Filling a rusty, metal, 20 foot box
The next question was, who do we get to help us to move all of our things down to the container, which was now perched at the other side of the complex, out of sight and not entirely out of mind...
It didn't seem that "Raggedy Rich" and "Dutty Dawg Dacres" were likely to be able to take the day off on short notice, round of 20 of their friends, and come over to help the following day (Friday), no matter how much beer and pizza we plied them with, and how much begging we did.
This seemed like a job for the pros, which gave both of us the willies, having had terrible experiences with movers in the past... well... who hasn't?
After getting a quick referral, we called a company who said that we neeeded to let them know in the next 10 minutes so they could set it up for the following day.
We made a well-thought out, balanced, executive decision ... in the throes of our desperation. "How soon can you get here?" I coughed out, feeling the pressure of an apartment manager n the war-path someplace, and a container and carrier pick-up time of 6pm sharp.
At $44 dollars per person per hour, it was a better deal than had ever been presented bya moving company, who follow the time honored tradition of the industry of negotiating the price of the delivery while you are waiting for them to unload your previous earthly possessions (with the wife nervously wondering if the china from the wedding was all broken, and the husband hoping that the old TV did break, thus requiring a new flat-screen model from Circuit City... for the sake of the children, of course.)
They said they'd be there the following day at 8:30 am or so.
If any sleep came that night it came from exhaustion, as once we found the movers, we realised that we were in no shape for them to come tomorrow to help move all our stuff. We had been planning for another day of leisurely packing, followed by some leisurely shopping, to be rounded off by filling the container over a leisurely weekend, eating pizza and drinking beer at a leisurely pace.
Now we were busy throwing stuff into boxes and taping them up, calling my two aunts for help -- frantically getting everything together in the few hours we had left.
The following morning we awoke to sore backs and aching muscles, but we just about almost ready.
The movers came, with an extra person, and after we engaged in the time-honored moving tradition of haggling over how long the job would take (they had not been told about the 200-300 yard distance to the container) they got to work. We got busy telling them where things were, what to do,and got VERY busy making sure that they were happy, and well-watered and well-plied with patties (no beer for them.) They were being paid by the hour, after all, and we needed them to keep working hard, which to their credit they did no some horrendous heat.
They took our stuff downstairs, packed it into the truck for the short trip across the complex, and emptied the truck directly into the container.
They came back for a load, and somewhere in all this they asked "Where do you have your plywood and "lock and load?"" (I may be wrong about the name of this device.)
One of the movers, a tall guy with a tattoo on his neck who looked like the most resistant of all (until he shared that he had spent 6 weeks in Jamaica, taking comfort in some of the best ganja in the world) told us that we needed to secure the load with __something__. This would prevent the stuff in the container from moving around. According to him, you didn't want to have all your stuff bouncing around inside the container, and unless it was completely full (which was unlikely) it could happen.
Thanks to my aunt we were able to get all that we needed in about 2 hours -- going from not understanding a word of what he was talking about, to being able to get the items in hand so they could pack the truck.
Long story short, by 3 pm they were done. The container was tightly packed with two 8x4 pieces of plywood, secured by very tight rope. For a decent picture of what I'm talking about, see: http://www.jaminco.com/personal/cont.htm which is the best (and only) site on how to do the physical packing.
Whether the job they did was adequate to prevent a problem remains to be seen...
At around 7pm or so, another driver came with a truck to pick up our now filled container, just about every earthly possession... to take it to Jamaica for us. We breathed a deep, deep sigh of relief, because we had made the deadlines, in spite of the many surprises.
In retrospect, it would have been much easier and much more expensive to have a company come in and do everything while we spent a day at the beach... but, no regrets so far.
The only remaining job that we had to do before I could leave Florida for good was to dispose of my sofa and love-seat set, and find someplace to which that I could donate my car on short order. Neither of these turned out to be straightforward propositions, of course.
(to be continued)