Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So much to do!

Today, I have tried to get a lot accomplished, even though I have been sitting here in front of this computer for 3 hours (I *heart* naptime!). Everyone always asks how the packing is coming along, but there is so much more to moving than just packing! In fact, packing is the LAST thing that has to be done.

First, of course, you have to have a new address. (Nothing else can be done until ... No wait, we did move once without a new address. A P.O. Box in Jacksonville, FL. YIKES! Don't try that!) Then, you might as well go ahead and change your cell phone numbers or get a new landline number before doing anything else or you'll spend the first few weeks at the new place updating all of your contact information with all sorts of people. We did that last night.

This is a bigger deal than it sounds. David had the same phone number since the first time we lived in Knoxville, 5 years ago. We've moved 4 times since then, and his number stayed the same. So did mine until a few months ago. We REALLY wanted to be back in Knoxville, but that's a story for another time....

Then come the endless account openings and closings. Electricity and gas? Done! Water? Got to bring the lease agreement and $80 deposit to the office after we get there. Cancel gym membership here? Waiting for a confirmation e-mail. Cancel cable and internet here? Got to take the equipment to the office here or else pay for someone to come out and get it. Cancel electricity here? Done! Open new bank account (we're finally leaving Regions!)? Pending. Contact leader of a MOPS group in the area? Done!

See? You can be surprisingly productive sitting in one spot! (Of course, the clean laundry still needs to be put away, but oh well.) But there's still much to be done: DirecTV and internet at new place, order new checks, arrange mail forwarding, and whatever else I'm still forgetting.

When David gets his lip poked out about doing the packing, I show him my list of phone calls and e-mails. We have a system that works for us. I handle these sorts of details, he packs, I unpack, he helps me to hang pictures and curtain rods, we both paint, and so forth. You'd think we would be able to function like a well-oiled, moving machine! We've gotten tons of practice, but it's still always chaotic.

Nevertheless, I was quite amazed when a former real estate agent asked me, two days before closing, if I needed the number for the electric company, the phone company, and so forth. Are you kidding?? PLEASE don't wait that long to make these arrangements. It can be done, but I don't recommend it!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Making New Friends, Even Before You Get There

For most people (well, at least for me), one of the hardest things about moving is leaving friends behind and making new ones. It can be very tempting to just stay in the small world of your new house and new job without venturing outside of those circles. I confess that in a few places that we lived, I did exactly that. When you have moved many times, it's easy to say to yourself, "Why should I make new friends? It'll just be that much harder when we move again." But here's what I have learned: it's a good thing for it to be terribly hard to leave somewhere.

Friend-making can start before you even load up the U-Haul. Sites such as Facebook are wonderful for this. When we first began considering a move to Fort Smith, I searched for people on Facebook that had any connection to that town. One woman who came up in the search was in the Huntsville/Decatur, Alabama network, just like me, but she listed Fort Smith as her hometown. So I sent her a message and asked about her hometown. Her name is Lora. She's now one of my Facebook friends, we've met in person, and she's one of the inspirations for this blog. She has since moved back to the Fort Smith area, and I'm hopeful we'll soon be "real life" friends, too.

Through her, I have become connected to several other people in the area. In fact, the house that we will be renting was never listed for rent or for sale. Lora mentioned us to her friend Laura in the real estate / rental business, and Laura mentioned us to her friend who owns the house. I have also met another friend of Lora's, and we almost rented his house. Being from Fort Smith, she has been able to share all sorts of information about the area from schools to churches to restaurants to good areas to live. And because her kids aren't much older than mine, she understands what we are needing and looking for.

Now, I can't guarantee that you'll have exactly the same results, but don't be afraid to reach out to people online. In general, people love to tell you about the city where they live, and you'll get much better information than from city websites and such.

Later, I'll be writing more about how to get involved once you move, but I've found that the more connected you feel to a place before you even get there, the easier the transition will be.
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