I’m Pretty Sure This Is NOT How I Packed This

11 Jul

There was a brief moment when I considered driving cross-country to my new home.  It sounded so romantic, me and CityBoy taking in all the wonders of our great nation, the red rocks of Arizona, the Grand Canyon, the world’s biggest soup spoon, Mt. Rushmore, the Great Lakes.  It was an endless mind-parade of gorgeous landscapes, quaint towns and the wide open sky.

Until I remembered that I’m a bad road tripper.  I doubted that CityBoy would still find me interesting and my occasional (okay, nearly constant) oddball comments endearing after we’d slogged 2,800 miles together.  So I decided the only sane option was to cull my possessions, take only my most precious and needed items and ship most everything to New York.

About the culling:  do not underestimate 1) how much shite you can accummulate in a few brief years of single living, 2) how long said shite will take to sort and 3) how hard (and unexpectedly expensive) it will be to ship your now culled shite to your new home.  Let me just say that my family and friends are very happy (I hope) recepients of my conspicuous consumption.

By the time I left Orange County on July 8th, I was on very familiar terms with the U.S. Post Office-Huntington Beach branch staff.  It took three separate trips to the post office, each time loaded with 4-5 boxes, to transport most of my belongings.  Here’s a photo of the HB branch in the wee hours of morning.  Notice the nearly empty parking lot, which is not how this place usually looks.

7am at the HB post office

Over the course of this process, I learned a few things:

– You will always need more boxes.  Just buy the 25 pack from UHaul and get over it.
– There is no such thing as too much packing tape or too much bubble wrap.
– Accept any and all help that is offered.  You will sicken of your own miserable life as it marches past you in an endless parade of boxes, shoes, kitchen thingies.  Your friends will somewhat lessen the nausea (or at least take some of the crap off your hands).
– Assume that your mailing labels will be read by five year olds.  They like BIG print and clearly marked “To” addresses.
– If you’re dropping off boxes to the Huntington Beach branch, park at the far end of the parking lot (it’s a shorter distance to the actual interior of the post office) and grab a number when you unload your first box.  By the time you’re done unloading your boxes, your number should be called.

And lastly, assume that your boxes will be put through the worst possible conditions and arrive in the worst possible shape.

refused box

I shipped three boxes of books directly to CityBoy’s storage company, who claimed they could directly receive packages (all CityBoy would have to do was move them from the first floor office up to his actual storage units).  What they failed to mention, on their website or over the phone, was that they do NOT accept packages from the US Postal Service – some BS about packages not being insured by the post office.

So…my three boxes arrived…and were summarily refused.  They then had to make the 2,800 mile trek back to California.  So far, one box has turned up repackaged and containing only 10 out of the roughly 40 books I shipped and another box has arrived in the sad state you see above.  I have to say that I’m impressed that the box arrived intact, albeit looking like it had been laundered.  The whereabouts of the other box or the missing books is, as of now, unknown.

I wish I had the willpower of my good friend Michele, who pares down every spring and moved from Seattle to Southern California with only 3 days’ notice and one carload of belongings.  You rock, girl.



2 Responses to “I’m Pretty Sure This Is NOT How I Packed This”

  1. Lisa Dowling July 13, 2009 at 10:00 pm #

    Oh Jho,
    I’m pretty sure that of all things to lose I would be the most upset about my books. Or my rock collection. Or, wait, my beach glass… NO I guess it would be my collector’s set of vintage love postcards. Shite girl, how’d you do it? Good luck on the rest!

  2. thatjhoanna July 14, 2009 at 4:24 pm #

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed and trying not to think about it. I thought for a nano-second about making a list of all my books pre-packing but there wasn’t time. What will really crush me is if most of the lost books end up being poetry books. That would truly suck.

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