Monday, October 27, 2003

Moving weekend post-mortem

Our weekend of moving was eventful, to say the least. I could write about 10 separate blogs on it if I were so inclined. But I'm not feeling that ambitious today, so just the highlights.

The L5P U-Haul place has closed down; and that's the good news. I'd made a reservation for a 17-foot U-Haul truck earlier in the week. The wife had looked up the number for Little 5 Points Storage Wednesday while I was waiting on the DishNetwork girls. The truck was booked 3 p.m. Friday to 3 p.m. Saturday, which would give us time to move some small stuff with Char-lez Friday and the big stuff with Tom Saturday (Tom is a move-day maniac and can move a small house full of things in about 15 minutes. Plus, getting him to move my heavy stuff is payback for having to tote all those damn books of his when he moves).

So after picking up Grant Central and having the first official meal in the new place, Char-lez and I headed up to L5P Storage only to find an empty building (I was not aware it was part of the big Moreland shopping center project) and a demolition guy cruising around on a forklift. So I called the wife, who said she asked 411 for "Little 5 Points Storage" and that was the number she gave me. So I did the same, got a number and called it. It rang through (with no "this number has been changed" or anything) to the U-Haul place on 14th and Howell Mill.

Yes, the guy said, this is where I had made my reservation. But, no, they don't have my truck. Turns out the guy who had it Thursday had decided not to return it. Being told they were going to get an arrest warrant for him was of little comfort. I was told they have a 10-foot truck I could come get, but it would have to be back before 8 a.m. Saturday. And they could not guarantee me that there would be any trucks available Saturday.

This was the moment our moving plans changed. Faced with the prospect of having no truck Saturday, I knew we had to be set up and living in the new house Friday night.

Thus Char-lez went from box jockey to bona fide Moving Man, and instead of small appliances and bags of clothes he was tasked with helping move the 600-pound sofa and 2,850-pound bed.

It was appreciated, my brother.

So we moved late into the night; having given Char-lez his release after the really big stuff was over, got no sleep because our Little Black Dog kept waking up (and freaking out) to the smells of the former owner's dog (the smells didn't seem to bother the Big Brown Dog), and got back over to U-Haul right at 8 a.m. to stake out a 17-footer.

Luckily, they had one, and I was back at home by 9. Tom was a bit surprised - and maybe disappointed - to see all of the furniture in the new house when he showed up at 10:30, and he played the role of box jockey. He stuck around to suck down Maker's and Diet Cokes - yes, it is an excellent housewarming gift - and watch LSU (also his alma mater) stick it to Auburn.

Does Dish pay these people by the hour? The "advanced techs" from DishNetwork showed up about 1:30 on Friday to finish my installation (if you remember, the Dish girls who came out Wednesday were only able to get reception from one satellite and were baffled by the DishPVR 721).

I watched the advanced techs closely, and my theory that the Dish girls had not, in fact, given me a DishPro Quad LNBF was validated. But that was only half the battle.

After about an hour on top of the house, the advanced techs realized I was not going to be able to pick up the 119 satellite with a roof-mounted dish. I can't remember anything I've dreaded telling the wife more than "they are going to have to mount the dish on a pole in the backyard." Fortunately, the pole is pretty well hidden from view (at least from the deck; our neighbors get a pretty good view of it).

While Char-lez and I were on our great truck hunt, the Dish guys planted the pole, poured some Quikrete and buried the cables running back to the house.

The Dish girls spent 5 hours at the house Wednesday, and the Dish guys were there for about 3 hours Friday. That's 16 man hours and a decent amount of equipment and supplies. This would have cost me nothing, except I had to buy a Quad LNBF, which cost me $50. And they make money at this?

Yes, the humiliation is worth the cash. You may remember from my Pennies & Pounds blog that we had 37 pounds of pennies living in the world's ugliest wedding present at the old house. Based upon my careful calculations, I estimated there to be between $53.96 and $67.13 worth of Little Abes, depending on the mix of pre- and post-1983 coins.

Sunday night, I decided to take another stab at lugging them up to the CoinStar machine at the Ghetto Kroger. I tried this a week or so ago, only to discover the CoinStar was out of order (after experiencing the CoinStar process, it's amazing to me that they don't break down every hour or so).

But this time it was working. I plopped my Amazon.com box full of pennies down on the CoinStar and began dumping coin out of the Ziplocs inside.

Thirty Seven pounds of pennies takes about 20 minutes to feed through the CoinStar. And the CoinStar is like a Vegas slot machine in reverse. It's a constant clang of metal as you feed coins into it.

If I wasn't sure the people coming in the door were almost all thinking "damn, I wish I had that much money", I'd have been pretty embarassed.

The final count was 6,379 pennies, which the math whizzes among you know comes up to $63.79. That's right in the middle of my $53.96 - $67.13 estimate. Pretty good guess using just a bathroom scale, if I do say so myself.

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