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Friday, 12 February 2010

Boxes and bags of.... stuff

At around 1:40pm on Thursday a big truck arrived carrying our long awaited shipping pallets. They nearly didn't arrive, as the person Beth arranged the delivery with over the phone on Monday had written down the wrong day, but we called after waiting over three hours and they managed to send a truck almost immediately.

Five pallets, three stacked nearly six feet high and one of them six feet long to accommodate bed parts, were soon standing on the kerbside just yards from our apartment door. In fact we started tearing into the a pallet as soon as the first was ready, while the driver was still unloading, and by the time the last was off the truck we had unwrapped and stowed the contents of the first two.

The pallets were very well protected with layers of black plastic, thick bubble wrap, shrink wrap, cardboard, and yet more shrink wrap to cut through, before we could unstack our bags and boxes. We were hurrying against possible rain, and indeed large drops started falling as we got into the last pallet with the bed parts. We piled the wrappings in piles in the covered alley that runs through our apartment block, and later used the car to distribute the piles round the dumpsters on the apartment complex, so as not to completely fill one.

Beth wrote down the bag numbers to tick back against our packing list, while I stacked and piled things round the apartment in predetermined zones as much as possible. When we had all the numbers from each pallet, Beth joined in the stacking process. At first it didn't seem possible that we could get everything inside, but the apartment is deceptively commodious, so after an hour and a half we had everything inside. Admittedly there was very little empty floor area left, but still enough room to manouver. Just.

First order of the day was to assemble our beds. The only furniture we sent over were some bunk beds, because we had only bought them in 2008 and they were expensive. So we find the slats, the sides, the head and footboards. Hmmm, we can't find the bolts and screws to hold all the bits together. They must be here somewhere, so we begin searching each bag and box for a heavy bag of clinking metal pieces.

Nothing. We've checked every likely box or bag thrice, the unlikely ones at least once, and no nuts and bolts. So we sleep on the mattresses on the floor for another night.

The next day Beth starts to search the boxes and bags again, while I head out in the car to see if I can get the necessary parts at a DIY shop. The main ingredient is a set of bolts which fit into cylindrical retainers which hide inside pre-drilled holes in the long sections. I locate the cylindrical pieces at my first stop, but they only stock the bolts up to 60mm lengths. I didn't know what length I needed at first, so I got a couple of these to test. No good, but at the second stop they give me the name of a third store, Eugene Fastenings, where I locate 90mm bolts, but not 110mm which turns out on closer inspection to be the necessary length.

We have a house appointment with our realtor at 2pm so we break the search, but after that is done we go together to a fourth DIY store, but still they don't have quite the right 110mm bolt. They do have 4.5" roundhead bolts though, and we decide to try these, with a washer on each to pad the bolt head.

Finally, they work. To cut a long story short, we assemble the beds in a couple of hours, push them into place, and lay our mattresses on top. They don't fit.

At least they don't quite fit, being slightly wider than the box-shaped bunk wants to accommodate. Metric meets Imperial, America conquers Denmark. Beth squishes hers into place, and I use the thin foam mattress that we also had shipped to fill the box of my bunk, and lay the mattress on top. It's not perfect, but for the first time in two months we won't be sleeping on mattresses on the floor, and the cats will have to work a bit harder to wake us in the morning.


As for our other stuff, and goodness there's a lot of it, about 80% will stay in the boxes it travelled in, as we don't need it right now, and we haven't go room to unpack anyway. We'll dig out the odd book, DVD, game or item of clothing, but we've managed without most of this stuff since August, and we can last a couple more months until we really have room to spread out and reorganise.

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