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June 24, 2004

Moving house. The twelve people still reading Electrolite may wonder what caused the month-long gap between posts. Short version: we’ve been finding a new place and moving into it. Longer version: A few weeks ago, our landlords decided that instead of renewing anybody’s lease, it would be more fun to turf out the tenants and sell the building.

After a brief interlude of carefully-composed panic, we got busy looking at Craig’s List, and discovered that, actually, there’s plenty of good stuff in our price range in the parts of Brooklyn we’d like to live in. Fast forward through an extensive and highly scientific search process (sextant, calipers, telescope, Geiger counter), and the upshot is, we’re leaving Park Slope and moving three stops south to Sunset Park, trading our dingy cramped apartment in a building held together with paint for a large, light-filled, and freshly renovated row house about ten doors down from the hills and weeping angels of Green-Wood Cemetery.

Of course, all of this has been a large and unplanned-for distraction, which means both of us are even more behind on returning phone calls and answering email than usual, to say nothing of updating weblogs. Can’t be helped. On the bright side, all that’s left now is the actual move. This has been Packing Week. This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, if any of our New York-area friends and/or readers would like to help move the high-tech chromium-steel-and-glass headquarters of nielsenhayden.com, they should email us for details. Food and drink will be provided, along with the entertaining company of such literary reprobates as may also be along for the ride. Plus, toting boxes in and out of U-Haul trucks! Such a deal. [09:44 AM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Moving house.:

N in Seattle ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 10:10 AM:

Excellent! I love happy endings ... they're so rare these days.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 10:37 AM:

I was still checking it, but I admit my frequency had gone down...to once or twice a day.

Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 10:59 AM:

You too, Xopher?

Of course, there seems to be plenty of entertainment over on Making Light at the moment. :)

Amy ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 11:10 AM:

Congrats on the move. We just left Park Slope two weeks ago -- also with the help of Craigslist. It seems like prices came down since we last looked. Make sure when you move you know where the important things are. We had to go buy new deodorant and coffee filters because we hadn't unpacked them by Monday morning.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 11:39 AM:

Why yes, Julia, and yes, there is...Todd James Pierce taking an extremely belated, misguided, and inappropriately self-righteous interest in his alleged reputation.

I play the keyboard a little, but not if Keith Jarrett is in the room. Similarly, I'm not taking part in the tongue-of-nine-tails lashing he's getting in there. I'll just sit and watch the virtuosos perform. Maybe pick up some fine points.

Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 11:45 AM:

Well, the landlords of New York sound like a dastardly lot, overall, but the new place will be a fine thing, saving the nugatory inconvenience of packing up your lives in little boxes and shifting it all three feet to the left. I wish I were close enough to offer to help, but from here I reckon I'll just have to send a packet of Good-Move-Karma your way and hope that it takes.

The last 20% of the packing/shifting/unpacking will take as much time as the previous 80%. But I expect you already know that...

Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 11:52 AM:

Speaking as a New Yorker (I may very well be able to help out in the transfer, I don't know yet...), the only problem I have with saying that New York landlords are a dastardly lot overall is that I fervently believe that the defining characteristic of New Yorkers is that it's impossible to say they have any traits overall, because of how New York encompasses all possibilities.

Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 12:09 PM:

Moving tips based on multiple moves:

1. Boxes - get stackable boxes. Boxes that don't close at the top are worthless, inability to stack boxes causes sprawl, clogging arteries and the ability to *move*

2. Boxes - get more than you know you need.

3. Hand-Truck - Get one or two hand-trucks so you can stack 2-4 boxes on it and move it.
Your back will thank you the next day.

4. Have *Everything* boxed before getting the Uhaul.
- pack a suitcase/tote bag like you're going on a weekend trip. Put that aside and live out of that during the 1-2 day packing marathon. Eat at restuarants so you can pack the kitchen. Pack *Everything*

5. Packing a room at a time, with color coded stickers, can be useful in speeding up unpacking.

6. Save an out of the way area in a bedroom for example for odd shapes and fragile items:
- oversize pictures, mirrors, lamps, plants
Transport those separatly by car if feasible.

In my experience I'm glad to help people *move*. I detest trying to help people move when it turns out they need to pack...

