Friday, August 27, 2010

The Trip: Post-Script, or Chapter 12.

I'll keep this one short. (Although for Chapter 1 you should click on here. For all you latecomers!)

Mike and I hit the road the next day at 8:30 a.m. and, believe it or not, it went pretty much as planned. Yes, there were some hairy moments, so to speak, when I feared my cats would bake to death in the back seat of the Honda. (The solution was to put up the window shade and blast the AC. Honestly, once that was done it was nicer in there than in the truck. And it used very little gas, fwiw.)

At the end of the first day of driving we even each felt confident behind the wheel of the beast. The highway is so much easier than the tri-state area, especially once you venture into the heartland. There isn't much traffic and it's easy to get to where you need to go. The rest areas also got progressively less and less crowded as the trip progressed.

Yes, there were some interesting moments all the same. Mike and I had many fantastic and fun coversations, including one where we vowed to remember all the teams that played in the World Series going back to 1990. I think we got them all too.

Another wonderful moment happened as we drove down the freeway shortly after dusk, in Ohio. All of a sudden I looked onto the shoulder of the road and saw what must have been hundreds of lightening bugs flickering on all at once, as if to say welcome to the real America. It was as fantastically beautiful as the world's tiniest meteor shower.

That night we stayed in an Ohio hotel relatively near the Kentucky border. We snuck the cats in, too, and let them run around. Talisker was a wet, matted mess, Cromwell looked none the worse for wear. It brought some real joy to my heart to see them stretch their legs and roam around our room. They seemed intent on exploring every nook and crevice of that room too.

Later that night I heard a rhythmic banging against the wall of the room. I immediately assumed it was Cromwell, as he does that sort of thing. But as I listened more I realized, no, that's no cat. Nope, it was, in fact, a couple next door having happy fun times. And lots of them too, to judge by the frequency with which their fun times persisted. It had actually woken me up, a first. Later that morning they woke me up once more. Mike, for his part, slept through most of it.

The next morning we walked across the street to a Waffle House. The coffee was superb, the actual waffles could make you vomit. I was shocked, up to this point I had thought waffles were one thing that were impossible to get wrong. How naive I was.

As we left a middle-American waitress gave me the once over and asked, "what would you say if I told you you weren't allowed to leave?"

It took a moment for this attempt at seduction to process in my brain. Wait, I had just been hit at, at a Waffle House? I had just found the one thing that made the actual food there seem appetizing by comparison.

"Thank you," I answered. "I am very flattered." Lame, I know. Then we hightailed it out there, before they closed the doors on us, locked us in, and had their waffle-serving way with us both.

The rest of the morning was pleasant and easy. We arrived at my new home in Kentucky by 11:00 a.m. The movers weren't there yet, which I understood. I had been in contact with their dispatcher since the first day of the drive, because I had been so late. The actual move in, in other words, was scheduled to happen a day after we had originally planned. In true Southern fashion the dispatcher, a young woman, was kind and nice about the whole thing.

Soon Randi and her family showed up, the whole coxie army as they say. They brought fried chicken with them too, which was really nice. We opened up the apartment and had some lunch on paper plates on the floor. Then the movers called on the phone, they were here.

I went down our new stairs to see three guys in a fire red Mustang pull up, and all of them were smoking. Yup, we're in Kentucky, I thought. Nonetheless they were professional, friendly and did the entire move in job in two hours, as originally discussed. The job came in at $180.00 as per our original estimate, and when I tipped them $60 they seemed to genuinely appreciate it.

As the move in took place Randi took Stella and our niece Bethany and nephew Daniel to the pool. Oh yeah, we have a pool too. They splashed and played all day until everything was in place, or at least in place for now.

Soon Mike retired to a private room we had rented for a short nap and I headed down to the pool too. I saw my brother in law Kerry and started to describe the entire crazy tip to him, or at least as much as I could in five minutes.

He laughed and laughed. "Dave," he said, "you've got to write about this."


rachel leah said...

But what I want to know is whether the move resulted in the cost savings that you were hoping for.

David Serchuk said...

Well, the original trip via Flat Rate would have cost $3900 for them to move everything. If we all drove as a family it would have easily cost at least another $250-$300 if we slept over in a hotel, or b&b on the way, when you figure in gas, and food. I say if we paid to have all our stuff moved it would have cost $4150 conservatively.

So, this way it was:
1. $1300 for the truck and dolly (including insurance)
2. $250 for gas for the truck.
3. $150 for food and lodging once we hit the road.
4. $350 for Randi and Stella to fly.
5. Around $700 for the movers (including tips.)
6. $300 for Mike's plane ticket, since I did spring for that, which was fair.
7. $40 for the cat carrier.

I am probably leaving stuff out, but that comes to ... around $3,100 or so.

So we saved around $1000 doing it this way. To me this is a real savings, and I may have been discounting how much it would have cost for us to do the trip driving Stella. It's possible and likely we would have had to have slept over two nights. Although, fact is, it still would have been virtually impossible to travel with the cats in the car and the entire family in it too. So I am going to assume they would have had to have flown.

So, as hard as this way was, we almost certainly saved at least $1000. Real money. It was worth it, but not a whole lot of fun.

Kellygirlnyc said...

Whew! One thing I don't get: you had the car on the trailer behind the U-Haul with the engine running so the cats could stay cool? That sounds dangerous! Glad you made it safely...We miss you guys!

I wonder what whether we would have gone the same route if we moved...the savings were awesome, but if you'd known about all the serious hassle in advance, do you think you still would have done it?

David Serchuk said...

Hi Kelly,
Yes, technically you are not supposed to have the car running while it is on a trailer, but I couldn't see any way how this could be dangerous. The parking brake was on, the car was in park, and the tires were chained to the trailer. And without it the cats would have sat in a sauna/greenhouse. I felt I had no choice.

Would I do it again? I didn't really see it as a matter of choice, really. Paying to have people move you is great if you can afford it. But since I didn't have a job, and neither did Randi at the time I thought the main priority was saving money. As such I am glad we saved at least a grand, but more likely $1200 or so. As they say, that's real money. What I would say is that you can't do the move alone, you have to have someone drive it with you. Maybe next time I would see if someone else could drive the car with the cats in it, and I would drive the truck, should it ever come up again, so that I wouldn't have to deal with getting it all hitched up, and driving through NYC with such a long, unwieldy beast. Once were on the highways and out of the NYC area 95% of our problems were solved in that regard.