The Maori mover guy was deathly pale. His hands trembled a little, but when I looked at them he shoved them too nonchalently into his pockets.
“So you know a bit about spiders eh?” he asked me.
Our container load of all our earthly possessions was blocking the shared driveway, and had been blocking the driveway for over three hours as they unloaded our stuff into our Auckland townhouse. We’d done our stint in Brisbane and had decided to come home.
Apparently some of the local Aussie flora and fauna had decided to jump the ditch too.
“How big was it?” I asked him, with only a hint of amusement. Only a hint. Not enough to be mocking, but it wasn’t as if it was a snake.
He held his hands out and indicated the size of a well-fed possum. Er, right. So I marched all five foot two of me out there with the six foot 100 kilo ‘cowardly lion’ to interrogate a spider. It turned out it was big, though not quite possum sized, but a juicy black Huntsman. Completely harmless, especially after we put a size 11 boot down on it.
It would have been a funny wee anecdote except all of a sudden my movers lost their previous gutsy enthusiasm for helping unpack the boxes. Maybe they assumed they were all riddled with spiders! But for whatever reason, they up and left, leaving me standing in a house surrounded by boxes with two kids under five.
That wasn’t a good move.
I’ve got lots of stories like that, about moving companies. There’s the moving company who nailed the tea chests to the wooden verandah in our beautiful old home in Fiji and had to ship parts of the verandah with our boxes to New Zealand. There’s the moving company that took the instructions ‘pack everything’ way too literally, and when I opened the kitchen boxes three months later, I found a shrivelled mouldy dish rag in amongst the plates. Lovely!
Then there was the moving company who seem to have employed a cross-dresser with a penchant for fine dining. He nicked my evening gown and my best damask table cloth!
So, this time I was verging on over-cautious when I looked around for an international mover. I asked important questions like ‘do you pack dish rags?’ and ‘do you store guitars where they will get damaged by damp?’
Do you know how painful a house survey is when you’re in the middle of packing up?
It’s like asking a reporter to interview you whilst you sit in your bra and knickers! We had stuff everywhere, but our man picked his way throw the mess, seemingly unaware.
This company was looking good.
He told me (Miss Smarty Pants ‘I’ve-moved’-so-many-times’) all about how groupage can work out cheaper if you only have a partial house removal (as we do). But he really won me over when he counted up all the books and said ‘Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’ve got less furniture to go than most people, and a few more personal effects.’
Only a few more. Like three ceiling to floor bookshelves full of books!
Whaat? I’m a writer! And writers read!
Other hints he came up with:
1/Don’t vacuum pack your linen because if moisture gets in it will ruin everything inside.
2/No need to pack it up yourselves. Packing can be a helpful process for culling but it doesn’t save you money in the end as they include packing as part of the removal quote.
3/Whilst you might wait for another group’s shipment when you’re sending your goods ‘groupage’, your wait won’t be too long from the UK to New Zealand as at the moment there’s a shipment going every second week.
4/You don’t have to insure the whole load these days you can cherry pick expensive items and only insure those.
5/They will unpack your goods for no extra charge AND they will take away all the packing materials. This really is vital. The number of times I’ve been left trying to recycle hundreds of broken down boxes in the biweekly recycling, isn’t worth recalling.
So all in all it looked good and Excess-Baggage was the chosen ones to relocate the VegemiteVix family to NZ. I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes throughout the process! Oh, and I’ve left a note for all dish-rags to be thrown away on the day of the up-lift.
You never can be too sure….
Disclaimer – This post was sponsored content but as always all opinions above are frank, honest and definitely my own!