An Arctic blast, polar vortex, cold snap, or whatever describes the winter these days is heading for most of the US this week and it’s time to prepare your home. We’ve listed a few simple steps to help winterize your home and save on heating costs below:
Before it turns cold, test your furnace by setting and running it on a high degree to determine if it’s working properly. You can do some maintenance yourself by changing the air filter, making sure there is a sufficient fuel supply, cleaning out the vents and checking for carbon monoxide leaks with an alarm. Consider hiring a technician to perform the yearly maintenance or if there seems to be an issue with the furnace when testing.
If you have a gas furnace make sure to test the pilot light. The flame should be blue, clear and steady. If it is sluggish or goes out, call your utility company, but don’t turn the furnace off, because the technician will need to look at the flame to see how it is functioning. The pro will clean and relight.
Chimney and Fireplace
The chimney and fireplace can be a major source of cold air. To prevent drafts, it is best to perform annual maintenance. First, check for bird or squirrel nests with a powerful flashlight. You should also check the flue and the open and close switch to make sure this is properly functioning. An easy way to check if there is an obstruction that isn’t visible in the chimney is lighting a few pieces of newspaper on fire to see if the smoke goes up and out through the chimney. If it doesn’t, you will need to clean the chimney, which is probably best if left to a professional.
Plumbing is especially susceptible to cold weather and freezing. Pipes can burst from freezing temperatures, causing very expensive repairs. To prevent this from happening, insulate exposed piping (crawlspace, attic, outside walls, etc.) with electrical heating tape and wrapping in a foam insulation.
For outdoor plumbing, use hose bibs or sill-cocks to winterize exterior faucets. In order to do this, you need to turn off the water supply inside the house and drain the water from it by opening up the exterior faucet.
In the case you are shutting down a vacant property for several months, you should always shut off the water supply and drain the plumbing system before winter.
Windows and Doors
One of the easiest ways to winterize your house and cut back on heating costs is to shrink-wrap the windows or use rope caulk to close gaps in the windows. If you have just moved you can also use bubble wrap as insulation on the windows. To winterize gaps on the bottom of a door, use weather stripping on the bottom to prevent drafty air.
Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Make sure gutters and downspouts are clean with no leaves. When leaves remain in the gutters they tend to add significant weight and volume causing damage.
Cover patio furniture and consider giving your deck a fresh coat of sealer before winter. Drain gas from the mower or just let the mower run until it runs out of gas. Drain any water fountains and unplug the pumps for the winter months.
The most overlooked step of winterizing is protecting your outdoor conditioner/condensing unit from wet leaves and debris which can cause freezing and rusting of internal components. A simple waterproof cover goes a long way in extending its life, especially in the winter months.
Beginning tomorrow, Wheaton World Wide Moving is hosting its 60th Annual Partnership Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch. The Thrive 2014 conference will be packed with plenty of informational sessions, award ceremonies and other fun activities. During downtime, Scottsdale and its surrounding areas have plenty offer. Below are some fun facts and attractions you can find in Scottsdale.
- Scottsdale averages 330 days of sun and a temperature of 75 degrees. (According to weather.com there will be a 0% chance rain and in the 80’s on Wed-Sat).
- Popular points of Interest are: Native American and Environmental Learning Center, Hear Mussum, Desert Botanical Garden and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West.
- There are 200 golf courses are located in the city and the surrounding areas.
- The Sonoran Desert, located in and around Scottsdale, is the hottest desert in North America.
- The most popular natural landmarks are Tonto National Forest, McDowell Mountains, Camelback Mountain, Sonoran Desert and Pinnacle Peak Park.
- There are more than 100 art galleries and museums.
- Scottsdale boasts the highest number of destination spas per capita than any city in the US.
- The New York Times described downtown Scottsdale as “a desert version of Miami’s South Beach” and as having “plenty of late night partying and a buzzing hotel scene.”
- Scottsdale is home to many high-end corporate retail outlets and independent boutiques. The Scottsdale Fashion Square is nearly 2 million square feet.
- The slogan of Scottsdale is “The West’s Most Western Town”.
- The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa has a 2.5-acre water playground with 10 swimming pools, sand beach, three story water slide, whirlpool spa and two poolside bars. They also have Spa Avania, jogging paths and bicycle trails.