And no, I'm not offering to help you move. I live on the west coast. :-)

Maureen Kincaid Speller ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 12:11 PM:

The new establishment sounds wonderful, and we both wish you both good fortune in it. Were I in the country (I wish I were in the country) I would gladly come and help you move. As it is, in the face of the many boxes I know you must have to pack and shift, I shall think soothing house-moving thoughts at you all weekend. And unpacking thoughts next week.

(I will miss the pressed tin ceiling at your old establishment, though ... I'm weird like that.)

Hugh Sider ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 12:28 PM:

All in all, a sudden need to move is better than other possibilities for what would make you go off line this long. I'm glad it's working out.

I hope the move goes well - it's about three thousand miles too far away for me to be able to help, I'm afraid.

Bob Devney ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 12:56 PM:

Very glad to have you back. And to discover that the blank spot was not down to illness or other mishap. Although I was pulling for it's being due to some cool total-immersion work assignment, such as last editorial touches on a simultaneous fall UK/UK release of Iain M. Banks' new novel THE ALGEBRAIST, hint hint.

By the way, about moving: don't I recall that the current Electrolite HQ features a dirigible mast for your corporate airship? Man, bet THAT really sticks out the car window.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 01:10 PM:

I'll second Frank's point about boxes. U-haul, last I checked, will sell you boxes, and buy back any you don't use. The boxes labeled "books" look too small. They aren't.

Professional movers can move a stack of six of those boxes, once filled with books. Most fans will struggle with one.

This advice, of course, is not for the Nielsen Haydens per se, since they have moved more times than I have hairs on my head...wait, so has everyone...more times than Jonathan Vos Post has posted on Making Light? (Well, maybe not THAT many...)

A lot.

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 02:17 PM:

Good luck in your new place!

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 03:04 PM:

Well, I suspected that was what it was. Doesn't mean I didn't miss you thought cause I did. Here's hoping life is soon restored to normal. If we didn't live on the other coast, we'd come help move, but as it is, we'll have to settle for the housewarming party. You are having a housewarming party, right? I need to come to NYC to see Boy from Oz anyway.


Zara Baxter ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 04:36 PM:

My life has been without a certain element of pith, in your absence, Patrick.

Glad to hear your new house will offset the loss of familiar environs caused by the landlord.

As I'm not in the same country, happy house moving thoughts will be directed your way instead of helpful hands. Hope the new place facilitates much happiness (and of course, web log updating...)

Mr Bill ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 04:51 PM:

Thank God yer ok, except for that moving part. Moving sucks. Sorta like dying and resurrection: you will find our just what you actually have.
If you are a pack rat or in a serious relationship w/ one (you can hit me Teresa), this is the time to get rid of some stuff, and have a yard sale, or the urban equivalent. ANd there is always Goodwill.
Love and peace from Georgia.

Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 05:58 PM:

I'm really tempted to take the train up Saturday and lend a hand, but I'd better not. I sort of promised Anne we could go see F911 Saturday, and she would be disappointed (and she's not really in shape for a moving experience, and she doesn't have the fannish relocation spirit that got me into a couple of big Baltimore moves).

And hey, you might think my wish to travel hundreds of miles to share your space and handle your belongings is not the most seemly thing in the world. I'm not sure, either. But I sure am tempted.

Have a good move.

Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 06:28 PM:

Best of luck with the move, and I hope you love your new house.

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 09:12 PM:

Patrick and Teresa,
Congratulations and I hope you're getting comfortable.
I assume the liquor (Jim Beam at least) was one of the first boxes unpacked...?

(twelve people indeed!)

Jonah ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 10:25 PM:

"The twelve people still reading Electrolite may wonder what caused the month-long gap between posts."

One of the nice things about RSS is that it means no more visiting a site every day only to find that, once again, there's no new content. Of course, it's still disappointing to glance at the "Subscribed Feeds" panel of my RSS reader and see that there are 0 new posts for Electrolite, but at least I haven't expended any energy discovering this. As a result, I no longer feel nearly as much annoyance towards sites that update erratically (as long as they have an RSS feed).

Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2004, 10:51 PM:

"On board were the Twelve:
The poet, the physician, the farmer, the scientist,
The magician and the other so-called Gods of our legends ...."

Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2004, 01:02 AM:

There's a fine Brooklyn tradition of scavenging boxes from local merchants. My first couple of short-haul moves were largely provisioned by the local liquor store.

If it wasn't what everyone else in the neighborhood did when they moved, an endless stream of Smirnoff boxes going out in the trash would have raised some eyebrows.

Wishing you cool, sunny weather for the move and happy times in your new, sunnier environs!

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2004, 02:30 AM:

Best wishes for the move! I'd offer to come and help you shift boxes, but I'm a little too far away, so I'll send you the Good House Move Fairy who helped me out when I moved house in February. She flitters around the place making coffee, providing cookies, dropping good will and good karma like invisible glitterdust, and generally helping people stay unfrazzled. She also reminds you to do stuff like buy toilet roll and toothbrushes for the new house before you move into it, rather than rely on finding the old stuff in the packing.

Devra ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2004, 04:01 AM:

Congrats on the new digs. I hope you love unpacking as much as I do ... it's really the best thing about moving. New places to put old things, makes the old things seem somehow new.

Elric ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2004, 08:40 AM:

Our best wishes as well. Distance and new health-related woes prevent us from joining you physically, but we're looking forward to learning of happy outcome.

Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2004, 10:07 AM:

Flashback to high school, listening to the radio on the bus: "On board were the twelve: Grumpy, Sneezy, Dopey, Doc, and the other so-called gods of our legends..."

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2004, 05:24 PM:

I hear HBO is working on a new one-hour prestiege drama about a family-run moving and storage company dealing with internal conflict and pressure from corporate competitors.

Each episode deals with a different family's unusual house-moving situation.

The working title is "[REDACTED BY BUREAU OF LAME JOKES] Feet Over."

Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2004, 09:04 PM:

One thing I have to ask (forgive ignorance...). Are you allowed to make changes to this townhome, like repainting and redecorating? A lot of media portrayal, both real-life (HGTV) and drama (Goodbye Girl for one) has people completly redecorating their apartments/townhomes in NYC.

In our area, you are severely fined by the landlord if they even have to repaint. The three places I rented I got screwed out of the deposit even though I had a professional cleaner in at least one of them after I moved out. They claimed they had to pay to clean them.

This is a mystery to me, but since I've owned my own home since 1982, not an issue (we did have to pay about $800 to a professional painter after we allowed renter/friends to repaint our Prairie Village house they were renting--they had indicated they were renting to purchase at the front of the deal.... and they used strong colors like plum...)

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2004, 09:38 PM:

TV portrayals of New York City apartment life are a consistent source of amusement to New Yorkers, most of whom don't know anyone anywhere near that affluent.

That said, the extent to which you can remodel is a function of your relationship to your landlord.

Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2004, 11:36 PM:

PNH - Heck, even the affluent don't always have great city apartments. I have friends whose parents own an apartment in the Museum Tower, above MoMA. It's a pretty typical one bedroom modern apartment with a galley kitchen and a smallish living/dining room. Lord knows what it's worth.

Paula - In my experience dealing with private landlords in NYC, if you agreed to paint on the way in you could use any color you liked and not get whacked on the way out. Never had a problem getting my deposit back in NY. California has been a totally different story - I had to threaten a lawsuit to get my deposit back from one particularly nasty landlord.

Michael ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2004, 01:12 AM:

1. Whew.

2. Whaddaya know, we're moving too -- except instead of three stops south, we had the epiphany that if you work online anyway, and if the other of you is finished (at last!!) with the doctorate, then ... why not live in the Caribbean? So, g'bye Indiana, hell-O Puerto Rico.

3. Small book boxes. Back in the bad old days before we stuck in our (now owned) house for five years, we moved 14 times in 10 years. The first time or two I thought large book boxes were more efficient. Now I use shoeboxes, or large matchboxes sometimes. Lots and lots of boxes.

4. As a landlord, and soon to be a two-times-over landlord since we're vacating this house now, I have to say that tenants who paint -- even plum -- are a cut above tenants who leave holes in walls. Say. Although I once had a lady who did both.

TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2004, 03:11 AM:
A few weeks ago, our landlords decided that instead of renewing anybodyís lease, it would be more fun to turf out the tenants and sell the building.

