The joys of moving in

Moving into our new home is certainly reminding us anew about how Murphy is really in charge.

  • We modified the refrigerator space in the kitchen, taking out moldings and a low-hanging cupboard so that our large unit could fit into it.  However, we failed to allow for the complications of moving.  We had to take off its doors to get the fridge out of our old home and into our new one.  It arrived safely, as did the doors and the shelves . . . but we couldn’t find the mounting hardware to put the doors back on!  After much frustration and a bit of profanity here and there, we finally found them late yesterday.  Today we’ll reinstall the doors, and hopefully by tonight we’ll have a working fridge once more.
  • We bought new locks and deadbolts to replace the older units in the exterior doors.  However, the dimensions of the new locks weren’t identical to those of the old, leading to sulphurous comments from Old NFO as he struggled to install them for us while we were busy with other things.  He succeeded with the help of a hammer and chisel, but at the cost of some short-term damage to his equilibrium.  We offered liquid consolation, which seemed to help.
  • NFO, Lawdog and a couple of their buddies did a wonderful job installing our new laminate flooring prior to our arrival;  but in the process they uncovered the fact that the original builders of our home, some twenty years ago, had some very strange ideas.  Some angles that are supposed to be straight aren’t, the front door frame was installed with the aid of what one might best describe as ‘creative carpentry’ (which elicited sulfurous comments from our contractor), and switches for some lights are rather oddly placed – not what one might intuitively expect.  We’ll fix what we can and work around what we can’t.  Nothing we’ve found so far is a deal-breaker.
  • When unpacking most of one’s boxes into one’s garage, it’s not a bad idea to leave a few paths so that one can get to them easily.  When one needs box X, and finds that it’s taken up residence several yards out of reach behind and beneath a rampart of other boxes and bits and pieces, it’s frustrating, to put it mildly!

Despite these trials and tribulations, we’re getting ourselves organized.  We’ll move ourselves in today, after spending a few nights in Old NFO’s guest room while we made the place at least barely habitable.  Phlegmmy‘s annual blogger gathering is only ten days away, and we’re hosting some of the guests, so we’d better get on with it if they’re to have a place to sleep!  (I think I’ll indicate a few of the heavier boxes and invite them to join us in unpacking them.  Insert evil snarky giggle here!)



  1. re: light switches in odd places… Did you know there are remote light switches? We installed them (A master at the original location,a remote box that can be mounted elsewhere…)

    We got them as a gift from my FIL. But worth it at any price, no repulling wires just to move a switch…

  2. We finally figured out why every light switch in our house seems to be in the "wrong" place: we're pretty sure the floor plans were reversed. Most of the light switches in the house are naturally where your left hand would reach for them, which means the plans were reversed and the right hand would naturally grab for them in the mirror universe.

    I still reach in the wrong place for light switches in the house, and we're approaching our second decade there…

  3. When moving appliances or furniture with loose hardware always put in a ziplock then duct tape to the inside of the biggest element.
    Boxes in a garage, make damn sure there is no chance of flooding. Lost a number of boxed books when the developer in the lot next door moved a pile of dirt which diverted the runoff from the next rainstorm right under our garage door.
    In theory new construction is always square and straight, but when plans are implemented, even by skilled craftsmen, perhaps especially with skilled craftsmen, corners get cut and stuff gets modified to fit, often to save time or to compensate for a lack of a certain material. And naturally after a few years everything settles into its most stable position which never seems to be straight or square.

  4. There is a decided difference between the carpenter built houses of my childhood and the mass produced ones of today. One of the hard lessons I've learned is door frames and window casings generally involve complete replacements in order to rectify problems.

  5. After much frustration and a bit of profanity here and there,

    Profanity is the grease that makes things move sometimes. 😀

    PS: A perfectly squared room is acoustically a pain in the ass.

  6. Thank you for blogging your Adventures In Relocation. I'm taking notes, still hoping to move this summer on a vector roughly opposite to yours (CA to TN).
    It's usually much less painful to learn from other people's adventures, so your accounts of what worked and what got complicated are much appreciated. (Quite apart from the entertainment value, of course.)

  7. Generally speaking, building codes specify numbers, and locations, of switches and outlets. Sometimes it gets done to code!

    A friend bought a $1m+ McMansion, in a 600 unit development 10 years ago, in the San Jose area. An inspector for the utilities told us that the workers were being paid $5/hr, with electricians @$8/hr. Most without speaking English, or US documents. He said it wasn't uncommon for the temporary power pole system, required at each building site, to blow up when he threw the switch to connect his incoming line to it.

    Lots of owner complaints about the quality of the builds. A few years into dealing with all the problems, the builder declared bankruptcy.

