Thursday, April 29, 2010

DITY Move: The U-Haul Horror Story

One of the perks of being in the Army is the moving service. The Army makes you move, so they also move your things, which is awesome, but even better is moving your stuff yourself. Yep, that’s right, because the Army will actually pay you a percentage of what they’d have paid a moving company. This is called a DITY move, and we will never do it again, according to hubby.

Our first step was to rent the trailer, which meant we had to answer questions like how much my truck could tow (about 4,000lbs), what kind of hitch it had (none at the time, $40 later we had one), and which size trailer we wanted. We rented the largest trailer U-Haul would give us. Hubby had to leave before I could, so our plan was that he would take the trailer, the dog and the truck to Kansas while I spent my last few nights with my best friend, then I’d take the car and join him in Kansas.

Hubby is a talented guy, he’s smarter than anyone I’ve ever known and I think he can do anything. He was not, however, raised pulling trailers; there just aren’t many reasons to in the city, so this is not one of his finely tuned skills.

Normally it takes less than 8 hours from point A to point B, but towing that trailer hubby had to stay under 60. This put him arriving at the entry gate around 11:30 that night. Anyone who had just driven all day and night through the worst part of Colorado and the worst part of Kansas with a drooling dog and a trailer would be more than ready to call it a day, so you can imagine his disappointment when the gate was closed. There are multiple entryways onto the post, but only one is open 24/7, and the one he was directed to wasn’t that one. Almost an hour later, my inexperienced-trailer-driver hubby finally finished backing the truck/trailer over the bridge and back onto the main road.

When 1:30AM rolled around, hubby was checked into the hotel, but still had to do something about the trailer. It would have to stay in the parking lot for almost a week, and there were no pull-through spots, only single spaces. Hubby could either A) Park across 5 or 6 spaces and make everyone hate him, or B) Back the trailer into a spot, remove it and leave it there until the time came to hook it back up and take it to our new home. He went with option B.

Putting the trailer on the truck was easy when he rented it; he lifted it with just the help of an older gentleman. But 3,600lbs later, he and Justin had a hard time removing it, and when they finally did, it proceeded to roll out into the parking lot. Since they couldn’t just leave it there and it was now almost 2am, they decided to hook it back on the hitch and just take up as many spots as they needed, no longer were they concerned for the other guests, they just wanted some sleep.

Heads up if you ever want to try this: a full trailer is hard to get back on a hitch.

The boys grunted and sweat as they tried to lift the U-Haul. Justin had a car jack, but it buckled under the weight of all our belongings in the trailer. It flew across the parking lot, bent and broken. Somehow, I don’t know how, they finally managed to lift that thing up onto the hitch (WOW), it wasn’t entirely on, but it was enough. They reconnected the chains and called it a night.

A week passed and our land lord cleared out the garage in our new home so we could drop our things off and return the trailer (The current renters were still in the process of moving out). We drove our things to our new home (!!), ordered a pizza and enjoyed some beers with friends who came to help us empty our boxes. We finally said goodbye and see-you-soon to our new house and began the trip to U-Haul to rid ourselves of the trailer hubby now despised.

While the trailer was not quite properly attached to the truck since the night in the parking lot, there hadn’t been any problems on the 15 mile drive over; we assume it was because the weight was so much that little bumps didn’t move it around too much. Sans-our-stuff, it was much lighter. On the way to the U-Haul lot, something jolted the trailer right off the hitch, and in the rearview we watched it swaying across the highway, sparks flying! Thankfully, Justin was right behind us and quickly helped hubby take control of the situation. With the trailer empty, thus easier to lift, and properly attached, we continued on to drop the DA^M thing off.

The girl at the desk told us to leave the trailer anywhere there was room, only problem was, there wasn’t any room, at least not enough to back a truck and trailer into. We decided we would back in as far as we could, remove the trailer (because a light trailer is much easier to move) and guide it into the space. We unhooked the chains, lifted, and began leading it towards the place we could finally leave it.

The trailer started picking up speed.

Because we were on a hill.

We held on, we pulled, it was no use. Hubby let go, I sat down, hoping to stop it (Why did I think that would help?), Hubby yelled for me to just let go, too. We watched in horror as it gained speed, headed right for a blue house across the alley….

Thank God it stopped. There must have been an incline at the end of that alley, because the trailer didn’t reach it. I, still sitting on the ground, laid back and laughed. I laughed like I hadn’t laughed in a long time. Hubby didn’t think it was quite so funny, but when you watch a trailer that has caused nothing but problems roll down a hill, surely to crash into someone’s home, there’s really nothing you CAN do but laugh.

A year has almost passed, and now Hubby can chuckle when we talk about it, but you can be sure, no matter what they Army offers to pay us, there’s no way he’s ever going to do a DITY move again!


  1. I think DITY stands for "Do it to yourself" moving. heehee I think we have all had one of these moves at some time or another.

  2. Ah, military moves. Yes, they pay for it, but watch out if they pack your stuff. Once, the movers that the air force hired stole my father's wedding ring and his class ring from his top dresser drawer. Bastages! I have the utmost hatred for anyone who steals anything. I don't care what the reason.

    From then on, we always packed our own stuff.


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