Last week I visited Small Town, Tennessee to find an apartment and meet my new bosses. Based on what I've observed of Small Town so far, the people there really like fried food, country music, and Jesus. Their favorite word is "ma'am," as in "Yes, ma'am," "No, ma'am," and "Would you like that fried, ma'am?"
Based on the people I talked to, Southerners are polite and friendly, and not only take five minutes to answer every single question but also think it's necessary to tell you their entire life story, even if all you said was, "Is there a Starbucks nearby?"
In Chicago, there's a Starbucks on practically every corner. But the people in Small Town apparently don't like coffee as much as fried food, which makes me wonder where they get all their energy. Maybe it's from listening to all that country music.
I was able to rent an apartment that's more than twice the size of my studio in Chicago for more than a hundred dollars less. But nevertheless, I am going to be thousands of dollars in debt due to this move to Tennessee. And this was AFTER I finally paid off all my credit card debt. (Not to mention I already owe thousands of dollars in student loans.)
I have to pay for movers to transport my furniture, and all the moving companies I called apparently have this motto: We overcharge because WE CAN. I could have had the Salvation Army pick up my unwanted furniture, like my fifteen-year-old lumpy mattress and box spring, for free if I had called them a month in advance. But since I only found out I got this job two weeks ago, I now have to spend hundreds of dollars on 1-800-Got-Junk to recycle/get rid of my furniture.
I am required to attend orientation for new employees. The Human Resources department told me they didn't have specific dates set up yet when I called them a week and a half ago. Of course, after I signed my lease, I learned that the orientation would be held three days before my move-in date. So now I have to spend hundreds of dollars on a rental car and a hotel room (I can't change my move-in date), since my parents aren't coming to Tennessee until a few days later. If I don't attend orientation, I won't be able to access any of my benefits (like health insurance) until October.
My parents are loaning me money for the down payment on a car (which is why they're coming to Tennessee for a few days to "help" me move. They're more likely to "help" me have a panic attack, seeing as how when I visited them during Christmas break, I ground my teeth so hard that one of them broke). I will repay them, and I will also be responsible for monthly car payments, car insurance, and gas.
I've also had to spend money on boxes, masking tape, and bubble wrap, and I have to set aside money to tip the movers. (Question: Do I tip the movers when they come to my apartment in Chicago, or after they deliver it in Tennessee? Or do I tip them both times?)
Since I'm getting rid of my old mattress and my broken desk, I have to buy new ones, which will also cost hundreds of dollars. I might not be able to buy those right away, which means I'll be sleeping on the couch for a while and using my desk in my office at school (and I use the word "office" loosely, since it's currently being used as a storeroom and I was informed that they would "probably get around" to cleaning it out by the time school starts).
Since I am a visiting, untenured faculty member, I get absolutely no financial assistance for my moving expenses from my new school. They also think that moving to a new state is "easy-peasy," which is why they want my syllabi for the classes I'll be teaching ASAP.
I know that I should be grateful that I have a job. I am, especially since it was so hard to find one. But I can't help resenting the fact that I've already had to spend a large percentage of my annual salary for this move, and I haven't even gotten paid yet. I thought I could finally quit my website job, but I'll have to work extra hours instead, and excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall.
What about you? Have you ever had financial problems or difficulties with the moving process? How did you deal with them?
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