Sunday, March 18, 2018

Chris Vetter

Don't move... midweek.... in February

By Chris Vetter

Leader-Telegram staff

No one likes to move. It is an exhausting experience, carefully packing up all your belongings and hauling them to a new home.

But when you move, I’d recommend avoiding midweek. And try not to move in February.

Last year, my wife and I welcomed our second son. But our tiny home suddenly felt crowded for the four of us, plus two dogs. My wife began looking online for bigger homes. I insisted we stay in Chippewa Falls city limits; numerous times, I have seen how valuable it has been for me to get to city hall, the police station, or the courthouse within minutes, to track down a story that I might otherwise miss if I lived miles away.

We found a much larger home, just six blocks away, with a big bonus – a quieter area of town. We no longer would be at one of the busier intersections of the West Hill of Chippewa Falls.

However, the process to buy that home began in late spring, as we needed to sell our home as well. A summer of showings on our house continued throughout the fall. My wife became frustrated.

So, when an acceptable offer came in, we were elated. However, the offer came in mid-January, and it meant a closing date on Feb. 23.

A midweek move brings so many additional challenges. Friends who would normally be able to help are at work. I unabashedly nagged and begged friends in the weeks before the move. Four of my friends who routinely run with me showed up, along with two farmers I know who were able to work around their chores to help out.

We also lined up family to watch our two young boys so we could pack in the weeks leading up to the big move. My boys spent three straight evenings with Grandma. My three-year-old son Nolan burst into tears, saying “I want to go home.” It was heart-breaking, trying to explain that it was just an empty shell, and there was nothing to return to.

I barely slept for the three days around the move. My wife said I was a zombie and barely spoke to her those days. I would lie awake in bed at night, my mind racing about each of the tasks that needed to be completed.

There were some extra challenges with moving in the winter. A pop-up camper in the yard needed to be spun around and dragged out. Other tasks just couldn’t be completed mid-winter.

We actually got lucky with the weather. With temperatures in the mid 20s and no snow on the day we moved out, me and my friends got the truck packed quickly. However, snow was in the forecast for Saturday – luckily, it didn’t arrive in the Chippewa Valley until late in the afternoon, after we had the truck unloaded in the new house and returned.

Of course, when you move, you decide what is really necessary to keep. With 20 years of being a reporter – including nearly 17 with the Leader-Telegram – I had accumulated bags and bags of newspaper clippings. They weren’t assorted; it was just a big pile. As I tried to pack them up and move them, I decided it wasn’t worth it to keep them.

Many of these bags had sat in the garage since we moved into that house nearly six years ago; they were never touched. I didn’t see any point in time where I would have sat down and gone through them. Even with a larger home and bigger garage, space is tight, and it just didn’t make sense to hold onto them, especially with my stories being backed up on my computer, and also readily available with a good online search.

I have offered to help friends move for years – I always joke that I don’t know how to fix a car, do electrical or plumbing work, but I can pick up a box and move it from point A to point B without complaining.

But I feel blessed to have so many friends who helped me move in the dead of winter. In a matter of just a few days, the boxes were unpacked, and the house already starts to feel like home.

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