Another Moving Fiasco : Part 2

Ah, the continuing moving saga of the Bullock family. Part one of the Atlanta moving fiasco is here.

I was hoping that after two weeks I’d have more good news to report on the move, but we’re still in a stalemate. We’d hoped to have the issue resolved quickly, and to have our belongings delivered by Christmas or New Years’. I’ve talked to several receptionists, two reservation specialists and two managers, and have gotten the most information out of the manager Rob (but on only one occasion). When I call to ask for Rob, I am typically put on hold for 10-25 minutes before I’m told “He’s already left for the day,” or “He has taken the day off,” or “He’s meeting with a vendor in the warehouse and can’t talk for at least an hour.” All excuses are given with a promise to have him call me back immediately, but as of today, I have not had ONE email or phone call returned. I have messaged Erica the reservation specialist a few times, and she is no longer returning my emails or voice mails.

Currently, our items are sitting in their regional warehouse in Arkansas. We have gotten the moving company to agree to not charge us storage fees until we are able to pay enough to start transit (which we will do as soon as they give us an agreeable total price). But at the rate Moving 1 has been going, who knows if it will happen anytime soon?!?

I don’t know what else I can do. I just emailed Get Gephardt for help.

Yet Another Moving Fiasco

Moving 1 steals your belongingsThe storage unit in Decatur, GA that has held our earthly possessions since June

When Rosie and I headed out to Utah in June, all we brought with us was what fit into my Camry. We packed pretty creatively, so we haven’t been totally barren. Unfortunately, most of the clothes we brought with us were capris, tees, sandals, and light jackets. Now that it’s Winter, fleece jackets just don’t cut it! We’ve found some amazing finds online and at thrift stores. We’ve received calls from neighbors and family members when they were getting rid of something we might be able to use. But after 6 months of shelling out $100 bucks per month to Public Storage, we knew we had to get our stuff out to Utah sooner rather than later.

Over the past few months, I’ve gotten about 20 different price quotes from traditional moving companies, freight companies, cube storage/shipping, U-Pack, U-Haul, etc. We had chosen a broker called Moving 1 (who we did ultimately use this week) and we told them we weren’t sure when it would happen because we didn’t have the funds to pay yet. Once we got a quote lower than Moving 1’s quote, we asked them to match it. They DID match the total, but not the rate per cubic foot. We had reserved 800 cu ft (10x10x8 storage unit) but they way they scammed us was to only give us 560 cu ft for the $1820. When we used 720 cu ft, we got slammed with a higher price for that “extra” 190 cu ft.

In all, they charged us $3.75 per CF, and $5.75 for the extra CF (when all other CF quotes were between $2.15-$3.00 per CF.) Also, they charged us $530 for packing materials which consisted of 12 boxes and packaging tape, and a “dish packing fee” to put our bagged pots and pans into a box. When the truck was all packed, they movers said that the price was now $3200, not the “binding estimate” of $1800. We then found out was binding for weight…no matter how much it weighed, it would cost the same…but we’d have to pay extra for added volume. While at the storage unit as the movers packed, we tossed out dressers, mattresses, garbage bags full of linens and clothes, etc to make take down the amount of space used. We were supposed to pay half in cash at pick up, and half on delivery. We only had $1100 available to pay, so we have to wire them another $700 before they will ship it out to Utah. Our treasures will sit in a warehouse in Arkansas until we have paid half of the balance. Then we have to figure out the other half upon delivery. Hopefully we’ll get some cash for Christmas.

I have already submitted several comparable quotes I had obtained from various other companies to the manager at Moving 1 (and the “going rate” per CF obviously is nowhere near as expensive as Moving 1). I’ve also spoken with the manager of the dispatching trucking company to request an itemized bill for packaging materials, and will get rates from other movers to see how much our crew overcharged us. If the trucking company doesn’t help resolve this fiasco, we can go to small claims court over it. If we win, we’ll only have to pay about $200 out of what we recover. I am willing to fight, because I have no other choice.

With all of our interstate moves over the last 5 years, we’ve had varying luck with companies. We had something similar happen to us when we moved from California to Michigan, and luckily my in-laws bailed us out. Our Utah to California move was spot on with ABF U-Pack, and I wish we’d gone with them again. Our Michigan to Georgia move was fairly close to the estimate, but the movers took so long to move it out that we talked them into hiring a crew to unpack the truck for us for free. I’ll post an update on what happens with the GA to UT move as soon as we have any answers.

