Move part 3

Catch up time. With the move, the computers have been in bits for a few days, so here’s what’s been going on…


15:00. Having excused myself from work with a Sir Humphrey-esque e-mail “In order to further facilitate a successful conclusion to the aforementioned relocation venture” I go home early. Mr Effing Arsehole Builder is in the driveway, and greets me with a smile and a “How are you?” Heh. Someone’s obviously had words with him.

Take another load of boxes over to the new place. The continually looming large piles of little stuff was getting me down, and a strong stomach ache was developing. Maybe stress-related. Take a couple of pain-killers and try to relax.

18:00. Take kids to Nandos for delicious Portuguese chicken, to avoid making any more mess in the kitchen than I already have.

19:00. Stomach pain much worse. Feel queasy. Proceed to throw up some Nandos delicious Portuguese chicken. The kids are very worried to see me in such a state, and draw a “Get well soon Dad” picture on the Magna Doodle. Awwwww…

20:15. Kids in bed. Proceed to throw up even more Nandos delicious Portuguese chicken.

20:30. Me in bed. See, this is just what I wanted, really, it is. The night before moving house, and I had planned to do a lot more packing of stuff, and I’m sick as a dog. Perfect bloody timing. Could things get any better?

21:00. Feeling very sick. Bring on more vomiting by thinking of Nandos delicious Portuguese chicken. That does the trick, and I bring up the rest of whatever had been ailing me, then have a sleep.

21:45. Wake up, feeling a whole heap better. Get up and do some packing.

23:00. Go to bed. Not nearly enough done, but stuff it, I’m not going to kill myself. Set alarm for 6:30, plan to ring removalists to cancel if I’m not feeling okay in the morning.


06:30. Wake up, feeling okay so I do some more packing, have breakfast, get dressed, get kids up and fed and dressed, all that usual morning stuff.

08:05. Removalists arrive and introduce themselves as Shaun and Sean. Or one of them might have been Shawn. Or maybe both Sean, Shaun or Shawn? Or some combination thereof – I have no idea, but they were phonetically identical – for convenience I will refer to them as Sean 1 and Sean 2. Sean 1 is the older, experienced mover, with a dry sense of humour, a smoking habit, probably resigned to being a removalist for most of his working life, and apparently loving it. Sean 2 is the skinny young bloke, probably doing this while he figures out what he wants to do with the rest of his life. Over the next few hours Sean 1 seems to give a lot of instructions to Sean 2, and I am reminded for some reason of how a man might address his dog when herding sheep.

They back their truck into the driveway, and start shifting stuff. The kids are excited as can be. Peter turns up to help with taking really big furniture (the kids’ bunk beds and my huge desk) apart so it can be moved.

I’m running around like a maniac. The removalists’ brief is to move the big stuff – the furniture. My idea had been to move the little stuff, but the problem with this is that all the big stuff has little stuff on it, in it, or wrapped around it. If I’d been well enough the night before, I could have dealt with all that.

[The truck]
Unloading the truck

08:40. Take the kids to school, then get back to it. The guys make my day by saying (and contradicting the lady I spoke to on the phone in the process) they can move the filing cabinet without all the files being removed from it. That’s a big buncha hassle avoided.

10:30. Somehow, we’re done – all the big stuff is in the truck, a few boxes of small stuff is in my car, and a shitload of other small stuff is still in the flat, to be done later in the day. We drive to the new house and start unloading.

11:50. Everything’s unloaded. I pay the movers, and off they go. They were great, seriously. According to the side of the truck, Gronow’s have been in business since 1909, and if they keep this up, they’ll be going for a while yet. I’ll hire them again.

I spend the rest of the day shuttling between the old and new places (thank goodness it’s less than ten minutes in the car). There is a phenomenal bunch of little stuff left. Later on I pick the kids up from school and we do another couple of runs, then have dinner at my mum’s place, another Godsend as all the kitchen stuff is in boxes. We get home and somehow get the beds made and get a good night’s sleep.


I somehow scrounge up some breakfast, get the kids to school, then back to the old flat to continue moving stuff. I ring my boss to say I’ll be in later, when everything is moved. WHY DO I HAVE SO MUCH STUFF? A major cull will follow all of this.

Mr formerly-Arsehole-Builder drives up in his ute. He very politely asks if his car is in my way, which it isn’t. heh.

11:00. The final load of stuff is moved. Okay, so there’s a some junk left behind, but since the builders are going to trash the place, who cares? They can deal with it. I drive over to the old landlady’s house to drop in the remaining rent, get her to sign the bond form. “Don’t do nothing!” she had told me, referring to cleaning. I hadn’t.

Then I go to work. The new commute is about the same length as the old one, except the trains don’t run express in the off-peak, but more do in peak hour. More about the new neighbourhood later. Work, in comparison to the chaos at home, is a tranquil oasis.

19:00. Had hoped to go to the, but circumstances beyond my control see me back home with the kids for the evening, and facing some house teething problems. The hot water heater pilot light has gone out, and won’t re-light. The sparker thing is barely sparking, and even poking a match in doesn’t seem to do any good. Have to ring the agent in the morning about that one.

The hot tap in the laundry is leaking, and there’s a big puddle all over the floor of the (fortunately separate) laundry. This I solve by tightening the hose pipe fitting thingy with a spanner, and all is well. Apart from the secondary puddle caused by my moving the washing machine to look at the leak, and the outlet pipe jumping out of the basin while doing a load, but it’ll all be dry and hunkydory in a day or two, I’m sure.

I spend the evening starting to unpack some of the boxes (about 10% unpacked, a heap to go) and putting the TV/stereo back together so I can at least play music and watch TV as I unpack.

So, lessons out of all of this?

  • I have way too much stuff. A colleague at work suggested date-stamping everything when you use it! Not a bad idea – anything not touched in two years could get thrown in the bin. Books and magazines in particular: I have kept a stupid number of old computer mags. They were interesting to read at the time, but ultimately, anything I could possibly want to know in the future about computers (or indeed almost any topic) is on the web somewhere anyway. So apart from the really nostalgic ones (like the copies of APC where they review the original IBM PC and the Vic20) they’ll be getting chucked.
  • I hate moving. I had hoped to make this move into a house that I owned, so I’d never have to move again. Well, one more time – in a wooden box, but when that happens, someone will be moving me. Alas, home ownership and a wacking great mortgage is not to be just yet. Next time, however…
  • Next time, I will endeavour to pack everything up in boxes beforehand, then the movers can shift it. That’s definitely what I’ll do next time. Most of the stress this time round was caused by continual shuttle trips (probably around 15 all up) to move stuff in the car.
  • Boxes are the anti-TARDIS: they are smaller on the inside. You will always need more than you have.
  • I have a small excess of plates and glasses and other breakables. Despite taking the minimum of care wrapping them, I have so far not found a single one broken or chipped. I therefore conclude that elaborate wrapping of glassware is a waste of time, at least if you’re moving it yourself.
  • One man’s junk is another’s treasure. Among the ten or so bag loads of stuff I threw away was a 1987 edition Guinness Book Of Records. 1987. That’s 16 years ago. It was in a bag I threw in a bin over the weekend. By Monday I noticed the builders had chucked the bag into a skip. Midway through loading the moving van I noticed one of the Seans had put it in the truck for some light reading later. Fair enough.
  • My hands are a mess. I’ve got strange cuts on the ends of my fingers, like all the skin has dried and cracked or something. Oh, poor delicate flower, you’re thinking. Yeah. Well. Frankly, I don’t think shifting this many boxes is what I’m used too.

Yikes. That’s all for now.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.