Thursday, February 3

The science of shifting 

If you’re looking for a winter warm up that will scald your feet, fry your brain cells, char your patience, and burn your pocket crisp, you just have to move homes. How you accomplish the actual task depends, among other things, on how many landlords’ whims and wiles you’re willing to endure, and how fast you can crunch numbers without reaching for an external computing device, because chances are they’ll escalate with the batting of an eyelid. Of course, if you’re among the fortunate few that are at the mercy of an agent, then you won’t have to worry about the latter. But then, this blessing is one in disguise, beware. You’ll have no control over your mind, and will be stripped of the right to choose the best home for you and your family. The agent will do all the talking, brainwashing and deciding. And then, the figures will be inclusive of, but not limited to, a sly commission that goes straight to the agent’s wallet from the landlord. If you’re left with any dough at the end of it all and are benevolent enough to give up a meal or two, then you might consider recompensing the agent for all the numbness s/he inflicted on your mind that you cheerfully obliged to all those crazy commands.

Let’s assume you aren’t among those privileged few and that you’re on your own. You begin by listing out the criteria that will make a home best suited for you and your family. And clearly, since the men won’t always concur with the women, expect a verbal war or two there. Once that’s out of the way, you’ll have to shortlist the homes that match your criteria; but let’s face it - this is a rather rare occurrence, and so, you’ll have to do a match and scratch. Compromise is the key word and the sooner you comprehend its importance, the better it gets. Then you make the pleasant phone calls, and it is suggested that you write every bit of information down, including the time of the call, the duration, the quoted price, the offers, the required documents - the works. It pays to remember the name of the manager/ assistant/ agent you speak with (Shakespeare might have to bury his thoughts about names, sigh.) Then you set out on the site seeing, and it would be wise to leave your jacket or coat in the car, since the costs will set your sweat glands working overtime anyhow. And then, you inspect every nook and cranny, look for defects, extra storage spaces (evidently, this comes from the woman), garage space (and this, from the man) and generally take mental notes of anything interesting you might discern (or uninteresting, for that matter.) Finally, with all your stars aligned in the apposite places, if you happen upon your near-perfect new haven, you have to go through an entire sign up procedure that requires extraordinary math skills, legal parlance proficiency, and powerful vision. Math skills for obvious reasons, and the effective vision coupled with a thorough grasp of legal dialect, might come in handy for conscientious interpretation of those puzzling clauses and terms that are conveniently put down in fine print. You also need to carry all documents that pertain to your existence in that province, and endorse your motor skills, marital status, professional standing, wages, and savings. Once the paper work is done and over with, you embark upon the mammoth modus operandi of packing, cleaning, moving, unpacking and some more cleaning. And if you happen to pack up your snow boots accidentally, you'll need additional quirk of luck with the tiptoeing.

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