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Life Shift: Moving Into the Warehouse

The night before the move I lay awake in bed cataloging the things I should have done to get ready, but didn’t. It was Schlock Warehouse moving day and I was not prepared. I know how to ship. I know how to run a shipping event. I know how to manage having inventory in storage units and the work station in my basement. But beyond broad strokes of knowing that I needed a truck and people, I didn’t really know how to proceed with moving. The truck was a source of stress, I’d never driven one before and the thought made me nervous. Once I survived driving the truck,I was going to have to provide instructions to a moving crew when I didn’t know the most efficient ways to work. I worried about these things the night before, or at least part of me did. The larger part was calm, because one thing that many shipping parties has taught me is that the Schlock volunteers are smart, helpful, and innovative. They solve problems when my brain is too tired to figure it out. This move was no exception.

These were the two storage units. They were thirty feet deep and each of those cardboard boxes represents 40lbs. We haven’t done the exact math because there are a lot of boxes and we were all pretty tired by the end, but our ballpark guess is that we schlepped 8-10 tons of things. Those are literal tons, meaning 16,000-20,000 pounds of stuff. On the first load we had to pull some boxes back off of the truck because it was riding too low. I wish we’d gotten a picture of that. Not a good thing when the wheel well is touching the top of the wheel.

This is the space we had to move into.

I measured it. It is larger than the combined space in both our storage units. The office space is larger than my office and shipping room in my basement. Yet at 1am the night before I was convinced that it was not all going to fit. That fear lingered through the day, mostly because all day long I had to make decisions about where things would be put. The decisions felt crucial and irrevocable because we were so tired that I could not picture rearranging things later. I felt like I had to get it right, which I didn’t really. I just had to get all the things into one place so that I could begin to see how it all works. This is one of the reason I’m so very grateful for the helpers we had. They were my auxiliary brains and thus able to tell me everything was just fine.

The first merchandise moved into the warehouse prior to moving day, thus demonstrating that we are able to receive deliveries.

This same truck driver has delivered to our house on more than one occasion. He was pleased to see our new facility and admired our giant roll up door.
I love the great big door. We could back the truck all the way inside.

The other reason I need helpers for these big Schlock events is because they make me laugh. We loaded the truck with the musical theme from Tetris playing on some speakers while making jokes about things fitting. Later there was the Angry Birds theme with matching jokes. My helpers are always glad to come and I always owe them far more than I ever feel able to pay back. They come, and because of them I can do work that I would never be able to accomplish by myself. They make what we do possible and they keep me sane when my brain wants to tell me that I’m ruining everything.

We emptied the storage units. There is left over garbage in them that I need to clean out.

Then I’ll need to sweep and go inform the office that they’re available again. It feels strange to see them empty like that. This morning I saw the matching padlocks sitting on my kitchen counter and I had a moment of panic “Oh no, I forgot to lock up the storage units!” But then realized that I would never lock up those units again. We’re done with that part and moved on to the next.

Even more strange was walking into my downstairs shipping room which is now half empty. We ran out of time with the truck before we completely cleared the shipping room. Which was fine, we were out of energy too. What is left are odds and ends that I can move at my leisure. Except it won’t be at my leisure, because I had a moment of panic standing in that half empty room.

I went to Howard and cried “I broke it. I broke the system I’ve used for shipping for the last seven years and I’m terrified that this will destroy everything.” Of course it won’t. The new set up will, obviously, create new problems especially at first, but it will be better in a hundred ways. The biggest is one that became clear after Howard commented.
“At least now the light will be off in that room. You always left the light on in your shipping room. I never understood that.”

It took a few moments of thought for me to figure out why I did that. On the occasions where I walked out of the room knowing I wouldn’t be back for awhile, I turned off the light. That was rare. Usually I stepped out for a moment, or got called away, or paused what I was doing and intended to come back. The light stayed on because I was always about to ship, in the middle of shipping, or not quite done shipping. That was the problem. I was never done and the shipping/convention prep work spilled all over the living spaces. It won’t be able to do that anymore. I’ll have to decide to go work and decide to lock up to come home. This is good. I am looking forward to it. However, it represents a fundamental shift in my life and a part of me is terrified that I’ve broken everything and we’re all doomed as a result. That part of my brain wanted me to jump in the car and drive to go check on the warehouse at 10pm last night. Just to make sure everything was okay.

Everything is fine.
All the merchandise fits.
I didn’t crash the truck.
The helpers were amazing.
And I’m not nearly as sore as I expected to be today.

That last part is good because I’ve really only begun working. There is still stuff to move out of my house and there is lots to organize over at the warehouse. Some of the organization need to happen pretty quickly because there are packages to mail.

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