1. That’s Amore Gelato
2. Café Monarch
3. Franco’s Italian Caffe
4. Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
5. Mastro’s City Hall
6. Takeda Thai by Moulay
7. Citizen Public House
8. Ocean Trail
9. Cornish Pasty Co.
10. New York’s Best Italian Bistro
If you are attending conference, please make sure to tag #Thrive2014 when posting photos on social media.
Even if you are not attending, stay up to date on conference happenings with the Wheaton Facebook and Twitter pages for updates throughout the conference, including the announcements of Agent and Drivers of the Year on Thursday.
When you do an initial walk-through of a house, you’ll ask about the plumbing, the utility costs, and any previous damage. But you probably wouldn’t even think to ask if the home has any “permanent” inhabitants.
Although homeowners are required to disclose information about the home’s physical condition, they also have to reveal if there have been any murders or suicides in the home. However, when it comes to paranormal activity, the law is a bit vague.
If the home has been declared “haunted” by a government organization, then the owner must disclose that information. However, if there has never been an official record of ghostly visitations, the homeowners can stay tight-lipped about their apparition guests.
Would you live in a haunted house? Would you host spooky parties and séances for your friends, or would you run screaming from an unfriendly ghost? We searched high and low for famous haunted houses in the U.S. to find out how ghosts have treated the houses’ inhabitants. Judge for yourself if the haunted lifestyle is for you.
The Joshua Ward House
Joshua Ward was a wealthy sea captain turned merchant who built his home in 1784. Unfortunately, he chose the site of George Corwin’s house and jail. George Corwin served as sheriff during the infamous Salem witch trials. He personally interrogated and sentenced to death dozens of suspected witches. His methods were sadistic: he tortured and killed his suspects to elicit confessions.
Corwin’s home was eventually torn down and replaced with Joshua Ward’s. According to some accounts, victims of Corwin’s cruelty have been seen roaming the halls. Some have seen an older male ghost believed to be Corwin.
Today, the home is a commercial building for small businesses in the Salem area.
The Amityville House
Amityville, New York
Six members of the DeFeo family were found brutally murdered in their home in 1974. The oldest son, Ronald DeFeo, Jr., was found guilty of shooting and killing his parents and four siblings. Eighteen months later, George and Kathleen Lutz moved into the property. They stayed only 28 days.
The Lutz family reported unexplained noises, strange sensations of “being embraced,” and apparitions of a demon-like pig creature with fiery red eyes. Their story inspired the novel “The Amityville Horror,” which has also been made into a feature-length film.
Today, the home is still a residential property. It was sold in August 2010 for $950,000.
Villisca Ax Murder House
On June 10, 1912, the six members of the Moore family and two young overnight guests were bludgeoned to death. The weapon was discovered to be an ax, but the murderer (or murderers) were never found. No one knows why the Moore family was targeted.
Over time, visitors to the house reported hearing children’s crying voices, seeing a door that opens and closes mysteriously, and feeling wandering spirits.
In 1994, the home was purchased by Darwin Linn and renovated as a museum. In 1998, the Moore home was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, it still stands as a museum that offers daylight and overnight tours to brave visitors.
The Lemp Mansion
St. Louis, Missouri
The Lemp family immigrated to Missouri in 1838. In the 1860s, they started a successful brewery and built the Lemp mansion for the family. The family may have been quite wealthy, but they had a pattern of unhappiness-four family members of different generations committed suicide. In the early 1900s, Charles Lemp had a son with Down syndrome who was a product of an affair. The boy was confined to the attic and died at about age 40. His father killed his dog and himself soon after.
In 1975, the mansion was restored to its former glory after many years of disrepair. During the renovations, contractors reported feelings of being watched by invisible spirits. According to visitors, the spirits seemed to approve of the work being done.
Today, the Lemp Mansion is an inn and restaurant. The employees and guests alike have seen and heard paranormal experiences, including mysterious piano playing, self-stirring drinks, and the sound of a dog panting and clicking his nails on the floorboards.
St. Francisville, Louisiana
The Myrtles Plantation was constructed in 1796 by General Bradford, who came to Louisiana to escape persecution for his role in the Whiskey Rebellion. Legend has it that Chloe, a French governess to Bradford’s grandchildren, had an
affair with Bradford’s son-in-law, Judge Woodruff. Woodruff punished Chloe for listening in on a business meeting by cutting off her ear. She retaliated by poisoning a cake for his eldest daughter’s birthday. The poison killed Woodruff’s wife and two daughters.
