Moving: Doing Everything Wrong

Our condominium has been on the market for over a year now. With no serious offers, we weren’t seriously considering that anything would change and we made plans for what we would do with it next year.

Then exactly a month ago, two days before leaving for the U.S., in the middle of all the usual pre-international trip errands and meetings, and with all the busyness of the holiday season – a buyer met with us. They love the condo. Their design preference is in sync with Carla’s. They’re willing to pay in cash. But can we be out by the end of the month?

We countered with December 20th because we would be back from our trip on the 15th, giving us four days to pack, box, and move everything before turnover.

Looking back now, we did everything wrong. If I would write a pamphlet about moving, I would say:

  • Don’t move immediately after  an international trip with 300 pounds worth of luggage and boxes.
  • Don’t move while jetlagged and lacking sleep.
  • Don’t pack up your things with a toddler in tow undoing all the packing.
  • Don’t move on a mega sale weekend because the traffic of Manila will be even worse than usual.
  • Don’t move during the Christmas season when the traffic is extra terrible.
  • Don’t move in the aftermath of a storm when rains are constant compounding the traffic problem.
  • DON’T MOVE when all those three factors are present!!!
  • Don’t move while your wife’s business is taking off and she has merchandise coming in and needing to be shipped out at the same time.

And yet, this is what we attempted anyway.

Day 1, December 16 – I was at work, but Carla and the household help, Renato and Liezl, did a heroic job boxing many of the items. We planned to ship things out in three stages.

Day 2, December 17 – We rented a massive truck to haul out the heaviest furniture. With the three haulers, plus Renato and myself, we successfully transported one full load. But due to traffic, we couldn’t accomplish any more.

Day 3, December 18 – Smaller truck this time. But with less haulers. So Renato and I had to really help them. Again, due to the traffic, as well as some difficulty with the admin of one of the delivery locations, we were only able to bring one load.

Day 4, December 19 – I didn’t rent any trucks, but got some friends who offered to help. I figured our car could just take all the little boxes and make trips if necessary. Big mistake. The traffic slowed everything to a halt. It didn’t matter if we could pack and haul quickly if everyone got stuck in the road crawl for 90 minutes. By 4 PM, we still had plenty of boxes, chairs, tables, and appliances needing to be moved.

Things weren’t looking good. While the first part of our moving went well. My bad decision not to get trucks on the fourth day, plus the increasingly horrible traffic problem had ruined all our plans. But the battle was won when one of the strongest factors against us suddenly became our greatest ally – jetlag.

December 20, 1 AM – I drove back to the condo and successfully loaded and moved four more full car loads (furniture-sticking-into-your-ribs full). With extremely light traffic on the streets, I was able to zip back and forth between four locations quickly. (We’re storing our items in three different places.) By 6 AM, everything was finished. And we turned over the key at 8:30 AM, just as agreed.

We may have gotten a million and more things wrong, with this move. But it worked because of what we got right. Here are the few things we did correctly at least.

  1. Know you’re in God’s Will – When something is difficult and you want to give up, the thing that will keep you going is knowing that God’s behind this and, therefore, He’ll help. With every difficult turn, Carla and I reminded each other that this sale was God’s answer to our prayer.
  2. Attitude of Gratitude – Being grateful isn’t about what you have. It’s our attitude with what we have. As difficult as it was to move with all the above factors, our greatest thought was thankfulness – thankful for the buyer, thankful for the years and memories in Eastwood, and thankful for family and friends.
  3. Your Relationships are Most Important – None of this would have worked without our family and friends. My parents let us stay with them while we look for a new house, and even took in much of our furniture. Carla’s sister, Paula, and her husband, Charlie, happily took many of the items as well. Carla’s mom found us the trucks and coordinated with the buyer while we were away. There were friends who helped us pack and move, and many more who would have helped if we extended just a few more days.

Despite doing everything wrong with the move. It worked out because of what we did right.

This isn’t the most Christmassy of posts. But I hope that whether your holidays are going perfectly or whether they’re going all wrong, you’ll be able to do these things right: that you will be in the center of God’s will, that you will be grateful, and you will treasure your relationships.

Merry Christmas!


Join the discussion

1 comment

More blog posts

Our National Purpose

I’m posting something I wrote for one of our discussion forums in Asbury Seminary. (I’m in seminary, by the way.) I just wanted to...

Connect with Joe