essays

On Fixing and Packing and Moving

Photo by Walter Randlehoff on Unsplash

Moving is hard when you’ve lived in the same home for twelve years. Especially with three kids.

My fifteen-year-old remembers our last home, but the thirteen-year-old doesn’t. And Ben, who’s eleven, cried when we told him. All their life’s treasures have accumulated in that one home, and they all need boxed.

For weeks I’ve resisted packing. The day my wife told me her plan was the day after I put the final coat of paint on the shed I spent the summer building. I’d told Ben a few weeks earlier that he’d clean my tools out of it when I’m gone. I can be morbid; I get it from my mother’s side.

We’ve already moved several boxes of things we don’t need immediately—books, and the camping gear that will have to wait until things settle down later in the fall. Today begins the true move; we’ll spend the night in the new home tomorrow. And yet I’ve only managed to put a few tools in a box. I cleaned out the attic, which mostly consisted of bringing down the Christmas decorations—something I’ve done for the past eleven years anyway. But I’ve packed almost nothing.

We want to leave our home in perfect condition for the next family, but the universe is against us. Last Saturday the puppy tore the insulation off the copper air conditioning lines. That was my first job for the morning, and my first trip to the hardware store. I also bought caulk to redo a shower which I try to do every couple of years.

The bathroom sink drains looked grimy, so I decided to scrub them with a bottle brush which, to my sadness, went through the bottom of the one drain in the house I’d never replaced. I failed to get the right parts during my second trip to the hardware store but succeeded with my third. My forth trip was to buy plumber’s putty which I thought we had but couldn’t find. I later found it when I was looking for finishing nails to repair a drawer that was coming apart.

Since we expected our first freeze in a few days, I needed to cover the outside faucets, one of which we hadn’t unscrewed the hose from during the past six months. Unscrewing a water hose can become a major project, but I, being the handy-man that I am, finally conquered it. Upon removal of the hose, I discovered the faucet had developed a leak since the time I’d last seen it un-hosed.

Frost-free wall hydrants aren’t to be tackled lightly, as they connect to the plumbing deep inside the wall where no mortal can see. You need great faith to begin unscrewing such a faucet, but that faith isn’t always rewarded. I discovered that a few years ago when, instead of unscrewing the faucet, I twisted the copper pipes apart and had to get into the wall to have them repaired.

After a day with no water and a large plumbing bill, I learned that frost-free faucets have replaceable parts which are easy to change and stop most leaks. I made several more trips last weekend to various stores looking for these parts to no avail. I even drove to the next town after the lady on the phone said, “Yes, of course we have the Prier 7755 repair kit,” which they didn’t.

It was like Christmas when my repair kit from Amazon arrived two days early on Halloween. I told Ben that “It will take ten minutes and then we’ll go trick-or-treating.” An hour later, after joyfully exchanging all the worn parts and reinstalling the stem into the faucet without a single curse word, I turned the water back on. The drip was…slower than before, but not gone. I’m now waiting for a complete stem from Amazon.

I have a week between our departure and the new family’s arrival to replace the tricky back-door knob, paint over the marks on Ben’s bedroom door jam that show how much he’s grown from one year to the next, re-do the drain system I did last Saturday that is still dripping, and walk through empty rooms that hold most of the memories we have of our children.

I’ve put off packing, maybe to pretend that all is normal. I like routine. I like familiarity. But things change. When my wife talked about remodeling, I suggested that she just find the house she wants instead of turning ours into something it’s not. She was listening.

Most things are boxed. Plans are made. Papers are signed. The trailer is at the house, and the football boys will be there in the morning. I think, despite my ignoring it, that the move will happen. I guess it’s time for me start packing.

 

About Nowhere Tribune

A husband and daddy, striving to love his neighbors and be kind to his pets. I love good food, good beer, and a few good friends. My other interests are hiking, taking walks, lifting weights, reading books by manly authors like Hemingway and Twain, and splitting fire wood with my bare hands.

Discussion

27 thoughts on “On Fixing and Packing and Moving

  1. Hello Nowhere Tribune . First I hope you and your family are OK. Dang do I understand your pain. I met my husband when i had already bought my first home. Then he wanted to move south to Florida. When my hubby and I came to Florida his wanderlust and need for change kept us moving from house to house ever two years , some times even quicker. It is hard to build any equity when you move that quickly. I was frustrated so I told him I would only sign the documents for next house if he committed to 6 years. Shit if at the 6 year mark he insisted we move. Some people just can not be happy and are always needing to move. Hugs

    Posted by Scottie | November 1, 2019, 5:31 pm
    • I don’t know about moving from house to house, but I understand what it’s like to not be satisfied with things as they are. I probably reconfigure my living room at least 3 or 4 times a year. I’m actually quite amazed I can come up with so many different looks. I just never get comfortable with how things are so I change it.

