Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Holes in A Rental Truck ...

 It was mid morning on July 18th when we first noticed.  My sweety was at the nose of the Uhaul grabbing boxes and bringing them to the ramp for me to carry into the storage unit.  When we work together, it is like a well oiled machine.  Every step and move is in time with each other.  The best team work I have ever taken part in.   It was when my sweety said "don't come up in here, and don't get any more boxes"  that I was thankful for the break.  I had no idea what he was talking about, but my arms were already screaming for some R & R, and I thought my legs were going to buckle.  Paul walked out of the cargo area, down the ramp and into the cab of the uhaul.  When he walked pasted me and back into the cargo area, I noticed the camera in his hand. 

"Babe, what are you doing?"  I asked tiredly 

 "The boxes in   Moms Attic are soaked.  We are going to photograph them while they are still up there, and see what, if anything,  has been damaged." He replied calmly

The gasping sound, or what ever sound escaped my mouth, must have been loud.  I am almost sure my jaw hit the pavement, and my hand flew to my face in the attempts to trap the scream that was swelling in side of me.  "The pictures of the grand babies are up there.  The ones of James military Graduation.  My uncle Carlos pictures.  What if they are soaked?  I could never replace those." 

 "I know baby"  my sweety said gently "lets not get all upset and worked up until we know if the water damaged anything.  Alright?"

Paul is always so calm, cool,  and collected during times like these.  I was ready to dial the CEO and President of the rental company, while my sweety carefully moved each box and took pictures of the damage.

As the camera 'snapped' away,  I watched and prayed that the photos were not damaged.

The more boxes he  moved, all hope inside of me seemed to escape.  Washed away by the storms on our trip from Texas to Florida.  Lost forever in the back of a rented Uhaul truck.  Gone...

  After photographing a box, we gently moved it off of Moms Attic and opened the wet section to inspect the damages.  As we moved each box, I held my breath until it was placed carefully on the cargo area floor.  With the opening of each box, I closed my eyes and prayed, begging for my personal treasures to be spared. 

You can see here, where my books were affected by the water.  Being wet and then sitting in the dampness and heat, warped the pages and left the edges stained.

 The water markings across the base of my Jim Shore {it can be seen by looking at the white tag, the water covered the base except a small portion of the tag at the upper left hand corner} 'Protect those who Sacrifice and Serve'  lady.  

No matter what box we moved, the water reached my treasures inside.  No matter how small the damage,  how minor the water stains, or how little the warping, they were my personal treasures that I entrusted to a company for safe keeping.  

Just one of the boxes that held my pictures ... every moment that could not be replaced..  every expression ... every smile that I would no longer capture...  When I saw the box was wet, my heart sank.  no matter if the water was a lot or a little,  moistness alone is damage.  No need to soak a picture.  Moisture is all it takes.  

When we opened the box and I looked inside, I could see the moisture lingering beneath the bubble wrap.  Waiting.  Lingering. 

Warping my treasures.  Effecting each picture..

Altering each hand made item that was given to me ..

Changing what can not be replaced.

What may seem like simple or minor, or even like small damages to some; are considered major to me.  Family is everything, and I can not go back and replace what was lost or effected by the water leak.  There is no time machine to travel in, no moments to redo.  I value each and every item I have and hold them with the highest regard.  I can purchase more books, picture frames can be replaced..  this is true; Have you ever tried to remove a once wet picture from it's frame?  Looked for a book you once had? 

Mom's Attic

 The areas which housed my personal treasures.. my pictures, my china dishes, my books and DVD's, my CD's, my newspaper clippings.. everything I keep close to my heart.

 Once each box was opened and everything was inspected for damages, a phone call was placed to Uhaul.  I must have talked to half a dozen people, taking names and phone numbers as I climbed the ladder to the top. My sweety had purchased the extra Cargo Insurance for the Uhaul truck and the extra Towing Insurance for the tow dolly and my car.  Needless to say a claim had to be filed and the damages had to be reported.  Now, my sweety kept saying "nothing was ruined", and in a way I can see where he is coming from ~ cause it could have been a lot worse.  But no matter how you look at it, each frame is ruined, and that does not even cover the pictures {that are priceless and irreplaceable}.  Each book that was effected by the water is also ruined.  

Front right of Mom's Attic ~ the caulking clearly visible

Without going through the motions, some other unsuspecting customer is going to store their personal treasures in this truck, putting their items in the hands of Uhaul's Moms Attic, and maybe that time will be  worse than this time.  This is the reason for the extra insurance, to cover the precious cargo this truck was carrying.  Entrusting this company with my personal items, and putting their promise and  guarantee in my back pocket, believing that my items were safe.  Is purchasing the extra coverage worth all the trouble, you might ask? Yes, I think it is worth every bit of trouble.  You might also be wondering about the outcome. 

Left front of Mom's Attic ~ Caulking clearly visible

 A claim with Uhaul's insurance company has been filed.  Photo documentation has been taken, as you see  here with just a small portion of photos I posted.  I was able to even speak to the president {Paul Ellis} of the Tampa offices, who could not  have cared less about my damaged items and the fact that his truck was faulty.  To be quite frank,The only person who even asked about the items themselves, and who even apologized for the faulty equipment, was the gentleman at Randy's Cycles in Cleburne Texas,  where we rented the truck, just from hearing his concern over the phone, I could tell, his is a business worth talking about.  A businessman who stands by his word.

Roof of Mom's Attic ~ This is a patch area, right above where my personal treasures were stored.

The rest, well that remains to be seen.  Two days ago I received a phone call from the claims adjuster.  I had requested the Uhaul truck undergo a "Water Test", so the areas leaking could be found and fixed properly .  The adjuster was still waiting for someone to perform those tests.  The damage was noticed on July 18th {hence the date stamped on the photos}, and today is the 31st.  The claim sits, waits, only adding salt to the wound.   

 ** Now, this was in no way a bashing blog about Uhaul.  In fact, this was the first time I have ever experienced any type of problem with Uhaul, ever.  In no way  is this an attempt to boycott Uhaul either.  This is simply my story, true events that happened to me just a few short weeks ago.  The point of the whole story  is to make sure you purchase the extra cargo insurance.  Covering my belongings in bubble wrap helped greatly, so if you are planning a big move.. use bubble wrap {if you think there might be any water damage}.  I am more than 100 percent sure, if I had not covered the picture frames in bubble wrap, the damage would have been 10 times worse. **

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