Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

Getting Our Household Goods

The dining area before the household goods arrived.

The delivery men finally showed up around three. Similar to when the household goods were loaded, there were three guys, one who seemed to be the leader and two others. The leader laid out the inventory list and asked me to check off the box numbers as they came in. We have a spacious apartment that looks like a lot of room…until there are about a hundred boxes all over the place.

Even without being the one to do the work, there was some stress. As soon as I found one number, they were reading off another. Many times, the number did not match what they said it was. For instance, they read a number that was on my lamp (which was broken). When I found the number on the sheet, it was listed as going to one of our televisions. That made it a little hard to accurately document damage but I think I managed okay.

Household goods in the living room.

Considering some of the horror stories I have heard, I think we fared pretty well, but we weren’t without damages. I am disappointed the base on my lamp was broken because it was my more expensive one. The backs of a few of  the book cases and the bottom of one of my dressers were also broken. Somehow a bookshelf went missing. There were also gouges and dings in the desk and wardrobe. We later found other damages worth noting in our report but not detailing here.

I don’t blame the German movers. In fact, the leader had me look out the window a few times so I could see things as they took them off the truck. While they were unwrapping what was wrapped outside, there were many things including the lamp, my keyboard, and some furniture that had not been wrapped. He said even the televisions hadn’t been done properly. Considering that, I am surprised more was not broken.

At first, the leader thought we had packed things ourselves. When I told him they had sent professional packers and movers, he shook his head as if displeased. I had originally thought the packers had done a pretty good job, but as I saw things come in and opened a couple boxes, I could see they had not. They’d put my spice rack in a box of stuff without taking the spices off the rack or bagging them. The dill opened and spilled all over everything. For some reason, they had even put bread and soy sauce in the box, the first of which obviously wouldn’t keep and the second of which is liquid and could have opened, neither of which had I even set among the things for them to pack.

The dining area with the bathroom rack they put together.

Once the unloading was done, they started to put things together for us. Originally they had said they would put together the bed frame, but there wasn’t really room for it and it’s not very hard, so I didn’t have them do that or a couple of other things that are basically just screw together assembly. They did put together my desk and bathroom shelving which I don’t think I could have managed without directions. While they were doing that, I located the boxes with our high value items so I could sign that they arrived and filled out the other paperwork.

When the two helpers took their leave and the leader came to complete the paperwork, he saw I had already done it all. He said that it was very good and I must have done it before. I’d only done it for the delivery of the unaccompanied baggage, but it isn’t very hard. I was actually happier to do it without someone standing over my shoulder as I read the details about it and because that way I could make sure all the damaged items got noted. While we must note the things we know are damaged on delivery, we did have 90 days from delivery to note any other damage that we noticed. This was good because, after they left, I noticed a few other things that were damaged that had not been immediately obvious.

Starting to unpack

Overall I am pretty happy with how smoothly the delivery went. Considering I thought my husband was coming home before they got there and he did not get home til five minutes after they left, I am surprised it wasn’t more stressful. The guys made it easy as well. They weren’t terribly chatty, but they were friendly, and the one liked to joke a bit. When he brought in the couch he said “So this one to the attic?” And, since I said “Put that there for now” to something I didn’t know where it would go, every time he set something down that was obviously not going to stay in that place he’d say “For now” with a little laugh. As you can imagine, finding a place for everything would be a long process, but I was glad to finally have our stuff and to finally be able to sleep on our own mattress.

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6 Thoughts on “Getting Our Household Goods

  1. I’m glad it came. 😉 It must be stressful unpacking and deciding where to put things permanently. Been there.. When we moved here to our own place. Can’t imagine how to handle getting rid of boxes. Im just glad,, we are over it. 🙂

    • Yeah it was kind of stressful. I’m not sure which is worse, standing by while others pack and hoping they do a good job and everything makes it, or unpacking to figure out where everything goes and seeing what all got damaged. We have a garbage/recycling area at the apartment so we just put all the boxes in the one for paper. I’m glad we’re past it also…well, for now, since there’ll be other moves.

