Is It Possible to Move in 48 Hours?
This is a true story…one that will live in our hearts for a very long time…
It was Friday, December 30, 2005, the day before New Year’s Eve. I was just wrapping up business for the year, when I received a desperate call from Mike Garner, an SRES real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Bellevue, Washington.
“We have a crisis. Mrs. Davis (not her real name) needs to be packed up, moved and unpacked by Sunday morning at 11 am.”
“By this Sunday morning?! Like this New Year’s Day Sunday morning?!!!”
“Yes. It’s an emergency. Can you do it? .. And by the way, it’s a hoarding situation. Mrs. Davis has been taken on a cruise by her brother and can’t go back to her home. He’ll bring her to her new apartment directly from the cruise. There is no other family to help you decide what to move.”
Senior Move Management is what we do…
Moving Forward is a move management company.
- We help seniors (and also younger people) to relocate and/or downsize with ease.
- We help people sort, we pack, we direct the movers, and we unpack.
- Emergency moves are common.
- Complicated moves are our specialty.
But a highly complicated, emergency move on a holiday weekend??!!
Fortunately, I had the staff, and we took it on. And then we encountered Obstacle Number One.
The only person in the entire state of Washington with a key to the house was Bob, Mrs Davis’s groundskeeper. Bob worked at a car dealership during the day and wouldn’t get off work until 4:00 that afternoon. No, he wouldn’t let us just pick up the key from him and start without him being present. No, he wouldn’t take any time off work to meet us early. No, it really wasn’t his problem that no one had thought out this process in advance.
We tried to explain that it was an emergency, but Bob, about to lose his groundskeeper position, chose to enjoy his last moments of power. (Yes, I’ll admit it. I used some vivid language at that moment).
We would have to work around his schedule and just deal with it.
What could we do in the meantime? I called the retirement community for a floor plan of the apartment.
And there we encountered Obstacle Number Two. The community had floor plans for most of their apartments, but not for that one.
We would have to work around that too.
We dashed over to the retirement community, measured the apartment, and created a generic furniture arrangement based on the most likely furniture Mrs. Davis might have. We would adjust the plan as soon as we could measure Mrs. Davis’s actual furniture.
At 4:30 pm, Bob finally let us into the house. And that’s where we encountered Obstacle Number Three.
Encountering a hoarder…
We’ve worked in hoarded homes before, but this was the most extreme case of hoarding that we had ever seen.
The entire living room carpet of this million dollar waterfront home was covered in black plastic sheeting. Enormous potted bushes, and even some trees, were jammed together on the muddy plastic. Most of them were dead because there was no room to walk between them to bring water.
Drifts of clothes, papers, dishes, shoes and magazines were piled up like snow against the walls. The screen of a huge, console television poked out incongruously from a hillside of plastic bags.
Well, we would have to just deal with it. At least we knew where the television was.
In the kitchen, we scavenged four place settings. In the dining room, we excavated a table. In the bedroom, we declared the bed a total loss, but mined down to a couple of night stands.
At 8 pm, having achieved our goals for the day, we jumped into our various vehicles to leave. That’s when we encountered Obstacle Number Four.
On our way into Mrs. Davis’s home, we hadn’t noticed her steep and slippery driveway. On our way out, Mike’s car slid sideways, and we all realized the driveway was a 1000- foot long, single lane, leaf-covered, mossy road made slippery as ice by the evening dew.
How would we get out? Eventually, our friend Bob got to demonstrate the power of his 4-wheel drive jeep by towing each of us out. (I said a few more colorful words, but not within the range of his hearing.)
On the day of the move…
Early the next morning we knew to park at the top of the driveway hill and walk down to the house. Bob swept the leaves off the driveway for the moving van. (Okay, he did do something worthwhile). Moving Forward packed dishes, clothing and toiletries. Mike (at Mrs. Davis’s brother’s direction) purchased a complete set of bedding plus a bed with same-day delivery.
At 5 pm, as the movers lifted the very last piece of furniture, the dining room table, two of its legs fell off.
Oh double Yikes!
On the way to the retirement community, just as the hardware store was closing for the year, we dashed in and bought a bottle of wood glue. While the movers unloaded the truck, we glued the legs back on the table.
I wish I could say that Mrs. Davis’s 48-hour move was the most challenging one ever, but complex moves in limited time are our daily fare in the world of move management.
The moral of the story is that if you (or one of your friends or clients) is facing a complicated or overwhelming move, consider calling on the services of a move manager. To find one in your area, visit the National Association of Senior Move Managers.
If you’re in the Seattle, WA area and you need help with a move, Contact Us, we love a good challenge!
***originally published Oct. 12, 2011