Whatever happened from this point forward, we were actually here. In San Antonio. I kept having to remind myself that we had actually made it. It was already Thursday night, and I started work on Monday, but we were in the city of San Antonio, Texas in one piece, and only a little bit worse for wear.
The Hotel Number (divisible by 3), as I mentioned earlier was not the in the best state of repair.
She canna take much more, Cap'n. Structural integrity is at 70% and fallin' fast!
Yes, that is erosion from the condensation running out of the window AC.
But Hey! No cockroaches! So there's that!
I had the room booked through the weekend, as we were working through a “relocation” company to get a place to live. I had severely underestimated the role the “relocation” service would play in this move. The extent of their “service” was to send me my relocation advance, less taxes and call a real estate agent down here. That was pretty much the end of their active involvement.
Friday morning, we met with the real estate guy who, contrary to my belief about lawyers and real estate agents, turned out to be a pretty cool guy. He had a list of homes to look at, and we went a-looking.
We started with the concept of “close to work,” and started looking at places near the Castle. (That’s the nickname for the building.) Naturally, the circle got wider and we revised our concept from “close to work” to “not quite in Austin.”
The last place we looked at was just about right size-wise, with the right number of bedrooms and just about everything, so we decided to put in an application, which was two hundred non-refundable dollars. After listing some references and whatnot, we figured we’d be in the house sometime Monday.
We took the weekend and explored San Antonio a little bit on Saturday then went to Corpus Christi on Sunday. It was a hot, windy day, but nice to visit the Gulf of Mexico.
Not knowing what the next few days would hold, I booked the room for one more night on Monday. Just in case.
Leaving 4 children, 1 adult, 2 cats and a dog in the the motel room, I went to work the next day. Made the requisite phone calls checking on the house.
Booked the room for another night.
Repeat for Tuesday.
Repeat for Wednesday.
By this point, the room was getting mighty small, and I wasn’t even in it during the day.
Oh, and repeat for Thursday.
Finally, on Thursday, we got word that everything was set for the house, and we were go for launch. So Thursday night was our last night at the Motel Number. Hopefully forever and ever, amen.
Oh, and did I mention that the UHaul was almost a week overdue (at $40/day) at this point?
I took my lunch hour on Friday, got everyone out of the motel, and we trucked the UHaul up to the new place. I finished the day and unloaded what I could that night – namely the bed. A friend from work came by at 7:00 the next morning, and we were unloaded by noon. We spent the rest of the day rearranging boxes, and rested very well that night.
Next day, it was time to return the UHaul. The closest store open was near Randolph Air Force Base. Now, this shop was in an interesting area, to say the least, but it was daytime, so it didn’t much bother me. To set the scene, though, the UHaul business was tucked inside a pretty beat-up convenience store. The owner of the store was a Mexican guy with a club foot, and his #1 helper was an older guy who definitely looked like he’d seen better days. I learned that he was from Detroit, and had retired from Ford to this area.
The best part was that the two of them bitched at each other like an old married couple. It was sitcom material for sure.
So, anyway, remember when we had to track down the Uhaul? And they forgot the dollies?
So, I check in the truck, and the windshield had picked up a rock on a chip seal job south of Bridger; before we even got out of Montana. The dollies were missing, which I thought we’d rectified in Helena. (You know, the original place we were supposed to get the truck?)
So the guy starts grilling me about the dollies, and I explain the situation. He can’t verify it, of course, and no one is working at the office in Belgrade. At this point, I’m starting to get a bit agitated. I’ve got the late fee, the cracked windshield – which I thought would be covered under the insurance I bought, and the missing dollies. All I can hear is “cha-CHING! cha-CHING!” and not in my favor. He’s calling corporate and his bosses and who the heck ever he calls when things come up.
Finally, he gets tired of dealing with everything, and just says to me, “Look. I have to charge you for the dollies. The computer says they’re supposed to be there. Someone will ask about them if I don’t.”
I say, “I understand.”
He says, “I’m not going to charge you for the windshield or the late fees, though.”
Roughly, that was about an $800 turnaround in my favor.
I thanked him profusely, and left $120 lighter in the wallet, and was happy to do so.
We all went home in the van, and for the first time in the better part of two weeks, we weren’t actually “moving.”