We made it to the hotel in Lugo. Tomorrow we will be moving into the farm. But before I recap the past two days, take a look at this photo and caption it for me.
I have a caption and it evolved in real time ‘Is that the moving truck? Are they fucking kidding me?!?’ And Jeff’s favorite ‘13ft of truck in a 10 foot bag!’
I took this photo of the moving truck after watching them maneuver it to this resting place, more than 20 times. This is no exaggeration. Jeff shook his head. ‘I don’t even care about the parking nonsense. There is No Way this entire apartment is fitting in that truck. And thats not counting everything in the storage in BluSpace in Campanar. They haven’t even started and they’ve already failed.’
I hired the largest moving and logistics/storage company in Spain. We are moving across the country. And this is what we got. No reservation with the Ayuntamiento for parking in front of the building in advance. Or within a block or two. Nope! Just a tiny rented truck and a shoe horn. I’m pretty sure the blue car behind them showed the results of their efforts on the hood.
For the first hour, the driver stood by the truck, enduring endless honking and shouting, as cars and trucks tried unsuccessfully to squeeze past. My Garmin stress meter ( yes, I have one of these) and body battery was taking a beating. I had to look away and concentrare on the one guy who was packing up our entire apartment. ONE GUY. Upon entry he waved me into each room and gestured to the entirety of each space. ‘Todos?’ He would ask me with a pleading look. I was very sure he was hoping I would laugh and say ‘No’, picking up a set of coasters on the side table ‘Solo.’ But I didn’t. It was all going.
He kept looking at us sitting there eating breakfast. He spoke no ingles and was perpetually muttering under his breath. Jeff said he felt bad.
‘I don’t feel bad, at all.’ I told him, taking a bite of toast, since they hadn’t packed it yet. ‘We paid for full packing service. It’s not my fault they sent one packer. I’m not lifting a spoon.’
The packer’s phone was ringing off the hook and he was answering it like an ATT operator. Finally, the driver abandoned his post as the newly minted neighborhood pariah, and he came up to help with the packing. The chorus of horns continued outside. I just made myself another piece of toast and chewed it like glass. He was very personable for a man who had likely had his intelligence, manhood, and future progeny maligned and called into question. He waited for me to finish my second piece of toast before motioning for me to join him in each room. ‘Todos?’ He asked. ‘Si.’ I told yet another representative for the company for the second time in 1 hour. ‘Todos!’
At hour 1.5, two more guys came. Each one of them marched in, examining the work of the first two guys, casting Jeff and I disparaging looks as we sat on our computers. Then, each in turn walked me thru each room, yet again. ‘Todos?’ I took a deep breath. ‘Si. Todos. All of it is going.’ This caused the last guy to take off his baseball cap and scratch his balding head. I could sympathize.
I checked back in with the driver and inquired as to the size of the truck. After all the ‘Todos?’ and the bald head scratching, I figured a gut check was in order.
‘Do you honestly believe that little truck is going to be enough.’
He just smiled and assured me all was fine ‘Tranquila.’ he said. You know I don’t like when they say ‘tranquila.’ I was triggered.
So I started freaking out. My heart monitor was not happy. Jeff talked me down a bit.
‘Let’s wait and see.’
My Spanish isn’t great, but I understood their conversations. At one point they made some nasty comments about my shoe and handbag collections. And the amount of clothes I have. I can take a lot of criticism but don’t ever disrespect my shoes and bags. I didn’t tell them I had already packed the car the night before with the really expensive ones. The ones they could sell on eBay, or Wallapop or Vinted, and buy a car. Perhaps, it was the look I gave them as they opened the drawers under the guest bed and started laughing. I needed a break or blood would be spilled.
I went to Vodefone at the centro commercial down the street to cancel internet and return the internet router. This is telling. Preferring dealing with an internet provider over our moving company. Then took the long way home, figuring it was best I didn’t look at what was going on in el Compartimento. It was a strategy that worked well as a kid when there were monsters under the bed. It’s proven by children everywhere that if you don’t look, they can’t get you. I was pretty sure it would work this time. Then I met Jeff on the corner as he was heading to the parking garage to sit in the car for a bit. He didn’t look good.
‘The truck is full. Two thirds of our apartment is still, well, in our apartment. So they’re all huddled over one of their phones. It’s a heated discussion. I need to sit in the car for a few minutes before I start yelling at someone. It’s Covid free in there and I can calm down for a few minutes. Would you like to join me?’
It was an invitation I was happy to accept. And I was glad he was taking the lead on any yelling, or, in Jeff’s case, a stern talking to. I’ve met my quota in the last 30 days. We sat in the car for 10 minutes, then we went back upstairs. By that time, they had a solution. Another truck was coming. And they were furiously packing in anticipation of it’s arrival. They all avoided eye contact with us. Shoe mocking had disappeared. Jeff’s strategy of taking a beat had worked just fine.
By 4:30, both trucks were full. Our apartment was empty. Our blood pressures were in the normal range. All good signs. I asked the defacto Head Packer if we were heading straight to BluSpace to get what we had in storage. It was part of the original quote – included. But then, a look of horror passed across his face.
‘No!’ He said. And a bunch more in rapid español came at me.
What?!? He got on his phone. I got on my phone. We were calling the same person. He beat me to the punch. Then my phone rang. It was not good news.
‘Kelli. The trucks are full. There are no more trucks.’
It won’t surprise you to know this did not make me happy. And I told him so, loudly. I have a contract.
‘We will pick up the things from storage and store it for you for free. No charge. When we have another truck heading North we will put it on it and deliver it to you. It will take two weeks. But we need you to go to BluSpace right now to meet them to unload it.’
I had no choice. We had 12 hours before we started driving to Lugo. So I went and watched them park yet another truck in a similar fashion as they had that morning. So, crazy stupid parking has to be part of their company training plan. I let them in and they asked me to ‘watch the truck’ as they put things on a dolly and brought them down to load. Now I was the person who strangers yelled at and flipped off. Yippee!
But, finally, it was done. We met our landlord and handed in the keys. Leaving him, and our neighbors, with bottles of wine to say ‘Thanks!’. Then we fell into bed at the hotel on the beach in Valencia. And, just 24 hours later we are in Lugo, in Galicia, at our hotel. The same one I stayed at for two weeks all those months ago. We’d left at 6am in the dark. An uneventful 9 hour drive later, via Madrid, was easier than we anticipated.
Spain has been in a perimeter lockdown since October. It’s not just the country’s borders that are closed. All provinces are supposed to be closed to other citizens from any other province, except under exceptional circumstances and force majeure. We qualify, since our habitual home in Valencia is no more. And our new home in Lugo is now officially ours. All we possess is on the autovía heading to Galicia.
I had the paperwork ready. Including a full explanation, in Spanish, ready to go for the Guardia Civil officers at any one of the numerous potential checkpoints along the way. We were all set. But, there were no checkpoints. Not one. All the pics in the papers are not a depiction of reality on the A3, M50, or A6. No one asked us why we were traveling the length of the country. No one even glanced our way at petrol stations or Service Areas.
When we checked into the hotel in Lugo we were required to scan a QR code on the wall and notify authorities that we are here and have traveled from another province. We provided our details and complied with the law. But the State of Alarm ends on May 9th. It seems no one really cares we have arrived, and I couldn’t be happier. Anonymity is ours. Lugo is a new adventure, and it’s begun, at last. As the seller said to me when we were finalizing our plans to meet tomorrow to get the keys. ‘We are close to the finish, Kelli. Just a few more hours.’ Music to my ears. Please God. Let our stuff arrive on time and in one piece. Y si, Todos!