A Move Unlike All Others

Not in a million years could I have anticipated what happened during my move last Thursday. To make a long story short, one of the movers set my new home on fire during the move-in.

This was no little fire. It was more like a big bonfire. It started in the second bedroom and spread to the living room, and burned through the hardwood floors down to the core. The entire place was covered in ash. The smell got into everything -- couch, bed, rugs, and more.

The place is now uninhabitable and the fire restoration experts say it will take a month to repair. [More...]

Until yesterday, I've had no internet, no computer, and no phone except a cell phone.

Needless to say, I'm exhausted and out of sorts.

As to what caused the fire: One of the movers plugged in a floor lamp without removing the heavy lined paper protecting the shade. The lamp went on and quickly burned through the paper and then went up in flames.

Another mover threw the burning lamp into the living room to get it away from the other furniture in the room. While that allowed the movers access to water from the kitchen to put out the fire, it burned long enough to burn through the hardwood floor down to the core. I saw his sneaker catch fire as he ran through the room. It was very scary. (He got a pretty significant burn on one hand and the back of his sock was shredded.)

The movers ended up having to move everything back onto the truck. I went to a hotel.

Since no one will rent a similar condo or house furnished for only one month, the only option was to move back to my old house. It took four movers 8 hours just to unpack me today. And since I only have this place until Oct. 10, they will have to pack it all up and move it again in three to four weeks.

I am days behind on my court cases and have over 800 unread emails since last Thursday. My life has been in total disarray.

I won't be back to blogging just yet, but I did want to check in and let everyone know why I've been silent so long and that I'm okay.

Like I said at the beginning, it's been a move unlike all others.

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    Oh Jeralyn, I am so sorry (5.00 / 12) (#1)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 08:05:38 PM EST
    I have never heard a story like that.

    Thankful no one was more seriously hurt. It will all work out, but I am sorry for your lost time and energy.

    Hang in there.

    Second that (none / 0) (#49)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 02:34:22 PM EST
    Pretty wild story.

    Movers are a evil lot on my experience


    Nioce to Have You Back... (none / 0) (#51)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 02:37:19 PM EST
    Thanks (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 02:40:40 PM EST
    if there is an upside it's really good drugs.

    Yes... (none / 0) (#53)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 03:02:27 PM EST
    ...and if you can find someone in the same boat, pills and time, it makes it almost worth it.

    My stomach hates pain pills, but the silver lining is that they last longer and I just add a couple beers and I am as numb as I need to be.

    Don't watch late night shopping channels or some weird S is going to show up your front door.


    wow (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 08:07:48 PM EST
    that is completely off any known stress chart - condolences

    That is the worst moving story hands down (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 08:16:42 PM EST
    And there are some pretty horrible military moves that have attacked people I know. You win 1st place though. Sorry Jeralyn. Hope they are able to clean your belongings or they are replaced with things you love even more.

    Have you heard mine? (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by nycstray on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 08:43:57 PM EST
    Put everything I owned (including 25 yrs worth of work) on a moving truck and never saw it again. I ended up with one week of clothes (tshirts and jeans) and my pets. 😝 talk about crashing your life . . .

    Was that a military move? (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 08:51:37 PM EST
    That sounds like one. Sometimes when families go overseas and the majority of their belongings are warehoused, the crates are lost or stolen,

    Were you able to get a decent sum for replacement?

    Some things of course can never really be replaced, but were you able to purchase most of your life back?


    All 3 would be a no (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by nycstray on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 09:06:32 PM EST
    The mover was basically holding my belongings hostage. Apparently it's a 'thing'. State couldn't help since my stuff crossed state lines and fed never got involved (it can take 10 mos for even an acknowledgment/response. I finally had to walk away.  This was my NY/CA move. I not only lost my current life, but I had been buying up inventory and equip for a new biz and lost that also {sigh}

    yikes (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 09:54:50 PM EST
    so it was just you & the Dot & the T-shirts & the lost dreams

    i hope karma catches up with those movers in a very big way

    your move & Jeralyn's are 2 of the top 3 worst moves i've ever heard about

    lady, you are resilient!