Today, the mansion functions as a bed and breakfast inn. Visitors frequently have paranormal experiences. Some report the presence of a green-turbaned black woman, thought to be Chloe. She wakes guests by lifting the mosquito netting around a bed and staring intently. Others say they have seen the specters of two little blonde girls peeking through the windows.
Still not sure if you would live in a haunted house? Be sure to ask the realtor about the history of the home before you make a final offer. For more tips and tricks about home buying and moving, check out our other blog posts.
On a sunny, beautiful Monday in early March 2013, Marsha Davis, sat in her doctor’s office. Davis, Director of Revenue Accounting at Wheaton World Wide Moving, found a lump in her breast and her doctor was performing a biopsy. Her doctor was not optimistic the lump was benign, but Davis still had hope the doctor was wrong.
After the longest four days of Davis’ life, the doctor confirmed what she had been dreading. It was breast cancer.
Davis sat at work stunned, speechless with tears rolling down her face.
“When you get that kind of news, so many things go through your mind: ‘Am I going to die?’ ‘I’m not ready to die.’ ‘I won’t be able to see my grandson grow up.’ ‘How do I tell my husband, my son, my mom?’ My life as I knew it changed forever in a single moment.”
No one in Davis’ family had breast cancer, nor did she know anyone that had it, so she had no idea what she was about to endure. Davis had a long battle in front of her — a lumpectomy followed by 10 rounds of chemotherapy and 36 radiation treatments that lasted a year.
Despite the adversity, Davis found strength through the people around her.
“My husband was my ROCK!” She exclaimed. “I also had several great friends, family members and co-workers who gave me such encouragement, inspiration and support. Of course, my grandson Rece (who was four at the time), provided humor to my life at a time when I truly needed it.”
Davis continued to work at Wheaton during her treatments.
“They (Wheaton) allowed me to continue working and contributing through my treatments. They allowed me to work from home when I didn’t have the strength to make it to the office,” she said. “Most importantly they provided me with such unconditional, astonishing, unbelievable friendship, kindness and support through the entire process of kicking cancer’s butt!”
Davis is forever grateful for the Wheaton family that made kind gestures and sacrifices for her. Giving up paid time off, many employees took Davis to and from her four-hour chemotherapy treatments. Olivia Davis, the van line’s Sales Administrative Assistant, also formed a race team in Davis’ honor for the Susan G. Komen® Central Indiana Race for the Cure in April 2013. The team, “Davis’s Daisies,” raised more than $7,000 and was the fourth largest fundraiser in the state of the Indiana.
“The Wheaton World Wide Moving organization is not only a top-class act in moving, but they truly care about their employees,” Davis said. “I have witnessed several gestures of their generosity to many of my colleagues over the past 14 years. Never would I have imagined I would be one of the recipients of such outward compassion.”
With all of the support, Davis had her last chemo treatment on June 28, 2013, but had to continue with one of three drugs for a full year which ended this past April. She continues to have follow-up appointments every three month and takes a pill to slow the cancer cells from growing in her body every day for the next five-to-ten years.
After all Davis has gone through the past two years, she has been kind and brave enough to offer some inspirational wisdom for those who are fighting cancer and other life-threatening conditions.
“I would tell them it’s quite normal to mourn the loss of their health for a short time and that tears are appropriate,” She continued. “Cancer is beatable. The medical field has become much more educated with good information that can alleviate the fear.”
She added that the best resource is your doctor.
“There are a lot of reputable websites out there that provide great information, but there are a lot that are just full of garbage. Don’t believe everything you read,” she cautioned.
She also stated “Do not try to be super woman and allow others to help.”
Wheaton World Wide Moving is privileged to have Davis on its team and honors her, as well as all of the other breast cancer survivors during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Please visit the Susan G. Komen website for more information about breast cancer and Breast Cancer Awareness Month and how you can help.
Hart Moving & Storage celebrated its 50th anniversary last Thursday, October 16 in Lubbock, Texas. The event included a ribbon cutting ceremony with Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, facility tours, Barb-B-Que and refreshments.
