Every family has their own stories that they want told and carried on
through the generations. My family’s story involves our move to Blacksburg
in 2002. It should be remembered not only as entertainment, but also as
a warning to others. The Will and Braffitt family experience was a mix of
horror, fun, shock, awe, and many other emotions, but of all things it was,
a well-oiled and working plan it was not. Not one thing went as planned.
Here is our story.
My mother, Rebecca Will, had quit her job in 2001 and was in search of a new career path. She new she couldn’t find that in or near our home town of Hollis, New Hampshire, so, as a family, we decided to move. On June 6, 2002, our New Hampshire house sold, but we did not yet have a place to move to. After I got out of school for the year, my mom, my dad and I left on a trip in search of our new home. We looked for houses in Charlottesville, Blacksburg, Roanoke and Salem. We eventually found our dream home in Blacksburg, Virginia. This was the beginning of an adventure we were not soon to forget.
We started the moving process as soon as we returned home. We gave away
many things that were no longer of need to us. We also packed a few of our
things, but saved most for the movers to pack, because only then would it
be insured by the moving company, Allied. What a mistake. The closing for
the New Hampshire house, and the last day we would be in that home or even
in New Hampshire, was on Thursday, August 15. We scheduled the packers to
come on Tuesday, August 13. They were supposed to spend that whole day
packing our belongings into boxes. Then on Wednesday, the movers were supposed
to come and load the boxes and furniture onto the moving truck, and leave
for Blacksburg, Virginia that night. If only that had happened.
It began on Tuesday. The packers came as planned to pack up our stuff.
They arrived about 8:30 AM. and expected to be done sometime that night.
I went to camp that morning and was mostly oblivious to the happening as
my house. My father, Donald Braffitt, picked me up around 3 PM. When my dad
arrived, he looked less than thrilled. I asked why. It seemed that packing
wasn’t going quite as planned. The packers had fallen behind schedule, but
they still expected to finish around 7 PM. My dad then drove me to my best
friend Johanna’s house. I was going to spend the night at her house. My parents
had agreed to take us out to dinner at my favorite restaurant, Shorty’s.
They would pick me and Johanna up after the packers had left at around 7
PM. They couldn’t pick me up before the packers left because they had to
be there to supervise, but the packers were scheduled to leave early enough
for dinner to work. Everything would have been great.
As I said earlier, nothing went according to plan. The packers were
not finishing. At 10 PM, the packers finally left. They had not really finished
their job, but chose to leave the remainder of the work for the movers who
were to come the next day. It was now too late for me and my friend to go
out dinner one last time at my favorite restaurant, but that probably wasn’t
the worst thing that could have happened, and I dealt with it. At least
I got to spend that night with my best friend. We had a great time. We said
our teary goodbyes Wednesday morning. My dad then came and picked me up
and took me back to camp. I had a great, but also sad, “last day” at camp.
My dad came to pick me up around 3. He looked incredibly agitated. I
then learned that the movers had not arrived until 11 AM. They seemed efficient,
but little progress had been made so far. Only three of our rooms were clear
of boxes and furniture, but those three were the biggest and most cluttered
rooms. The truck-loading process was slowed even more because two trucks
had to be loaded. The main moving truck was too large to fit down our driveway,
so it was parked down the street from our house. A shuttle truck had to
be loaded and then driven to the street about a mile from our house. Then,
the shuttle truck had to be unloaded and the main truck loaded. Still, the
movers expected to be done by that night. This was good because my two other
best friends, Julie and Julie, were coming for a sleep over that night.
We had planned to have a fun filled night in an empty, dark house.
Plans were useless, though. By 6 PM, the movers had still not returned
from unloading the shuttle truck, and still, only three rooms were empty.
Nonetheless, Julie and Julie came over. We were also joined by Steve and
Debbie, long time friends of the family. My mom, dad, Julie, Julie, Steve,
Debbie and I all sat around and had a pizza party. The party was done and
I had said my goodbyes to Steve and Debbie, who were like second parents
to me. The house was still not empty, though. So Julie, Julie and I decided
we would leave for a while.