    That seems to be some sort of NYC mover (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Peter G on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 08:53:00 AM EST
    scam. Same thing happened to a friend of ours. I forget whether the mover - which advertised on the Internet heavily as a discount moving company - claimed upon arriving that they needed another truck, or more men, or more time, or something and demanded another $1000 (cash, of course), then and there, beyond the price they had "estimated," or they would take all his stuff to their warehouse. He called us (his lawyer friends) right away and we were somehow able not only to reach the company and threaten them but also to get the local police (our friend was moving to a shore town in New Jersey) to go over and mediate. I think he paid them something more (not $1000) and they unloaded his stuff. Ugly. Kind of like the old world of funeral directors, taking advantage of people when they are stressed and vulnerable.

    Okay...you win 1st place (none / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 09:18:43 PM EST
    That's awful. Really sorry. Nobody should go through that. I have no scale to measure that move by.

    My Mother had one too (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by BarnBabe on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 08:40:03 AM EST
    She was moving between locations and the new place was not ready. So she had everything stored at the moving company for a month and stayed with me at a different city. She called for the delivery and they said, the warehouse had burned down including the records of belongings. Oh, she cried. She lost everything. Luckily my brother and I had all the movies and slides but there were over 20 photo albums lost and my Dad had Ansel Adams. He had been a Army photographer and had so many cool pictures of him at the USO shows. There was one with him in the middle between Betty Grable and Harry James. I would love to have that one now. I still have him with Phil Silvers and Taluha Bankhead (Don't know what she did) and a Babe Ruth. But so much was lost of a person's life.  

    He was an Army photographer? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 08:48:00 AM EST
    Devastating. Awful. History lost. Very sorry. Whole chunks of my husband's life are missing from the family. Photos help fill in the story for the rest of us, even if it is a redacted story.

    I have clearly had wonderful moves my entire life. They did lose my HS memorabilia, one box. I was only upset for a short time because if I really want to remember HS now, Facebook :)


    Yes he was (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by BarnBabe on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 09:20:48 AM EST
    Before I was born, heh, but the collection he had was really impressive. All lost but a few. I believe he trained at Paramont or 20th Century. Although he was in insurance, I grew up with cameras all around. We never left the house without a still or movie camera in the car. Just in case.

    Jesus... (none / 0) (#39)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 10:27:05 AM EST
    ...I thought I had a doozie, but between the fire and all good missing, my story doesn't even rate telling.

    That sucks, any advise on how to avoid having your goods stolen ?


    My advice depends on whether the move (none / 0) (#47)
    by Peter G on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 12:12:20 PM EST
    is local or long distance. If local, go with a truly local outfit that has lots of good (and recent) recommendations, including a couple you can actually call and ask about their performance. And they must show you that they are insured. If interstate or long distance, I'm afraid you must go with one of the big established companies or else be very, very sure they are licensed (federal ICC, iirc) and insured/bonded against loss or damage to your goods. And take the time to walk around with them as the inventory is being made. Even then consider what irreplaceable and personal items you may wish to carry or transport yourself, if possible.

    That is What I Have Always Done... (none / 0) (#50)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 02:36:42 PM EST
    ...but never had an interstate move.  I would also add that I call my insurance company to let them know and make sure the stuff on the trucks is covered in an accident.

    The problem I had is some guys showed up that didn't know how to actually move.  The first thing they moved, and antique dresser they had turned upside down and were sliding it down the stairs on the top of the dresser.  

    I freaked out them told them to leave, the problem was I had to be out that weekend and the only good movers I knew where in Dallas.  Luckily they drove the 200 miles the next day.  The move took 3 and I was also putting stuff in/out of storage.

    Not hardly worth mentioning as know I am realizing it could be infinitely worse, but those guys had great reviews and were recommended by several people.

