Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Blog 19 - Lessons in Moving

I have been struggling with how to wrap up our moving experience, but think that this does it. I then plan to move on to more random topics that I hope will interest you. For example my next blog will address the building of the Hilo breakwater.

What follows is more of less a summary of the things we did right in moving to the Big Island, and the things that were not done so great. First, the positive (in no particular order):

Positive Lessons

We shipped one car about three weeks in advance that enabled us to have a car immediately available upon arrival. After we shipped the second car, we rented a car for the last few days. We also made arrangements to stay with our next door neighbors for two nights and spent the final night at a hotel by the airport because checking in the animals was a laborious process and we had an early flight.

We made arrangements with Oceanic Time Warner about six weeks in advance to have cable (and internet connection(!)) hooked up on our first day in the house – they did a great job by the way and our internet/TV service has been perfect ever since, i.e., for some nine months now (unlike Comcast in California).

Our vet and my wife were rigorous in correctly completing the paperwork for our pets and double checking with the Kona arrivals’ veterinarian. We were able to retake possession of them even before our bags arrived. Because we were in the bay area, we were able to get a direct flight to Kona (there is not one to Hilo) and we arranged with the Ag Department for Kona Direct Release, which made the whole experience far better than if we had to fly to Honolulu and get them released there and then put them on a second flight. Our flight attendant even let us know when they put the animals on board, just before we took off. Kona Direct release takes some extra planning and time to arrange so allow for it.

We were will prepared for eight weeks of temporary living – which is how long it took for our possessions to arrive and the movers’ “outside” estimate. We did buy a few pieces of furniture when we were here for our closing.

We shipped several boxes to our realtor’s office and then Kelly brought them over to our house so they were here upon our arrival. USPS has Priority Flat Rate Boxes which are great and you can ship any kind of media (paper, books, CD’s, film etc.) at very low costs but they can take as long as one month to get here. We shipped items like pots and pans, towels, dishes, silverware, sheets, etc. We also shipped paint brushes and tools so we could do minor repairs and painting.

We even managed to have a Super Bowl Party before our goods arrived.

Even though it took a long time to get here we felt we made a good choice of movers with West Point. We also learned it was possible to fairly aggressively negotiate price with multiple movers when getting quotes. West Point was considerably cheaper, they met all deadlines, and everything arrived undamaged.

We believe that sending books and other media via the United Postal Service probably saved us some money. Their book rates are really inexpensive. We shipped about 20 boxes that way.

Perhaps most important and if you are reading this blog you probably understand—Devany was very active on local social networking sites such as PunaOnline, Punaweb, and Kona Forum. She posted many questions on these sites and received multiple replies and terrific advice in return. It also gave us a network of people to meet once we moved here and now have as a great bunch of friends.

We were able to hire a carpenter to do some remodeling work before our possessions arrived (“no-brainer”).

What Could Have Been Done Better

We brought way too much stuff even though everyone on the above Forums was advising us against it. Particularly silly was bringing dressy clothes. I brought three suits and three sport coats and about ten dress shirts and have not worn any of them even once. The same goes for closed-toe shoes.

I stressed out way too much going through the process even though Devany was dealing well with it. I just could not see how everything was going to get done in time and come together. I really have no advice here, other than if you are already on anti-anxiety meds do not stop taking them in anticipation of living in paradise – wait until you are here!

Moving over the Christmas holidays was probably a mistake. It took most the joy out of them anyway and made scheduling service people way more difficult.

Moving an old Audi was not a super good idea either. I recently sold it for $1,600 and it cost us $1,000+ to move it here, plus repairs in California of about $800 during the last two months before our departure. I loved that car and had bought it from a good friend who now lives in South Africa.

This is unavoidable for many people, but trying to sell a house while you are getting ready to move is “no day at the beach.” Trying to keep the house looking good, picked-up and inviting does not square with tossing things out, having garage sales and packing.

We had a check list of about 20 things that had to be done when showing the house, turning on lights, music, opening blinds etc. At the end when we were having garage sales and packing we just about went nuts trying to keep things ready for buyers.

And finally, while to-do lists are necessary and I thought the “key,” continually gazing at such does not help get things done. Ideally, review it once at the beginning of the day, determine your priorities and then go get them down. Cross of what you’ve done at the end of the day and feel good about it, not stressed at what’s left to do.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent wrap to an entertaining and valuable story, Wes.

    I have saved it all for future reference. Mahalo nui loa!


Mahalo for leaving a comment!~WesIsland