Ask anyone. Go on. See that bloke over there? Give him your best flying rugby tackle, and when he has regained consciousness, ask him to name the top 5 causes of stress in a person’s life. If he includes being rugby tackled by lunatic strangers, leave him immediately; he has no sense of humour and will skew our statistics.
But now seriously, psychotherapists will tell you that moving can be one of the most stressful processes a human can undergo. In fact, it can be so cripplingly stressful that we haven’t the heart to test it on animals.
Mindful of this truth, Mrs. Chips and yours truly felt our relationship was strong enough to pit the bond against the rigors of moving. There were several catalysts for the decision to vacate the current domicilium, but suffice it to say that after viewing more than a thousand homes – thank goodness for Google Earth and the online classifieds- we settled on a delightful place in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
It has a breath-taking view of the Indian Ocean. Of a morning, a fellow can stand on the stoop in front of the house and, with the gulls soaring lazily overhead and with the sun kissed waves crashing onto the rocks, you can actually watch your car rusting in the salt laden sea air.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Getting our goods and chattels from A to B is what these two posts are all about. After contacting seven removal companies, the usual threeresponses formed a cross-section of the removal industry. From the movers of the rich ‘n famous, to the gang of presumably ex-convicts who simply remove your goods from your house and redistribute them among the previously disadvantaged of the parish – it was all very discouraging. Also, when looking at the astronomical costs, we felt we were about to singlehandedly bail out a developing nation from their economic woes.
Finally in desperation we phoned a crowd called Elliott. I’d heard their ads over the years; specifically their slogan, “Elliott is amaaaaazing”, and passed it off as yet another advertising liberty – which is another way of lying. However, I was rather pleasantly surprised when a couple of days later, Jo-Anne arrived (punctually) and after a cordial introduction, got busy with her measuring.
Despite the Biblical admonition to avoid storing up earthly things (Matt 6:19 for those who would like to know), we’d found ourselves with several years worth of accumulated stuff that had evidently adopted us while we weren’t looking; stuff to which moths and robbers might help themselves during or after the move. However, Jo-Anne addressed our concerns providing ample assurance in respect of quality of staff to assuage our fears. She wasn’t exaggerating either, as we later learned.
The Great Pack began on 24thJanuary with a team from Elliott moving into and through the house in a whirlwind of news print, bubble wrap, cartons and packing tape.
A word or two on packing. Get the Elliott guys to pack everything for you. Your back will thank you, your wife will adore you, the kids (even unto the third house down the road) will declare a cease-fire; and even when you smile, your teeth will go ‘ting’. But I digress.
The Elliott team did a stellar job of safely and securely packing our goods. Fragile items were packed in news print (NOTE: None of that printed newspaper nonsense – it was all perfectly clean), then lovingly enveloped in bubble wrap before being gently placed in an Elliot carton and comprehensively sealed with great lengths of sealing tape. Even loose items of a more robust nature were wrapped in news print before packing.
I want to put this in a separate paragraph because I believe it deserves special mention. WE DID NOT SUFFER ONE BREAKAGE THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE 18 TON MOVE. EVEN PLATES THAT WERE ORIGINALLY CRACKED ARRIVED WITH A LABEL ON SAYING, ‘CRACKED BEFORE PACKED’.
Throughout the process each member of the team seemed to work like a finely tuned machine. Items would be wrapped, a box packed and then taken to a central point in the lounge where it would be catalogued by the supervisor. When a number of boxes had accumulated, they would be packed and wheeled out to the vehicle.
At the vehicle, the driver and a pair of loaders were stacking, packing and strapping the goods as fast as they received them.
To say thank you for a job well done, we organised lunches – snacks on day one, a braai on day two and KFC on day three. During one of the lunch breaks, the driver filled me in on a bunch of things he takes care of to ensure the safe arrival of the consignment. Factors like the distribution of the load, stability of the stack, unpacking sequence and the maximum weight etc are all taken into account. I wonder how many other companies pay attention to those details?
One of the things that increased our bill was our request for a couple of high value items of furniture to be crated. When the time came to do the crating, it all happened with remarkable alacrity.
Every day during the packing process, at least one of the Elliott management team visited the house to ensure a smooth operation and to simply liaise with us. How heartening is that? It was difficult to communicate my satisfaction and thanks without gushing or sounding insincere.
At the end of the third day, your writer and a tired but jubilant team went through the house one last time, ensuring no elusive item remained. The last box was loaded on the vehicle just as a lively and soaking Transvaal thunderstorm descended upon us. We took that as a good omen.
Did the move end well? Are we satisfied customers? Are Elliott really amazing? Will you be pretty and rich? Stay tuned for the concluding episode.