Thursday, July 29, 2010

PODS Billing Sucks!!

I finally got beyond annoyed with PODS making huge charges on my credit card and I signed in this morning to try and understand what and when I've been charged. I don't understand why, but they decided to set this one move up as two separate accounts; I wonder if they charged more money that way?

Here are the crazy billing screens. Note how out of order the invoice dates are (and there's no way to sort them) and in order to get any real information for what each invoice is for, you have to click on each invoice to get the detail.

I cancelled the 4th POD, which we turned out not to need, yet there is no credit for it yet. In fact, that last $219.49 charge is storage on the POD I cancelled three weeks ago!!

They charge your credit card for each of these little invoices way beforehand; possibly weeks before the POD even hits your driveway. After I placed my order, they charged me for insurance, storage and handling fees, and transit fees, before the first POD was even delivered! It appears their policy is to charge your credit card for every conceivable charge and then correct it at the end. Of course, that policy allows them to book revenue and accept payments that are not truly owed to them.

I've been struggling all month with trying to keep track of my outstanding balance on my credit card, because PODS doesn't notify you when they charge you. You have to sign in to figure out what they've charged you. We've had a lot of other expenses this month and we keep approaching our credit card limit; I hope they're not going to ding us with a overlimit fee, but they might. We went over earlier this week when I was too busy to check out my balances.

I just called PODS this morning to try and figure out what the deal was; I was on the phone for something like 40 minutes and I don't even get an apology for their over-billing our credit card. He just calmly told me he would send off a report to accounting. I still don't even know how much they're going to reverse!

One last gripe is that you don't know until the night before—after 5 or 6PM—what time your POD is arriving the next day, so it is nearly impossible to hire movers to help out. Expect to add days onto every POD as you wait for them to deliver it, then on the following day have movers help you unload it, and then you have to wait for them to have time in their schedule to pick it up. And our local PODS warehouse is closed on Wednesdays, so every POD we've had to do on this end has had two extra days added to the time it takes to unload.

While the PODS themselves, and the delivery drivers were fine to work with, I doubt I'll ever use PODS again. Their billing is opaque and I think we way overpaid for a DIY move. At the moment, we've paid $5300 for moving three 16 foot PODS. I am still owed a credit for that last POD we ordered, but I have no idea when and how much that credit is going to be.

I can't say I recommend PODS as a way to move long distance. The flexibility is great—but the price is way excessive for a DIYer move, IMO.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gluing Roman Shades

Now that my sewing room is set up, I have no excuse to avoid finishing the Roman shades for the master bedroom. I'm pretty determined to get them done this week.

I'm at the step where you glue plastic ribs into the shade so when you pull it up, it folds at the right spot. In Redwood City when I made the shades, I glued those ribs on the backside of the shade, but then they were constantly tangling with the strings. This time around, I'm following the advice of Terrell Designs, and I've lined the shade and I'm gluing the ribs on the inside between the layers of fabric.

We made a happy discovery this morning. Pruning shears work really well for cutting the plastic ribs. I used wire cutters last time and it flattened the ends and the pruning shears just sliced it off without crushing it. Thought it was a sort of interesting discovery.

I'm hoping to finish gluing these ribs by later this afternoon, then I'll get started on sewing rings. That's the slow part of the process, because of the handsewing through all the thick layers. It's hard on your wrists after about an hour.


Our mason continues to grind out the mortar from our brickwork—it shoots out a stream of mortar dust and everything is getting covered with this fine dust. Yuck. We'll probably have to pressure wash the house once they're done.

Update at 8PM:
So, the job took a turn towards really a mess when the contractor decided to hose down the deck! Of course all that water and mortar muck poured down into our basement. Jeff is still down there mopping up the mess. Unfortunately, we had "temporarily" set cardboard boxes down in that short part below the steps because we figured we had a month or two, before the rains started, to rearrange the storage area. Now we have a soggy mess. Great... (These pictures were taken after Jeff had already moved the boxes that got the most wet and he was trying to dry them off.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sewing Room Set Up

Jeff and I had a busy day unpacking today. Luckily, even though we've received the home theater equipment, we haven't bothered to hook it up yet, so we're still getting a lot of stuff done! My sewing room furniture is all assembled and ready for the fabric when it arrives on Friday. I'm getting eager to get started sewing curtains for the bedrooms.

