The day of reckoning has come and gone.
Not that there was ever any question about whether we’d be under our weight limits, which are ridiculously high. Even with the addition of a treadmill and a gigantic bean bag chair since we arrived in China, we just barely hit the one-ton mark for HHE during our pack out on Tuesday. (I sometimes think that if Thad were doing this Foreign Service thing alone, he wouldn’t need multiple shipments. He’d load his clothes in his suitcases and put his TV and PlayStation on a boat and off he would go. It seems most of the fluff around here belongs to me.)
More than being overweight, I was worried about not having enough pounds to pack. To ship boxes back to DC for permanent storage, we had to have at least 250 pounds and I worried that we wouldn’t make it. Like a sumo wrestler, trying to pack on the pounds before a big bout, I was scrambling to find heavy items to fill out my States-bound shipment. Add in some books, a random computer monitor that was never unpacked after arriving in Chengdu and copious amounts of winter clothing and we hit the mark, with room to spare. Goodbye stuff. I’ll see you again…well, who knows. Someday when we do a DC tour. At which point I will probably hate you all and send you directly to the Goodwill, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Tuesday morning started with a swarm of movers (okay, more like seven, but one guy seriously scurried everywhere he went, so he made the whole thing feel a bit more frenetic) taking over my apartment. Being uber-prepared, my goods were all sorted by shipment types and piles were labeled, so things got underway without a hitch. Mostly, I sat on my couch, waiting to be needed. Occasionally there were random questions I had to answer, like explaining why we had such a giant bottle of aspirin (blame it on Costco shopping) or if we really wanted to ship my jewelry by air. (Yes! Accessories are important. They must arrive ASAP!)
Oh, and there was the tampon incident. You see, I had an extra box of them that I was going to ship by air, so it was in the appropriately labeled room. At one point, I walked by the UAB room as I was making my occasional trip around the apartment, only to stop and watch one of the movers look at the box with a very confused expression. Curious as to what would happen next, I stayed in the hallway, just long enough to watch him open the box and smell the contents. Yup, a big ol’ whiff out of the tampon box. I’m not sure what he thought was in there or what it might smell like, but he got a disappointing cotton and plastic aroma. At this point, I moved on in my wanderings, thinking the strange incident was over. If I only knew the awkwardness that was to come…
Just a few minutes later, the manager of the move came up to me with that same box in hand and asked me what it was. I told her they were tampons, but that didn’t seem to clear up the situation in the least. She then pulled one out, waved it around and asked if it had liquid in it. I had to explain that it was cotton and plastic- no liquid involved and yes, it was fine to ship by air. Promises that the box was safe to send in UAB were extracted and back to managing she went, with seemingly no idea what an awkward situation we had just shared.
So there was that…
My favorite part of the day though had to be watching the movers make Franken-boxes. Much like the fabled monster (we’ll leave the literary analysis of his monstrosity to another post), the boxes were cobbled together out of pieces and parts. The TV got one of these custom-made creations, as they didn’t have any actual TV boxes with them, but the best fabricated box of the day belonged to my patio chairs. These, they stacked on top of each other and then cut box parts to go all around the chairs. By the end, the final product makes it look like I am shipping my own personal Pac-Man arcade game. Nice!
With only cardboard scraps and a whole lot of dust left behind, my days in Chengdu are numbered. (That number being 2.) Now, it’s just me and my suitcases.