Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Moving house on Sunday 30th October.
Celebrating our little one's 3rd birthday in her new home.
I regret not having taken any pictures of our moving, but by Sunday 30th October, I was completely spent and the last thing on my mind was to carry my camera that day or even pull out my phone and take pictures. Fortunately Carlos shot a couple off on his phone to mark the occasion!
He had arrived the previous night to snatch a few hours sleep on our bedroom floor in his sleeping bag, so we could wake up at 5.30am to go together to Mark's house. There we had planned to join Tsubasa & Jun at 6.30 before meeting our ever reliable staff member Dai Chan, who'd rented the largest truck he could lay hands on.
As we arrived to a nearby car park to meet him, I was surprised to see the truck was half the size of that which we'd rented from the same company 3 years prior to move to Shizuoka - and we'd done two trips with that one!
Turns out the laws in Japan have changed and people can no longer rent the larger size without a full truck licence.
Fortunately during the month of October each time I'd gone home to Shizuoka, for the return trip I'd filled our Hiace people carrier to the brim with boxes and packing to ease the task of the final move.
But I couldn't see there & then how we would be able to shift the remainder without doing two trips and that would be likely to take all day & night!
I drove the first stint, whilst Carlos followed in the Hiace.
Had a great conversation with Jun, who has spent a lot of time this year as a volunteer helping out near Fukushima and couldn't help be impressed with what a thinker he is.
It's cool to see a teenager be so well rounded at such a young age already.
We made good time, getting to the house in Shizuoka for 8.30am.
Sensing the workers for today needed a hearty breakfast, Carlos and I whizzed to the supermarket in my wife's car to get a supply of milk, bread, bacon & eggs, whilst Jun, Dai Chan & Tsubasa begun packing things inside the truck.
My mum & wife hadn't completely finished packing, but there were enough hands to help and these boys all worked hard as a team to be as efficient as possible.
Carlos turned out to be a major asset yet again and I was glad I'd planned the moving day to co-incide with the Sunday he'd put aside to give us his help. He made sure every empty space was filled as goods were packed in like a jigsaw puzzle. Drawers which had been emptied were filled with small boxes and appliances, shelf cabinets were packed with small boxes, sofas were placed upright and even the washing machine was filled with smaller boxes & things so there was no packed air at all, as a result. What should have taken a 4 ton long truck & a bit more fitted - right up to roof level inside a 2 ton extra long truck! As we closed the doors at 12.30pm there wasn't enough space to fit one more box at all!
Portuguese style Gheto tuning FTW (My E30 M3's original exhaust - much needed for shaken!)
Meanwhile, the Hiace was packed with what we could fit inside it and we ended up leaving the house with just a couple of futons and various small nic nacs that the ladies would supposedly use to clean the house and pack with. I breathed a huge sigh of relief & ate a 7-11 lunch before promptly collapsing in the passenger seat of the truck (Apparently with my tongue sticking out!)& my head supported by the seat belt almost all the way to the new house, whilst Dai chan drove carefully to avoid upsetting the goods packed in the back.
We got snarled up in around 5km of traffic as we neared the Togane expressway and consequently arrived to the house just after sunset just as it started to rain.
I wondered as we neared the house - if this 3.2m tall truck would make it under the Kabuki gate, or would we be forced to unload it under half the roof and carry items 50m or so to the house in the rain...
When we arrived I carefully backed it in whilst the others checked roof to gatehouse clearance. There was only about 2cm only and I wondered if after we'd unloaded the whole truck it wouldn't make it back out, but figured we could drain the air in the tyres if we had to and re-fill once it had passed through with the use of a cigar lighter driven compressor I had in the barn.
Unloading didn't take more than about 40 minutes with 5 of us working together and I could sense some of the team were exhausted by now...
Dai Chan drove the truck out whilst I checked the clearance. The truck's roof began by leaving the underside of the gate's thick beam wet.... but passed through without so much as scratching it. Wow - what a blessing!
Dai Chan wanted to get home, so he set off right away & returned the truck to the rental company.
Meanwhile, I took the rest for a well earned Indian dinner at our new favourite local restaurant, before taking them all home in the now empty Hiace.
The return trip should have taken me 45 minutes at most, but I stopped about 5 times along the way to sleep, as I wasn't able to drive any more. The trip took about 4 hours as a result!
I was absolutely shattered, but felt a huge relief to have finally done the move.
From the next day, my girls & I would all be living together again in our new home, at last!
The next morning I packed cleaning products & basic tools, stopped by a home centre to collect a few more necessary items and headed to Shizuoka. The rental agency was due at 2.30p, and we had an empty house to clean. Being tired themselves and having our little one to look after too, my quite apparently pregnant wife & mum hadn't done any cleaning at all since we'd left the previous day.
So I set to it as best I could, taking up old carpet and repairing things last minute so we'd retain as much of our deposit as we could, although I knew in the back of my mind the agency would keep as much of our 3 months security payment as they could get away with no matter if we did clean the house beautifully - typical of rental agencies in Japan, sadly.
With less than an hour to go and things still strewn around the house, I begun just tossing it into the Hiace, to sort through later, leaving space in the back for metal I intended to take to the dump...
The inspection came and they commented on how we'd looked after the place well, but we'd still have to pay for new tatami coverings, cleaning of the air conditioner (10,000 Yen for something we'd used maybe 20 days in all dueing our tenure!) and cleaning the house which would cost around 200,000 Yen.
In all, we'd lose over half the deposit. I grumbled, but there wasn't much that could be done about it. At least we'd not be renting or getting ripped off again like this.
I felt thankful for our future.
Went to the dump to drop off old aluminium engine covers, unwanted car parts and other things and the evidently not very smart guy there asked me for 7,000 Yen for the priviledge of giving him our unwanted metal they'd make money out of.
This was of course well over the normal charge, bearing in mind it wasn't a van load, but just a few pieces. Another rip off charge.
Being short of patience -I refused, shut the back door and drove out of the area he was at before turning a corner, stopping and putting all the metal I wanted to get rid of on the ground.
He'd have to get rid of it now and for his greed he'd get nothing except the value of the metal.
Ten - finally, I met the girls and we travelled in convoy to our new home, stopping to see Alex on the way and have dinner.
The ladies hadn't seen the place for a few months, except for pictures - so it was a nice surprise to show them the new home.
We'd have to unpack it all whilst still needing to complete other work, but the house was comfortable enough to live now and they could see with their own eyes all the love, sweat and hard work that had gone into making our new home and so begin to enjoy it at last.
We all slept well that night, recouping from all the stresses of moving, only woken by the sounds of birds singing in the gardens the next day. Our new life together had begun at last.