Hart Moving & Storage has been a Wheaton World Wide Moving agent for 38 years and has won multiple Total Quality Care awards and the KCBD News Channel “Best of the West” in 2012. Founded by Joe Hart, their facility is located in the South Plains of the Lonestar State and is 75,000 square feet with 20 units of equipment and 25 employees.
Below are some pictures and video from the event.
Congratulations to Hart Moving & Storage on their 50th anniversary and to many more!
Done packing and think you’re ready to move? Not so fast. If you are leaving an apartment behind and want to retrieve your security deposit, you need to leave the property spotless. Even if you are moving from a house, you still want to clean whatever appliances you are taking and leave the new owners a happy home.
No need to rummage through your packed things for cleaning supplies. You likely don’t need to buy new products either-more supplies just mean more things to move. Most of these tips use common household items like vinegar and baking soda.
In the Bathroom
- Grout. Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Scrub the mixture into your grout, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse itoff. Also, soak cotton balls in bleach and place onto mildewed areas.
- Showerhead. Fill a plastic bag with vinegar, and use a rubber band to attach the bag around your showerhead. Let it sit overnight. Future residents won’t have to worry about clogs or lower water pressure. While you’re cleaning the shower, use a fabric softener sheet to remove soap scum.
- Drains. For a sink, combine baking soda and vinegar, and pour it down the drain while the mixture is still fizzing. Come back after an hour or more and flush the sink with hot water.
- For a bathtub, you can add pressure to further strengthen your unclogging power. Pour the baking soda and vinegar mixture, stop the drain, and then fill in the bathtub. Take out the stopper after about an hour.
- Boiling water and even Alka-Seltzer tablets have also been known to help with clogs.
4. Toilet. Don’t let hard water stains in your toilet bowl give you a headache. Luckily, there are several fixes. You can use a wet pumice stone and a soft touch to remove the rust. Or you can soak some toilet paper in vinegar and set it around the ring. If you’re feeling adventurous, use Coca-Cola. Pour a 12-ounce can of the soda in the toilet bowl, and watch the acidity break down your stains.
In the Kitchen
- Oven. Pour 1/2 cup of ammonia into a bowl and leave it in your cool oven overnight. Clean out the next morning. While vinegar and baking soda suffice for a lot of cleaning needs, ovens often require a heavy-duty cleaner-this is a circumstance where you’ll want the extra help.
- Microwave oven. Soak a sponge or washcloth, and microwave it for about two minutes on high. The steam and vapors will loosen all of that crusted-on mess. Grab the sponge or washcloth using an oven mitt-or a different cloth-and wipe down the sides. You can get the same effect with a small, microwavable cup of water.
- Stove top. For gas stoves, pour baking soda around the burners. Then add a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. Wait a bit, and scrub the gunk away. For glass, electric stovetops, you should be able to clean most of the mess with simple dish liquid and water. Use baking soda to break down serious grime.
- Cabinets. Got a greasy film on your wooden kitchen cabinets from cooking oils and grubby hands? Homeowners have seen success with mixtures of baking soda and water, baking soda and vegetable oil, and detergent and water. Use your favorite combination or whatever items you have on hand, scrub the surface, and rinse with water.
- Dishwasher. Start by pulling out the filter and washing it as you would a dish. Once you put the filter back in, run the dishwasher on empty. You can either place a cup of vinegar on the top rack or put a few packets of sugar-free lemonade Kool-Aid in the dispenser to clear out residue.
- Stainless steel surfaces. Buff counter tops, the exterior of appliances, and more with some olive oil on a washcloth.
All Around the House
- Blinds. Stick your hand in a clean, old sock and wipe down each of the blinds individually. To get rid of extra grime, dip the sock in a mixture of vinegar and water first.
- Windows. Create a solution with one part vinegar to three parts water. Dunk a towel into the solution and clean your window.Wear gloves if you don’t want to smell like vinegar for hours afterward. Then crumple a piece of newspaper to buff up the window.
- Carpet. Once again, vinegar saves the day. Most stains will come out with a cleaning solution of 1/4 teaspoon of vinegar (or a detergent that doesn’t contain bleach) and 4 cups of water.
For heavier stains, like wine, tea, chocolate, and coffee, use a mixture of 1 tablespoon of ammonia and 1 cup of water. Rubbing alcohol will work on glue or nail polish stains.
Use these simple and affordable cleaning solutions to leave behind sparkling surfaces. And most importantly, you can pick up your deposit and head off to your new home in peace.
