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Moving is a Lot More Than Packing

category_bug_journal2.gif The moving van is due here on 12 May and packing is coming along fine, a few boxes each day. I'm being ruthless about what to keep. No one needs 38 coffee mugs many of which were Secret Santa gifts at work over many years (nothing ever breaks in my kitchen), so I whittled them down to eight. I'm also getting rid of half my clothes and a whole lot of shoes along with the general detritus that accumulates in four years.

But downsizing and packing are the easiest part of preparing to move – nothing to it but time and energy. The harder part is untangling life in one city and re-establishing it in another. Look at the list:

Safe Deposit Box
Electric company
Internet ISP
Cable TV
Heating fuel
Social Security Direct Deposit
Medicare Supplemental
Medicare Part D
Travel arrangements
Postal change of address
Snailmail subscriptions changes

It's not that it is particularly difficult, but it is a horrendous time sink with the large number of phone calls to make and return, many of them in two cities with a lot of wait time on hold or tracking down the right person to speak with.

But some of it almost took care of itself. I had opened a checking account in Lake Oswego when I was there a few weeks ago. It's a small, local bank where I can call the vice president I met when I have questions or needs.

Water/sewer/trash is covered in the homeowners association dues at my new home. The electric companies in Maine and Oregon handled the change with a minimum of conversation. Telephone is not an issue; I dumped the VoIP a couple of years ago for cell only.

I become more impressed with government bureaucracy every time I deal with Social Security. It took less than five minutes on the telephone to find out what to do about SSA direct deposit.

The day of the last deposit I want to go into my Maine account, I just phone and give them the information about my bank account in Oregon and they assure me the change will be made in time for the next month's deposit. And, they take care of notifying Medicare of the change of address. I haven't checked yet, but I think this can be accomplished online if I choose to do it that way. I need to contact my Medicare Parts B and D providers separately.

Cable TV and internet here in Maine are more complicated. The two people I've spoken with so far at the provider had difficulty understanding the concept of “cancel” and gave me conflicting instructions on returning their equipment. I'm still working on that. I'll be in a hotel here in Maine for five days after the moving van leaves until the closing. The hotel has free WiFi, but I need to work out how to reconfigure my email for that period of time.

My Maine insurance agent easily handled ending my homeowner's policy here (auto insurance remains in effect until I purchase new coverage in Oregon - within 30 days), so there is the necessity of finding an agent there. I've got a line on that.

I had notified my doctor, dentist and the veterinarian that I am leaving and they prepared copies of medical records which I picked up last week. None have recommendations for me in Oregon, but I'm making inquiries and it should not be difficult.

The prescription switch is much easier than I thought it would be. I picked up a 90-day supply last week and the pharmacist tells me that all I need do in Oregon is have the new pharmacist call him and the remaining refills will be honored.

Travel to Oregon took some time to work out because Ollie the cat is going with me on the plane. It costs an extra $100 for him and the airline is picky about the size of his carrier. Fortunately, Ollie's meets the requirements.

I can't take a carry-on bag for me because – well, Ollie is the carry-on bag. And I don't check bags when there is a plane change because they never arrive with you. Instead, the day before we leave, I'll pack up all my things in a box and ship it by overnight delivery service to my brother. That way, my toothbrush and clothes, etc. will already be there when our plane lands in the evening.

Meanwhile, the veterinarian has given me a sedative for Ollie so he'll doze during the long flight – almost 12 hours with the need to be at the airport two hours before departure and the plane change. The doctor suggested I do a trial run to see how he reacts to the drug and determine if he needs a larger or smaller dosage. Haven't done that yet.

So although the list is long, most of it is relatively easy. The important part, I realized, is having the list with columns for each city to check off as the tasks are accomplished. Thank god I don't have young kids; imagine what the list would look like then.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Tibetan Quake Victims


excellent list. i should write it out for when i move. actually i was partway through a similar list when i thought i was moving in April. then i made it all fall through. exhausting.

i wondered about Ollie and how he would get there. i have two cats to transport myself.

good luck as you proceed. sounds like you are on top of everything though.

Well, you have (almost) made me determined to never move again! At least you are of sound mind and know what needs to be done. What if you were not so smart? I shudder to think what happens to some people.

You're much better at moving than I was.
I wouldn't worry about changing subscription addresses. It seems like everyone who had my address in California got the change information from the post office, darn it.

I plan to save your list to refer to for when I move one day so thank you for sharing it…

I, too, was wondering about Ollie and you’ve answered that so thank you again…

Moving is a lot of work, for sure, but it sounds like you have a good handle on it. Actually, your move sounds kind of exciting. Enjoy it.

Think I should save your list too. Wow-38 mugs. But if you gather all your Portland based readers as you thought you might do, wouldn't you need more than 8? So many live there I'm thinking there must really be something magical about that place.

