Like I said on Monday, this week is moving week. Was that really only five days ago? It feels like a month. It’s amazing how slowly time passes when you disrupt the daily routine.
The move is over now. Well, we’re sleeping at the new place. We’re nowhere near done when it comes to moving stuff around. The old place needs to be cleaned, we’re still living out of boxes at the new place, and about half our stuff is in storage.
This was actually an easy move by the standards of this sort of thing. A hard move is when you go to a new city. Then you’ve got this complicated dependency chain where you have to somehow empty out and clean the old place before driving hundreds of miles to colonize the new, and it has to be done in a single go. I did that back in 1998, and it sucked. This move has been much more gradual. We put some stuff in storageHeather’s dad has a massive garage that could hold three fire engines, and we can use that for free. and then we moved the critical stuffThe computers, beds, and coffeemaker. on moving day. The new and old are only 1.4 miles apart2.2Km, so we could do the move in many small trips instead of one massive same-day operation.
Last week someone asked for moving advice. I’m not going to repeat all the usual advice about packing and planning, carrying and cleaning. You can get that advice in lots of places. Instead, I’ve compiled a list of details that I think get overlooked. This won’t be useful to everyone. A wealthy retired couple moving from one New York apartment to another are going to face very different problems than a cash-strapped young couple moving their four children + dog across the hilly Appalachian mountains to a newly-built split-level home. Moving is complicated, situations vary, and we all face different problems arising from our physical fitness / financial situation / organization skills / family size.
Anyway, below are the things that come to mind here on a Friday morning as I drink my coffee and wait for the painkillers to kick in…
1. You’re Not as Fit as You Think You Are
Oh, you’ve got an exercise routine going? Maybe you do some arm curls, some squats, or pushups? You run or bike several miles a week? That’s great. You look fantastic, by the way. Keep it up.
But none of that crap has prepared you for the task of lifting an implausibly heavy hunk of furniture up a flight of stairs with a bend in the middle. It takes three hands to lift and balance it properly, but you’ve only got two and there’s only useful handholds for one. You’ve got to hold this spine-crushing beast over your chest, at an angle, so the weight is unevenly distributed, while you brace one leg against a smooth surface and the other leg against a railing that wasn’t designed to bear this much weight. You can’t see where you’re going because the thing you’re transporting blocks your vision and so you have no idea if you’re about to put your foot down on the landing or another goddamn step.
Perform that little dance a dozen times, and you’ll discover you’ve worked out muscle groups you didn’t know you have. You will hurt in new and exciting ways.
Advice: I know time is hard to come by, but schedule in a day of rest & recovery if you can. It’s easy to forget your human limitations when you’re writing down the schedule.
2. Watch out for Pirates
Maybe you’ll have your truck loaded up at the old place and then leave it unattended for a few minutes while you run inside to get your hat and make sure the lights / air conditioning are off. Maybe your stuff will be stacked up in your new garage and you’ll need to make a quick run to the hardware store. Maybe you’ll have to stop somewhere in between. In any case: Beware. Moving provides this unique opportunity for thieves. Your stuff will be exposed to the public rather than being safely secured inside your home. Neighbors don’t know who belongs and who doesn’t, so they aren’t going to call the cops if they see an unfamiliar face shuffling through your stuff.
I’ve had several family members get robbed by opportunists during a move. Even in nice neighborhoods.
Advice: Thieves are usually looking small items that can be carried away without raising suspicion. They’re not going to steal your couch or your kitchen table; they’re looking for things like consumer electronics, booze, jewelryDon’t forget that thieves are stupid and in a hurry. They’ll steal junk jewelry just as easily as the good stuff, because they lack the time / experience to tell the difference. They’re just looking for Shiny Things., and medications. So try to keep those high-value items with you. Barring that, leave someone guarding the stuff if the group needs to make a quick run for tools / supplies / food.
3. Boy Howdy is it Going to be Dusty!
Even though it’s physically impossible, cardboard boxes seem to generate dust equal to their volume every 24 hours. I’m not sure how it works, but that’s what I’ve observed. Between that and the chaotic movement of objects that have been motionless for years, you’re going to put tons of dust into the air. If nobody in your family is allergic, then this just creates a cleanliness issue that can be resolved once things have calmed down. But if anyone has problems with dust, then you need to deal with this before it gets out of hand. Dust-sensitive families might own a HEPA filter, but one little air cleaner isn’t going to be able to clean the air fast enough to cover your entire house / apartment.
Advice: Buy a decent furnace filter and slap it on the back of a box fan. You don’t need to attach it with tape or anything. If the fan is on, the air pressure will hold it in place. Obviously this isn’t as good as a proper air filter, but it’s about 1/10th the price, so you can afford to have several. They won’t clean the air as well as a proper air filter, but something like this can rapidly cut down on the big-particle dust you’ve been kicking up.
4. Have a plan for all the boxes.
I forgot about this one. Sometimes you want to keep a box because you want to be able to pack away a specific piece of equipment. Sometimes you want to keep a box because it’s a great box and you might move again someday. But you’ve only got so much space, and boxes can devour a lot of it. (Also, they seem to be dust generators / magnets, as I mentioned above.) Throwing away ALL boxes will be wasteful if you’re going to move again in 2 years, but keeping ALL boxes creates this big ugly pile of kindling inside your living space.
Advice: There is no right answer here, but I’d suggest keeping large strong boxes and tossing the flimsy / damaged ones. Just know this ahead of time and have a dedicated place to put unwanted boxes so they don’t pile up.
The painkillers aren’t working. Looks like I’m going to have to rely on my least-favorite cure for muscle aches, which is time. (Or maybe I’l use harder drugs, if I can figure out which box they’re in.)
My computer is currently set up in the living room, on a postage-stamp sized desk, cocooned in cables, next to the one good electrical outlet on this end of the house. An electrician is coming on Sunday to get our wall outlets out of the stone ageI honestly have no idea how anyone plugged anything in around here. It’s all two-prong outlets with no proper ground, and the vast majority of the stuff we own requires three prongs. It’s maddening.. The office will get painted later today. I think we need another day for the paint fumes to clear out of the bedroom, so Heather and I are going to spend another night sleeping in the floor in the living room. My office will hopefully be ready for use by Monday. So we’re probably several days away from the point where I can resume grinding at the content mill.
In the meantime, don’t forget that the Steam Summer Sale is in full swing, so be sure to go spend a bunch of money on games with pretty trailers that you can later feel guilty for never playing.
 Heather’s dad has a massive garage that could hold three fire engines, and we can use that for free.
 The computers, beds, and coffeemaker.
 Don’t forget that thieves are stupid and in a hurry. They’ll steal junk jewelry just as easily as the good stuff, because they lack the time / experience to tell the difference. They’re just looking for Shiny Things.
 I honestly have no idea how anyone plugged anything in around here. It’s all two-prong outlets with no proper ground, and the vast majority of the stuff we own requires three prongs. It’s maddening.
MMO Population Problems
Computers keep getting more powerful. So why do the population caps for massively multiplayer games stay about the same?
DM of the Rings
Both a celebration and an evisceration of tabletop roleplaying games, by twisting the Lord of the Rings films into a D&D game.
The Opportunity Crunch
No, brutal, soul-sucking, marriage-destroying crunch mode in game development isn't a privilege or an opportunity. It's idiocy.
In Defense of Crunch
Crunch-mode game development isn't good, but sometimes it happens for good reasons.
PC Gaming Golden Age
It's not a legend. It was real. There was a time before DLC. Before DRM. Before crappy ports. It was glorious.