House Tried to Kill Me During Move

Stacey Gustafson, writerI’ve moved eight times in twenty-two years of marriage.  That’s a grand total of 3,987 boxes to unpack, 50 pieces of battered furniture, 45 missing cartons, 15 damaged appliances, 2 wrecked cars, and one lost pet.   I’m as unlucky as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. This time my house tried to kill me during the move.

Let’s Move!

For our latest and hopefully final move, we found a perfect house only two miles away.  This time our move would not be dictated by my husband’s job.  “Let’s do this,” I said to my husband after viewing the ideal home at an open house.  “It’s perfect.”

Moving day swooped down on my household, as swift and predictable as daylight savings time.  “Oh.  My.  God.  The movers will be here in ten minutes,” I yelled, reaching for the alarm clock.  “We overslept.  Get the kids out of bed.  Grab the overnight bag.  Where’s the dog?” I said, pulling my hands through my hair.

Two Strong Guys Moving Company stormed our residence and attacked with cardboard and packing materials like rats on a buffet.  By noon, our place was wrapped in a shroud of paper and plastic.

Two days later a cleaning crew met me at the old house to prepare it for sale. I arrived early to insure things would be ready for the team.  With my tote bag of cleaning supplies, I entered through the garage.  In the dining room, I stared around in confusion.

Water Leak

“What’s going on?  Why are loose sheets of wallpaper all over the floor?  Did someone break in and throw paper around?” I said to myself, stepping back and glancing up.  Falling off of the bulging ceiling was drywall, piles of wet, gummy white drywall.

Oh, crap.  The ceiling is going to explode!

Like the scene from the movie, Money Pit, I expected a bathtub to crash down on my head.  I leapt away and dialed the cell for help.


My trusty handyman rushed over to turn off the water main that had rusted shut.  Next, I called homeowners insurance, a plumber, disaster recovery crew and a general contractor to remedy the mess.

Final verdict, the movers had improperly unhooked the valves on the washing machine.  For 48 hours, the water from the laundry room had dripped down to the ceiling of the living room.

Thanks for doing a great job.

After two weeks, the ceiling was repaired.  I met Dan, the general contractor, at our house to inspect his work.  He emerged from a tomb of plastic sheeting covering the walls, ceiling, and light fixtures.

“Do you smell that?” he said, brushing off the fine powered white dust from his shirt.Stacey Gustafson, writer

“Yeah, smells like burning wood.”

“Kinda.  Someone turned on the chandelier yesterday and forgot to turn it off.  The plastic melted down over the fixture and the light bulbs.  Man, you could have had a big fire.”

Are you kidding me?

“Consider yourself lucky.  Better buy some new bulbs,” he said with a smile.

I’m soooooooo lucky.

Has this ever happened to you?  Can you relate?  If so, leave me a comment and let me know I’m not alone.  


About staceygustafson


  1. I thought I was the queen of moving with over 20 moves in forty years, but I never had anything like your tale of disaster. Hope you are settled into the perfect home and that you stay there for many years.

  2. Oh my gosh, Stacey! What a horror story! ….and leave it to you to write it with humor:)

  3. Lani Longshore says

    There was a time when I moved every year for ten years. That’s trauma enough for a lifetime. As far as I’m concerned, they’re going to have to drug me to get me moved out of this house. My parents moved the week after a hurricane flooded their basement – and our carefully packed toys. I still have the stuffed cat that lost half its fur to mold. My moving stories are of the garden variety, but we did have a contractor show us the bullet we dodged when we had our electrical system upgraded. On the inspection visit he saw that the insulation in the fuse box had melted. We got moved to the top of the list when that was discovered!

  4. Stacey,

    You are definitely the Moving Queen (and supportive wife!) I’m sorry to hear of your horror story of moving this time around. Sounds like you handled it as well as you could under the circumstances. I hope that you are getting settled in your new home.

  5. Camille Thompson says

    Great story! Every home seller’s nightmare! And yet, you found the humor in it all! Thanks for the chance to guest blog. It was fun!

  6. Neva Hodges says

    Again, superb story telling. You’re a natural.

  7. “Sleepover Gone Bad” cracked me up. Just the right blast of humor as I write a letter to my late birth mother for my next posting. While my piece is serious, you helped me see the funny side of a less-than-perfect adoptee-birthmom reunion. In my mind, I recast the account through a loony perspective. You have such a gift; you make “wacky” work.

  8. Denise Pinhey says

    “My House is Trying to Kill Me” was hysterical. All of your stories are SO FUNNY! Thanks for writing them- everyone loves to laugh.

  9. We made I hope our final move in May of 2016 – – still rebuilding and sorting stuff from almost 40 years of marriage…I related to ” MY House is Trying to Kill Me” this feels like a slow death! We will succeed , if I don’t die of old age first! Thanks for sharing your story..

    • staceygustafson says

      Basements will be the death of us. Because of basements, we stuff away our junk and forget about it. Until it’s time to move. Congratulations on your final move. Good to hear from you Bev.

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