It was a hot and humid day, and the air conditioning in our house was
not running. So Julie, Julie and I left for Julie G’s house. She had an in
ground pool. We were going to go swim for a few hours, and then come back
to a hopefully more empty home. Instead, we came back around 10 PM to a house
that had not changed in appearance. The movers had left around 9 because it
was now too dark for them to continue. They had packed most of our lamps,
and could no longer see well enough to move our stuff safely, without large
risk or breaking it. They decided to return early the next morning and finish
loading stuff onto the truck. Julie, Julie and I ended up sleeping in the
hot guest-bedroom, which, luckily, or maybe not so luckily, had had the bed
moved out. We slept on inflatable camping pads. We stayed up and watched movies.
I fell asleep around midnight, but they stayed up and continued to watch
“Dumb and Dumber” on my portable, laptop computer. I woke up again around
2 AM as the movie was finishing. Julie and Julie were still up and complaining
about my snoring. We talked a little longer, but then finally we all fell
asleep. For awhile, at least.
I woke up around 4 AM. It was incredibly hot, and I felt very sick.
I had no bed to go to, so I went downstairs to see my parents, who had slept
on a couch and chair that had yet to be moved out. I fell asleep on another
chair that had still not been moved out. My family woke up at around 6 and
began preparing for the mover’s return. I decided to let my two friends
sleep. The movers came around 7 AM. They continued to load things onto the
truck. My friends got up about 9. We had a nutritious breakfast of Oreos.
We spent about two more hours together and then, smart us, we made another
Why did our family continue to make plans? I had decided I wanted to
return to camp for a few hours. Then at 1 PM, my dad was going to pick me
up and take me to Julie M.’s house to spend a little more time with Julie
and Julie. That was better than me being with my parents at the house’s
closing. I would have caused more problems than I could have done good.
The movers were still saying they would be done by noon, so my parents would
be able to leave the house and go to closing. I would then stay with at
Julie’s until 3 PM, when my parents would pick me up and we would leave
My dad did picked me up at 1 PM to take me to my friend’s house. That’s
about the only part of the plan that had happened. The movers were still
at our house and showed no sign of being done anytime soon. I didn’t want
to know about it, though. I just wanted to enjoy my final two hours with
Around 3:15, my parents had still not arrived to pick me up. I was getting
worried, so I called my mother’s cell phone. She answered, but was certainly
not happy. The movers were not gone from our house and the closing had not
even begun. She wasn’t really in the mood for my questions, so I decided
it would be best if I called back later. 4 o’clock came around, and my parents
had still not arrived. I called my mom again. The closing wasn’t happening.
I called again around 5. The closing was finally wrapping up, but the movers
were not. My mom still did not want to talk. Julie, Julie and I decided
it would be best if we had some dinner.
We had dinner, and continued to have fun. I called my mom around 6. I
knew the movers weren't done, because I could see the moving truck parked
at the end of my friend’s street, but I wanted to talk to my mom to see when
they would be done. She really was unhappy at this point. We were now in breach
of contract because the house legally belonged to it’s new owners, but we
were not off the property. I decided calling my mom was not the smartest
thing to do anymore. Julie G. had to leave around 8 because of an ongoing
fight with her mother. We all figured I would be leaving soon anyway, so
we figured it was a good time to wrap things up. I said my goodbyes, and
she was gone.
I decided to risk calling my mother. We were now running into another
problem. Our family had intended to drive five hours to Parsippany, New
Jersey and stay in a hotel there. We had already made the reservation. Had
things gone to plan, we would have been there by now, but things were not
going to plan. Julie’s mom had even offered to house my family for the night,
because if we left for New Jersey at this point in time, we would not get
there until 1 AM, and my parents hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep over the past
week. So I called my mom at 8 PM. The movers had still not left, and she
was nearing the end of her patience. I later learned why.
We had this extra furniture we didn’t want to move with us, so we
intended to give it away. We could not take it anywhere, though, because
we didn’t have a truck. So my mom had arranged with the Goodwill that they
would bring a truck on Thursday to pick up the furniture. The movers were
supposed to have been gone at that point, and the truck would take the couch
and chair away. The Goodwill truck did come as scheduled, but one of the
movers intercepted him. The Goodwill guy explained that he was to pick up
some furniture at 138 Depot Road, our house’s address. The mover then kindly
explained to him that our house was in fact 136 Depot Road, so he turned
the Goodwill truck away. When my mom started making calls wondering why the
truck hadn’t shown up, she finally discovered the truth after talking to
the movers. She called Goodwill and tried to schedule another pick-up, but
it wasn’t possible. My mother did not want this furniture moved, but if nothing
was done with it, we would again be in breach of contract for not removing
everything. So she called the new owners and begged them to keep the furniture.
