This all starts with our having to move from Pine Bush, NY, to Nashville, TN. Short version: the client company in Manhattan I was working at went bust and dropped the contract with the insourcing agency. I was let go with four weeks’ notice, except I only got three weeks because LTI decided not to tell me and I had to find out for myself. With that short a notice, I was unable to find work fast enough, having no massive savings to fall back on, and Homebridge foreclosed on the house.
After a brief attempt to work for Wipro, that ended with them flying the engagement with Xerox into the side of the mountain after just 7 weeks, I landed in Nashville TN. The family was still in Pine Bush, we were trying to work things out with Homebridge prior to their foreclosing, and we were all badly stressed over the whole situation.
And then the pandemic hit. The client in Nashville went remote early, so as not to take chances, and after a month, with no end in sight, the boss announced that as long as we had good connectivity, we could work from anywhere, we didn’t have to stay in Nashville. A family friend made a road trip from Texas to pick me up in Nashville with most of my stuff (I was living a pretty minimalist existence) and took me up to New York to spend the lockdown with my family.
Fast forward to a few months later. Homebridge has been intransigent, has denied our paperwork for assistance three times, and has filed for foreclosure. The paperwork is stalled in the court because of the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. We find a place in Nashville that’s within our budget, get a price quote from a moving company that we can afford, and set the date.
We did not do sufficient research.
True State Moving, of New Jersey and California, has multiple complaints on file with the BBB and the FMCSA. None of those will ever result in any positive result for the victims, as the BBB is just a ratings agency and the FMCSA had its budget slashed and teeth pulled by the Republicans in Congress many years ago. Moving companies are theoretically regulated, but in actuality can get away with whatever they want because there’s no enforcement available. They screwed us over for a total of $9000 on a $2000 estimate, held our household belongings hostage for payment of the balance (which is illegal), and generally acted like a pack of Ukrainian mobsters. We ended up having to make some very harsh choices and leave furniture and some of our boxed goods in the Pine Bush house because we couldn’t afford any more cubic footage in the thieves’ trailers. This included a reconditioned floor loom that Tiffany had been working on for months, and had ready to go.
Once we got to Nashville, borrowed $4200 from a family friend to pay off True State Moving and get our stuff delivered, minus the fourteen boxes they lost and never made any effort to find, we started working on how to rescue the loom. The rest of the stuff we left in Pine Bush bothered us, but the loom was a tragedy. A functional tool, with considerable labor invested in the refurbishing, had been abandoned. We started talking with people about what to do.
Emsenn, a person I knew from the Fedi, suggested a crowdfunding effort to rescue the loom and take it to an anarchist cooperative / mutual aid organization in Chapel Hill, NC. These people would have the ability, and a few might already have the skill, to put it to use, clothing the community, including the houseless population in the area that they were already working with. In the process, we might be able to rescue the knitting machines, and some of the other stuff that had been left behind.
We launched the GoFundMe on 12 February 2021, with a goal of $2300. This was based on the following breakdown:
|Cargo Van – U-Haul Reservation*||844.80|
|Hotel (3 nights @ $70 ea)||210|
|Food ($60 per diem for 2 adults, to include pre-trip grocery run, ice for cooler, coffee, etc.)||240|
|Loom (recovery of initial purchase price plus labor / parts / supplies for refurb)||300|
|*This is discounted from a full price of ~$1500, due to both the duration and the expected mileage.|
This comes to a total of $2094.80. We rounded up to $2300 to cover the fees from GoFundMe.
Actual costs will be presented in the Conclusions post, under Lessons Learned.
As each payment came in from GoFundMe, I sent it over to CashApp, using the CA account to protect the rescue fund from getting eaten by bills and such, keeping it separate from our personal funds. After several weeks of promoting the fundraiser, it achieved its goal at the end of March. The final balance came in on 4/5. By then, we had confirmed with the realtor that we still had access to the house, and had done some logistical planning, and were able to share the proposed schedule for the rescue effort.
As posted on GoFundMe, the plan was thus:
- 4/27 - pick up cargo van, pack and load for the trip
- 4/28 - drive TN to NY first leg (it's a 13 hour trip)
- 4/29 - finish drive to NY, load the loom
- 4/30 - Drive NY to NC, maybe unload if it's not too late
- 5/1 - more likely unloading, drive NC to VA, stop at farm
- 5/2 - drive VA to TN 5/3 - return cargo van
Let’s go through this and see how well it survived contact with the enemy.