Any rumors of my demise are premature.
However, moving is not for the faint of heart. Also, it's a massive time-suck.
A quick overview of the process (pics at the bottom of the post):
Spent a couple of weeks sorting and deciding what not to take. Had a walk-through by the company rep to give me an estimate (couple of them; I went with Ace Relocation Systems, part of Atlas Van Lines). Hired a company - TurboHaul - to come and take away a lot of the stuff I wasn't moving, like some 30-year-old chairs and a sofa older than that. They were great, fast and efficient.
Then moving day. I had gotten a room at a hotel for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights. The customer rep for Ace thought it would take two days - well, one and a half - one to box up everything* and one to load the truck. But when the driver showed up Monday morning he looked around the post-TurboHaul apartment and said he figured they could do it all in one day "if that's okay". Yes, well, it was.
And they did. He had a local crew of two people and they were packing demons. They had the whole apartment boxed or packed and loaded onto the U-Haul truck (there was no way to get an 18-wheel rig around the back of my apartment complex, so they used the U-Haul to ferry from the apartment to the semi) in 6 hours. Delivery was set up for Saturday morning. I went to the hotel and crashed.
Next day TurboHaul came back (fortunately they were able to reschedule) and took everything left in the apartment. They even cleaned out the fridge! I had decided not to take my old sleeper sofa - Gwen's one bad habit was clawing at that sofa, and reupholstering it would have cost more than replacing it, plus the movers charge by weight and sleeper sofas are heavy! So that had to go, too. When they were done the apartment was bare. I dropped off the keys and a check to cover final cleaning** and went to dinner with a good friend whom I'll really miss (but we'll see each other in NYC a few times over the season). Then to the hotel and bed.
Wednesday morning I got up and left at 8. Stopped for breakfast and hit the road. Traffic to I66 was bad, of course, but never terrible, and once I got on 66 it was clear sailing (since I was leaving the city). Stopped once for lunch and then for the night in Salem, Virginia. My days of driving straight through are done, even if all the 70mph stretches have cut the trip from 11 to 9 hours. Thursday I got breakfast in Salem and hit the road by 8. I was home by 11.
Friday I went over to Harvey's and bought a new sleeper sofa and a chair and ordered bookshelves. They delivered that afternoon, and weren't able to get the sofa through the door of the guest room/office. Fortunately, the old one in the living room would fit, so the new one's out there. Had lunch with my sister Laura and later went and bought a little dogwood to replace the one that I'd bought last fall. Actually, the nursery didn't charge since the other one had been planted less than a year ago, so that was nice.
The driver had called me Thursday to ask if a Sunday delivery would be okay; his truck was in the shop and they'd told him he could get it on Friday. I said that was fine, so bright and early (well, 8:30) on Sunday he inched his semi up Outer Drive, trying not to take down any of the wires crossing the street. He and his local team of unloaders worked really quickly unloading, too. They put the boxes where I wanted them with (so far) only one exception - a box of dvds that ended up among the books. They also put the bed back together in the spare room, set up the chests, and were done in about three hours, maybe less. Neat, fast, careful.
My sister Molly and her daughter Krista had come over to help. Molly and I built a desk that afternoon. Pro tip: don't buy furniture from Staples. That damned desk took almost four hours to assemble, though it does look good. Krista put the chair together - took her about five minutes! She also unpacked a lot of dishes while Molly and I were struggling with the desk.
So... then came my part. Three weeks of unpacking a little bit every day and I'm not done. Nearly so, except for the bulk of the books which will have to wait until the shelves arrive. But all the dvds are unpacked and shelved, and all the cds are unpacked and in their new chests. Which Molly and I put together last weekend. The first one took about two hours, but the other two took slightly less both together.
I also got a new kitten - there'll be a post about her.
I think I'm basically settled. Been having lunch with my brother and one sister every Thursday, and sometimes, depending on their schedules, the other sister and my niece come, too.
With luck, things will continue to go smoothly. OPM has been very fast with the pension, and that's all sorted and regularized. TSP was very fast with sending me that money (I feared the worst when they wanted the form faxed), which was very good since that payed for the move, the new furniture, and all the little nitnoy things I had to pick up for the house.
So: tl;dr - I'm in Tennessee and basically moved in! Hoping that things settle down now, and feeling very good about it all.
* Yes, I suppose I could have done it all myself with some friends. But I didn't want to. I prefer to pay people to do things so they're done right and fast. I know I couldn't have packed up a U-Haul truck in half a day.
** See above