Merry Christmas, right?

Colgan 3407

On my usual too-early morning wake-up today, I quickly caught wind of the crash of a Dash 8 Q400 plane,Colgan flight 3407 – operating for Continental Connection. The plane crashed at 10:20 pm yesterday, 5 miles before their destination airport of Buffalo (which is an airport my husband has flown to many times.) The full report is here on CNN.

This crash, which killed 44 passengers, 4 crew, and one person on the ground comes only weeks after the U.S. Airways Miracle on the Hudson, where no fatalities occurred. For some reason, as “miraculous” as the U.S. Airways splash-landing was, I wasn’t as emotionally affected. I am glad that all passengers were safe, and the crew did a fabulous job in an emergency situation (which is why it annoys me that everyone calls it a miracle). But I think why I’m feeling so much sadness over the crash tonight is that it happened in the area of an airport my husband flies to, in a plane of similar capacity as my husband’s, with employees from a company my husband’s company owns (Pinnacle Airlines Corp purchaed Colgan Air in 2007, but don’t let me even start on that acquisition).

The causes of the accident will be under investigation by the NTSB for a while, so only speculation can be made at this point. I was reading the Aviatrix‘s take on the accident, which includes a trancript of the ATC recordings. She gives a much better summary of the situation than I ever could.

In less than a month we’ve seen the ultimate in triumph and defeat in the skies (within only a few hundred miles). My heart goes out to the families affected by the crash.

Addendum 2/19/09 : Some have misunderstood the intent of my comment about US Airways 1549 from my blog. I have read several news stories that have put a very strange spin on the story, which have made it seem that any other pilot, save Sully, would have caused a disastrous crash. This is not so. I know that my husband has received excellent safety training through his airline. He is nowhere near as experienced as Sully, but I have faith that MANY pilots in commercial aviation would have had the capacity to land the plane safely. The emergency procedures were expertly exectued, and I do believe God’s hand was active in the sucessful splash landing.

I’m absolutely pro-miracle, but I think credit does need to go overall to pilots who have safety procedures and flows so ingrained in their muscle memory that they would have the capacity to save lives. My husband was involved in a birdstrike that nearly required a belly landing, but he and the captain followed the safety requirements and successfully landed with no injury. Unfortunately, Colgan’s flight resulted in the worst case scenario…but I have faith that the pilots and crew members who perished were on top of their game – following safety procedures a best they could in an impossible situation.

Picked up the paper, it was more bad news…

Now that I have a bit of time to blog, I’ll give you the gory details on my last 24 hours. I got to the sleep center at 8:30, registered, filled out questionnaires, and told the sleep tech that I’d like to get to bed around 10:30. She said that it wasn’t likely, but she’d get me to bed as soon as she could. I sat around for a while and enjoyed the hospital’s sporadic, yet complimentary wifi. I watched a terribly outdated video about sleep apnea, and was told by the tech that she’d come to hook me up around 11:00. I wasn’t happy about this because I remembered from previous sleep studies that it takes over a half hour to get all hooked up to the monitors and electrodes. When she came back in, she took a sharp red marking pen and marked a variety of spots on my head and neck. Then she roughly scrubbed cleanser over these spots to take the natural oils away so the electrodes would stick. Next, she put freezing cold gobs of sticky electrode gel on each spot, and jammed on each electrode with her thumb. Each electrode had a colored wire that connected to a control box.

After the head, neck, and face electrodes, she repeated the process on my abdomen and calves (luckily she let me guide the wires through my clothes myself). Then she clippped two different monitor bands around my midsection. Once I got in bed, the two sets of nasal cannulas were stuck up my nostrils, and I was told that I must sleep on my back for at least 3 hours. I know that my doctor ordered a CPAP test, but the paperwork confused the tech and she decided to be “safe” and go with a baseline study (which I’ve done twice already) I allowed to go off into camera-monitored dreamland around 12:00 am.

Six hours of sleep time was required for the full study, but I was wide awake just around 4:00 am (just like usual). I sat up, streched, and was told that they needed at least 90 more minutes of sleep time. I layed around for about 30 minutes before dozing back to sleep. I dreamed that I was having my sleep study in a high-rise hospital in California during an earthquake, and it made me fall off of my bed. I nearly choked to death on the cords around my neck. Luckily, Chandler from Friends (and I don’t even watch Friends) saw the whole thing happen from the car wash next door to the hospital, and he came to my room to save the day. Bizarre.

