Launching a…house?

House launching scene from the film “The Shipping News”

Moves are never fun in spite of what it might say on your U-Haul rental – “Adventures in Moving.” Hah! It doesn’t say what kind of adventures though. Broken china, strained backs and relationships, and an absolute, total lack of energy or enthusiasm for anything to do with the new home…at least for the next few days.

When you’re young, you move yourself and all your belongings because you can and probably can’t afford to hire someone to do it. When you get older, you hire someone to do it for you because you can now afford it and you probably can’t or least don’t want to do it.

Now imagine this: you’re a Newfoundlander and you want to move to a different part of the island. But you really, really, love the house you’re in. You know you’ll never find another like it and you do own it (that’s a plus.) And it’s winter. Geez. The trifecta of moving.

Do you call Allied Van Lines? Or do you call some friends with a truck? Ehh, yeah, sort of. What you do is what is commonly and historically known in Newfoundland as launching the house. (Since you don’t own the land, you’re not liable for leaving it behind. It’s the Crown’s land anyway.) Yes, pack up the house(!), lift it up and put it on a large purpose-built wood sled, hook up the men or horses or both, and pull that sucker across the ice in the harbor. Of course, if it’s not winter, you could float it across the harbor pulled by a boat. Get it to the new site and congratulations, you have now successfully launched a house. Think how good that will look on your resume.

It does pose some questions though: What schools do the kids go to? Are we still in the same time zone? Where’s the liquor store? These are all important questions that should be answered before one launches their home. Adventures in moving indeed.

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