Did you mean turn out? Or is it another one of those erudite references to the Enclosure Act and the Clearances that I always miss? I have an image of folks gathering their flocks and moving on, after being turfed out of their traditional commons. Whatever. Here's to greener pastures and good luck and happiness in your new home.

Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2004, 04:57 AM:
TV portrayals of New York City apartment life are a consistent source of amusement to New Yorkers, most of whom don't know anyone anywhere near that affluent.

I had always assumed that Bosom Buddies was the only truly realistic portrayal of New York apartment life.

Oliver Morton ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2004, 05:16 AM:

Good luck with all that. IIRC, you are now more or less in the middle of the locale of A Walk Among the Tombstones, by Lawrence Block, soon, as they say, to be a major motion picture. So you may get Harrison Ford for a temporary, day-time only neighbour.

Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2004, 11:30 AM:

You've moved before; you know from books.

My last move with the folks back in 1987, we actually hired professional movers to pick up the stuff in Chicago and drop it off in Rock Hill. The guy who came out to do the estimate was nice enough, and gave a very reasonable price—surprisingly so. Put Dad in a chipper mood. So we packed.

The movers show up, and it turns out the guy who did the estimate had never been confronted with a family who owned, you know, books. Shelf after shelf of them. Library sale after library sale. We even had boxes (and boxes) of old National Geographics Mom couldn't bear to throw away. Said estimator had no clue as to the sheer weight involved, the number of seemingly teeny boxes necessary, the time, the effort...

So the boss of this particular loading job was bound and determined not to do it, since the company would eat a load of red ink on the estimate. Dad was bound and determined they'd be bound, darn it, by the print on the estimate which said they'd honor it, hell or high water. There was a comical bit where a line of guys with handtrucks of book boxes was rolling up to the truck where the boss was telling them hell no, take it back to the house, where they found Dad barring the door, saying hell no, put it back on the truck.

We won. Took a couple of phone calls, but they honored the bone-head estimate. And then when we got to Rock Hill, it turned out they'd snapped the slate for the pool table somewhere along the way.

Neil Rest ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2004, 05:40 PM:

"all thatís left now is the actual move", he says.
. . . "all" Patrick, you may need your meds adjusted.

Congrats on coming through so well, so far, and the very best wishes&luck with the move, but it's Non-Trivial.

BTW, are you acquainted with Craig? I don't recall where in fandom I met him, but we were already acquainted ten years ago when he'd just moved to the Bay area, and decided to start a listserv to gain some notoriety . . . and now he gets his picture in the back of Juxtapoz.

Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2004, 07:27 PM:

Absolutely 'turf out', and I don't think it's from the Enclosures. I found exactly one web reference to the etymology, which said, roughly, latter half of the 19th century, perhaps from a notion of 'thrown out onto the turf'.

Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2004, 10:07 PM:

Michael: Trust me, they have the "lots and lots of smaller boxes" bit down cold.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2004, 01:29 AM:

If you have a Seattle Public Library card you can use the OED Online. How cool is that?

Anyway, the OED says that turf out in that sense is public school slang and the earliest reference they have is Kipling

1888 KIPLING Only Subaltern in Under Deodars 97 "The Colonel will turf you out of that in double quick time. "


Nancy C. Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2004, 03:29 PM:

(cross-posted to TNH's blog)

A blessing upon your new home,
A blessing upon your new hearth,
A blessing upon your new dwelling,
Upon your newly-kindled fire.

Camilo ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2004, 12:17 PM:

You have just educated me! I am adding BK Sunset to my list of plausible spaces.
And congratulations on moving to a much more appealing environment!

Jay C ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2004, 03:21 PM:

Patrick, Teresa:
Best wishes and mazel tov on your move (sounds like you'll need it!)

janeyolen ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 05:09 PM:

Ah--as luck would have it, I am away (in Orlando, if you moved this weekend, Scotland if you move next) or I would have given careful thought to driving down and helping out.

New digs sound divine, especially compared with the old.


LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 10:43 AM:

God, how I hate moving. It's never-ending. Most of my moves have been amateur affairs. The one time we used a moving company was definitely an improvement, but that wasn't saying much.

I told Steve once that I Would. Never. Move. Again. That was, er, two moves ago.

Anyway, you guys really have my sympathy -- though I'm thrilled you found a better place than the one you had. May you enjoy your stay there, and may it last long.