Retrospective Feb 23

This was about two weeks ago, but with travel and everything else I didn't get to write this up until now.

Surface Shipment Arrival - Feb 8 2007

So near and yet so far. We just have to get it across the street and about 100 feet up

When we moved, there were three ways that our stuff got to Singapore. First of all, we had our own luggage that we took with us on the flight. Each of us had big duffel bags. They were filled with clothes and other essentials for about a week of living. We also brought the things that we had forgotten to pack in the other shipments. Plus we carried a lot of our Christmas presents, since the air shipment went out before Christmas. We all must have been good, because we all had received a lot of presents. We must not have been too good, because they were all really heavy and a really hard to haul to Singapore.

The second way we got stuff to Singapore was via an air shipment. We were allowed a 100 cubic foot container that couldn't weigh more than 1000 lbs. And the volume was measured externally, so the actual stuff we could pack was less. We sent this before we left for Wisconsin at Christmas. It took about a week and a half to get to Singapore, and probably another week to clear customs. That meant that it was here and waiting for us when we arrived. That's a subject for another retrospective post on our first days in Singapore. The air shipment had a few more clothes and toilet articles, some kitchen stuff, a few tools, a couple of books and games, and three PC's. Interesting that when we all sat down to think about what we would need as soon as we got into the apartment, what we all came up with was our PC. Not just a PC, but our own PC. Makes sense actually. Shannon needs hers to do homework. Sandy needs hers for work. And I need mine to goof off and do stuff like these posts.

Unloading the small truck and rolling the stuff into the lobby

Finally, we had a surface shipment. This was everything else that we could send to Singapore. The estimate was that it could take up to three months to get here. It literally came via the famous "slow boat to China". It was sent off the last day we were in our house, which was January 4. It arrived in Singapore in early February and cleared customs in two days. So it was ready to be delivered on the morning of February 8. Much better than we had expected and probably about as fast as it could be. That was good news and bad. On the one hand, we were glad to be getting our stuff. On the other hand, it was only a few days before we all left for a week of travel. We didn't know how long it would take to get the shipment unloaded (and put away!). It had taken four days for all of us and a large movers crew to pack up our house in Boise. Plus Sandy was in India and flying home overnight, arriving at 6 am that morning. Her plan was to come home and sleep for a few hours. Tough to do while all your belongings are being unloaded!

Things pile up on the outside our door

The movers arrived around 9:30 am as scheduled. The crew chief came in to look around. He wanted to make sure that there wasn't anything (like scratches on the wood floor) that were already there which his crew would be blamed for. There were some, but we had noted them with the owner when I did the initial walkaround with the agent. The mover claimed that the owners of our building are real nasty with regard to anything wrong with the apartment when people move out. Gee, that's nice to know. After a few minutes he left and said they would start unloading and be right back. About an hour went by. Finally I looked out one of the back windows and thought I saw the moving truck across the street. It was hard to see, since it was under a tree. I was wondering what could be taking so long, so I headed downstairs. The truck was indeed across the street. The security guys would not let them bring the truck with the container into the parking lot. That was weird, as someone else had done exactly that two days before. Maybe there were problems or complaints. Anyways, the moving guys had to park across the street. Then they sent for another truck. All our stuff was taken out of the container, loaded onto the smaller truck, then hauled across the street and unloaded again to take up to our apartment. Needless to say the moving guys were NOT happy.

Sandy is going to have a tight squeeze getting into her office

I had spent the week before getting ready for the shipment. I had been all over Singapore and found some wide and deep plastic shelving. It was only about four feet high, but if I used the parts from two of them I could build it to be about seven feet high. I built four in the "bomb shelter" (our storage room) and one in the maid's room (our other storage room). So I thought that I was all set for the stuff to come in.

At least, that's what I thought. But then pallet after pallet of stuff came in. Boxes and boxes. We hadn't shipped much furntiture. But we did have our dining room set with six chairs. All of Mickey's bedroom set (bed, dresser, bookcase, desk). An extra small dresser. Three bookcases. Doesn't sound like much, but we had already bought furniture for most of the rooms except the guest room and dining area. Then all the boxes came. Boxes and boxes. As fast as the stuff was brought in, I at least tried to figure out what it was and what room it needed to go into. But pretty soon every room was stacked full and things were piling up outside on the landing.

Someone (no names) maybe brought too many clothes

The moving crew did a great job. They got everything moved across the street and into the apartment. They helped to unwrap and unpack everything (except all the stuff in boxes mostly stayed in boxes). And they put together all of the furniture. They finished before 5 pm. Just another days work. But then they left and it was just us and a mountain of stuff.

This was an interesting lesson. We seem to spend all of our time acquiring things. Most Americans have big houses, and they always have basements and storage sheds and garages and closets and storage rooms filled with things. When we left the US, I thought that we had really reduced what we had. In the last two months, we filled the curb every time it was garbage day with all the stuff we threw out. We sold most of our furniture and two of our cars. We must have taken ten carloads of stuff to Goodwill. And I took two carloads of stuff to the dump. After all that, we probably put half of the stuff that was left in storage. So we thought that we really weren't bringing much stuff to Singapore. Well, we got a surprise when it all showed up. And the interesting thing was, there wasn't much we had missed. For the most part, we weren't sitting around waiting for the shipment to arrive so we could have something from it. For the most part, we were doing fine with the few things we had hand carried, air shipped or bought in Singapore. It was quite enlightening. Hopefully, we will learn to make do and get by with less in the future.

The dining area was empty not too long ago

Although the piles seemed insurmountable, they actually were assimilated pretty well. All the shelves I had built really helped. We had two full days before our trips, and by the time we left things were in reasonable shape. Just don't look in the bomb shelter. We still have a lot of work to organize our storage space, but we organized the furniture and all of our day-to-day items in the house. We are ready to declare that we are settled into our new home.