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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Packed out!

Whew! We are done! We have packed all of our stuff and it is sitting somewhere in a warehouse in Delhi waiting for the paperwork to be done before it goes to the U.S. and Ethiopia.

It should have taken three days (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) to pack us but it took four. Why, you ask. Well, there were a couple of glitches. We had our pre-pack-out survey two weeks ago and the guy from the packing company said we were going to be OK (meaning we will fit within the 7,200 lb we have for house hold effects also known as HHE). We were not so sure because we have been there before and we didn’t want to have to worry about it in the last minute like last time, so we came up with a plan. We had four large and heavy items (two sofa sleepers, our bed and a kitchen island), which we requested be packed last, so that if we are over the limit, we can quickly move them to our storage shipment instead. Good plan, right? Simple. Well, it didn’t quite work that way.

We did repeat to the packing supervisor at least five times on the first day of our pack-out that we want the four large items set aside and packed last. He wasn’t worried. He didn’t think we had much stuff and said again and again that we would be under the weight limit.

On day two of our pack-out, when the packers started loading things in the shipping crates I saw them loading parts of the sofas and the bed. Those crates were nailed shut, sealed and sent to a warehouse that night. At the end of the day, I told the supervisor again that there was a reason we wanted those four items set aside and that I am nervous about fitting in the weight limit. He said we would be OK.

In the afternoon of day three it became obvious that we were not OK. We were at 7, 200 already and the kitchen, the bathrooms and the storage room hadn’t been packed yet.

I hated to be all, “We told you so!” but we did tell him and he didn’t listen, so we weren’t going to pay for whatever was over the 7,200 lb, when it could very easily have been avoided. We told the packing company supervisor that we weren’t paying for what was over the HHE limit and that we wanted the four large items pulled from the already sealed crates and added to the storage shipment. He wasn’t thrilled but it was kinda their fault, so they had to come back on Saturday (day four) and fix it.

The problem was that when they told us we would be done in three days, we went ahead and scheduled vet appointments for our cats and dentist appointments on Saturday for everyone to get our teeth cleaned before we leave India. This being our last Saturday in India, there was no way to move those appointments. So the movers had to come in the afternoon and finish the pack-out. They had some more packing to do too, so it took them about eight hours on Saturday to get it all done. It did work out in the end but it could have been smoother.

What did I learn for next time? That we have to insist to the point of obnoxiousness if want something done a certain way – otherwise everyone ends up wasting their time. Oh, and for the second time in a row that pre-pack-out estimates can be way off, so don’t put too much weight in them (no pun intended), ha!

But otherwise the packers seemed good at their job. It looked like they were careful about packing our things. We’ll really know when we unpack those things, whenever that may be (especially for the things going in storage). Last time the packers hadn’t packed our bed well and we got it with some unsightly dings. Here’s hoping that won’t be the case this time.

A few pictures from the pack-out:

IMG_1174 Our UAB (unaccompanied air baggage). We tried not to put too much in it even though we had 900 lbs (two FSOs with one child each [250 lb+ 200 lb] x 2=900 lbs) to U.S. We will get substantially less to Ethiopia because Paul’s next assignment is D.C. based, so he probably won’t get UAB at all. We didn’t want to ship stuff to the U.S. and then not be able to take to Ethiopia.

IMG_1182 Loading our HHE into the crates.

IMG_1193 Nailing the HHE crates shut.

IMG_1197Putting the Embassy seals on our HHE crates. Buh-Bye, stuff! See you in a few months in Ethiopia!

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