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Scams, the lot of them
So andres_s_p_b has been handling the calling people and arranging things portions of the move. He started off by locating a moving company so we could get all that scheduled. First, he signed up for estimates on a few different webpages. Then, he got lots of calls from moving companies, some of which sounded very nice. Then, he looked all those companies up online, and discovered that every single one of them was in fact a scummy, disreputable, owner-arrested-for-fraud, company-has-changed-names-six-times-in-the-last-two-years set of scammers that we really don't want to have touch our stuff, much less have total control over it while it is out of our sight.

So tomorrow he will start over, with the phone book, only calling the companies we've heard of before.

Rrgh. Moving is hard.

The current idea of schedule:
* pack up all books, send to local relatives via US Postal Service media rate (cheaper than movers!), as suggested by friend this evening
* ruthlessly prune furniture (so far there are 3 things we have agreed are not worth paying to ship)
* ruthlessly prune own clothes and possessions; give to Goodwill or something
* attempt to get Andres to ruthlessly prune clothes and possessions; fail
* movers arrive Dec. 16th-ish (ideally, this "ish" will be removed tomorrow or the next day, as I would like a firm plan
* drive alllllll the way across the country, visiting various relatives a bit before Christmas
* arrive in California on Dec. 28th, stay with local relatives for a few days while touring previously-arranged apartments
* sign six-month or one-year lease on apartment
* movers arrive (or, if they were faster than we were, we call them to get stuff out of storage)
* arrange furniture, get car registered, etc.
* have shiny new life

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Around these parts, December is when tons of charities do their annual clothing/stuff drives - and many of them will come pick up donations. When you get to the ruthless pruning stage, it might be worth making a few phone calls to the Salvation Army, etc., and see if they do pickups. In my experience, it's worth it to do whatever you can to reduce the amount of necessary lugging and toting.

Who knows, maybe Andres can even be persuaded. (-:

The local-relatives thing makes it all so much easier, doesn't it? For our last couple moves, we had family in the destination location (mine in St. Louis, Alexei's here), and they were incredibly helpful.

Yes, they are being wonderful. I've only ever met one of them (the uncle that Andres kind of takes after), and I'm looking forward to meeting the rest of the family.

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