  2. Glad to see you are settling in to your new place. I hate moving, so it was a real relief when we finally got (most of) the boxes unpacked. We were lucky that the movers came back in a few days to pick up our empties! Hope you are enjoying Germany!

    • Thanks. I don’t mind moving but I dislike the packing/unpacking process. We didn’t have anyone pick up the empties but we do have a recycling bin close to the apartment, so we just took them there. I’m enjoying Germany a lot, thanks. Hope all is well in Italy. 🙂

  3. Liza on May 21, 2012 at 4:18 am said:

    You blog is awesome! Thank you for all the info. We are PCSing in November to Bamberg, Germany. I have millions of questions- and all your info is so helpful:) thank u thank u thank.
    just one question- what do you recommend more living on base or off base? or it is just personal preference? the same about cars- is it worth to transfer the second car to Germany? thank you

    • Thanks! You’re welcome. November wasn’t a bad time to move. Hope yours goes smoothly. I’m glad to help 🙂 You may also want to check out Full of Her Travels: http://fullofhertravels.wordpress.com/ The blog author Michelle is a military spouse living near Bamberg.

      We did not get a choice whether to live on post or off. I’m not sure if it will be different where you’re going. We wouldn’t mind getting a chance to live off post and would do so for the experience if we could, but being on post has its upsides. We have a much bigger place than what the OHA (overseas housing allowance) would have gotten us in the area, many things are within walking distance and it’s a short drive to the city, we don’t have to deal with any German contracts as far as rent and utilities, and we have both the security and support system that comes with being on post. The only real downsides are that we’re not as immersed in the culture as we could be if we lived out on the economy and that we have to deal with noisy neighbors who would not be as much an issue if we had a house. I know someone who lived off base in Bitburg and was able to get a three bedroom for much less than their OHA in the area and seemed to like it, but she disliked that she felt isolated as they lived kind of out in the country and only had one car. And also they did not have some things living off base that we have here, like much storage in the kitchen for food, an American-sized fridge/freezer, or screens in the windows.

      As far as the car, we were authorized to have one car shipped. To us, it wasn’t worth paying the shipping ourselves to get the other one over here. Our original plan was to sell the second car, but since the buyer fell through and we didn’t have much time, we left it with family. We were able to get storage insurance through USAA which I think was a much better deal, and now we’ll have a car waiting for us when we get back. If you think you’ll need two cars here, you can probably find a used car pretty cheap. We were originally going to do that because we thought we’d want two cars and USAA said the insurance would go down if we added a junker car. However, since we ended up living on post, I didn’t have a job for the first several months, and the one I am about to start is within walking distance of our apartment, we decided it wasn’t necessary for us and would only be a headache because it would give us another car to have to get rid of before we go back to the States. My friend who lived in Bitburg, however, wished she had a second car and really wished they’d gotten one because they were so far from everything that she was pretty much stuck home while her husband was at work.

      I guess for both questions it’s just going to come down to your personal circumstances and preferences. If you get a choice whether to live on base or off, I would take a look at what your OHA is compared to the rent in the area and the distance from where you’re looking at living to the base. If it’s going to be too expensive or a very long commute to post, then it’s up to whether those are things you’re okay with or are worth the experience to you. If, like us, you don’t get a choice, then don’t be discouraged whichever you end up with because there are benefits to both and you can make either a great experience if you want to. For the car, I would see what it will cost you to bring the second one. If you can’t afford to do that or it wouldn’t be worth the cost, I’d look at selling or storing it. Also, it depends on what car it is. I wanted to bring our Mazda and I’m glad we did because the Honda would have been pushing it for size. German roads/parking spaces are much smaller than in America. I have seen people here with SUVs who can pretty much only park it on post, which to me is kind of a waste to have brought it at all.

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