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The odds are overwhelming that if you're reading this, you're going to be moving to a new home or apartment in the next few years. So let me just tell you this now: The next time you move, you are going to get fucked. In the wallet.

When I was a kid, we moved so often that my friends thought we were nomads. In fact, until I was in my late 20s, I never spent more than a year in the same place. I liked to tell people that my mother was a trained government assassin and we were constantly on the run, but the truth is that we were just poor and got evicted a lot. On top of her being a trained government assassin.

So I can say from experience that it doesn't matter how well you plan, moving is a swim through a creek infested with money leeches, ready to attach themselves to your balls.*

*In this metaphor, your balls are where you keep your money.

You Have to Relearn Which Businesses Won't Screw You

This one is true unless you're literally moving from one side of a small town to the other. You really don't stop and appreciate the level of trust you build up with the places where you do business, and how long it took to build it. But in your old stomping grounds, you knew which mechanic would fix your car without fisting you with an inflated bill for replacing parts your car doesn't even have. If you decided to go out for dinner, you knew which restaurants made sure their cooks weren't resting their naked balls on each steak before sending it out.

Fuck you, Pedro, I hope your daughter gets herpes.

Remember how long it took you to find the right doctor? Or hair stylist? Or the one bar that wouldn't kick you out when you shoved a kazoo in your ass and farted the theme to Battlestar Galactica? As you drunkenly demand everyone refer to it as Battlefart Galasstica.

Oh, and if you've got kids? How long did it take to find a freaking reliable babysitter?

Sometimes it's perfectly fine to judge a book by its cover.

I remember spending months finding one, then one day we came by to pick up our boys, and the woman was nowhere to be found. She had left her 12-year-old son in charge of multiple toddlers and infants while she went to the bar. Our kids hadn't been fed or changed all day, and some pretty bad shit went down. For months after that, we didn't trust anyone at all with our kids, and it led to my then-wife becoming an at-home mother. Which meant that we were now a single income household. It took years before we finally found another sitter who was trustworthy enough for us to use. Moving to a new town resets that entire search, from scratch.

It's like that with every service you use. That trial and error process begins, where "error" means getting screwed.

"I tried that hair stylist you suggested. Did I do something to make you mad?"

After all, you only knew your dentist was running a front for "unconscious patient rape" porn videos when you saw yourself appear in one. And no, you can't just "ask around" because every business has some customer going around telling a horror story about it.

Forgetting to Update Your Address Will Cost You

Quick: make a list of every single business you have an account with. Also, every single person who needs your current address on file. I will bet everything I own, plus one nude massage, that you forgot at least five.

You'll find out when it comes time to notify absolutely everyone that your address has changed. In that first week, you find yourself calling businesses and filling out change of address forms at a dozen or more places. You cover family and friends, work, utility companies, the bank, the post office ... you remembered it all! You're the smartest man in the world!

Don't you fucking patronize me, Jimmy.

Then three weeks down the line you receive a late notice for your last month's Internet at your old place. But wait, that was set up to auto-deduct from your bank account, wasn't it? Yep. And as it turns out, you forgot to notify them of your address change, because you figured that was your old service, and there was only one last bill to pay anyway. But you did notify your bank, which in turn changed your zip code. It turns out that part of the verification process for transferring funds is matching that information at both places to prevent fraud. So, when the address that your old Internet provider had on file didn't match the one at your bank, the transfer was denied, and now you're stuck with a late fee.

And trust me, this is the fucking gift that keeps on giving. Think about the bills you don't pay monthly. I pay my car insurance once every six months. Hell, I wouldn't even remember to renew it if it weren't for the reminder that comes in the mail every half a year that says, "Hey, dipshit ... pay your goddamn insurance. Because you never know what might happen to your car." Months after moving, I was cleaning out my truck when I stumbled across the expired proof of insurance card and realized that I never received the new one when I paid my last bill. So I called them up and told them about it. Of course, they had my old address.

That didn't pan out well for the guy who moved in after I left.

They took down my new information and asked me to verify my drivers license number. Oh shit. How often do I look at my license? Apparently not often enough, because I had completely spaced getting that changed as well. There was no bill attached to it, so there was nothing to remind me it needed done. That can earn you a fine. Luckily, the police still fear me after the "hundred man slap" incident of 1994.

If you have kids, the emergency contact information at their schools need to be changed. You may not remember that one until they're frantically trying to contact you at your old number.

One little gas bomb, and they flip out.

It goes on and on. If you're a reference on someone's job application, they need to know. Hell, we had to even notify fucking World of Warcraft because when my son tried to sign on from the new house, it saw that he was playing from a new location and locked him out of his own account for "suspicious activity." I'm not kidding, shit will be coming up with this like five years later.

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Hidden Moving Costs Pile Up ...

Sit down and make a list of everything you think you have to pay to move to a new place. Deposit and first month's rent on the new apartment? Got it. Paying the movers? Sure. Buying a shitload of boxes? Please. Now add in some extra cash just in case.

Add all that together. Now triple it. That's what it'll actually cost you.

Sure, you budgeted for the deposit on the new place, but that was easy -- you can just pay with the deposit you get back on this one! That is, if you're lucky enough to have one of the few landlords in the world who are not either shady or outright thieves. I was lucky, but many find out that their $500 deposit has vanished because of the tack-holes they made in the wall hanging their Color Me Badd poster and a cigarette burn in the carpet that was made by a tenant who lived there in 1983.

Which was incidentally Color Me Badd.

Getting water turned on at the new place? Yeah, they'll need a deposit and a connection fee. Same for the phone, and the electricity, and the gas, and the Internet.

But maybe you're smart, and you anticipated those, too. But then starts an endless stream of nickel and dime bullshit.

