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Moving…it conjures up emotions unique to each of us. We always seem to have a story to share about the woes of moving, and they’re rarely positive. To us, moving means chaos, frustration, fatigue, basically any passionate emotion you can think of and multiplied by infinity. Sounds like a pleasure right? Well for some reason unknown to us, we can never leave well enough alone. Afterall, we did make the move across an ocean just when we were feeling so sure of ourselves. But why stop there? The adventure was only just beginning!

As we mentioned before, it took us two months to find the perfect place. We knew we had found it as soon as we walked through the door. The paint was chipping, the floors were uneven, the lights were dim, and the kitchen was a cave…no other place would do. You’re thinking, “What could they possibly see in an old (and I mean OLD), run-down, cave of an apartment?”. It’s simple. Anything else would have been too easy, and as you all know by now, we like to take the road less traveled. We had at last found a place to call home…let the moving, I mean chaos, begin!

Our first step was to rent a car. There was no way moving was happening unless we had a set of wheels and an entire day to use them. We took the train out to the airport where we picked up our Peugot Partner, an incredibly slick and sexy ride…ha! We didn’t care because as we took our places in the driver’s and passenger seat, we suddenly felt a sense of sweet, sweet freedom. Spain was at our fingertips. We could go anywhere our hearts desired, but we were tethered to our move. First things first…business now, fun could be had later.


Our first stop led us to Gavá Mar where we were to first pick up our things we had purchased from the garage sale. We may not have mentioned that one of my students is moving at the end of January and her family needed to get rid of most of everything they owned. It was a win-win situation for all because we managed to acquire many everyday items we would need for only 120 euro, and they were able to offload many of their belongings. We were hoping to load everything and move it in only one trip, but as fate would have it we ended up making 2 trips out to the beautiful seaside town. We even walked into town and enjoyed lunch at a restaurant right on the beach…it was such a nice afternoon.

So you could say we got a little side tracked, but the beauty of the seaside town was irrestible. Yes, we did get back on track, but it wasn’t until about 4:00. Next, we drove to Mabel’s where we decided to cruise the internet for furniture. Our thinking was “We may as well take advantage of the car while we have it”, which was reasonable enough. We had already purchased a bed and mattress a couple of days prior, and now we were on the hunt for other big ticket items. A couch, TV, basically anything that would require careful planning. The trick was, the furniture would have to be small enough to fit through the 60cm wide staircase in our apartment. Literally, it’s barely wider than Jeff’s shoulders if you can imagine that! To our surprise, we happened to locate a nearly new couch just around the corner from Mabel’s apartment. Score! We suited up, for now it was dark out and a light mist/ drizzle had moved in. The good news, however, was that the biggest soccer game of the seaon was taking place in Barcelona (Real Madrid vs. Barce) so the streets were completely deserted…no exxageration. You could hear waves of cheers coming from the apartments above and even from the stadium as we got closer.

We located the apartment with ease, and within about 10 minutes we had a new couch. The problem was, we had already picked up the bed and there was no way the couch would fit. So, the sellers agreed we could return in 1 hour to retrieve the couch. Rrrgg…not to worry though, yet another trip into the heart of the city was a tad frustrating but nothing we couldn’t handle. Jeff was driving like a champ through the rediculously congested roadways, and only once did we make a wrong turn! One hour had passed by the time we returned to pick up the couch…what timing! The sellers were kind enough to help us push, yes push, the couch out into the hall and into the elevator. From there it was a race down the stairwell in order to retrieve the couch in the lobby (the elevator was just big enough for the couch and only the couch). Now, the remaining challenge was to load the sofa into the van, and to our surprise it was not a challenge in the least. The sofa slid right into the van with no resistance whatsoever, and we were able to close both rear doors without a problem. This sofa was meant to be ours!