At 6:00 am, my Blackberry alarm clock went off, despite the device being turned off. It was across the room, so I couldn’t reach over and turn it off. It blared on for about two minute before the tech came to the room to turn it off for me. At this point, she said I needed 15 more minutes of sleep time. Luckily, I fell back asleep immediately, and I got up around 6:45. The tech removed all of the wires, monitors, and electrodes, and then scrubbed all the spots with acetone to remove the electrode goo, and I was sent on my way at 7:40.

I was driving home from the hospital down LaVista, and the sun was blaring in my eyes. I was driving in a school zone at about 20 MPH, and the lady in front of me slammed on her brakes when the crossing guard walked into the croswalk. (My guess is that the driver I hit wasn’t paying attention, and had to brake immediately) Even though I was going an acceptable speed with an acceptable following distance, I skidded into a shiny new Volvo. Her hard plastic bumper had very minimal scuffing on the bumper, but the whole front of my hood was crunched (although my bumper remained completely intact) We pulled into the neighborhood to exchange information, and she was a lot more difficult with me than she needed to be. She asked if I worked for Emory, and I told her I did, and she told me people she knew from my division. She repeated, in a menacing tone, “I really want to trust you” about 40 times. She wanted to leave so she could drop her kid off at school, and threatened “If you try to throw this situation around, and make it seem like it was my fault, my attorney will be after you.” I’ve tried to call her twice today to give her more of my info, but she hasn’t returned my calls.

So now I have a car that needs to be repaired, and a $500 deductible I honestly can’t pay. It will drive, but I know it won’t pass the state inspection that needs to happen before my Michigan car registration expires on Thursday (happy birthday to me). And since I haven’t been able to get in touch with the “victim” of the accident yet, I can’t complete filing my claim nor get my car repair started. At least I opted for the rental car reimbursement.

To top off the horriblenes of the day, Taylor and I had a meeting with a credit counselor today. We have been drowning in our student loan debt and wanted to see if we had any options available to relieve our financial stress. The rep checked our credit scores, reviewed all or our monthly expenses and consumer debt. We were told that they have no pull with the student loan companies, and we were basically left on our own to try applying for more consolidation loans. As for our consumer debt, he offered a credit card consolidation plan that would RAISE our monthly payment. And as for the deficit of our income vs bills..he suggested we both look into supplementing our income with part time jobs. We’re screwed.

Should I scream or should I cry?

The sleep study was frustrating. Details to follow.

On the way back from the hospital, a lady in a shiny new Volvo slammed on her brakes and I rear-ended her. Her bumper has a little scratchy ding, but the front of my Camry is smashed in.

And I’m so broke I have no idea how I’ll pay the $500 deductible.

The "F" Word

Oh my heck. We just got word that Taylor’s airline have decided to start the furlough process. Hopefully Taylor’s up enough in seniority that it won’t affect him, but still…it’s scary. Keep your fingers crossed and knees bent in his behalf.

*Update: After scouring the company website, airline pilot forums, and a few news websites, it looks like the brunt of the company structure changes will be administrative. Right now 50 administrative employees between the 4 bases, including base managers, have been laid off. No specific pilot furloughs have been officially announced, but that’s the talk in the bowels of the crew room. Taylor’s got about 300 FO’s below him, so we’re safe for the moment.

From one pilot family to another…

Last night I was bumming around looking at blogs, and I found out about a couple that were severley burned in a plane crash. Stephanie Nielson, was burned over 80% of her body and her husband, Christian, over 30%. There were just 3 people on board and the pilot was killed in the accident. This couple has 4 children that were not with them and a LONG recovery ahead of them.

Christian had recently completed his private pilot rating. Hearing about this crash took me back to 2005 when Taylor had just completed his PPL. He was so new at flying, and although his instructors frequently commented at his natural skill at flying, a part of me would panic everytime he drove to Salt Lake Municipal Airport #2. My ears would perk up when weather reports were sketchy, or an airplane mechanic failure or crash was mentioned on the news. Even though he’s flying passenger jets now, I know there is always a risk when flying (although Taylor will always pop out the statistic that you’re more likely to die in a car crash on the way to the airport than you are to be in a plane crash.)

My heart goes out to the families that have been affected by this accident. To hear their story, and see how you can help,