In case you didn’t know, it is National Pizza Month and in the moving and storage industry, pizza should be the official food.
What else can you use bribe your friends with to help when packing? With one simple phone call, pizza can show up at your place in less than an hour without distracting you from packing and moving tasks.
It’s also a great meal to make from scratch with those random ingredients that you might otherwise have to throw out when you relocate… If you are in the middle of a move and would like to make pizza we’re here to help with the following 10 delicious recipes:
How to make dough:
Whisk 3 – 3/4 cups flour and a 1/2 teaspoons salt. Add 1 1/3 cups warm water, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 packet yeast. When foamy, mix in 3 tablespoons olive oil and knead until smooth. Brush with olive oil, cover in a bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Divide into two 1-pound balls. Use 1 pound per recipe unless noted.
To save time, you can buy premade dough at your local grocery store or pizzeria.
New York Style
Oil a 15-inch pizza pan and press the dough onto it. Sprinkle olive oil on to the dough, then top with 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 2 cups shredded mozzarella. Bake until golden, then garnish with pecorino, dried oregano and olive oil.
Make the dough into two 9-inch rounds. Top each with 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil; bake until golden. Sprinkle with 1/2 pound diced mozzarella, pieces of basil and salt. Bake until the cheese melts, then drizzle with olive oil.
Make the dough into a 15-by-9-inch rectangle. Top with cooked chicken, 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, scallions, jalapeños and 1 cup shredded cheddar. Bake until golden.
Oil a rimmed baking sheet and press the dough onto it. Cover and set aside until doubled. Top with 3/4 cup tomato sauce and 2 cups shredded mozzarella; put olive oil on top and back until golden.
Press dough into 6-inch rounds. Top each with diced raw bacon and bake until crisp. Crack an egg onto each crust and top with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until the eggs set. Top with baby greens such as spinach or kale.
Stretch dough into a 15-inch round; brush with olive oil. Top with 1 cup shredded asiago and grilled halved artichoke hearts. Sprinkle with thyme; bake until golden.
Stretch dough into a 15-inch round. Top with 1/2 cup each tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella and diced pineapple, 2 ounces sliced ham, and red pepper flakes; bake until golden.
Make the dough into 15-inch rounds and bake until crisp. Mix 8 ounces cream cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons chopped basil and 1 minced garlic clove. Spread over crust. Top with chopped mixed fresh vegetables (any available) and shredded cheddar. Sprinkle with paprika.
Dust a 10-inch cake pan with oil and cornmeal and press 2 pounds dough into it. Top with 2 cups each shredded mozzarella and tomato sauce, some cooked sausage and Italian seasoning. Bake at 425 degrees, 40 minutes.
Stretch dough into a 15-by-9-inch rectangle. Top with paper-thin slices of butternut squash, caramelized onions, olive oil and red pepper flakes. Bake until crisp.
What is your favorite pizza recipe? Let us know by commenting below.
For these recipes and more, please visit foodnetwork.com
If you are looking for a place with beautiful weather, nature, golf and of course plenty of beaches, then Jacksonville, Florida is for you. After a brief hiatus, we are continuing “Road Trip” series by traveling to Jacksonville, Fla.
Spanning over 840 square miles, Jacksonville is the largest U.S. city by area, as well as, the most populous city in Florida and 14th largest in the United States. It is located on the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean. It is home to the second-largest port of the East Coast which contributes to its steady economic growth.
Ask any Jaxon and they will tell you the biggest benefit of living in Jacksonville is the weather. Jacksonville has a tropical, warm climate with mild winters, however the city is hot and humid during the summers, which can be overwhelming to many. Even though it is located on the Atlantic Ocean, Jacksonville rarely sees hurricanes.
What to Do:
Obviously, the beach is the most popular destination for tourists and residents alike. For most residents of the city they have access to a beach within an hour drive. Jacksonville also boasts the largest urban park system with 262 designated parks, covering 80,000 acres.
Jacksonville offers plenty to do for the sports and recreation aficionado. The PGA tour headquarters is located in Ponte Vedra and hosts the annual Players Championships. Not a pro golfer? No worries, there are over 70 private and public courses available for your choosing. If golfing isn’t your thing, Jacksonville is home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
Consider these neighborhoods when looking for a home in the Jacksonville area.