When he was done helping me assemble the sewing room furniture, Jeff mostly worked on unpacking the kitchen and dining room. We're trying to clear space for the boxes in this last load!

Our contractor, Pedro, got started on the brickwork today. I hope we didn't hire a flake; he showed up really late (almost 11AM), took a long lunch, and then wandered out of here fairly early. Looks like he's doing a fine job, but his work hours are interesting. He did have very good reviews on Angie's List so I'll see how it goes. It's not like we're in a rush.

Monday, July 26, 2010

POD #2 Emptied

We received the second POD this morning, which when we opened it, actually turned out to be the last POD we filled. While we hadn't been expecting this POD next, it turned out to be a good thing, because now most of the furniture arrived before the boxes. My sewing room furniture has arrived! =)

Now I have the good fortune to get it set up before the fabric arrives! Yeah!

Jeff and Don were able to muscle all the bedroom furniture upstairs—it wasn't easy; that stuff is heavy!—but after all these moves my solid cherry furniture is starting to look a little worse for wear. Time to try and figure out if Stuart David can supply touch up pens.

We were happy to have one of our old friends, Karen Ostheller, drop by this afternoon with her family. We've been staying in touch by keeping up with each other's blogs. It was so nice to see her in person! Thanks for dropping by Karen!

Just one POD left, and it arrives on Thursday afternoon.

Work continues!! Tomorrow, we have some masons starting work on repointing our brick porch supports and patching the bad repairs. They'll have to take some bricks from an abandoned chimney in back in order to match the bricks.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Met a Fellow Portland House Blogger

We dropped by Joe Ernst's neighborhood street party today and got to meet a fellow Portland House Blogger. We got a quick tour of the main floor of his bungalow and it's really nice. He had some great stained glass doors on his built-ins that I just loved. These look like something Jeff and I could make—and actually finish!

Shasta is more than interested in the new chickens, though she's being pretty well behaved for a dog! You can tell she desperately wants to chase them, but is acting fairly well behaved at our command.

We Have Chickens!

This morning I decided to paint the closet of my sewing room. Today, I let Jeff help me paint. I did a pretty crummy job, but it's good enough for a closet. =)

Other than painting, we had a busy morning straightening up because we had a friend dropping by this afternoon. I finally used the new washing machines—they work! =)

Around 1PM, our friend Tanya Clapshaw dropped by to give us 3 chickens! Yeah, we have chickens! Jeff named them Buffy, Willow and Anya.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Painting My Sewing Room

I got it in my head yesterday afternoon that I wanted to paint my sewing room this weekend. This is my last chance to paint before the fabric and furniture arrives; the PODS start again on Monday. So, this morning I popped out of bed and got to work before it got too hot upstairs.

I'm using leftover paint from Redwood City. This is the paint we bought for the master bedroom and I selected it from the Sherwin Williams historic paint collection. This particular color was from their 1930s collection, so it's a little late for our 1912 house, but I really like the color. Perhaps after we remodel, I'll select a color from the 1910s and repaint the room.

The paint covered the walls pretty well and I haven't even used half a gallon; no wonder there was so much left in Redwood City. I've finished rolling the first coat, but I think I'll go ahead and put on another coat this evening, once it's fully dry.

It's hard to resist the impulse to pull out the paint scrapers and start trying to clean the paint off the woodwork, but I'm managing. We need a plan first!

We pulled the doors and I may take those in to be dipped. I'm still trying to decide whether it would be ill-advised to refinish the doors before we tear up the rest of the house. I don't want them getting dirty and banged up by construction.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shopping Adventure

We celebrated getting so much done yesterday by spending several hours today shopping around Portland.

