We've all seen the devastation that hurricane Sandy has done to the East Coast. People have lost their homes, all of their possessions...everything. It is absolutely heartbreaking. Many that still have homes are left without power or running water. People are stuck inside with young children and no television. Or internet access. Yikes. I'm making light of a very serious matter here - not because I don't recognize the urgency of the situation, but because I know I would be a certified loon if I were faced with that nightmare. It has reminded me of what I was like when we were going to be without technology for a couple of days. It is pathetic and embarrassing...and true.
When we were in the process of moving to California almost exactly a year ago, the kids and I stayed behind to close up shop in Utah after Charming started his new position. We had been through this before, so I knew what to expect with the relocation company, packers, loaders, and movers, and all the other crap that goes with it. Simply put, it's a giant pain in the ass.
The packers are usually men. Which I think is weird. Men are not always the most...how should I put this...meticulous. I've seen Charming pack a suitcase. I don't want him packing up our crystal. These packer guys will put whatever is in a general area in the same box. They will use a shit ton of packing paper to protect it, but there is NO discretion when it comes to categorizing. I found my silverware in the same box as some stuff from one of our bookcases (that was NOT located in the kitchen). I have yet to figure that out.
The day the packers come, you had better be good and ready. Anything and everything in your house WILL BE PUT IN A BOX. If you don't want it to go, you had better get it out of sight. I had an area designated for stuff that was not to be packed, and they were good about leaving it alone. I accidentally left some stuff on the counter that I didn't want packed - snacks, paper towels, plastic silverware - to get us through the next few days. I told them not to pack it, but I turned my back and it ended up in a box. Oh, well. Easily replaced.
The loaders come the next day. Also a group of men. Which I understand - heavy lifting and all. They operate the same way. If you don't want something loaded on the truck, you sure as hell better not have it anywhere in sight. They move like tornadoes. You leave the room for 5 minutes, come back and it's empty. No joke.
The day the loaders came, the kids were at school and I was tying up all the loose ends from moving - turning off utilities, getting school records sent over, etc. At one point while they were there, I had to leave to go to the store. I had packed a big Rubbermaid box of electronics to keep the kids entertained for our 12 hour drive to California. We lost the remote control to the DVD player in my car (and it won't work without the remote - major design flaw in my opinion), so they each had a mini DVD player and some movies, their handheld video game thingies (with games), some books, and Tink got an e-reader for Christmas that she wanted to take. I'd say there was easily $500 worth of technology in this container. When I left to go to the store I took one of the loaders aside and said, "See this box? This box is NOT to be packed. Please. It is very important that it remain IN THIS HOUSE. I have to run an errand. I will be back in 15 minutes."
"Yes, ma'am. No problem."
So, I leave. I'm feeling good about how things are going, but I decide not to lollygag and I return in a timely manner. I walk around the house to survey how things are progressing and...what the?
"Where's my box? The box I asked you not to pack. It was right there. Now it's gone."
Everyone is moving around me like they don't hear me. I pull the loader guy aside that I spoke to before I left.
Me: "Where's that box I asked you not to pack?'
Loader Guy: "Uhhhhh....."
Me: "Please tell me you didn't pack it."
Loader Guy: "Uhhhhh...."
My eyes get big and googly. The other loaders are still working, but they soon start gathering around because they begin to realize that the lady that lives here is about to LOSE HER SHIT.
Me: "Are you kidding me? I have to be in the car FOR 12 HOURS with TWO CHILDREN and you packed the box of entertainment WHEN I SPECIFICALLY ASKED YOU NOT TO AND WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW AREYOUTRYINGTORUINMYLIFE???"
I asked the guys if they knew where it was on the truck.
Me: "Can you see it? Can you reach it? I was gone 15 minutes. It can't be that far back."
Head Loader Guy: "Yeah. It's waaaaay back there. It'd put us back at least 3 hours to get it out and put everything back."
Me: "Three hours?!? That makes no sense. It took you 15 minutes to get it on there along with all this other crap."
An uncomfortable period of time of staring at each other commenced.
Me: "Fine. Forget it."
Then I start walking around yelling to myself and waving my arms crazily about while they stood there watching me. Oh, and I was doing the ugly cry by now. Not one of my finer moments. But in my defense, on top of being exhausted from getting things ready for the move and handling most of the process alone, I was an emotional wreck. I'd said most of my good-bye's at this point and I was doing good to go half an hour without bursting out in tears. This event simply pushed me over the edge. Thank God the kids were at school and didn't have to witness their mother go balls-to-the-wall insane.
We made it to California just fine without the box. No one lost their mind and we did a lot of talking and singing and playing car games. And A LOT of talking. Plus Charming brought his iPad that he had taken with him to California (I forgot about that!). Big help. Because neither of the children slept ONE MINUTE the entire way. So we talked a lot. Did I mention we did a lot of talking?
All this being said, my heart goes out to everyone who was effected by Sandy. Especially those who lost everything, but also the ones who are just trying to get their toddler to understand why they can't watch 'Max and Ruby' again today. It kind of makes me want to punch myself for whining about...well, anything.
Count your blessings. Then count them again.
If you'd like to donate to victims of Sandy or other disaster relief causes, click here.