Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Operation Domicile

Thursday morning, bright and early, I just knew that the moving company was on the way to our flat.  They hadn't shown up the day before as promised (see previous post) and I was optimistic that "today, today" was here!  They didn't disappoint and showed up at 12:30 pm to let me know that the moving truck had a flat tire and was stranded somewhere on the side of the road.   The man 'in-charge' had been waiting for over 2 hours downstairs and just thought he would check to see if I was HOME!   

Thankfully, they arrived with one large truck and lots of help at 3:30 pm.  Mutiu was waiting at the guard gate to help clear security and finagle the details.  Even though yesterday's guard approved the container for entry into our compound, today's guard felt the truck was too big to make the short turns.  So, the truck was parked on the street and the contents were reloaded into a van, then driven into the compound - multiple times.  

The men in red shirts work for the moving company.  We started off with nine workers,
but somehow ended up with 13 men to dash (tip).   Apparently it's common for 'extras' to join in the fun!  :)    

They were able to fit an UNBELIEVABLE amount of furniture into the van.  It helped that the back door didn't close and it was held on by rope.  


Our coach is being loaded on top.  Notice the paper starting to come off? 


It's loaded, but you can't see the boxes on the front hood!

Nothing is strapped on, so one guy held on to the things at the back  and another
sat on the hood. I am constantly amazed at the ability to balance things here, and
furniture was no exception. 
Check out the moving guy in FLIP-FLOPS to unload furniture!   

When they came around the corner with mattresses on top of the van, I thought they would come sliding off as they made very speedy turns to get to our building!

Miraculously, the only thing damaged from the move was our bed.  They put a little glue and 2 screws in it and fixed it immediately. It's not attractive, but it is functional. :)  I am learning not to sweat the small stuff!  We also ended up with one missing box and 4 extra ones, so I am just calling it even - and everyone seems happy!

The movers promised to return first thing Friday morning to assemble the furniture and arrived around 11:00 am.  They began with the dining table and chairs.  I offered the instructions which I carried from Houston and was told, "We don't need instructions, Madam.  I can do it."    So, when I returned to check on them 30 minutes later, the same fellow was sitting with 2 screws in hand, a completed chair and a dumbfounded look on his face.  I asked if those were extra pieces in his hand, and he replied "Yes, Madam".  I jokingly said - "Oh, a bonus!"  He smiled and agreed, then jumped up ready to start the next project.  I had to stop and explain that I was joking and that having two extra pieces wasn't  acceptable, so he went back to his task.  However, we did end up being short a few screws for the last chair.  I'm sure that the situation has been solved since I telephoned the store in Houston and they are shipping the screws to AFRICA.  They seemed bothered that I ordered the furniture in January and am just NOW reporting the missing screws.  I hope the pieces arrive in time for Christmas! 

The movers were very pleasant and worked hard.  They did most tasks multiple times before they were accomplished.  It had to be frustrating for them, but it had great entertainment value for me.  The first clue was the metal shelves which I asked them to assemble for the laundry room.  I wish I had thought to take a picture since not one shelf was on straight!  They redid it five times before it was workable.   In the meantime, another guy was working on an IKEA sofa table.  He finished it, but the raw wood was facing the front on half of the pieces.  He had a good attitude about changing it, but he reversed ALL the pieces, so the second attempt showed the "other" pieces were backwards.  He took it totally apart again and 5 other men got involved for over an hour arguing and discussing.  This time, all the shelves were facing the same direction, but the ends faced the wrong way!   I actually felt sorry for the guy when he started rebuilding it the fourth time!  One hundred percent of everything that they assembled was wrong the first time - ONE HUNDRED percent!!  I would just smile and point out the obvious and they would smile and just start over!  The last piece was the media cabinet which had a shelf across the top of two bookshelves.  They called me excitedly like children - "Madam, Madam, come look!  We did it right the FIRST time!"  They were so proud.  I really hated to tell them that the shelves were indeed right, but the back happened to be nailed to the front side!!  We have some nail holes to fix, but other than that, we are in good shape! 

After a few days, all boxes have been unpacked and everything is put away.  It feels good to be completely moved in, especially after waiting so long.  However, I do need to go to the markets to find decorative accessories, since our walls are bare.  I thought I'd end this post with a comment that a friend stated as we drove into the market the first time.  "Look around", she told me.  "This is the place that will totally decorate your African home.  It's Nigeria's version of Bed, Bath and Beyond".   Here's a picture of Lekki Market - our favorite home accessory store! 

1 comment:

nlaidlaw said...

So enjoying your blog ....and in a strange way....missing Lagos!