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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Boxes and More Boxes

It’s been a long time since I last posted. My apologies, but we have been in crazy mode for the past month. Moving can be a challenge if it’s from one city to another. My last move was from one state to another. I thought that was a big deal. Moving from one country to another is a huge challenge and not for the faint of heart. I guess it wouldn’t be a big deal if you were a student moving to Japan for a couple of years to teach. Just fill up the suitcase, grab the visa and passport, and purchase the airline tickets…simple. I wish I were so lucky. Okay, my suitcase will be the size of a forty foot cargo trailer. Did I say that Erika and I have been packing everything including a kitchen sink? Not only one sink, but two different types of sinks! Home improvement items are expensive in Japan and the $ keeps shrinking. It’s at 76.80 as I write. It only makes sense to ship it over if we can. We also purchased faucets, tile, wood stove, sealants and stains…well, a whole bunch of stuff. The major problems confronting us are import taxes and insurance. The way this works is that you want to purchase enough insurance to cover your losses, but not so much as to make the taxes ridiculously high. Each item that will be shipped via slow-boat-to-China (I mean Japan) requires a description, quantity and an estimated value. So, how much is that 40 year old extension cord worth? If I wrote zero, the customs agent would wonder why I’m bothering to bring something worthless into Japan. It’s okay to write one cent, but everything has to have a value. Fortunately, Erika is very good at Excel and has been able to keep the thousands of items in a reasonable, itemized order. Each box has an assigned number that corresponds to the list.
Moving Sale
The number of boxes has been growing in the garage, but for some strange reason the closets remain partially full. It’s like we have gremlins running around filling up our closets at night. I’ll have to set traps and try to catch one! Most of the bulk has been my tools for woodworking and my astronomy equipment. We have a large dining table, entertainment center, leather couches, and a Sleep Number bed that will be taking up a lot of room. Some of this stuff we wish we could sell, but the proceeds would be so small it would not be worth it.
Packing, for me, is like a trip down memory lane. I have junk that I haven’t seen since the last time I moved. I guess the rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used it in the past year, throw it out. We have lots of stuff to donate. Erika gets frustrated at all the stuff I have accumulated over the years. She looks at it as if I purchased everything last week. I have to remind her that those “HotWheels” were purchased when I was 7 years old. “Hey, those are collectors’ items by the way,” I remind Erika. “Why did you buy all this stuff if you’re not going to use it?” Erika asks. “How did I know I wasn’t going to use it when I was 7 years old?” We argue often over things like that. “Sell it on Ebay or Craigslist,” are other things I often hear lately. Yes, moving is stressful, exhausting, and frustrating. Thank goodness we have the doggies to give us a reason to get out and go for a long walk. 
Update:  I managed to sell the “HotWheels for $30 plus shipping. Those online auction sites are a convenient place to get rid of junk. Last weekend we had a moving sale. Most of the stuff was given away, so that Erika was frustrated after she spent an entire day standing around getting rid of things only to find that she  made a couple of hundred bucks. She did sell her car and find someone to take care of our home while we are in Japan. I sold my truck a few days ago to a very nice couple from Bellevue, WA. They saw my ad on Craigslist. I wish we could have sold our house so easily. The mover will come tonight to estimate the container size we will need to move all of our stuff. The container will be loaded and shipped to Japan on September 7th…that’s the plan anyway. In about 8 weeks our belongings should be at our front door in Tsukahara. I don’t know how all of this stuff is going to fit in our tiny house in Japan. I guess we will have to live in a warehouse condition for a while.
The Federal Way house is just about empty now. It’s great for the dogs. We can play ball and no obstacles get in the way. After our stuff is shipped, we can rest a bit and begin preparation for the journey to Japan. George

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