Moving House ⁉️
Just spent the last two and a half months moving house. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say that things didn't go smoothly. In fact, if there were any more bumps on the metaphorical journey between first buying our brand new dream home and then eventually selling the old stable which, in real estate parlance, was "full of character" and a "renovator's dream", then the wife and I would both have post traumatic stress disorder, permanent functional dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome, and hypertension, not to mention an over-abundance of that excrement, which hangs around bickering couples like a bad smell, the divorce lawyer.
Luckily, we've come through it all with our brains, bowels, circulatory system and marriage intact, although, at times, it did appear that we'd be shopping for separate homes.
Flash back to the day, a year or more back, when a worldly-wise friend of ours suggested that:
- "You're not getting any younger, you two!"
- "What if you suddenly take ill, Ken, and can't manage all those stairs, not to mention the garden, hedges and ongoing repairs?"
- "Isn't it about time you stopped climbing ladders at your age?"
Said friend did, however, sow the seeds of a sound, practical and common sense theory, but, there again, "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awrie".
So the next few months saw us looking at new (and not so new) suburbs across the length, width, outside, inside, up hill and down dale of Brisbane, not to mention South-East Queensland. And there was many a day and night discussion about staying on where we were, going the whole hog and moving from the Sunshine State (Sunny Queensland) to where our daughter and grandchild are (on the fringes of Antartica in wintery Victoria).
The need for sunshine clinched the location for me, however, since, in recent decades, this native born Scot, originally used to walking to school through slush and snow, with icicles dangling from my appendages, has morphed the metabolism due to many years of living and working in tropic climates, resulting in the development of a rare allergy to less than warm and toasty climes. I now admit that I've become a "fair sook" and can't stand the cold weather.
As for whether to stay or move on, the decision became obvious when, one day, we explored an old adage (wise saying, that is, not hole in the ground). So, fill in the missing word(s) in the following statement and you'll see what I mean:
"Home is where the ..... "
If, like me, you tend towards one of the following:
- "ongoing plumbing leaks are", or
- "never ending hedges lie (of Fangorn forest, Ent-like origins)", or
- "cathedral ceilings sport an unreachable swath of spider gossamer (of world-wide web proportions)", or
- "Possums do nightly battle in the loft", etc, etc,
then, perhaps it's time to throw in the towel and look for a newer and more manageable model (the wife's been reportedly looking for one of those to replace my ageing old bones for some time now).
So, fasting forward to the last couple of months, we've been fully engaged in the painfully prolonged process of the unholy 'triage of moving', being the mentally taxing decisions, set out as follows:
- To the dump? (ie rubbish tip or local authority waste disposal facility); or
- To Vinnies? (ie one of many charitable organisations, such as the Sally Army, who accept used goods and clothing, and will even send a truck to pick up bulky items of unwanted furniture, such as an 'entertainment unit' that told no jokes and could neither sing nor dance, a 'Welsh dresser' which was made in Oz, didn't respond to Wales speak, and was incapable of putting clothes on anybody, and of course an ottoman and lazy boy, both of which were gender neutral); or
- To the new house and hence to be put in boxes (ie too small to be moved by the removalists as an item of furniture, and hence doomed to be wrapped in butcher paper, to guard against being broken ..... or ever found again).
As we had moved regularly (every three or four years) in the early part of our marriage, we were well aware of the dangers of getting these triage components wrong, whereby items thrown out (to the dump or to Vinnies) proved invariably to be subsequently indispensable and had eventually to be replaced by new purchases, and items put in boxes were often lost for years, until found again (in said boxes) when the next house move was in the planning process.
The good thing about moving every few years, however, is that there's a very low risk of accumulating piles of junk (you know, the little ornament-trinkety things purchased in some Singapore market, but which never quite looked so good when you got them back home; or then there's the broken bits and bobs stacked in an old cupboard that only need a touch of loving Superglue to bring them back to ..... unbroken junk). But this time we hadn't moved house for the last 15 years and so both the staff at Vinnies and the dump soon became used to seeing me drive up with yet another load of household 'entertainment', no doubt enthralled at how much ridiculously useless articles could be off loaded from one single residence.
Then eventually, after to'ing and fro'ing for many weeks, between the house we had purchased and the house we were living in (but hadn't yet sold), we eventually heard the sweetest words that any house mover can hope to hear:
It then came down to actually moving as much across to the new house (by private transport) as we humanly could, in order to avoid anything precious being potentially broken by the removalists. Here the concept varies slightly between eastern culture (my wife's roots) and western culture (my own roots), but remains essentially the same, as you can see below.
Then there was the big day the removalists came. Having been somewhat apprehensive about the potential for walls and paint to be marked, chipped and scraped, let alone the furniture to be damaged, we were introduced to six strapping great muscle-bound guys. My first reaction was, well I'm not going to argue with these hulks, so fingers crossed.
As it happened, these gentle giants were thorough professionals, even keeping their hands on the outside of each load carried through door frames and up stairways, to protect against collision with walls and paint (but at risk, no doubt, of skin removal). These fellas were no casual back-packers on a temporary mission to top up the drinks kitty, but were considerate, patient and, well, accomplished. Don't you just love hard work .... but only when it's being done by others?
And then, at last, a couple of weeks later, all junk gone, furniture and goodies intact (well mostly) and unpacked (apart from the odd box or several), we're settled into the new house. So now we only have to worry about the normal plethora of things that gnaw at the minds of house hoppers.
Have we informed all the normal suspects of our change of address, and how long will it take before they try and break into the new house?
Why isn't the new wi-fi set-up working like it should?
Is the new air con supposed to be this strong?
Ah well, as Joni Mitchell might have said:
You don't know what you've got ..... 'till you move!
The author of the above, Ken Boddie, besides being a sometime poet and occasional writer, is an enthusiastic photographer, rarely leisure-travelling without his Canon, and loves to interact with other like-minded people with diverse interests.
Ken's three day work week (part time commitment) as a consulting engineer allows him to follow his photography interests, and to plan trips to an ever increasing list of countries and places of scenic beauty and cultural diversity.