An Open Letter To Our Moving Company

As you may recall, Dear Reader, we have recently moved. I’m sorry to say that we weren’t terribly satisfied with the moving company we used. Reprinted below is an edited copy of my letter to them (they wanted pictures and descriptions of the items and their damage). I have kept the name of the company we used out of this post because I’m a nice guy, and because our claim with them is still being hashed out.

UPDATE: The moving company got back to us about our claim. They are offering to compensate us to the tune of thirty whole US dollars. So we’ll be continuing this saga through other parties. In the meantime, putting their name in this post and then putting it on their Facebook page is worth more than thirty bucks to me.

Dear All My Sons Moving and Storage,

We used your services on April 11th to finish packing up our old home in [Undisclosed] and transport the items to our new one in [Classified]. We had already packed up and moved about 60% of the house, and almost none of the furniture was going, so it should have been easier than an average job, I would think. However, your movers took all day to pack the rest of the house up and as we’ve delved into the boxes it has become clear that their slow pace wasn’t because they were taking extra-good care of our property. On the contrary, as the following pictures will show, your movers pretty much just shoved stuff into the largest boxes they could get (those expensive wardrobe boxes, mostly) and helpfully labelled them “Misc.” Several items got damaged due to this mistreatment.

Let’s take a look at my first example, shall we?

Oh, look! It’s a wardrobe box, a packing container designed to hold your clothing while still hung up on hangers by means of a bar running across the top. I don’t see a bar on this one, though. Let’s peek inside.

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It’s a lampshade! And… two of our long plastic tubs that could just have been loaded up into the truck as-is. That’s it? Two plastic tubs, a shoe box, and a lampshade? For that I had to pay for a whole wardrobe box? Wait, what’s that down the side? Let’s take a closer look.

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Oh, joy, it’s one of my wife’s lovely pieces of stained glass artwork! She paid $400 for this particular one. Now it’s got a crack in it. Maybe that wasn’t the best place for this…

Now let’s move on to another wardrobe box. This one is marked “Xmas.”

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Unloading the junk on the top (well, it looks like junk now), we find a box within a box. This second box, which is at the bottom of the first box, seems to contain at least a couple of wreaths, one of which is our Christmas wreath made up of glass ornaments. It looks a little worse for wear. Santa can’t find our house without this on the door. Sorry, kids, All My Sons cancelled Christmas!

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The theme of boxes within boxes continues in example number three, yet another wardrobe box packed fit to burst. This is the very top of the wardrobe box, where we find three containers — one of them a suitcase! — all full of heavy stuff from the craft room. Underneath that blue, metal lockbox we found Neverland’s favorite fairy, Tinkerbell, crushed to death. Quick, clap your hands, everybody!

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I think that by now you have the idea that these damages are clearly the result of our property being packed with an utter lack of care. Also, an utter lack of sense, in many cases. Therefore, I will cut straight to the damaged items for the rest, though you may be sure that each could have been accompanied by several photos of equally baffling packing arrangements.

Below, you will find an antique glass bowl. We don’t know how old it is, or how much was paid for it, because it was a birthday gift to my wife from her mother. The only birthday gift she got that year. Now, it’s chipped.

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The chip is on the rim in about the one o’clock position

Next up is a nursing stool. In case you didn’t know, a nursing stool is designed to alleviate stress on your back, shoulders and neck while breastfeeding. This Medela Nursing Stool is gently angled to help you comfortably position your baby for breastfeeding, reducing the chance of soreness caused by poor positioning. The excellent ergonomic and orthopedic design allows you to elevate the feet, legs and lap to help prevent back aches, stiff necks and sore shoulders. Obstetricians and gynecologists also recommend the Nursing Stool for prenatal use in the last trimester of pregnancy.

My wife used this particular nursing stool (constructed of fine-crafted wood) while nursing each of our three children. She is currently pregnant with our fourth child and planning to breastfeed him as well. I guess we’ll have to get a new nursing stool, though, because the old one’s leg got broken and we had to put it down.

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Once the baby gets here, we’ll be changing his diaper on this nice, comfy wood reinforced changing pad. Oh, wait…

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Pretty much all of our small and medium-sized framed pictures now have scratched-up frames that will need to be replaced. I guess the movers at least tried this time, stacking them on top of each other and putting them in the middle of a box full of diapers (cloth diapers, that is, with metal snaps). The larger framed pieces fared better because I stopped one of the workers while he was shoving them into a box and told him to pack them appropriately. I was rather surprised that I needed to specify that I wanted my nice, framed pictures to be packed in a box designed to keep nice, framed pictures safe during transit. This was towards the end of the moving process, unfortunately, or I might have been able to prevent some of this tragedy.

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Hey, remember way back at the beginning of this letter when I mentioned that my wife has lovely stained glass artwork? We’ve found some more of it.

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Are you familiar with the process of repairing stained glass? You’ve got to unsolder the lead and remove the damaged pieces individually from the soldered framework. Then, you can hopefully find matching glass, cut it to the appropriate size and re-solder the pieces back into place. I understand that’s it’s pretty labor-intensive and produces lead dust.

Are you, by chance, familiar with the proper way to pack and transport a piece of stained glass? Well, it isn’t to put it at the very top of an unpadded box and stack other heavy boxes on top of it.

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Did I mention that the Wife made these herself?

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Finally, we had a set of Mary & Martha foil pans that were brand new and crushed beyond use. I haven’t included a picture because, frankly, the scene was too gruesome.