Northside – These neighborhoods are located close to the airport, Jacksonville zoo and Huguenot Park. Convenient commute downtown, but it is far enough away that is the most rural section of Jacksonville. Many of the properties are on the riverfront.
Riverside – Riverside Avenue had the reputation in the early 1900’s as one of the most beautiful streets in America. It is just a short commute to downtown with the St. Johns River nearby. The St. Vincent’s Medical Center is located here along with plenty of doctor’s offices. This is a trendy area for restaurants, clubs and funky shops and is known for being fun and youthful among the young professional crowd.
The Beaches – This is the priciest, but most desirable neighborhoods in the Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach areas. Locals spend their weekends biking, surfing, running or rollerblading. First Street runs through all of the beach communities.
Orange Park (Westside) – A 45-minute commute from downtown, Orange Park (Westside) is known for its reasonable housing prices in more rural settings. Neighborhoods such as Fleming Island and Doctors Inlet offer convenient dining and shopping, but overall the neighborhoods are still have wooded areas.
Ready to Move?
With all that Jacksonville has to offer, who wouldn’t want to relocate there? After all, the cost of living in Jacksonville is less than the National Average and the job growth continues to improve by 2.4%.
We can help you get there! Wheaton World Wide has two agents located in the Jacksonville area to help with any move to and from Jacksonville.
Road Trip: Wheaton World Wide Moving
We will be exploring Madison, Wisconsin on our next road trip, but we need your help! Let us know the best places to live, things to do and where to eat by commenting below or on our facebook and twitter pages. #RoadTrip
I was pumped. I had helped load, unload, load again and now, 2,500 miles later, it was time to deliver our new favorite customer’s household goods to her new home. I felt like I had been through a mini apprenticeship and learned a lot in a very short period of time. And Bob was going to let me do a lot more now that I’d paid some dues.
“We’re a few minutes early, why don’t you go get us some coffee,” said Bob as we pulled up on the side of the road just before turning into Mrs. Bennett’s neighborhood. “There’s a 7-Eleven right up the road.”
That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but hey, the new guy has to take care of the important stuff. By the time I got back, we were ready to roll. An excited Mrs. Bennett waved to us from her garage as we pulled up.
“I’m so glad to see you guys,” she said. It had been a long trip for her too. She and her son made the drive just a day or so before and it was clear they were pretty tired too.
We got right to work and I was assigned to floor protection duty, putting down furniture blankets then Masonite in a strategically arranged path to roll dollies throughout the house without causing damage.
I unwrapped furniture, put together tables, lamps and whatever came my way. Speaking of lamps, I got in a fight with one of those three-part torch lamps with the wire running inside the entire length from the base to the housing of the little light bulbs that get to be 400 degrees when lit. In the end, I won, but only after I scratched the heck out of the middle tube after it became incredibly uncooperative and lopsided as I was trying to screw it together.
After a full week on the road, and a lot of coffee-fetching, this was my moment to pull rank. This was my moment to throw my weight around and make something happen – just because I can.
“Mrs. Bennett, I’m afraid I’ve scratched up your lamp. I want you to take a look at it let me know what you think. Once you do, if you’re concerned, I’ll be happy to simply replace the lamp and we’ll just take care of it before I leave,” I said smugly.
“Oh, don’t worry about it,” she said. “I’ve had that thing forever. It’s not expensive at all. No worries.”
Seriously? Well, I tried.
As I’ve already noted, Tampa was hot and humid and by 2 p.m. (just as Bob had predicted) we were finishing up the delivery and I started pulling up the floor protection, folding up furniture blankets and collecting garbage – tons of tape, cardboard bits from torn cartons and empty water bottles. We had one job left – an extra stop to Mrs. Bennett’s son’s home to deliver a heavy gun safe. It was a short drive and the AAA Moving & Storage helpers made short work of it – just as the afternoon rain started to fall.
As we headed back to AAA to pick up my stuff and for Bob to get on the road to Georgia to deliver his next customer, I was a bit sad that the whole adventure was coming to a close. I said my goodbye’s (after another Italian sausage from Victor’s food truck across the street) and Bob took off in his truck honking the horn all the way out into the street.
Marty Shulz from AAA was kind enough to take me to the airport, about a half hour away. As we neared the turnoff, I got a frantic call from Bob who was well on his way down the road. Turns out, something was wrong with Mrs. Bennett’s bed and she wanted Bob to turn around, or someone to come fix it.