Luckily, they accepted. This is when my mom lost all patience with the movers,
and I do not blame her. Things were not looking good, but in all actuality,
they never really had.
At around 10, I called for the last time. My parents still did not know
when they would be around to pick me up. Julie’s mom and both sister were
asleep, and I really felt I had overstayed my welcome. We played the card
game spit for the next hour and a half. Finally, at 11:30 PM, my parents
appeared, along with Steve and Debbie. I said my goodbyes to Julie and thank
her father for everything. My family and Steve and Debbie then spent about
30 minutes in Julie’s driveway, finishing up the last details of the move.
I assumed we would be staying at Julie’s house that night. My parents had
other plans, though. They intended to drive to New Jersey that night. We
finally left Hollis a little before midnight. Then began one of the longest
nights of our lives.
I didn’t think it could get any worse, but it did. My family and I were
traveling in two cars. I was wide awake because of adrenaline, but the two
drivers were not. I spent four long hours keeping my dad and mother awake,
and my mom was in another car. We had walkie-talkies, so every minute or
so, I would check in on my mother. We barely made it to New Jersey. We stumbled
into the hotel at 4:30 AM on Friday, August 16. We slept a few hours, and
then we were on the road again at noon.
We didn’t expect this afternoon drive to be so bad, though. We were
headed to Richmond, Virginia to stay with my Uncle for a few days. The drive
was about 350 miles and should have taken us around five hours. If only things
went as planned. Traffic along interstate 95 is awful, to put it lightly.
Instead of taking five hours, it took us over ten. We averaged under 40
miles per hour. Neither of my parents enjoyed driving much, and after they
had been at it for 10 hours, they were not very happy. I again had to keep
two parents in two cars awake. This day of driving was almost worse than
the driving, well, that morning. We finally arrived in Richmond at about
11:30 PM. We had almost given up and stopped about 30 miles away, but were
persevered. We spent the next few days in Richmond as a little vacation
from the moving crisis. Little did we know, it wasn’t over yet.
On Sunday, August 18, my family left for Blacksburg, Virginia, our final
destination. We made it there mostly without incident. There was a little
bit of a weather problem, by way of severe, heavy rain, thunder and lightning,
but it didn’t ruin the day too much. We stayed in a hotel that night because
we had not yet closed on the Blacksburg house. On Monday, I went to student
orientation at Blacksburg High School, my new school, while my parents were
at the closing for our new home. The realtor picked me up and took me to
the closing. Everything went fairly smoothly, until that night.
We stayed in our new home that night, but without furniture. The truck
with out beds was not due to arrive until the next day. So we slept on half
deflated camping pads. We also discovered that our house’s water reeked
strongly of rotten eggs. This smell oozed throughout the entire house, and
made us all feel rather sick. Luckily, not too much else was wrong with
our new home.
On Tuesday, August 20, the movers arrived at about noon. They had planned
to arrive earlier, but many things went wrong, and as I have said before,
plans seemed to be useless during this move. First, the movers did not know
how to get to our house. We were new around here, though. How were we supposed
to know? Finally, we figured that out, but the route, the driver later discovered,
took the moving truck through a one-lane tunnel. The truck was not going
to fit. So we had to devise an alternate route. The driver now discovered
that they could not make it down our driveway, so again, a shuttle truck
had to be brought in. Our moving truck was parked about five miles away at
a church parking lot. Finally, the unloading of the truck could begin.
If only this could have gone smoothly, but alas, no. My mom was trying
to make the movers’ job’s fairly simple. She labeled areas in our garage
to place the boxes labeled for certain rooms. This should have made the mover’s
job much easier and allowed it to take much less time. It didn’t, though.
The mover’s didn’t even manage to get most of the boxes in the clearly labeled
area. This wasn’t the biggest of our problems, though. The main mover soon
discovered that our shelves would not make it up the stairs to their destination.
This man being a professional and being experienced, my mother and father
believed him. I did not. I knew exactly how it would work, and explained
it to my father, who also now understood. It took some convincing, but the
movers eventually agreed to take the shelves into the room using our plan.
It worked, and the movers managed to only chip our wall and put a hole in
the ceiling in two places! The movers also managed to reassemble mostly everything
wrong. They stayed and continued to unload furniture, and drop furniture
and boxes, until around 1 AM.
I went to bed around 10 PM because I was going to have to get up at
6 AM the next morning to start school. I woke up the next morning. My new
life had begun.