The Customer Care Team Claims Form form you sent us only has space to list four items. That was awfully optimistic of you. Unfortunately, all our claims cannot fit on the form. Therefore, I have listed them below. (Your form had a space for an “Inventory Number.” Since your guys didn’t bother to inventory any of our stuff, I have made up some numbers so you don’t have a blank space on your form.)

Inventory Number Article Weight Item/Description of damage Age Amount Claimed
2849JUF991 approx 10lbs Stained glass (dove)/cracked 50+ years $100 for repair
9Y3KK845X2 approx 3lbs Stained glass (star)/cracked 15 years $100 for repair

3.1415926

approx 6lbs Stained glass (flower)/cracked 15 years $100 for repair
AMS11192! 5 lbs Christmas wreath/broken apart 2 years $150 to replace
F1V3 1.5 lbs Changing pad/bent 2 years $38.99 to replace
683-23456-1 2 lbs Tinkerbell statue/broken wing, shattered ego 14 years $20 for physical therapy

7

3 lbs Medela nursing stool/broken leg 5 years $120-$200 to replace with a used, second hand  one (they don’t make ‘em anymore!)
THX1138 .5 lbs each 5 picture frames/scratched 3-5 years $20 each to replace ($100 total)
867-5309 less than 1 pound Antique glass bowl/chipped Unknown, but OLD Irreplaceable, unknown how much was paid for it, was my wife’s only birthday gift that year.
139NC%*#&$ less than 1 pound Mary and Martha brand hostess casserole tin/crushed 18 months

$24

In closing, I would like to assure you that not everything was damaged. Before contacting your company, we had already purchased some protective slips for the movers to pack plates and dishes in. I’m pleased to say that we found the dish packing materials had been safely packed up in a box and made it to the new house none the worse for wear.

Whew! At least the packing material got packed up okay.
Whew! At least the packing material got packed up okay.

Thank you for your timely assistance in this matter.

Love,

The Dad

 

Okee Dokee

Is there anything more tedious than when your kids want to watch the same thing or listen to the same music over and over and over? I know I put my poor parents through it (I’m sure they heard more Weird Al than they ever wanted to) and my own brood are content to listen to the same album in the van for weeks on end.

Fortunately for the Wife and I, our 3-year-old loves The Okee Dokee Brothers. In fact, MeToo refers to them as, “my Okee Dokees.”

The Okee Dokee Brothers, Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing (no, they aren’t really brothers and, yes, I feel lied to as well), can be found in the “Family-Friendly, Folksy/Bluegrass-esque” section of your local record store. I wouldn’t exactly consider their work “kid’s music” because, to me, that conjures up nursery rhymes, Sesame Street, and Disney soundtracks. I tend to describe their songs as being similar to what Kermit the Frog used to sing before he made it big in Hollywood.

In addition to being musicians, Joe and Justin have a great love of the outdoors and this is reflected in their “Adventure Album Series.” What drew our attention, even before we heard their music, was back in 2011 when the Wife learned about their then-upcoming album Can You Canoe. The Okee Dokee Brothers had composed that album while on a month-long canoe trip down the Mississippi. Just the idea of that seemed so rich with authenticity and soul that we sough out the title track, bought the album as soon as it was released, and have been fans ever since.

You see, I grew up in a small Tennessee town, and even though I do not consider myself an outdoorsy person, I’ve done a fair bit of hiking, camping, and canoeing. The songs on Can You Canoe really do feel (to me) like they were thought up while on the river — even the ones that don’t have anything to do with canoeing.

The Okee Dokee Brothers followed it up with a month-long trek along the Appalachian Trail which resulted in Through the Woods. As it happens, my brothers, my father, and I once spent a few days hiking and camping along the Appalachian Trail, so I can give Joe and Justin’s second Adventure Album my stamp of authenticity as well. (The song “Lighten Your Load” felt particularly spot-on.) If Can You Canoe was about the fun and trials of camping or life on the river, Through the Woods contemplates the simplicity and closeness to nature of a secluded life in Appalachia. (The album’s closer, “Baby Mine,” is MeToo’s most-requested lullaby. Fortunately for me, Joe and Justin put their lyrics up on the web.)

Their third Adventure Album, Saddle Up, just released this month and was inspired by a sojourn out West. It’s full of tall tales, Native American legends, cowboys and cowgirls, cows, relationships-as-geography, and at least two different songs about horses. It’s definitely twangier than their other works, leaning a bit towards the classic Country & Western sound, but that’s not a bad thing at all.

So does Saddle Up measure up? How does the family like it? Well, it’s my favorite kind of music: new music that I haven’t heard a thousand times in a row before. MeToo usually requests it whenever we’re in the car (though occasionally she prefers “my old Okee Dokees”) and RU can already sing about half of “Don’t Fence Me In.” It’s not my favorite Okee Dokee Brothers album but its in the same ballpark as the others; it’s jaunty and fun and easy to listen to. I’d recommend Saddle Up as easily as I would Can You Canoe or Into the Woods.

On a closing note, we went to see the Okee Dokee Brothers play back in October (it was, I believe, MeToo’s first live concert). It was a wonderfully good time, very family-friendly, and totally worth the three-hour drive it took for us to get there. (Maybe if more people flock to their venues they will see the value of extending their tours to areas closer to where I live. So get out there and check ‘em out!)

Honestly, I quite like their music and am glad my kids give me an excuse to listen to them. If you want to give them a try yourself, the Okee Dokee Brothers have some videos on their website, and the journeys they undertook for Can You Canoe and Into the Woods are chronicled in two videos available on Netflix.