Monday, July 20, 2020

The saga's denouement.

Denouement is not a word that gets thrown around in casual conversation very often, if ever. It comes from French, of course. It's the point in any story where the peak of the rising action has crested, and the effects of everything that has gone before come clear. There's more to the story after the denouement, but it's all mopping up -- resolving the last few loose ends and, in a series of novels, setting the stage for the next volume.

The long-running saga I'm talking about today is my Big Move West, which has felt a little like frozen tableau since early June. I blogged last week about some of the details, including the back-and-forth over my job status, and the lengthy wait for that fun stripey chair.

ehrlif | Deposit Photos
The chair story is a subplot, but I'll wrap that up now. As last Sunday ended, I had no chair, and FedEx listed its delivery as pending with no date. Amy speculated that the chair was probably sitting on the truck and would likely arrive sometime Monday. I acknowledged she was probably right. But I still spent the day on pins and needles 'til the chair arrived around noon -- in plenty of time to be placed in the U-Box, just like one or another of the Target customer service people had said.

The U-Box, or more accurately two U-Boxes (as I wasn't sure whether all my stuff would fit in just one), were due to be delivered Thursday the 16th. On Wednesday afternoon, I received an email from U-Haul that my order had been canceled.

Some context is in order here: I'd booked the boxes and a moving crew to load my stuff while I was on sabbatical. My last day at work was supposed to be July 6th. But because I agreed to keep working while HR figured out whether to let me work remotely from Santa Fe, I was now going to be working on Tuesday the 14th. So I called U-Haul, who transferred me immediately to Moving Help, and changed the date to the 16th. Well, Moving Help told the movers, and U-Haul corporate knew, but the message never got to the local distribution point. So when my movers didn't show up on Tuesday to pick up my boxes, the distribution point canceled the order.

I didn't pick up that email 'til after 6pm Wednesday. Naturally, I called U-Haul in a panic. The first person I talked to just about had everything rebooked for me ... and the call dropped. I immediately called back; the second person booked movers for me, but didn't rebook the boxes. Plus the local mover she had booked was different from the one I'd picked, and they never called me back to confirm.

So on Thursday, I canceled everything and started over again: delivery of  two boxes on Monday, and my original movers through their own website. I also went ahead and booked the movers at the other end. All set, right? Right. On Saturday afternoon, I received a call from the distribution center, asking me if I could take delivery on Wednesday instead of Monday. No, I said, because I have movers coming Monday afternoon to load the box. I thought that was the end of it, especially as I got a confirmation call Sunday night from the distribution center saying the boxes would arrive between 9:30am and 12:30pm today.

I'll spare you my day of angsty angst and tell you that the boxes and the movers showed up together, more or less, at around 2:45pm. In a sub-subplot, I was also awaiting a box from my employer in which I'm to ship back my firm laptop and phone at the end of the week; the mailroom set it for delivery by 10:30am today, and I didn't even think about the fact that our leasing office opens at 10am 'til FedEx sent the notice that they'd been by at 9:51am. As it happened, FedEx redelivered at the same time the movers and the boxes arrived. Et voilà -- the denouement.

After that, everything went like clockwork. The movers fitted all my stuff into one box, the U-Haul delivery woman came back to collect both, and it was over by 4:30pm.

There's going to be more to the story, of course, but at this point it's all loose ends: packing the stuff that's going in the car, disposing of the things I'm not taking, and getting on the road. I also need to call the U-Haul storage place in New Mexico and confirm the arrangements there. But all of that is on me.

And it really does feel like a logjam broke today. I've been trying to leave DC for years, but every time I've been held back. This time it felt almost like a forcible restraint. And I'm not ready to say the rest of the move will go off without a snag. But at least right now, the way is clear, the current is strong, and I'm riding it.

These moments of clear bloggy sailing have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Did you know that if we all wear masks, we can knock out this virus in two months? The director of the Centers for Disease Control says so.

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