Marty and I went into action. We exited the highway and drove back to Mrs. Bennett’s house. Someone else would have to get the coffee this time – now I was in-charge.
Mrs. Bennett showed us the bed. “I don’t ever remember seeing that board before,” she said pointing to what looked like a very complicated set of drawers attached to the foot of the bed.
Marty and I must have stared at that thing for 15 minutes before either one of us had a good idea. In the end, I owe Marty a debt of gratitude because he finally figured it out. I was clueless and I’m sure I went pale when I realized that there was the distinct possibility that we would never get it put back together.
After borrowing Mrs. Bennett’s only screwdriver (thank goodness the screws were Phillips and so was the screwdriver), we re-assembled the bed and drawers and Mrs. Bennett gave us her sign off. We said goodbye (again) and headed to the airport. My adventure was complete.
If you’ll indulge me in a few final comments: I’d like to thank Bob and Lori Krumpols and their staff for setting up this opportunity – these folks are at the top of their game and consummate professionals in their craft. I couldn’t have asked for a better guide to provide me with insight into the INCREDIBLY hard work our Wheaton and Bekins drivers, agents, packers loaders and helpers do every day.
I am humbled by the complexity, experience, physicality, mental fortitude, tenacity and perseverance of these folks and their ability to wake up the next day and do it again, creating another satisfied and loyal customer. On more than one occasion, a loader, helper or Bob himself said, “it’s not rocket science.”
No. But few things besides rocket science are. It is, however, Relocation Science, and anything less than that acknowledgement sells this profession far short of its true value.
I’m proud to work with the Wheaton | Bekins network and all of you.
Enjoy some photos and videos of A.J.’s trip below:
On the Road with A.J. is a blog series written by Executive Vice President of Wheaton World Wide Moving, A.J. Schneider as he travels across the country with truck driver Bob Krumpols of Preferred Movers of Nashville, Tenn. He will be experiencing life on the road while assisting with everyday interstate moves. Follow A.J.’s journey on the Wheaton World Wide Moving blog, Facebook page and Twitter page.
By Stephanie Linville, Director of Market Research & Pricing
The customer experience (CX) is no longer a series of independent interactions customers have with the various touch points in our organization; it’s an ongoing dialogue between Wheaton World Wide Moving and our customers.
This journey begins when customers are deciding which van line to choose to move their household goods on an interstate move. While some might view the customer relationship ending when the move is complete, the reality is the dialogue continues in the form of our customer surveys, referrals of our company to family and friends (which, by the way, happens to be our biggest source of new customers), repeat business with former customers and online reviews posted to social media.
Engaged customers are those who continue this dialogue with us. They are loyal enough to refer us to others and/or continue to use us for their future moves. If these customer behaviors are our end goal, then how can we get our customers engaged with Wheaton World Wide?
Providing a personal customer experience is the key to engaging our customers. That said, we are fortunate this challenge should be easier to accomplish in the moving and storage business than in other industries, since our service is a highly personal one. We are in our customers’ homes, handling their belongings and interacting with members of their family, including their children and pets.
In addition, generally speaking, most people do not make multiple interstate moves during their lifetime, but when they do, the experience is a major life event due to the significant expense and stress. Because of these factors, when Wheaton does an excellent or poor job, customers feel strongly enough about our performance to let us know. This is one of the reasons why we have such a great response rate to our customer surveys – currently 55% for our electronic surveys.
What does this mean? Well, simply by the nature of our business, all of our customers have the potential to be highly engaged. And if the Wheaton World Wide customer experience is affected by every touch point in the organization, then all of our employees, agents, drivers and crew members impact CX in some way.
Tuesday, October 7th, marks the second annual CX Day, and at Wheaton World Wide we are celebrating our customers during the entire week of October 6 – 10! Just like we showed gratitude for our drivers during Driver Appreciation Week, we will continue this successful marketing campaign and show appreciation for our customers by having our agents, drivers and employees take pictures of themselves (and customers, if possible) holding “I ‘heart’ customers” signs and upload these images to our social media sites. We look forward to a fun and memorable CX Day!
Photos from some CX Day events:
Wheaton World Wide Moving employees helped create a poster with their hand prints to signify all hands are involved every move.