Now that the chicken tractor is in the backyard, we are finally prepared to round up chicken food and other needed supplies. So, one of the primary goals for today was to investigate chicken feed suppliers. We went to three of them: Concentrates Inc., Naomi's Organic Farm Supply, and Foster Feed & Garden Supply. My quick calculation shows that Concentrates is the least expensive supplier; luckily, it's also one of the closest.

We also dropped by Taste of Europe, Edelweiss Sausage Company & Deli and Bob's Red Mill. At Bob's Red Mill, we did a pretty major stock-up shopping trip. We have a big, empty freezer now and lots of space in our soon-to-be-finished root cellar and it's time to get our pantry replenished.

This evening, after the evening rush, we're planning to go off to the regular grocery store to finish our shopping. We'll probably slowly stock up on food, as we don't quite have our pantry storage area set up yet. I still need to find a good shelving system for the basement.

Jeff is also going off to Three Mountains Scribal Night tonight to visit with our SCA friends. I can't go; I have to stay home and finish my class. =(

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Awesome Day...

...for a nice change.

The POD was emptied by 3:30PM this afternoon! Of course, most of the stuff in this first POD was stuff from our storage room in Redwood City, so we simply transferred the racks and tubs to the storage area in the basement and spread the boxes to unpack throughout the storage areas in the house.

Just as we finished unloading the POD, the Sears delivery guys showed up to deliver our new appliances. I finagled their help getting Jeff's chicken tractor over the fence and into the backyard. It cost us a couple of Henry Weinhard's root beers. =) They also delivered and hooked up our new washer and dryer and our freezer. Of course, we now have this large empty freezer; time to go find good food stock-up opportunities.

We unpacked a lot of books today, though probably not even half of our total collection. We only moved two bookcases in this load, so we still have a mound of unopened boxes. The next POD has quite a lot of bookcases in it, so we'll probably be set in just over a week when the next POD is delivered.

Shasta is fortunate that one of our closest commercial neighbors is a doggy daycare place—No Bonz About It. We bought her 10 days of doggy daycare visits for during the move; we used one of them today.

It Begins

Sigh. First POD was delivered this morning, so now we start the process in reverse....

It's actually shocking how much space we wasted in this POD. We could easily have fit all our stuff in the 3 PODS if we had packed this POD more full. We still had a pile left in Redwood City at the end, including our master bed frame, and now we have to go back for one more small load.

It's overcast weather today; good weather to unload.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Unpacking Kitchen

One of our top priorities this week is to get back eating decent food; we've been eating way too much take-out and I've been gaining weight again. So, this morning, we made moving into the kitchen a priority. We went through and washed out all of the kitchen cabinets and started the process of running all the dishes through the dishwasher.

I think we've decided to go ahead and move in when our household possessions arrive. We've been debating about whether we leave some areas of the house vacant, so we can start working on them, but I think we're going to instead focus on the overall house plan first. The entire house plan itself could take very many months. Once we have a plan, we can figure out where to start and then move back out of those areas.

When we arrived on Friday, we found a number of overdue utility bills. Oops—autopay wasn't set up on these bills yet. I narrowly averted the phone from being disconnected on Saturday and this morning I took care of the rest of the utilities. I hope we're all current now. =)

Last night, I ordered a new pocket digital camera. Our current Canon digital camera is dying; it smells like smoke whenever we take flash photos. I've realized having a camera is almost a necessity, so I ordered a little Canon PowerShot 3500 from Costco. I ordered it in PINK! =)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Moved into the Basement

The repair of the basement foundation has been completed and we have now started moving furniture down there. Here is how it looked when we arrived on Friday evening. We had them paint the floors a dark green and the basement walls a light peach. Unfortunately, they only painted the cement. The portion above still needs to be painted to match and we're not going to take the time to do that right now. It will wait until we get higher priority projects finished.

