Friday, May 12, 2006

Movin' is Groovy ... in Korea

I am back, with very very good excuses, too. First my in-laws were here for a week and a half (hadn't seen them since Christmas), during which time hubby also finished the grueling process of coming to an agreement with his employers on a new 2-year contract, and then we moved to a new apartment last Wednesday. Whew!

Oh, and did I mention that all the while I was five months pregnant with my third son? Yeah, I've been a little busy.

However, through this all I have come to realize a great thing about Korea. I speak of one area where Korea is way ahead and the U.S. is way behind. Realizations of such instances do not occur every day here, yet are crucial to an expat's sanity, so I will memorialize it in writing: Korea rocks for moving people. This country makes an extremely stressful and dislocating process a lot less painful, and for that, I am deeply grateful.

First, the standard moving arrangement expected by every Korean who moves is that the movers will arrive at 8 am on the morning of the move and begin packing their stuff. YES, THEY PACK FOR YOU! EVERYTHING! And this is not some extravagant foreigners-who-throw-money-around moving method. This is how Joe Schmoe-Kim here moves! Really! We had three guys in the apartment and two at the truck for the furniture, etc., and two ladies that dealt with the kitchen area only (including cleaning out the refrigerator).

Then there is the ladder-truck. I am told it can be used for up to 30-something-storey buildings. It is an average-looking truck with a mechanism on the back that raises two tracks up to your window. They pop a balcony door off its track, and a platform is raised and lowered on the tracks with your stuff on it. So much faster than dealing with an elevator! Our team was done in the house by about 11:30 a.m.!

And yes, after they get the stuff to your new place and place it all where it goes per your direction, they UNPACK FOR YOU. I'm talking underwear in drawers, TV and DVD player plugged in, milk in the fridge, silverware put away and pictures hung where you'd like. Then the ladies steam-cleaned the wood floor! Everyone was gone by 4:30 p.m. and we ordered a nice pizza.

No wonder that when I've tried to explain the concept of a U-Haul truck to my Korean friends it just earns me puzzled looks. The bill will go to my husband's company, but I am told that for our amount of stuff, that level of service for a move will probably cost around $900. I think we paid that for our last U.S. move when they just mainly lifted and left some lovely bootmarks on the carpet.

So, I think you'll agree, this makes moving in America look like the Dark Ages. Chalk one up for Korea: they can justifiably claim themselves to be superior in the moving arena. Hmm, wonder how you put that one in the Olympics...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Blue's Insults, and spring 'aint the only thing that's sprung around here!

As further proof that Macy Gray is not the most sane-looking individual, the artists on Blue's Clues felt the need to pretty her up (and thinned her down- not lovin' that) to appear as an animation on the show. There was no doubt that it was her with her kooky voice, but the animation wasn't exactly true-to-life. I don't know whether to laugh or growl!

We have the monkey's Grandmom ( hubby's mom- who calls herself "Ga-mama" and signs cards to monkey this way... *insert pregnant pause here*) coming to stay this weekend, and of course I'm thankful that I'll know the Monkey will be in trustworthy though excessive-amounts-of-milkshakes-and-icecream-wielding hands while I participate in the long awaited and spendy wedding of a dear friend this weekend. I think I need not say that house-guests are a blessing and a curse, much less the woman who raised Hubby (her only child), so I am also a bit anxious about the added stress of having her here cooing and ga-ga-ing over Hubby and Monkey. ( but maybe that'll take the burden off of me to goo-goo and smoochy-smoochy when I'd rather be napping).

I have had a busy last two weeks, working at two shows, and working on designing another show, while missing a meeting for yet another show I am designing. So although the festivities (which begin two days before the wedding) include a manicure/pedicure party, an elegant luncheon at a historic tea-room, a rehearsal dinner at one of my favorite nouveau-restaurants, and the hair-appointment and makeup parade which takes place in preparation for the wedding itself, at this point I'm just aiming for Mother's day. then I pass out in exhaustion. I even have "Pass Out" written on my calendar on Mother's day- it is a planned event for me, and one which benefits no one but me, which is perhaps why that nap is going to better than any of the bride-centric pampering I'll be partaking in.

Another fun happening around here is the leak in our dining room ceiling. We are in a two floor house, and no, the dining room is not on the top floor. So, what does that mean? It means that after one of us took a shower last week, we noticed there was water dripping from the bottom-tip of the dining-room chandelier. no problem that a bowl on the table, and (we thought) some Caulk can't fix! Another shower, and the water began leaking from a point about a foot away from the chandelier. Dang. Last Friday, a week and a half and several bird-baths in the 1st floor bathroom sink later, a plumber arrived and ripped an angular s-shaped hole on the dining room ceiling. Then he went home to enjoy his weekend, leaving a trail of drywall crumbs and a large dirty paint-bucket on a sheet of plastic on the floor to catch the dripping water. Reasoning that at least the leaking water was dripping direcly into the bucket, and not onto the soggy ceiling drywall, we enjoyed showers and baths this weekend, for the first time in ten days. Now I sit with the phone in my back pocket, anxioiusly awaiting a call from the plumber to say he's on his way. I guess "I call you Monday Morning" means "I'll call you no earlier than 11am Monday Morning" I had stuff I could've done and all the regualar spiel... urgh. At least we're renting so someone else gets to foot this bill. (leaving the rest of my bank account to go toward the required wedding manicure, pedicure, hair-do, parking, etc. etc. etc. )

I'm betting I'll have some colorful mother-in-law and wedding stories to share next week, so stay tuned!