Okay, so...here are the key things to know for your next move, fresh from a newly-minted expert:
Instead of three or four hours to load a two bedroom apartment into a truck, it takes approximately ten hours, three men, one woman, no toddlers, three breakfast sandwiches and surprisingly little coffee.
If you are planning to drive a U-Haul out of New York City, plan a route ahead of time that allows commercial vehicles. DO NOT leave at rush hour, hoping that your trusty GPS factored your "commerical status" into her plans.
Lock the gate at the back of the truck.
If you've neglected to do so, have someone driving behind you who can stop traffic and gather all of the items that begin spewing from your oh-so-expertly packed vehicle approximately two blocks into the trip.
When you find yourself driving along at two o'clock in the morning, seven hours into a seven hour trip with at least three hours and one border crossing to go, debating the merits of stopping for the night or pushing on...stop for the night.
If you will be traveling "caravan-style", establish rules to be followed for the drivers. For instance, if - hypothetically - one driver has to pee and wants to zip quickly off of the road without informing the other, thinking she can probably catch up to a slow-moving U-Haul pretty easily, decide whether or not that will result in a panicked husband suffering a complete emotional and physical breakdown and proceed accordingly. Also, determine situations in which a 911 call is, or is not, warranted.
Here's a good one: Let's say you've been living in the United States for about two years and are now returning to Canada. Did you know that you must have an itemized list of EVERY ITEM that is returning with you, along with its estimated value, for the perusal of the customs folks? And let's say you *forgot* to compile that list prior to your attempt to return across the border. Well, in that case you'll be parked at the inspection office for some time compiling that list. Bring snacks. Side note: Toddlers squatting mid-office to enjoy an embarrassingly long poop session are surprisingly well tolerated.
Oh, I know: Book a storage unit before rolling up to your city of storage choice. Also, pick a reputable company. Sure, they might tell you on the phone that they NEVER run out of spots...but they might be lying. And very few people will actually disclose to you over the phone that their units are flooded. People can be quirky that way.
Unpacking a truck takes approximately eight hours less than packing it.
The good news? All people, vehicles and belongings made it back across the border in full working order. Minus one shopping cart.