This framed out portion is in the front of the basement (our basement has two "sections"). This is where all the pest damage was and it has all been repaired now. We had them build this wall framing so we could finish the front corner for use as a root cellar.

It's getting pretty crowded in the basement already with all the furniture and boxes.

I bought another couch to go down in the basement, but we can't get it down the stairs. Oh well, we'll use it in the living room for now.

Long term, our plan is to set up a media room and a small bedroom down there, so we've just sort of set up the furniture without any walls for now. When we get around to remodelling, we'll add walls and no doubt move the walls and doors around. We've set up the temporary summer bedroom down there mostly to get away from the heat and sun of the upstairs master bedroom. It's going to be a while before we get air conditioning installed.

We arrived to find our rugs waiting for us. I'm really not loving the gold, but they'll have to do; at least until I find a job. I still think it's cool that I found a period pattern rug at!

Jeff bought a chicken tractor yesterday, but we neglected to measure and it won't fit in through the gate. So now we need to find a couple of burly guys to help herk it over the fence for us.

Friday, July 16, 2010

We're Here in Portland

Just a quick note that we arrived safe and sound in Portland, Oregon. We already hired some help to unload the U-Haul trailer and that's done.

Jeff and I are exhausted, so we're thinking about going and setting up the bed (now relocated down in the basement for the summer) and crawling into it.

More tomorrow! =)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Moving Progress

Well, the new POD is looking much more full. We hired a local college student, Chris, to help out with moving furniture this morning. Most of the big pieces are now loaded and it's nearing ¾ full. We actually sent Chris home after a couple hours because we needed to spend some time filling in all the "holes" with smaller boxes. If we kept putting big pieces in, we wouldn't have been able to reach them anymore.Our goal is to start our drive up to Portland tomorrow afternoon. We're going to stay overnight with Sharon's stepmother's parents in Redding and then finish the drive on Thursday. But, I'm looking around this house and I'm seeing so much loose stuff sitting around, it's hard to imagine how we're going to keep that schedule without leaving this place such a disaster at the end. The boxes we pack tonight are going to be real ugly!! Too bad. =)

I've been sleeping poorly and so naturally Jeff hasn't been getting enough sleep either. He's off taking a nap and I'm on a required sit down break. I'm trying to work on my next PCC class assignment, but I'm very distractible. I'm supposed to do an informational interview and write up a summary by Thursday at midnight. Given our move plans this week, I'm running out of time. I don't know what I was thinking when I signed up for this class this summer!?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Total Meltdown

Last night was not good. After I brought up the subject of extending our days here in Redwood City, in order to do a more careful job packing, Jeff was upset about a change to his plan of leaving on Wednesday. Then, I had total meltdown and started throwing mixed stuff into boxes and labeling them misc. Unpacking these boxes at the other end will not be good. =)

Today is better, but the boxes are still going to tend toward ugly on the other end. We have a lot of hard-to-sort stuff left at this point.

I posted the last of the furniture on craigslist at liquidation prices. The little curio cabinet went this morning. Hopefully some more of the furniture will go by Tuesday. If not, we'll throw it into the POD and deal with it on the other end.

Here's the new POD as of this morning. We actually got a lot of stuff packed and out of the garage yesterday. It's unlikely we're going to be able to fill this one. I guess I ordered too many PODS; we should have gotten a UHaul truck at the end instead. Oh well.

We keep finding dog toys under furniture. Jeff took this picture this morning because it kind of reminded me of a Pixar short where all the toys were looking out from under the couch.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sewing Room Packed

There's just a couple open boxes waiting to be filled the rest of the way, and this room is done!! Jeff is working on disassembling the furniture as I write this.

I also packed up the guest bathroom the other day, so we have two rooms completely done. The middle bedroom is mostly packed, but for one bookshelf of bungalow and gardening books and a growing pile of boxes that we want to take in a trailer with us.

We're getting close now, but we still have quite a bit of loose stuff left in the living room. I'm working on sorting stuff tonight.