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Hassle of moving takes a toll on our marriage

Nearing retirement with the plan of "less is better," we sold our two-story house and moved during a wintry December into a small ranch outside of Buffalo. If there was a reality show titled "Moving: Mistakes Not To Make," I certainly would have been a contestant.

After living in the house for only a week, things got heated up, or should I say cooled off. I was in charge of making the necessary moving arrangements. It seems in my numerous scheduling transactions for the cancellation and/or transfer of utilities from one property to another, something got screwed up.

Usually I'll ask my husband, "Frank, is it getting warm in here, or is it me?" Well, this time I asked, "Frank, is it getting cold in here?" The temperature inside the house had dropped to 50 degrees. He thought it might be the 23-year-old furnace. Turns out, the furnace wasn't faulty; it was me. Little did I realize that I was dealing with a different heating service in our new area. Consequently, our heat was shut off without any notification. My husband was not happy.

After a frantic call to the correct gas company, we were placed on a waiting list, but not the emergency list -- because no one at our address was on life-support, or was too young or too old. How about too stupid? To get faster results, maybe I should have lied and said my 89-year-old mother just moved in with us and our dog just gave birth to a litter of seven puppies.

Anyway, it took a day and a half before the gas company turned the meter back on. My extremities were truly grateful and my husband was starting to warm up to me again.

Then some of our mail never got forwarded. Not the junk mail -- oh, no, but the credit card bill. The bank called to inform us that our payment was past due. Having a great credit history, the bank accepted our explanation and reassured us that the problem was now resolved. Not so.

I was standing in a checkout line when my credit card was denied. I never knew that I could be so humbled by a tiny piece of plastic. I made another frantic phone call and three days later, my life according to plastic had resumed.

Soon afterward, I put my marriage to the ultimate test when I failed the crash course in moving. Our new property has a winding driveway, adjacent to two islands of trees. Late one night, as I backed out of our snow-covered driveway, my bumper met a large, stationary tree. The damage to my car totaled $1,700. The good news is the credit card was operable. The bad news is my husband witnessed the entire event. To compensate for making Frank's life miserable, I refrained from any henpecking.

Six months later, I thought things had settled down. I guess that was a bit premature, because around 7 o'clock one morning, lying in bed, we heard: knock knock -- knock knock knock -- knock knock. No, there wasn't anyone at the door. It was a very large, hungry woodpecker, pecking holes in our cedar house. I shooed it away.

The very next morning, Mr. Woodpecker returned, chipping away at our financial investment and our nerves. Not wanting Mr. Woodpecker to get an A in wood class, I immediately ordered a hawk look-a-like to guard against another attack. So far, so good. "Bring it on, Mr. Woodpecker." I'm confident that my purchase of a plastic fake hawk with my plastic credit card will suffice. At least this time it wasn't me doing the damage or the pecking. And yes, we are still married.

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Karen Adragna Walsh, who lives in Orchard Park, is happy that things are finally settling down at her new home.

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