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DaedTech Digest: Practice Makes Perfect When Walking Away from Homes

It’s Friday again, making it time for another digest post, in which I recount my traveling circus of a life.  Last week I addressed one my least favorite logistics: the mail.  Today, I’ll address something that inspires less annoyance in me: my house(s).

What Do You Do with Your House When You Leave for Months at a Time?

First of all, I should explain something quickly.  We actually have two houses.  We lived in Illinois forever and, about 5 years ago, bought a lake house in Michigan.  More recently, we’ve switched residence to the Lake House and have our townhouse in Illinois on the market.  With my travel schedule the last 5 years, I was hardly ever there anyway.

I mention this because having an unoccupied second home for a long time provided us with lots of practice when it comes to leaving for a long time.  And it’s really not as hard as you might think if you rarely move.

I can summarize the checklist this way for a cold weather house:

  • Shut off the water to the house and turn off the water heater.
  • Set the thermostat to something really low, assuming it’s winter.  In summer, just turn off.
  • Make sure you don’t have any perishables anywhere.
  • Some kind of security or home automation system probably wouldn’t hurt.
  • Call utilities or services, like your cable, and ask about a seasonal plan.

Wait, Really, That’s It?

And, honestly, that’s kind of it.  It might sound cavalier, but there’s just not that much to worry about.  Vagabonding doesn’t require a lot of luggage for us, relatively speaking, so it’s not like we’re prepping for a move.  It’s more like a vacation.  A really, really long vacation, but a vacation.

It helps if you have family around to check on the place from time to time.  We do in Illinois, so that’s nice.  But if you don’t, you can do what we do in Michigan and pay a cleaning service to come do a sanity check of sorts: bring in any mail and walk through the place looking for problems.

And, that’s all we do.  It took a lot of practice walking away from a house for a season, but we got there.  These days, we’ll pack up for a month or two the way a lot of people would for a weekend trip.  And it all works out just fine.  It lets us do things like this:


  • First of all, I’m sort of embarrassed to say this, but I’m engaged in a random throwback to my college days in the form of playing Diablo 2.  It’s been a good 15 years since I played it, so I was expecting a ghost town.  Instead, I found that tons of people still play, they’ve been continuing to make changes in gameplay, and they just “reset the ladder,” making it a good time to start up again if you once loved this game.
  • I stumbled across a link to a site that helps people create and answer RFPs.  Full disclosure, I have not used it at all.  But it seems like a great idea and you free agents out there should probably at least give it a look if this is how you obtain business.
  • I’m reading a fantasy book called “The Fifth Season,” which takes place in a bleak, post-apocalyptic seeming world.  I’m finding it very enjoyable.

The Digest

Have a good weekend!

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David Falkner
David Falkner
5 years ago

Might be worth mentioning switching one’s home insurance to a vacant home policy, if one will be away longer than one’s policy allows. I’ve heard of some nasty court battles resulting from not keeping that up to date. I’ve also heard of it being problematic *not* switching it back when you return home, as well.

Erik Dietrich
5 years ago
Reply to  David Falkner

Interesting. Each time we’ve gone away, I’ve called my agent to put one of the cars into “garage mode” or something, so that we’re not paying for anything but insurance against acts of God. So they know how long we’re leaving for, and they’ve never mentioned this. Maybe a state by state thing…?

5 years ago

the summer/winter suggestions are probably right for cold places. I guess in some places you might want to leave the a/c set to 77 or something when it’s 102F outside?

Erik Dietrich
5 years ago
Reply to  fernando

We tend not to be away as much in the summer, but when we do, I either turn the system off or put our Nest in “Eco” mode, which I think defaults to 85 F. I grew up in a house without AC in the Chicago suburbs, so it’s my experience that nothing really does too poorly for the heat. It just takes a LONG time to cool the house down when you come back.

Eric Goebelbecker
5 years ago

“The Broken Earth” is a really good series.

Erik Dietrich
5 years ago

First The Expanse, and now this. Seems like we might have very similar taste in fiction.