My errors started before I ever left Georgia. I planned all phases of my job transfer by researching the best moving companies. If only I had taken the time to update my forwarding address at the same time, I would've saved myself a lot of aggravation. You'll understand why in just a moment. After I got all of my stuff boxed up and left Georgia for good, the move itself was easy. My movers handled all the details. So, all I had to do was get in my car and drive west. A buddy made the drive with me, because he'd never visited California. We took turns behind the wheel. When I wasn't driving, I passed the time on my cell phone, texting and binge-watching television shows. Only later did I realize the mistake I'd made. I hadn't updated my cell phone contract to reflect my new residence. During the cross-country trip, I incurred hundreds of dollars in roaming fees for a bill that normally costs $75. Please don't tell my new job how bad I am at math.
Stuck in the '90s
Once we arrived at the new place, there was another big problem. I hadn't remembered to turn on the power at my new residence. So, my friend and I had to rent a room at an extended stay hotel the first few nights until the power company arrived. Without power, I also had no way to know that I'd forgotten something else important. I hadn't hooked up my cable and Internet services, either. Let me just say that going multiple days without Internet made me feel like I was trapped in the early 1990s. I felt like getting something pierced and then watching a Nirvana concert. Even when I finally had power at my home, I had no way to surf the web without using my cell phone. This is a good time to remind you that I still didn't know my cell phone service wasn't updated. I got hit with California roaming charges the whole time I was waiting for the mystical appearance of the cable guy.
Speaking of bills, I totally forgot to change my forwarding address. That meant that my credit card bill didn't arrive. I got hit with late charges for it. I could have easily avoided this mistake by signing up for paperless service. That wasn't my only change-of-address screw-up, either. I got pulled over by a California police officer. He pointed out that my license plate wasn't updated. Then, he pointed out that I had an out-of-state driver's license and registration. All three of those documents require updating when you change states of residence. I had to pay a $175 ticket and then over $500 for the new licenses. Just because I got a new job doesn't mean I'm made of money. Why do the cops not know this? Once I finally got wise to the fact that I needed to update everything, I also tried to update my car insurance. Would you believe they wouldn't let me at first?! I had to send them an entire tree's worth of paperwork in order to convince them I'd moved. Then, they informed me that I'd have to pay more for insurance in a higher risk state. Also, I'd have to pay more until my car passed the California emissions test. Guess what? It didn't! My beloved 1996 supremely American muscle car is too much of a gas guzzler to pass the environmentally-focused state emissions test. So, I'm going to have to pay more until I buy a new car. What have I learned from my experience? Literally one hour of planning could have saved me tons of time and thousands of dollars. All I had to do was update all my forwarding information, correct my billing data and cell phone contract, and notify my insurance company about the changes. Then, another hour or so at the California Department of Motor Vehicles would've corrected all my license and registration issues. Since I didn't do this, I had to spend several days at a dive motel, got mocked mercilessly by my buddy, and lost a lot of money I could've spent on new furniture for my new home phone.