So the packing day was a breeze, the loading day was hell.
Things were looking up as the landlord of our building kindly blocked off space on the street to allow the tractor trailer lots of room to park.
The driver (Marcel) arrived on time with two young enthusiastic lads (Francis & Sébastien) to load the truck. Once the introductions were made we went on a quick tour of the apartment. The driver takes a look at everything to decide what needs to be loaded when as he must make sure the load on his truck is balance both from back to front and from side to side.
When Marcel saw the piano, he immediately called the dispatch office and asked for piano movers. He told me that although his crew were strong and capable, there was no way that 2 young guys would be able to lift an 800 pound piano. He placed the call at about 10h00.
Marcel (the driver) started tagging all the items. Each tag has a lot number which corresponds to our move paperwork as well as an item number. The item number gets written down on the form with a description of the item as well as any damages that appear to be on the item. For example, my chest of drawers was listed as:
098 Dresser – single 19, 20 (19 and 20 are the codes for “rubbed” and “scratched”)
Boxes are simply tagged and marked as packed by customer (me) or packed by the moving company.
It took Marcel until about 12h30 to tag and detail all 358 pieces to go on the truck.
Once a piece of furniture has been tagged, it is wrapped in blankets (both top AND bottom) then taped and put on the truck. The boxes and plastic bins are simply loaded straight on the truck. Here is my office, wrapped and being carried to the truck.
Before Marcel went to lunch, he called the dispatcher again asking about the approximate arrival time for the extra guys to load the piano. Dispatch said they would arrive sometime around 15h.
The loading continued throughout the day. Many times I waited on the truck as it was parked on a busy street in Montreal, anyone could have stolen my stuff from the truck.
At about 16h, Marcel called the dispatcher again because the piano guys still hadn’t arrived. The dispatcher said that the piano guys should arrive between 17h30 and 18h. The majority of stuff was already loaded on the truck so we took turns going for dinner in case the piano guys arrived.
….but they didn’t.
I got on the phone and started calling Base Traffic. They provided me with a phone number to call in case I wasn’t receiving the quality of service promised to members of the Canadian Forces. The voice mail at Base Traffic gave me an automated message to call an emergency, after-hours cell phone number. The emergency, after-hours cell phone was switched off.
I called the moving company. They told me it was the Driver’s fault for not having enough guys to load the piano. The Driver showed me his paperwork from the moving company and there was no indication on that paperwork that there WAS a piano.
So, we waited. The piano guys showed up at 21h10. They were NOT piano specialists. They were just a bunch of guys that had come from another move that the same company had been doing at the other end of Montreal. They did not bring any of their own equipment; they had no straps or harnesses to lift heavy objects.
It took 6 of them to get the piano out of the apartment and they managed to break a pane of glass in the security door of the building. They also cracked one of the rubber wheels of the piano. Needless to say I was not impressed.
By 21h45, the piano was on the truck and the final bits and pieces were loaded. Marcel and I signed off on all the paperwork so now I have a copy of everything that is on the truck. I will need that to cross-check as everything comes off the truck at the destination (all 15 pages!!!)
After a last check on the apartment, I handed over the keys to the landlord. I thought I was done, but not quite…
The landlord demanded that I take pictures of the damages done by the movers and make a claim against the moving company or pay for the damages myself. This is the same guy who, after 3 years of living in the building, STILL hadn’t got around to fixing things in our unit that were on the annex to the lease. I said to him, «Oui, oui, je m’occupe avec ça» (Yes, I’ll get on that) – which is what I heard for THREE YEARS! It may take me that long to process the claim.
By 22h15 I was finally back in my hotel room, sweaty, dirty and STARVING! I called room service then realized that I couldn’t shower until they delivered. Fortunately it was fast service.
I had a lovely Skype chat with my deployed husband who used some very colourful expressions to describe my loading day.
THANK GOD it is over! Now I only have to drive for 4 hours tomorrow.