTIFUL. i THINK YOU MADE THE RIGHT DECISION!

    wILL WANT TO SEE PICS WHEN YOU ARE ALL SETTLED

    HAPPY HOUSE CLEANING

    MOM

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dano, congratulations on a smooth move and new digs!
    I am facing another move, hopefully soon. The first one was just as you described - a small truck piled up as in an old Italian movie. The cost was also $80, and I thought it a good deal :) Recommendation came from my Ecuadorian friend, and the people were reliable. Still, you deal sounds better.
    Could you please post all information about the stores to buy packing materials and those good mover here? Would help many people. OR, if you so prefer, please email me.

    BTW did you ever install the Sat TV? I recommended George Vidal, after which you wrote with questions :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dan, this is Joe, house in Puertas del Sol, you brought mike here. Please forward me the movers contacts and where to get moving supplies. I would appreciate it.
    thanks, Joe qualityusanow@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dano,

    Me again. Same request as that of Joe Voss.

    Please forward me the movers contacts and where to get moving supplies. I would appreciate it.
    thanks, ideamerchant at g mail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Packing, moving away, and moving into the new house make a very tiring processes. You would need to know how to prioritize, and what materials to use to keep your possessions in good shape during the travel. Take time choosing the right packing supplies and the right crew to ensure the safety of your stuff.

    Ericka Muldowney

    ReplyDelete
  10. Good Luck, moving can be so stressful, will file away this great company! Infact the only fun thing about moving is getting rid of all the crap, that is such a great feeling! Edit, edit, edit! Can't wait to see your place in LA, just know it will be amazing!
    Movers New York

    ReplyDelete

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About Me

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Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Cuenca and greater Ecuador. I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live here.

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