    I always move valuable, either in price or in memento, myself and anything that is particularly fragile or very odd shaped.  Also computer goes in my vehicle along with the cables to hook up TV.

    It never occurred to me ever that someone would just take your S or start a fire, that is completely insane.


    For you Jeralyn (5.00 / 6) (#5)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 08:23:46 PM EST
    In case you don't have your CD collection handy...

    Bon Jovi - Blaze of Glory

    Ruffian, thanks for that (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 08:33:48 PM EST
    It's the first time I've laughed in almost a week.

    Aw, really glad to make you smile (none / 0) (#7)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 08:35:09 PM EST
    Knew there was a reason I never move (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by CoralGables on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 08:59:27 PM EST

    Yikes.. that's horrible... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by desertswine on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 09:07:36 PM EST
    But here's a moving joke to make you smile.

    "When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them."
    ― Rodney Dangerfield

    Who likes Hendrick's Gin? (5.00 / 7) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 09:24:04 PM EST
    OMG that stuff is good. And it's such a bitty bottle, so friggin expensive.

    We bought a bottle two weeks ago to try. How can a gin be that different? It's freakin delicious though. And it's all gone tonight. I'm about to cry :) Why must I have to share things with my husband? Is that really necessary to a happy marriage?

    it is the TL kid's favorite (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 12:19:01 AM EST
    And the only one I buy. It is much better than Tanqueray or Beefeater -- very smooth. My only complaint is the bottle is so dark you can never tell how much is left. Shaking it doesn't tell you either.

    There's another popular expensive gin whose name I can't remember now, but it has so much juniper, which I'm allergic to in tree form, that I get a hive-like reaction to it and steer clear of it.


    I'm laughing because I was shaking the (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 08:27:09 AM EST
    Bottle last night, unhappily shaking the bottle.

    Are you sure? (none / 0) (#26)
    by NYShooter on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 02:41:36 AM EST
    Better than Tanqueray ???

    Well, you said you can't tell how much vodka is left in the bottle; I'm figuring after you knocked down 3/4 of the contents, whatever vodka it was was the best vodka in the world.

    The old meaning of what was, was.


    We usually use Bombay Sapphire GIN (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 08:31:19 AM EST
    If you like Sapphire you'll love Hendrick's. I have to stay away from Tanqueray. There is something in it that I think I might be allergic to. I get awful headaches from just a sip.

    much better than Tanqueray, IMO (none / 0) (#43)
    by CST on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 11:23:32 AM EST
    Tanqueray was my gin of choice until I discovered Hendricks.

    I love Hendricks (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by CST on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 11:22:36 AM EST
    Gin and tonic has been my liquor drink of choice since the college days.  If I'm going with the harder stuff that's usually what it is, and I always order Hendricks if they got it, sooo good.  Especially with a little cucumber.

    I stopped buying it at home because I really didn't need something like that in my house, so now it's a "when I go out" thing, which isn't very often, which is probably for the best.


    Cucumber....yum! (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 10:51:21 PM EST
    Gonna do it

    A bartender in San Francisco poured us a taste (none / 0) (#24)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 01:30:08 AM EST
    after the man next to us ordered it and I asked him lots of questions.

    And.... (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 08:40:01 AM EST
    What did the mixologist have to say? What magic can be conjured with Hendrick's?

    I did tr it once ons someone's recommendation (none / 0) (#27)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 06:24:43 AM EST
    Mybe here? It really is good. But yes, I have stuck to the Bombay Sapphire in the huge bottles I can get at the discount warehouse stores.

    We were debating last night whether (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 08:38:21 AM EST
    To get the affordable bottle of Sapphire from the Class 6, or another itty bitty Hendrick's. We are going for another Hendrick's. My husband claims he drinks it slower....yeah right, at this rate I'm going to have to get a job. Gin weather is drawing to a close down here. Soon to become red wine weather. Sunday night was heavenly outside. Yesterday was beautiful too. The flowers that survived the crushing heat are smiling again this morning.

