The answers to that question are:
- four times in two weeks,
- five times overall (since early May).
This has been partly because our new house was only finished 10 months after it was supposed to be completed.
We sold our family home of 12 years in May and had to vacate. For the next five months, we had to find short term rentals, with no real idea of how long we’d be there.
Because the three of us my wife, our adult son and I have actual lives, we could only put so much of our stuff into storage. We needed to keep a lot of gear with us: multiple shelving units, suitcases full of clothes, cartons of work and university stuff, a work desk, computers and monitors.
MOVE #1, EARLY MAY
The first place we landed in was cramped but pleasant. The owner really looked after us there. Eventually though, he had other bookings and we’d stayed far longer than expected.
MOVE #2, SEPTEMBER 16
So, we booked in at a second house, hired a van and moved all our gear there. Upon arrival, my son and I used the key from the lockbox and entered a house that stank like the B.O. of a thousand overheated monkeys. There was (apologies) poo in the toilet. The floors were sticky. Used towels lay in the bathroom and used linen on the beds. The remote for the garage was missing. A tap was broken and loose. And the owner wasn’t taking calls.
My son and I got out of there (leaving the stuff we’d just bumped in) while we debated what the hell to do about it. With my wife meeting me there after her work day, I returned to find that someone had been in there in my absence (suffice to say things had been moved around and the toilet had been flushed). Also, I couldn’t find my computer harddrive (you know the one you leave logged into all your accounts…learned my lesson there).
Only then did the owner finally return our calls. He wouldn’t believe what we were telling him, despite the photos we sent.
“The place was cleaned on Monday, and the previous tenants were evicted by the police the day before,” said he. “The place is safe and secure.”
“Well, it’s not safe and secure, dude. Your disgruntled previous tenants have used the garage remote to return to the house and squat here,” said we. “Maybe you should come down and take a look.”
And so. We loaded the most valuable of our stuff into our cars and returned to House #1 (where fortunately the wonderful owner said “Sure, sleep here a couple more nights, all good”).
Move #3, Sept 17
Next morning we hired another van, and returned all our furniture and boxes etc to House #1 while my wife tried to find us alternative accomodation. Also, we wanted time to clean House #1 because a) it’s the decent thing to do and b) that owner had been great to us.
Janine found another place we could move into on the 18th. So we cleaned and made ready for…
Move #4, Sept 18
Another day, another move. We’d kept the van overnight so we drove that and one of our cars to the new air bnb. “Any good, House #3?” you ask.
“Not really,” I reply.
It was dirty. But, then again, not quite as dirty as House #2 had been. Was there used linen on the beds? Nope: despite it being an air bnb, there was NO linen on the beds. Add to the TO DO list: buy linen and make beds (once you’ve unloaded the vans, cleaned this place enough to stomach living in it, and done a final clean up at House #1).
House #3 remained pretty much just a place to sleep and store stuff for the next two weeks. I caught a bad stomach bug from it, one where I couldn’t eat for a few days (probably not a bad thing, haha).
Eventually (hallelujah), we received the keys and final paperwork for our own house…
Move #5, Sept 28
The moment my wife and I stood in the living room of our own house (a smaller home since we’re almost empty nesters now) was such a relief. Big hugs, big high fives.
(Oh, there are problems with this place: this builder and developer cut corners for the six houses in our new estate. But hey, at least we’re not lugging shelving units and cartons of books and files from car to house to car to house…)
Oh, that theft?
Well… The computer harddrive had slipped deeper into a moving box. Sheepishly, I had to phone the police and amend my police report. But, man that was a relief to not have lost it. (I’m using the thing right now).
The End of the Saga
It’s been very difficult to write and find any traction for projects when we haven’t been settled for five months, so in a way I feel like I’ve lost a lot of progress this year. But it’s also given us empathy for people who don’t have it as lucky as us.
But, I tell ya. I am never ever moving house again. If I’m 90 and they’re trying to put me in a retirement home, they’ll have to drag me kicking and screaming from this place…