On the Move

In Britain, the average amount of time a family remains in the same house is about five years. Between 2002 and 2003, 40.1 million United States residents moved from one home to another. With all that moving going on, it's time for Chandra's Moving Checklist:

Day 1, three weeks before Moving Day

1. Call all your utility providers to schedule the cancellation of your accounts at your current residence and arrange hook-ups at your new residence.

2. After the lights suddenly go out, pick up the phone to tell the electricity company you did not want your electricity cut off for another three weeks and to please put it back on.

3. Drive to the phone company to tell them to hook your phone back up because you need to call the electricity company.

4. Call a few moving companies for a quote.

5. Console yourself with the thought that you can pack and move it all yourself for less.

6. Pick up scrap boxes from the grocery store, newspaper from the recycling depot, and packing tape.

7. Pick a room and start packing. Spend three hours trying to find the end of the transparent packing tape on the roll.

8. Give up and buy a packing tape dispenser gun.

9. Wait until spouse comes home and shout until he can find and free you from where the packing tape gun went berserk and fastened you to the wall.

Day 2

1. Continue packing. Get the first room finished by 9 AM and enjoy a cup of tea.

2. Start the second room. Realize you have vastly underestimated the number of boxes required. Get more.

3. Lose three hours to laughing over a box of comics you have cut out and saved.

4. Call the electricity company to tell them to put the power back on.

5. Finish the second room by midnight and collapse into bed.

Day 5

1. Return to a room you've already packed to discover your spouse has rummaged through nine boxes looking for something. Lose half the day to repacking it all.

2. Receive a visit from the local ambulance service, sent there by a neighbor who hasn't been able to reach you by phone for days.

3. Drive to phone company to tell them to turn your phone back on.

4. Start packing delicate items in newspaper.

5. Spend an hour in the shower scrubbing off newspaper ink.

6. Arrange for a maid service to clean your new residence the day before you move in.

Day 7

1. Get more boxes.

2. Realize that you still have three quarters of the house to pack.

3. Call the electricity company to tell them to turn the power on — again.

4. Seriously consider holding a “packing party,” inviting all those pals you helped move to college.

5. Run screaming from the house when you discover a tarantula in one of the grocery store produce boxes.

Day 20

1. Wake up at 3 AM in a panic realizing you have four more rooms to pack in one day.

2. Start working like a maniac, stopping only briefly at midday to free one of your children from Living Room Box A, which you don't remember packing.

3. At 11 PM when you have everything done, realize you now have to load and then unload all 784 boxes onto a rented truck.

4. Crawl to the nearest pay phone and call the Emergency Moving Hotline. Tell them you'll pay anything.

Moving Day

1. Three large men with moving equipment arrive at 8 AM. You cheer.

2. They kick your boxes marked “fragile” down the stairs. You scream.

3. At the new house, you find they track mud and wet leaves throughout the place you just had cleaned.

4. The first piece of mail at the new house is a bill from the utilities, asking for $350 for multiple reconnections.

5. You vow never to move again.

To read more of Chandra's work, visit www.ChandraKClarke.com.

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