What was supposed to be our last and final stop brought us to Mabel’s once more. We had several huge IKEA bags filled with items we had purchased already loaded in the car, and only our large suitcases would fit. Yet one more return trip would be required…noooo!! By this time you can imagine our extreme fatigue. I felt I couldn’t climb another stair or lift another bag or my body would simply give out. It was already late into the evening, and the process of moving had long lost any sense of organization. Jeff had resorted to throwing the remainder of our personal belongings into a few reusable shopping bags Mabel lent us in an effort to expedite things. I was waiting with the car…one thing you NEVER do is leave a loaded car unattended…when I saw Jeff looking quite disgusted. “One of these bags smells funky…kinda like fish.” he said when I opened the door. I agreed, so we decided to empty the bag onto what had become a heap of our belongings in the back of the car. Dirty laundry, electronics, shoes, books, you name it. We didn’t care…we were EXHAUSTED. It was odd…the more Jeff unloaded the bag, the fishier the odor became. Then suddenly the source was revealed. A raw filet of fish had been left at the bottom of the bag when Aurelie (Mabel’s French roommate) last went grocery shopping several days prior. The stentch was putrid. You can imagine Jeff’s reaction when he “fished” our belongings out of the bag and they were dripping with spoiled fish juice. A wave of fury swept over him which made for a rather tense final departure for our new home. He spewed profanities like Clark W. Griswold when he found out that his company had enrolled him in the “Jelly of the Month” club in lieu of a holiday bonus.

By this point we were beyond exhaustion and delirium had taken over. Despite our fatigue, we both decided it was best to return the car that night even though we had it until 10 the next morning (and we both had to work the next day). Fortunately for us, we knew exactly where to the drop the car off b/c we had rented a car for our Ikea trip one week prior. And let me tell you, it was not easy to return the car the first time…quick sidebar story:

The car return:
We went to return the car after yet another exhausting day of moving junk from one place to the next. When we got to the garage, Lauren clutched the map that the rental car agent had given us at the counter. The map showed exactly where the 24 hr car return was located and even had the exact spot into which the car was to be deposited! Unfortunately for us, the agent had failed to inform us that the garage was 1) Not specific to the rental car agency and 2) Closed at the entrance she had specified. Consequently, we drove around the block four times before we found another entrance. The rest should be cake right? Dirt cake maybe. We entered the garage and explained to the attendant that we were going to drop the car in the designated space. He in-turn explained that once we dropped the car off, we were to hand him the keys and entrance ticket. Easy enough. So we followed the map and arrived at the exact spot marked “Sixt Car Return.” Yes, singular…one spot…with a car already in it! Surely there can’t be just one spot, can there? We drove around and around in circles and checked and rechecked the map. Everything was exactly as shown on the map…the other spaces, the key drop box, etc. This can’t be right! So I called Sixt and was connected to someone in the UK. Then I was transferred to Spain just as my pre-paid phone ran out of minutes and hung up on me. Meanwhile, Lauren was running the stairs trying to find other levels with free spaces. I’m sure she heard the tires squealing as I flew down the garage level by level. Finally, we both arrived at the epiphany at the same instant and decided that the car return must be on the bottom-most level…six floors below! I raced in the car and was surprised to find Lauren awaiting my arrival. We did it! We found the car return! New Kohlhoff record of only 45 minutes in the parking garage. Ok..now back to the real story…

In the end, we had been moving for well over 12 hours and we simply didn’t have it in us to assemble the bed. A simple palet on the floor would suffice at 2:30 in the morning on a Wednesday. That’s right…we had only 4 hours of sleep before alarms were sounding for yet another day at work. We were both admittedly useless that day!

The next day we woke still exhausted from the previous day’s move. Now we were onto bigger fish…moving the couch upstairs. At first blush, it appeared as if the couch would fit through the narrow stairwell intact. Lauren and I positioned the couch, got it up two stairs, and then cringed as it hit the ceiling. Let’s try that again. We flipped the couch, lifted it up two stairs, and then shuddered as it bonked the railing and the ceiling at the same instant. Take three. It hits the bathroom door frame and Lauren lets out an “oomph” as her kidneys are pressed into the railing. Take four. It hits the ceiling and the bathroom door frame. Enough. We decided to wait for the weekend.

The weekend arrives not soon enough, and by this point, I decide to remove the hundred year old iron bars in the window and move the couch up a ladder and into the second story window! The bars came out with relative ease, but not without first taking my wedding ring as a victim (it’s not usually oval shaped).


With that out of the way, the couch went right up the ladder and into the window in less than two minutes flat! It’s official…we’re moved in!!!


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2 thoughts on “

    Mabel @ Barcelona said:
    January 7, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Great story! I did tell Aurelie about the fish and she should have at least contacted you guys to say sorry…. She didn´t as I can read. She did complain about the fact you took her bag of salad… Ah well, all is good now!

    artemis said:
    January 7, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    So what’s the new address??? We STILL have a box of stuff for you guys sitting in the dining room….

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