  8. As far as door locks, it's annoying when a replacement set, from the same brand, won't fit without woodworking. There tends not to be much wood to work with in cheap doors, further complicating maintenance of rental units. I have found the edge-wrap door lock reinforcements to be preferable to replacing the door itself (no messing with hinges).

    I would suggest that the master bedroom door be replaced with a solid wood, or even metal sheathed, door. With appropriate frame reinforcement, of course. The typical internal door can't stop an overwrought six year old child. The code required internal garage door makes a decent choice for this application, if you can match the width. You could add some trim pieces to make it look less plain, and hide it's substantial construction. Maybe the BG's will break a foot trying to kick it open!

    A friend's house was burgled last year, while the relatives that normally occupy it were out of country. The BG kicked in the side door to the garage, then the locked door into the house, then he kicked open every door he saw with a keylock knob, without checking if it was locked (interesting habit, that). Took some .22 ammo and various magazines from a closet in one bedroom, but apparently never noticed the Fort Knox gun safe, sitting on it's original pallet for 20 years, that he walked past in the garage. It still has it's original heavy cardboard box hiding it, that I cut and reinforced to hinge open to access the door. It was fully loaded, and no attempt was made to return to the crime scene, which I took to mean he didn't notice it. Still sitting there, but the contents have finally been moved, at least.

  9. Remember you will have to return the favor!

    At least you did not use the chain saw to alter the cabinet like Hubby did in one of our houses. I've often wondered what the current owners said when that old fridge finally went out!

    Welcome home.

  10. after experiencing water damage to boxes after one of our many moves–hope next one will be the last before death–
    i ALWAYS put all boxes on pallets.

  11. Stuff that came to mind randomly….
    *When you replace the front door (or any door) use the opportunity to beef up the hinge attachment and locking points. 1/8" stainless steel stud-width plates and 5" #12 screws are your best friends.
    *Hardware store or home center door locks are at the lower level of security. Get Medeco or Abus – much spendy but worth it. Avoid all electronic locks.
    *If you have "valuables" (for all values of "valuables") you need some kind of alarm system to reduce the time a thief has to look for stuff/break into safes. I've seen a few Simplisafe systems that are heavy on motion detectors and seem to work well. A local noisy alarm is good, 24X7 monitoring is much more betterer. Don't forget to include smoke detectors.
    *Take an hour or two and ID and label outlets, switches and breakers. It's handy knowing which breaker controls what outlets & switches; FYI, you WILL be surprised when you see how your house is wired (everyone is).
    *Locate shutoffs (gas, water, electric) and sewer cleanouts and connections. Buy special wrenches (such as gas meter, or a curb key for the water meter) if they're needed. Put the Master Info list on the door of the electrical panel; a simple diagram is also very good (Aunt Harriet will not know where north is but will know front from back and landmarks like the garage or patio). Everyone in the household should know where the shutoffs and special tools are. On wall brackets next to the breaker panel is good place to keep them.
    *Contact info – plumber, electrician, emergency neighbor support, etc. go on the Master Info list.
    *Emergency stuff-flashlights in wall brackets (think Maglite D cell) means you always know where they are. Aimed up, they can be turned on in the bracket and light bounce off the ceiling provides navigational light. A 5 lb ABC extinguisher at each end of the house is not too much. Also put a 10 lb ABC in the garage next to an exit.
    *Visit your local firehouse and take coffee and donuts. Knowing where it is and introducing yourself has value. Same applies to the local cop shop. Not being a stranger to those folks has advantages.
    *When guests visit put your name, address, phone number and emergency numbers on highly visible cards in a couple of places (guest room closet, side of fridge, etc.). If something happens they'll remember "911" but probably will not remember your address or landline number, and if they call for help on their cell ANI/ALI won't pop your address.
    * Houses that are empty and then suddenly occupied are attractive burglary targets. The new occupants don't know the neighborhood or neighbors, or local activity patterns. Stay alert. If the house was occupied, check crime reports on the address when you visit the cop shop. I've seen people move into a former drug dealer's house and get a big shock when customers show up at 2AM.
    *Be careful how you dispose of moving trash. A big screen TV box at the curb is an obvious no-no, but a box labeled in Sharpie with "reloading supplies" can also catch someone's eye.

  12. In one move we rented a house from a man who had built it as his dream-house, paying attention to every detail, who then found a new girlfriend who didn't like the house.
    After that, we purchased a 25-year old home in what had been an "upscale" development, and the contrast in things like light-switch placement was startling. Once I got into the attic or crawlspace to put things right it was obvious why things had been done that way — if they could save 6 feet of romex by putting the switch in an inconvenient place, well that might save them $15 over the course of a dozen houses.

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