      If I had the ability to to change houses over and over…I might do it once or twice but I do get comfortable in one place so that’d probably be it. It’s not so much the attachment to the house, but rather to the area and the people that’d make it hard to leave.

      Posted by Ben | November 1, 2019, 6:16 pm
      • I agree Ben. And We’re only moving a few miles, so it’s a minor change. I do like it when the rooms are changed up. That’s always fun.

        Posted by Nowhere Tribune | November 1, 2019, 8:21 pm
      • Hello Ben. We have stayed in our current home since 2007. Twice hubby wanted to move but I talked him into remodeling instead. Hugs

        Posted by Scottie | November 2, 2019, 3:43 am
      • Sometimes I think I’d like to move but then I remember that I’ve only got 11 years left on my 30 year mortgage and I think, yeah I’d rather just pay this off and be happy with what I’ve got.

        Posted by Ben | November 2, 2019, 8:14 pm
    • Thanks Scottie. And ha–that’s a lot of moving. I’m glad we’ve been here twelve, and also glad we are only moving a few miles away. Good to hear from you.

      Posted by Nowhere Tribune | November 1, 2019, 8:23 pm
  2. That’s tough, especially with children. I have four and I couldn’t imagine doing such a move. Good luck to you and yours.

    Posted by Ben | November 1, 2019, 6:11 pm
  3. Did I miss a post about moving? Hope all goes well for y’all!

    Posted by pkadams | November 1, 2019, 6:46 pm
  4. I hate moving, it’s a pain but your new house will be worth it.

    Posted by thehuntress915 | November 1, 2019, 7:03 pm
  5. Moving is a pain in the butt for all but monks, who don’t own much to pack. Sounds to me like you’re almost remodeling your house, just to move. Good luck. I hope the pain will be over quick.

    Posted by Tippy Gnu | November 1, 2019, 8:33 pm
  6. Aww what an exciting, yet bittersweet time! And why is it we tend to not do certain things until we are selling or moving? It definitely makes for a few more challenges. Hope you get settled in easily…and how nice.. right before the holiday season!

    Posted by Sassyfitnesschick | November 1, 2019, 9:26 pm
    • Yes, before now I assumed I had the rest of my life to clean that drain and re-caulk the shower. It will make for more exciting holidays. Glad you stopped by!

      Posted by Nowhere Tribune | November 2, 2019, 8:08 am
  7. You should take a leaf out of my hubby’s book. He would’ve just turned up at the new place, everything having been done for him!

    Posted by Sheree | November 2, 2019, 12:46 am
  8. Oh, the joys of home ownership. I feel your pain, but oh… that procrastination would kill me. Start packing!!

    Posted by Rivergirl | November 2, 2019, 6:07 am
    • I’ve started now. In fact, I got a good start on moving yesterday evening. And since my stuff is all in the garage, my wife told me yesterday that I have until next weekend to move it. I’ll move all the furniture out of the house today.

      Posted by Nowhere Tribune | November 2, 2019, 8:13 am
  9. Your post brings back the memories (good and bad) of our sale/purchase a couple of years ago. My husband nearly killed himself getting the old house ready for the new people. Our kids, even though are all grown and on their own, were upset that we were selling the family home. I had them each come over and take anything they wanted as a keepsake. They didn’t take much, and everything else was discarded. Good luck with your move.

    Posted by cordeliasmom2012 | November 2, 2019, 11:05 am
  10. Wow, congratulations are your move and new home. I’ve always enjoyed moving although we’ve been in our current house for twelve years. I’m ready to move further north and find a home with beautiful mountain views. However, my husband is perfectly content to stay where we are forever. LOL

    Posted by Snowbird In Training | November 2, 2019, 4:02 pm
  11. I hope things are going smoothly! Moving was never too bad for me, but my mother is one of those people who get the moving itch every ten years or so. I learned from her, I guess! I’ve moved to my current city in 2012 and am sitting in the 3rd apartment since, ha. I guess I’m much less attached to the physical place than most, so I’m by no means an example for anyone (my still-packed clothes attest to that!) I hope you and your family have happy times in the new home! 🙂

    Posted by Jay | November 8, 2019, 9:45 am
  12. That you’re going to all that trouble to fix the small things for the new owners says a lot about your character. I can imagine it will be much appreciated by them, and if they didn’t know about those things ever having problems to begin with, at least they’ll have a house that is in good order moving in. Having integrity is so rare, it is to be admired.

    Posted by Clever Girl | November 15, 2019, 1:12 pm

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