Like food. You make it to the new place and start unloading all of your swords and fuck tarps, and you get hungry so you stop by the fridge. Oh, wait, that shit is completely empty. What, you thought you were going to pack up your frozen pizzas, eggs and a pot of chili and tote it all across the state (or country)? Nope, when you packed, that shit went right in the trash. So you've got one massive fucking grocery shopping trip ahead of you.

What? I was fresh out. Lay off, man.

But that has to wait until tomorrow -- no way there's time for that in the middle of move-in day. So you go out (or order a couple of pizzas, the quintessential first-night moving food). Is a friend helping you move? Human decency demands you feed his ass, and buy him beer if he's a beer drinker. Add that to your bill.

Speaking of that friend, that's all I had the last time I moved -- no movers, just our truck and the truck of the friend who offered to help. He absolutely refused any offer of compensation, knowing that some day I'd return the favor and bust him out of a Mexican jail (again). But, just before heading out, he told me he needed to stop for gas. Fuck. I hadn't thought of his gas. Obviously it's one thing to not pay him, but to give him an additional expense to take on? No way. If you let him buy his own gas, he's going to consider saving the trip and just simulating the event by strapping a dresser to his back, running on a treadmill for eight hours, and then setting a $50 bill on fire. Just like that, your gas budget doubled.

"I was actually thinking about charging you for letting you help us."

And then there's the time. For me, this was the most expensive part. The time you took off work to move, plus the time you took off to hang around the house during the 18-hour window the cable company gave you (and repeat for Internet, gas, phone, whatever else requires you to be there). If you don't have one of those fancy jobs where they give you lots of vacation time, that's money lost.

Oh, and you think you can move every piece of furniture you own without breaking anything? Think again. Especially if you bought cheap bolt-together furniture from Wal-Mart that won't go through the door unless you disassemble it. Here's a tip: that shit is made to go together once. Be ready to replace at least one piece, if not more, due to a leg getting snapped off in a door frame.

Not limited to furniture.

... And Then Your New Place Will be a Money Pit

If I tell you to budget money to "decorate" your new place, every single male in the readership will roll his eyes and mentally strike it off. "Dude, like I'm going to be spending thousands of dollars on curtains and rugs and wallpaper. I ain't gay! Who told you I was gay? Who was it? Was it fucking Tyler? I'll kick his ass!"

OK, tough guy, here's what happens. You're standing in your new place, and suddenly you realize that the whole world can see into your house, because there is nothing covering your windows. The place didn't come with curtains or blinds. You're walking around the house nude, and there's a school bus unloading a bunch of toddlers next door. What are you going to do, tape up a bunch of newspapers?

See, the first look is free. After that, you start charging, and that's where you get 'em hooked.

So, fine, you decide you'll go buy the cheapest curtains they make. That's what I did at my new place.

Total curtain bill: 250 fucking dollars. Again, not designer rich-people curtains. These were one step up from just thumb-tacking bedsheets to over the windows.

At one point, I tried hanging up a live dog, but it just licked the glass until it was all tongue-smudged.

Yeah, that's just the beginning of the decorating bill, and I'm not even including fancy things I sprung for, like the hundreds of live doves I make my fiance release behind me whenever I enter a room in slow motion. Is your new place exactly the same size as your old one? No? Then a lot of your shit won't fit in the new place.

Now you find yourself asking, "Where the hell am I going to put this china cabinet I'm using to display my bongs?" If you can't make it fit, all of your choices involve losing money: 1) giving it away 2) paying to put it into storage 3) selling it on short notice to whomever will take it off your hands before you're forced to do either of the first two. Expect to get back about five percent of what you paid.

Though it may be best for your neighbors to not see some of the freaky shit in your garage sale.

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Disaster Will Strike

This isn't bad luck. It's statistical certainty. Even if you're not living under a gypsy curse like Brockway, something awful will happen.

It's just the law of averages. For each person and step you add to a project, you up the likelihood that something will break down. And think about who all needs to do their job correctly for your move to go smoothly. The hookup technicians at a half dozen utilities. The movers, if you're using them. The landlords and/or maintenance guys at the new place (and there's always some project they are supposed to finish before your move in date, even if it's just painting the place).

"We're thinking light green to contrast the brick."

And lots of these people just don't give a shit.

Back in June, I talked about what an enormous clusterfuck it was getting my Internet connection turned on. I thought I was giving them plenty of time by calling two weeks in advance. It wound up taking 51 days. Somebody on their end made a mistake. Or rather, just wrote down the appointment without checking to see if they actually offered service to the neighborhood.

And in general, every assumption you make about transferring an account turns out to be wrong. Yes, it doesn't help that my credit is shot from years of being poor, but all the local cable/satellite providers wanted up to $600 in up-front fees before they even billed the first month. One of those companies was DirecTV ... the same people who I had been using for the past year at my old place without any deposits or credit checks. But since that account was used in another town (and another county), the local dealers in my new town didn't acknowledge it. There was no transferring the account to my new house. I had to start from scratch.

Now think of the infinite universe of tiny, losable little objects you depend on. Your contact lens case. Your box cutter. Your one good pair of scissors. You will lose approximately half of them in the move. They're lost at the bottom of a cardboard box full of blank CD-R discs and ink cartridges for a printer you no longer own. Or, if your move takes more than one day, you'll get stuck in that netherworld where half of your shit exists in one apartment and half in the other, and the tiny, losable little object you need right now is in whichever place you don't happen to be at the moment. Regardless of where it is, you won't find it until an hour after you broke down and bought a new one.


It's enough to make a man want to go on a slappin' spree. Maybe I will, as soon as I find my slappin' gloves.

For more Cheese, check out 26 Sexy Halloween Costumes That Shouldn't Exist and 5 Things Nobody Tells You About Quitting Drinking.

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