Monday, January 20, 2014

Moving In Day Is Here!

We have reached a major milestone in Stuttgart!  Our container arrived and we are officially no longer living out of suitcases and on an air mattress.  It was such a relief to open up boxes with all of the things we had packed away in early October.  (And now we are ready for guests!  Who will be first?)

We started our journey at the U.S. Customs Office on base in order to get the paperwork we needed to meet our container at the German Customs Office.  It wasn't fun and I don't want to talk about that experience again.  It involved a lot of stamps and questions I didn't have answers to.

But the German Customs Office was a lot easier.  We met our truck driver and container in the parking lot bright and early at 8:00 am.  The customs official came out to make sure our container seal hadn't been broken.  And then we were on our way.

That's our container.  Big Tex.
The driver followed us to Stuttgart.  When we were almost at our apartment, the movers called to ask where we were because they were waiting for us at the German Customs Office. Whoops.  They were late, and we were apparently too eager to get our stuff.

The driver parked the huge truck in our really crowded neighborhood around the corner from our place and then it was time to unload!  Don't worry, only the red container was ours.  And it wasn't even full.

Big truck, very little street.
Breaking the seal.
The whole container was unloaded onto the sidewalk before anything was brought upstairs.
Heavy lifting.
Kristin standing guard with our treasures.
And then the movers decided that all of our big pieces of furniture required an elevator to lift them on to our balcony, and then into our house, because the internal staircase in our place was too narrow.  We understand that living on the 6th floor with no elevator was a big pain for the movers, but it was such a letdown.  Luckily we have a large storage unit in the basement, so the movers moved all of the big pieces of furniture in there.  The guest mattress/box spring, big red cabinet, armoire, dresser and couch.

The movers sent the truck on its way (which wasn't an easy job with the tight streets in Stuttgart) and carried up 115 boxes/pieces of furniture to our apartment on the 6th floor.

So we had all of our stuff, but no place to put anything (other than the kitchen, which we both unpacked immediately).  As part of the moving package, the movers were required to unpack all of our things on to flat surfaces in our apartment, so all of our stuff spent the next week on the floor until ...

Moving Day Round 2!

Because the movers weren't able to carry our big stuff up the stairs, the moving company had to order an elevator to lift everything up to our balcony.  So one week later, we got a permit to park the elevator truck (which we somehow didn't need for a HUGE moving truck) and a second set of movers arrived with the elevator.

And then things got very quiet.  The movers worked to get the elevator up and safely attached to our balcony to lift up our furniture.

There are two more floors you can't see.
A good perspective of how high it really is.

And then the movers decided that it was too dangerous to try to use the elevator.  More disappointment.  But these guys were a bit more industrious than the original movers.  After removing the railing on the internal staircase of our place, they carried all of our big pieces of furniture up to the 6th floor. Success!

Matt actually did a lot of heavy lifting.  Just not at this moment.  Kristin supervised and took pictures.
A tight fit.  But the armoire made it.
The big red cabinet is happy to be in its new home.
And that's the story of how it took 7 weeks of waiting and 2 sets of movers to finally be settled in our new place.  We can't wait to share pictures of it now that the furniture is in place!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Top 3 excuses for why we haven’t posted anything in a while

  1. No internet at our apartment – After signing up online for Kabel BW service December 5, we still have not been contacted about installing it.  Kristin is ready to pull her hair out -- and she doesn't have much to begin with.  You don't realize how reliant you are on Internet access, until you can't get some German folks to actually install it.  We may have found a solution, so we are excited to get Internet up and running soon.
  2. New computer – I bought a macbook pro to replace the 6 year old laptops Kristin and I were using and haven’t consolidated all of the photos we’ve taken recently.
  3. Holidays – We spent 2 weeks in the US and had a great time catching up with many of you!
Sit tight and look forward to some new posts soon.

P.S. I converted this alcove in the spare bedroom into a closet so my clothes aren't hanging on the stairs anymore.  Ikea had a shoe rack and matching clothes rack that fit within 1/8" of each side in the space we had.  With a lot of drilling, anchors and removing the legs of the shoe rack with a saw, we now have an awesome closet solution.