    Ha! I do drink pretty slow anyway, so (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 11:16:50 AM EST
    maybe next time I will try a small bottle of Hendricks.

    Still waiting for the break in the weather down here. It is cooler when it is actually raining, but after that it returns to the 90s.

    I look for it to get below 70 for the nighttime low. That's when I know I will be happy soon. Still in the low 70s for the next week....pour me a gin.


    Make it Boodles gin, MT (none / 0) (#60)
    by christinep on Sat Sep 19, 2015 at 02:33:29 PM EST
    I will have to hunt for Boodles in Florida (none / 0) (#61)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Sep 19, 2015 at 09:14:58 PM EST
    Can't find it here. It is difficult to impossible to buy some brands of adult beverages in Alabama. Distribution is tightly controlled...cronyism. I still can't order wine online and have it shipped to us. Somehow Alabama is still preventing it. I buy a lot of wine when we go to the beach. I will look for some Boodles next time.

    Do you know... (none / 0) (#44)
    by sj on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 11:50:38 AM EST
    I love martinis of all varieties, but especially the traditional dry martini, and yet I've never had a gin martini. In fact, I don't think I've ever had a gin anything. I think it's time to change that, don't you?

    To me, it is not a real martini (5.00 / 6) (#48)
    by caseyOR on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 12:13:54 PM EST
    unless it is made with gin. Just gin, a bit of vermouth and a proper chilling.

    I have been a nearly 40 year drinker of Bombay Sapphire. Based on this thread, I intend to buy a bottle of Hendrick's post haste.


    And not very much (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Zorba on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 05:15:58 PM EST
    Vermouth, at that.  We like it "shaken, not stirred," in martini glasses that have been pre-chilled in the freezer.
    I also like a couple of olives added, with a tiny bit of the olive juice.  Almond-stuffed green olives are particularly good.

    How could I have forgotten (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by caseyOR on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 06:36:59 PM EST
    the olives. Double olive for me, please. And, yes, a wee tiny bit of vermouth. All served in chilled martini glasses.

    I could not agree more, Zorba.


    I really need (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by sj on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 06:52:31 PM EST
    ... a happy hour right about now.

    "think" (none / 0) (#45)
    by sj on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 11:51:22 AM EST
    I mean "don't you think" :)

    I'm so sorry Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 10:23:12 PM EST
    I'm glad that you're ok and no one was seriously injured.  That said, please don't ban me but...

    that is a hilarious story the way you told it.

    It sounds like a skit from the three stooges or something.

    Hang in there boss lady.

    I'm thinking J can write this up (none / 0) (#25)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 01:31:11 AM EST
    and get it published.

    Boy what a bummer (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 11:57:12 PM EST
    Moving is bad enough but yours is a horror story.

    Hope things get back on track for you real soon.

    Yikes! (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 08:11:41 AM EST
    So sorry!  This is so horrible!

    My wish for you is that in a few years, this will become one of those hilarious cocktail party stories

    The smoke and the soot (5.00 / 4) (#36)
    by BarnBabe on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 09:07:02 AM EST
    This happened years ago but when I was living in a 3rd floor apt there was a big fire on the first floor. They had a TV with a short in the wire and it was next to the drapes. Fire went to the 2nd floor. The alarms were going off and people were banging on my door. Well, it was a time when I thought that sleeping naked was so great. So, when I grabbed a robe and slippers I grabbed a summer robe. It was February and 8 degrees outside. I got my purse and car keys and my dog and I headed for the emergency exit. I could not locate my cats. But I could see the flames outside my window and I had to leave. I was the last one out and when my dog came out first there was a big cheer outside. As, if my dog was coming, I must be next. It was so hot that the summer robe worked but that was the last of my going to bed ala natural. They got the fire out and I was so worried about my two cats. So the Fire Chief walked me back up to look for them but he was pretty straight about the chance of them being alive because of the smoke. As we were getting to the 2nd floor, one of my cats was on her way down. The other one we found hiding in a closet. They had found air pockets. The thing is, although no fire damage in my apt, the soot and the smell of smoke was in everything. It took forever to finally get it out. I felt terrible reading your story J. All was going just too well until.......                    