Shipping your clothes overnight express may cost about the same as checking it on the plane, but with a change of planes is probably a guaranty against loss or delay. I used to mail clothes home after a vacation so I wouldn't have to carry them.

How come nothing breaks in your kitchen? Last month I broke 3 wine glasses in just one day.

It looks to me like you have thought of everything. A great list for reminding others what they might need to do. Having homes in two states has at times been complicated for us in terms of repair people or really anything that turned up unexpectedly. Worse in that situation is who was there one time may not be the next. I will be glad when the second home is in the same state which is our goal.

You are one organized lady. You seem to have everything under control. The check-off list with the two cities side by side was a brilliant idea.

Your move is certainly getting expensive, but I am very sure it is all worthwhile. Being near your brother is going to be a huge bonus and exploring your new city will be so much fun. I am getting excited for you.

LOL, Estelle! Maybe don't wash the wine glasses til the next morning?!! Just kidding - I, too, go through glasses like, well, water.

Ronni, I've thought, ever since your post about your energy flagging, that the mental work, and the emotional upheaval, are at least as much to blame as the physical work. This post confirms me in my opinion. But I'm so glad you're sharing; it's a wealth of *good* experience. Thank you!

Great planning, Ronni. Your life, television production skills are coming in handy right now. I picture Ollie taking a long sweet nap in his comfy capsule, dreaming about all the items he will sniff out in your new place.

There was a great article this weekend in the Montreal Gazette about Portland, Oregon. Made me want to visit.

Take care, bon voyage, friend.

Ronni--Just curious--what about the car?

Ronni--I'm with Paula. Please consider adding to your excellent listing:
Driver's license
Trustworthy mechanic
Car tag
You are well on your way toward accomplishing your organized move. Way to go!

I'm loving reading this, since I'm moving Friday -- from an apartment to a condo literally out back of my present place! I've hired a truck and two men, who have provided me with 25 plastic bins to pack stuff in. We're estimating they'll need three hours to complete the move!

I think the hardest thing about packing is trying to maximize the use of space in the boxes, so I'm not going to: I've got more boxes than I need.

Right now I'm self-cleaning the oven, just re-potted the geranium, checked the chocolate chips supply since I want to bake cookies and bread and make soup so I'll be well-supplied for the moving days. And I dug out my favorite mix CD a friend made for me when I first moved to Seattle 15 months ago: he calls it Migraine Healthcare Clinic.

I feel lucky that, though a lot of my details are like yours -- address changes, service changes -- I won't even have to learn a new bus route. But you'll be the gainer, since all you're putting your brain through right now will mean long-term brain health!

"...all you're putting your brain through right now will mean long-term brain health!"

I bet that's right. I've moved a lot and always felt sharper (although stressed out) while making and keeping the detailed plans of a successful move.

I am asking about the car because

1) sometimes the movers move them in the truck.

2) Oregon is a little picky about who gets to drive there. It's not just a matter of swapping your Maine license for an Oregon one. There's a test. I found that a big surprise since Oregon is my 7th state but the only place all out-of-staters have had to take an exam for a local license.


I looked into auto shipping companies. The cost has come down a bit in the past couple of years ago, but they do not guarantee a delivery date and it might take several weeks since it depends on how many cars the company is shipping from where I am to where I'm going.

Although it costs a good deal more to ship the car with my household goods, it's going in the truck with them. When I add in the cost of a rental car in Oregon while waiting for mine to arrive, the price comes out about even.

I'm applauding your bravado with great enthusiasm. Love the idea of shipping your car with your goods. You might stick a tooth brush and an Ollie treat or two into you purse/handbag just in case.

Cheering you on from foggy San Diego....

Ronni, you are SO organized. About traveling with your beautiful cat: will Ollie's carrier be in the cabin with you (I hope!)? If not, please ask the airline if the pet area is pressurized and climate controlled. I took that for granted until I read some time ago that it's not always the case--and someone's dog paid the price. I'm a cat person (we have three) and relocation, even when just local, is hard for cats. They hate change. Me, too.

Paula's question about the car had already come to mind for me too. But you, dear Ronni, had already figured that one out.
I am impressed with your organizational skills.

You are a great model for others . Relocation is hard for everyone. Just think of staying in a motel- where is my toothbrush, where did I put my meds my meds- we all have a sense of place that gets knocked off by any relocation. Your thoughtfulness and organization in a blog is a beacon to others.

About the car, the trunk and back seat are going to be filled with boxes, aren't they?

38 mugs from you secret Santa. That really got my attention. I've moved several times, and I have never managed to do a good job of it. Somehow we have survived. I just hope I never have to move again.

I love the "shipping the car" idea.

The alternative would be....a 3,200-mile cross-country drive. Having made some shorter versions of this drive (also without a backup driver), I can attest that it gets extremely old about Day 2.

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