Preparation lessens 'Gypsy Day' stress

LOUISE GILTRAP
Last updated 10:36 27/05/2014
SHAUN YEO

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: "Gypsy Day" is approaching for many New Zealand's dairy farmers.

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It's moving time and whether it's excitement, relief or just the overwhelming urge to scream because you need to go back to the damn supermarket and collect more boxes, you will be feeling some level of pressure.

Whenever we have moved there is a point we get to where it's all starting to get on everyone's nerves. My friends have been wonderful at offering their help; half the house is packed up, my lists are almost completed - but nevertheless I lose it.

There is something about having half my life in boxes and the rest in complete disarray that gets me wound up. Then I get a stupid question, "Hey Louise/Mum/honey, do you want me to pack this?"

That has to be the stupidest question to ask someone who is moving.

I remember a friend whom I love dearly and is still one of my nearest and dearest, but dared to ask me that very question during one of our moves. That was it for me. I was tired, stressed and over cleaning the house to within an inch of its life.

I stood up close to her, looked her in the eye, and said calmly but in a determined voice, "We are moving. Everything in this house has to get to the other house, so YES I need you to pack THAT!"

After a cuppa and a few laughs we finished the job and loaded the last trailer.

But make no mistake, moving on June 1 is a big deal. You are under a lot of pressure to have everything sorted to very strict deadlines.

Normally, people are moving into the house you are leaving before you have actually left the driveway and collected your letters. And some of us have the joys of dealing with an over- bearing employer who wants to do a final house inspection with their white gloves on while conveniently forgetting that the place was a filthy hole when you moved in.

After making several of these moves I've learnt how to make them easier.

Lists. Write lots of lists, and then update them constantly. It doesn't matter if you're the farm assistant or the 50/50 sharemilker who is leaving the property; there are always responsibilities to fulfil according to your contract. If you're in any doubt ask the boss, just to clarify things and minimise the drama once you have left.

If you are moving your herd they need to be prepared for the move, especially if they are going to be on trucks for hours. As farmers we all know this, but if you have staff who are moving off farm as well you have a lot of distractions.

We always took care of the hay and mag ourselves for the 48 hours before they got loaded. Then you know it's done. The girls are your biggest assets and deserve the best care before being trucked.

If your new place has a fireplace and the carpets have been cleaned, nip round in the morning if the house is empty and, of course, not too far away, and light the fire. It will help dry the carpets and feel a bit more welcoming when you get there to unpack your life. This might not be geographically possible but if it is, do it.

Make sure you are organised to feed everyone. We always have an open-topped box for the jug, tea, coffee, sugar, cups, milk and some biscuits. Put it somewhere out of the way but also easily found. A couple of rolls of toilet paper, some soap and a hand towel or packet of wet wipes always comes in handy, too.

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Make a lasagne and stick it in the freezer. On moving day get it out and send it with the first load to the new place to be left on the bench to defrost ready to put in the oven. Buns, ham and salad are great for everyone to make themselves something to refuel as well.

If you know someone who is moving with children and you can't help with lifting or packing you could entertain their kids at your house out of the chaos.

Take photos, lots of photos! This is the best advice I can give you.

Nothing slows up accusations of, "The house was in perfect condition and you have wrecked it, so we are going to keep your money" like a file of photos of this so-called "show home" taken when you moved in.

Good luck, and remember to smile - moving can actually be fun.

Gypsy Day

-NZ Farmer

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