    Dear Lord... (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 10:23:00 AM EST
    you can't make that sh&t up.  

    I wonder if the movers are the ones who wrapped the lamp shade in flammable materials?  That would be some seriously boneheaded negligence.  

    Jeralyn (none / 0) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 08:17:41 PM EST
    i am so sorry to hear this! I've had some bad moves but nothing compares.

    Last June marked our first move in 22 years. (none / 0) (#8)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 08:42:21 PM EST
    After hearing your story, I'm inclined to make that our last move. I'm so sorry about your travails. But this too shall pass.

    Hopefully, the smell of smoke will, too. 12 years ago, the girls tried to heat food in the microwave oven while it was still wrapped in aluminum foil, and of course it arced and caught fire. Thankfully, my wife was home at the time and doused the flames immediately with a fire extinguisher that we kept in the kitchen, and there was no fire damage to either walls or the countertop, which is stone. But the microwave was a blackened ruin, and I could still pick up the scent of smoke for months afterward, even after we had our place professionally cleaned.

    Good luck.

    Oh, my goodness, Jeralyn - (none / 0) (#12)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 09:05:10 PM EST
    I am so, so sorry to hear about this.

    Moving is hard enough.  All the packing and sorting and organizing, not to mention trying to carve out time to keep all the other things going - keeping the tide of work at bay, doing laundry, eating, for heaven's sake.

    You do it with some kind of end in sight, where you'll be able to breathe again and get yourself situated.

    But a fire that turns all that on its head?  Seriously disorienting.  Somehow you've got to chase down whatever mental and physical and emotional energy you may still have, and start over.

    Wish we could show up on your doorstep, pitch in and give you a hand.  If I knew your address, I'd order a nice meal and a good wine delivered!

    Be kind to yourself: deep breaths, a hot shower or a good soak, and music that feeds your soul will go a long way to easing the stress.

    Sending good thoughts and positive energy in your direction!

    Thank you Anne (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 12:23:23 AM EST
    I did just that -- a long soak. My fingers are bleeding from all the paper cuts and my feet are a mess from walking on nothing but hardwood with no rugs. I'm not a wine drinker, but at the end of the night, a shot of Patron tequila is very calming. And I know this too shall pass.

    I cannot imagine (none / 0) (#40)
    by Zorba on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 11:07:12 AM EST
    Having to go through this!  So very sorry, Jeralyn.
    Sending positive thoughts your way.
    Yes, this too shall pass.  But the tequila helps pass the time.

    You need a distraction! (none / 0) (#16)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 09:22:40 PM EST
    The latest (September 14) New Yorker has a profile of Judy Clarke, titled, The Worst of the Worst.

    That link may work for non subscribers.  As an alternative, the issue is available at newsstands now.

    Thanks. A very moving and insightful article... (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by gbrbsb on Thu Sep 17, 2015 at 06:06:17 AM EST
    ... and a compelling reminder of just how precious and necessary those as Judy Clarke are to a just and humane society.

    I emailed the article to J. (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 01:28:34 AM EST
    But it may be months b/4 she sees it!

    Oh my gosh (none / 0) (#46)
    by sj on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 12:03:01 PM EST
    Thank goodness no one was injured and it sounds like the long term loss will be minimal, but holy Moses! It sounds like the movers' insurance should cover the damages, right? I'm assuming you went with licensed and bonded.

    Not the best foot forward in your relationship with your new landlords, and it wasn't even under your control. I'm so sorry you are going through this.

    My Dad always said (none / 0) (#59)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Sep 17, 2015 at 09:22:06 AM EST
    two moves was like one burning.

    But we never actually had one.

    Hope things get better.