The Great MOVE

A moving truck stands open in front of a house. A ramp is let down from the moving truck.

All doll-and-sewing-related activities went on Splendid Hiatus at the end of June when Mr Tabubil and I relocated from Whyalla in rural South Australia, to the teeming and tumultuous metropolis of Santiago, Chile.

Even four months after a move, personal organization – and the time to make it happen – is precious difficult to find.  There’s so much to do – household insurance to be sorted, GPs and dentists to found, bottomless lists of thises and thats for our new apartment, grocery staples that we once took for granted to be hunted down in a country that’s never heard of ’em, Spanish classes to take, new friends to make, new streets to walk down, new parks and hills and museums to see –

There’s so much HAPPENING here. I’ve lived here before, twice, so my Spanish is less non-existent than mostly rusty, and I tear around the city dropping indefinite articles on the sidewalk and tying taxi drivers up in inappropriate verb tenses, but despite the frustrating refusal of certain type of patriotic Chilean to comprehend ANY Spanish spoken by a gringo (regardless of how local the accent – and I learned my Spanish fifteen years ago in a Chilean high school)  I’m getting along swimmingly, and only stop for cascading confusions of “Que?” “

But now I’m back in action, thank you very much.  We’re all unpacked, my new sewing room is sorted –
And I’m submitting insurance claims for the disaster the Australian movers caused when they packed up my old one.

The Australian packers wreaked hell on our stuff, particularly our clothes.  They used flat clothes boxes for about half of our garments (apparently hanging boxes are improper for international moves), but at some point they ran out of flat boxes and instead of going out and getting more, or at least folding our clothes properly and laying them down in regular packing boxes-

The dear darling movers crumpled up our clothes into balls of cloth and wadded them into the corners of other boxes as padding for heavier items – like computer monitors, or stereo speakers.

They didn’t do it for lack of regular packing material.

We have no idea why they did it.

All we know is that this sort of treatment doesn’t do very nice things to delicate sequined shirts, silk scarves, or hand-made costumes. Or bras that have had their foam cups folded into quarters for two months to pad out the side of a box of DVDs . 

What they did to our clothes they also did to our wedding crystal.  Yup.  It’s too unbelievable not to share: they used our wedding crystal to pad out the really heavy item in our shipment – like computer towers and chests of drawers.  Without necessarily bothering to wrap it first. Yep – unwrapped crystal wine-glasses used to brace computer towers.  Thank god for cameras. We documented the heck out of all that.

It was all enormously  frustrating and angry-making, but when I came across my red and gold ballgown  I burst into tears.  I had asked the mover  to “please please wrap it in its very own box.  Just like this – padded with all this tissue paper right here.  I’ll leave it right here all by itself right next to the very own box that you’re going to put it in, okay?”

Instead, the mover squashed and rolled and wadded the dress into the top of another box – the pleats are rubbed out, the flat layers  are screwed up and folded in a way that wrecked the underlying net in a way that can’t be repaired by an iron or a steam-bath.  And those little shredded silk details – forget it. The whole dress is pretty well wrecked.

The golden wheat-ear embroidery has disappeared entirely.

And my doll hats – I found a wired doll bonnet squashed and folded, buckram creased, wires bent.  Non salvagable.

It just went on and on – if there was a way to bust or bodge something, the movers found it.  No matter how creative the mess needed to be – they managed to pull it off.

One example in particular makes me stomp my feet and chew the curtains.   Surveying the wreckage in my sewing room, I had thought okay, maybe it’s all my fault.

Clearly, I had needed to carefully pack EVERYTHING myself.

To leave nothing to the mover’s imagination.

Next time I’ll do that, okay, fine, breathe deeply, dear – and then I opened a little box where I HAD carefully packed and SEALED with TAPE my straw doll bonnets for safe shipping –  in this this careful little box brim-full of straw doll hats – a mover had un-taped the lid and shoved something inconsequential and heavy inside – and squashed them semi-flat. It’s INFURIATING.

I’ve made many MANY moves in my 31 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. 

But there have been photographs, and furious late-night tear-filled phone calls to Australia, and things are sorting out. Or at least, getting paid for. The really infuriating part was that when I called the movers in a towering fury, the man on the phone said “oh… yeah.  I think I know who the person who did that is.  There have been a few instances of him doing it.”
So he’s done it BEFORE?  And they’re still paying him?


And – END rant.  Exuent omnes and all that.

I have a drawer-ful of little projects to finish (that got caught up in the move) and photograph, and a dress to try and restore!


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