This is my fifth and Linda’s fourth cross country move. Given our previous experience, we expected this move to be easy. It turned out to be our most complex move with some parts going exceedingly well and other parts failing miserably hard.
We have become bundles of tense contradictory emotions. This fall we bought a house in St. Louis and sold our San Antonio house. Moving which didn’t always go well, turned into an emotional roller coaster as the changes we were making in our lives became tangible and irreversible.
Out Of The Blue
Week of Monday August 14 (week after driving sister-in-law’s car up to St. Louis), Linda found the perfect town home for sale in St. Louis. She reached out her brother-in-law (St. Louis Realtor) to arrange for a showing. Her brother-in-law arranged a showing for Saturday August 18. Linda made airline reservations. We boarded the dogs at the kennel on Friday for a Monday pickup.
On Saturday August 19, we took the first Southwest flight out of San Antonio and arrived in St. Louis before 8:00 AM. We showed up for the 10:00 AM showing. The town home was perfect – exactly what we wanted so we made an offer. The seller wouldn’t look at any offers before a scheduled open house the following Sunday August 26 so we would have to wait a week before knowing if we got the house or not.
The following Monday August 27, the seller selected our offer. We worked out the contract via the Internet and then scheduled a home inspection. The inspection didn’t find any material problems in the home.
After returning from vacation Friday August 31, seller offered to throw in furniture, washer/dryer (leave it in the house) and other household items for $1 extra. We accepted the offer.
On the Sunday before Labor Day, we reached out to our realtor to sign her up to sell our house and to get some advice on making the house ready for sale.
We ended up with a moderate list of to-do items:
- buy carpet and installation from Lowe’s for second floor
- get carpet installer to measure (Thursday September 6)
- get climate controlled storage unit
- get movers
- pack everything on second floor
- move everything on second floor to storage using movers (Tuesday September 18)
- carpet installers install carpet on second floor (Thursday September 20)
- install chimney flue damper stop clamp to ensure safe gas fired fireplace operation
- install anti tip device to prevent the stove from falling over when someone stands on the open oven door
- mulch the yard
- clean out the garage
- get rid of bulk items that won’t be moved (e.g. gas grill and propane tanks)
- go through clothes, kitchen and other household items for items to donate to Goodwill.
We completed our to-do list in record time. Our part of getting the house ready for sale was done allowing us to leave Saturday September 23 for St. Louis in our truck camper. We arrived in St. Louis Monday September 24, the day before closing.
The walk-through and closing on Tuesday September 25 went without a hitch. Thursday we discovered a slow drip coming from main water shutoff valve in basement. We freaked – The valve will have to be replaced ASAP! Linda’s Dad closed and opened the valve and the drip slowed down so much we felt like we could wait until the next time we were in town to fix it.
On Friday September 28, we left St. Louis for the fall trip (Tulsa NE / Will Rogers Downs KOA Journey) we had planned last spring. Since the San Antonio house was ready for showing, our realtor put it on the market Monday October 1.
At Abilene State Park Thursday October 4, we got contract on San Antonio house. Friday October 5, we abort trip and head for San Antonio.
Linda immediately began planning the interstate move. She contacted movers and arranged meetings.
The buyer scheduled the San Antonio home inspection Tuesday October 9. The inspection identified three material problems that we needed to address:
- Water incursion in front of house affecting dining room interior. Inspector was certain it was a roof leak.
- Sprinkler system zone 2 no failed – flooded yard and no water at sprinkler heads.
- Main floor AC unit connection to duct work leaking air at both ends. We thought the $600+ we paid to fix this same problem four months before solved the problem. We were wrong.
On Friday, October 12, we made arrangements for our roofing company to figure out and fix the water leak problem. We also made arrangements for the buyer’s AC guy to fix the AC air leak problem. Then we made arrangements for our landscaping company to fix the sprinkler system.
Camping In St. Louis
On Saturday October 13, we left San Antonio with our dogs in our Ford Explorer for the two day drive to St. Louis.
The hotel we stayed in with the dogs on the way up to St. Louis was not The Ritz, but it was clean. Arriving at the St. Louis house on Sunday October 14, we setup to camp out in the house using cots and sleeping bags.
The plumber arrived Monday October 15 morning. He replaced the main water valve in basement. Then we asked that he also check and replace sketchy valves for washing machine, sinks and toilets. He found multiple plumbing problems with sink valves not found during inspection. All fixed. After he left, I found the washing machine water valve dripping. We called him back and he fixed the faulty valve that same afternoon.
We were expecting AT&T to show up and install Digital Life (home automation and alarm system) on Tuesday October 16. AT&T reached out late Monday to tell me the Tuesday installation would need to be rescheduled. This was not welcome news. Later that evening, the master bathroom sink hot water flow slowed to a trickle. Arghhh!
We called the plumber at 8:00 Tuesday October 16 morning. Another plumber came out before noon. The problem turned out to be junk in the screen before the sink’s faucet. This plumber was thorough. He found that the hot water heater temperature was set too high – around 170 degrees. This may have been a contributing factor to the faucet’s screen clogging up. He set water heater to run cooler. Then he noticed that the main sewer pipe was weeping icky sewer at an inspection plug in basement. Fixed.
Tuesday October 16, AT&T U-verse Internet, home phone and cable service installed.
