Thursday, 12 February 2009

Moving house

This may or may not be the correct date. 

We have had numerous conversations 

about the right

 date but 

I have not checked yet what it is. Frankly

 speaking, the last few days have been a bit of a whirl. This has been partly from my own making – more of that later – and partly because when you have not had internet connection for more than 10 days and your cable TV is disconnected and your phone gets cut off because the company didn’t send the bill for October and your husband’s company didn’t pay the bill, then you start to stop tracking things like dates! So it must be around the 8th or 9th, but yesterday was a bank holiday, so even if the date is wrong the week is shorter than we need to do what we want to achieve!

And so I am writing this in my lovely new house, but I have no internet connection to upload so I am saving it to word and then at some point in the near future I hope, I will transmit it to my blog site, by which time any regular viewer will have assumed that I have stopped posting to this blog at all, and stopped visiting.

So let’s back track to the move. When we packed in Korea, it took nine men four full working days to pack us up. Admittedly, unpacking is quicker, but the moving company here was confident that it would take them just two days to unpack us here. I was dubious, and especially so when they told me that half of one of those days would be to unload the container from the train and put it onto three trucks to be moved to the house here from about an hour’s drive outside Almaty.

So let’s just put it down to differences in definition, such an important part of life. Yes, they did take everything out of the boxes in two days. Did our previously fairly well organized Korean home re-appear unpacked in Almaty? No, it did not. A scene akin to the effects of a force 15 hurricane attacking the house, or an angry giant picking every room up, shaking it around a lot then moving off to destroy something else, did.

But then the definition of packing here is different from other places. An aside to the big move, the one that involved 384 boxes, is the smaller move from temporary apartment to home.

We had arranged for our basement to be divided in two, to provide a dedicated guest room for the people we hope will come and stay. And then we had decided to use our previous guest bed in our eldest daughters room and put the bunks in the second oldest daughters room, so that both of them could have friends to stay without a having to get involved with the usual inflatable mattress scenario. Which left us a guest bed short. So we arranged with our landlord of our temporary apartment who was selling that flat, to buy one of the bedrooms-worth of furniture off him as we left.

And he arranged (since our movers here were planning to over charge us about 2000 percent on any extra work we gave them) for some guys to come and move it for us. And we then arranged that since the guys were coming, would they also, for an extra fee, move our stuff (suitcases, boxes of files etc) since we both have sore backs at the moment. Sorry to bother you with the tedious background details of this situation (scroll down if you are falling asleep).

So they came to the apartment and wrapped up the furniture, we had already packed up our clothes and files etc into boxes and suitcases (which was fun after an impromptu 1.15am laser pen disco with Debs and Matt who had popped in on the way home from the pub for a last drink together, as we had all been living in the same apartment block).

Then they drove them the five minutes to our new house, and we were telling them where to put the boxes, and all was going pretty quickly. In fact, I was even beginning to think that the local movers are not too bad, maybe people could use them if they were moving in Almaty and not have to use the top dollar English-speaking ones, when suddenly the rough-looking foreman said in Russian to his men, “Right lads, get in the trucks”.

This would have been fine, except that they had not finished. And the two remaining items waiting to be moved were massive, heavy bits of the huge wardrobe that we have purchased. One huge block had been put in the middle of our living room, the other large wooden base was blocking the access to the downstairs loo and almost unmoveable it was so heavy.

“No, no,” said my husband, “You haven’t finished.”

“Fssyo (finish)’” said the foreman,

“No, you have to move these two big things into the basement,” said My husband.

“Fssyo,” he repeated.

His men were looking at each other, and at us, and hovering around.

“Get in the trucks,” he told them again, and off they went.

My husband, increasingly desperate not to have to move these things himself, was hopping around, trying to persuade the grumpy man to allow his burly strong men to move the things downstairs in an effort that would have taken them less than 5 minutes, but the foreman was having none of it. Emphatically, he went and sat in the truck himself, his men around him while My husband phoned our go-between contact urging him to intervene.

The foreman then tried to explain, “Ahh, sorreee, my director, he say no, he say finish. My director, my director he say no move.”

“Well, tell your director he is not getting paid if you don’t move these things downstairs. It will take you five minutes. Please,” begged My husband.

A few more minutes of heated phone calls ensured, during which time the offending items could have been moved downstairs several times, and then with a flourish of the foreman’s arm with the words “Go, Go, Go,” and in a cloud of road dust, the two trucks and all the muscle disappeared, leaving us with the gigantic pieces of furniture in the middle of our living space.

“Maybe we can move it ourselves,” said My husband, and tentatively tried to push the wardrobe across the floor to a less prominent position. It didn’t shift!

We managed to resolved the problem later that afternoon, when some guys came to remove the rubbish from the previous days unpack and My husband got our controller at the moving company to tell them to shift it for us. And then some guys turned up to reassemble the bed and wardrobe. Apparently, moving something does not include keeping it in the same form as when it is picked up, the movers were quite happy to move it, but then leave it totally dismantled.

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