Thursday October 18, all carpets in house cleaned by Stanley Steamer.
Friday October 19 we have movers move stuff (wicker bedroom set) from father-in-law’s house to our house and stuff (couch, love seat, end table, coffee table, washer/dryer) from our house to sister-in-laws house.
Monday October 22, we left St. Louis with our dogs for San Antonio staying overnight in a Motel 6. We won’t be staying in that Motel 6 again. EVER. There were dry and semi dry dog pee spots left from previous tenants all over the room.
We arrived back in San Antonio Tuesday October 23.
Repairs And Packing
Our roofing contractor has completed the dining room restoration. They did a great job. We couldn’t tell there was ever a water leak. They also worked out how the water was leaking into the house. The water was coming in through the fancy stucco work near the front door. They resealed the stucco and stone work. It certainly wasn’t the roof as subsequent heavy rains proved – all leaks fixed!
Wednesday October 24, we begin packing the rest of the house. The dogs did not handle the changes to the house very well. Both dogs exhibited stress symptoms. Doggy stress continued until we moved the dogs into the truck camper, away from the house and the chaos.
Thursday October 25, the buyer’s surveyor came. The bug man (pest control service) also came. In the afternoon, the buyer’s AC guy permanently fixed the duct air leak problem around the main AC unit. He took a different approach to fixing the problem than my former AC repair service had done.
We continued packing.
The landscaper failed to appear on Tuesday October 30 as promised. We had words. I discovered oil on the garage floor under our 2010 Ford Explorer. I put cardboard under the car to see if the leak continued overnight and as an aid to seeing where the oil was coming from.
The car’s oil leak continued overnight to Wednesday, October 31. I got under the car to see where the oil was coming from. The oil was leaking from where the transmission connects to the engine. The leaked oil was red. I called the car dealer and arranged for them to take the car. They took the car but wouldn’t look at it until the next Tuesday. We dropped the car off at the dealer.
Thursday November 1 morning Linda meets the movers at our San Antonio climate controlled storage to move second floor stuff out of storage and into our San Antonio house’s garage.
While she is doing that, I’m staying home and waiting for our landscaper to come and fix the sprinkler system. The landscaper determines the problem as a broken valve and fixes it. In the afternoon, we took the camper off the truck and drive the truck home.
The Big Move
Friday November 2 morning, I drove the truck to the dealer for an oil change. After lunch, we mounted the camper back on the truck and checked in at the San Antonio KOA. We fetched the dogs from the house and put them in the camper. Late in the afternoon, we went back to the house to finish up some last minute packing things. We were expecting the movers Saturday morning. The movers called and wanted to stop by to see the house. After they showed up, it was pretty clear they wanted to start loading. I asked them if they wanted to start loading and they said yes.
They loaded for two hours and came back the following morning, Saturday, November 3.
After most of the stuff was moved out of the house, it hit me as I stared at the nearly empty living room and dining room.
This is it. We are moving to St. Louis. They finished loading us by 2:00 PM and headed off.
On Monday, we took the dogs to the kennel, put the RV back into storage and headed off to an airport hotel. Tuesday morning, we got up at 2:30 AM for a 5:30 AM flight to St. Louis.
Arriving in St. Louis at 7:30 AM, we were greeted by Linda’s Dad. He drove us to his house and we borrowed his second car for the week. We hurried over to our St. Louis house because we are expecting the mover to show up at any time.
The mover showed up Wednesday November 7 around noon.
They finished unloading before dark. There were boxes and furniture everywhere.
AT&T Digital Life installers showed up Thursday November 8 morning. They ended up working past noon on the installation. We begin unpacking.
By Saturday November 10 evening, we had finished unpacking the master suite, kitchen, dining room and living room.
Friday November 9, we had different movers move a bedroom set and other household items to sister-in-law’s apartment.
These are the same movers we had move furniture from my father-in-law’s house to our house.
Early, Sunday November 11 morning, my father-in-law picked us up and took us to the airport. He is storing his second car in our garage this winter. We arrived in San Antonio. Picked up the dogs from the kennel. Then drove over to our storage facility to pick up the truck and camper. We caravaned over to the San Antonio KOA and checked in.
Last Minute Drama
Meanwhile, the Ford dealer hadn’t really been working on our oil leaking car. Monday November 12 morning we drove over to the dealer to talk to the service adviser to discuss lack of progress. Monday afternoon, we thought we would check on the house cleaning service clean-out job. They didn’t perform a clean-out. We called them back to finish the job. Somehow the workers weren’t told it was a clean-out by the office. While waiting for them, we discovered a drip in the master bathtub. The drip was fast enough to interfere with the buyer’s final walk through scheduled the next morning. I called our plumber who said they would be out to fix the drip that day between 3 and 5 PM. At 5:30 PM they called to say they wouldn’t be able to make it until the following (Tuesday) morning.
Tuesday morning the plumber showed up and was finishing leaky faucet repair as the buyers were doing their final walk–through. It turned out all right.
On Wednesday November 14, the buyer closed on the sale of our home. We got paid. All is right in the world.
Late Thursday November 15, the Ford dealer called to say the Explorer’s repair was completed. The Torque Converter Hub Seal had to be replaced. Only $1,200 to fix. We were expecting the problem to be much more serious/expensive.
We hope to see you on the road ahead!