Monday, 8 January 2007

A Deeply Moving Story

Supposedly moving house is the fourth most stressful event in one's life, or something. Right now, my thoughts about that are that it's utter nonsense; what about when your plane crashes in the Andes and you have to eat the flesh of your soccer team-mates in order to stay alive, becoming in the process so constipated that you don't pass a stool for in excess of ninety days? Or being a flight attendant and having to tell Russell Crowe that while he was asleep his wife ate all his chicken satay? Or even having to undergo some combination of both of those unfortunate experiences? Moving house is not that much of an ordeal. Well, maybe I'll feel differently on the day when everything goes into the truck. I just hope it's not a hot hot day, anything but that.

What is stressful is waking up at 3.32am all sweaty and with a mouth full of tangled bedhair incoherently moaning something about where on earth will I find a dark bamboo bead curtain wide enough for the doorway? And will the kitchen table fit better lengthways or crossways? And where should we put the sideboard? And what kind of curtains for the livingroom? And are bits of slate going to fall off the chimney? And so forth.

Even though I love this house where we've lived for seven years very much I am extremely excited about moving in five weeks' time, to the point where cleaning things like fireplace and the flyscreens and the tops of the kitchen cupboards very vigorously and thoroughly is highly pleasurable and satisfying. There is an element of "last time I'll ever clean this fireplace, ever" at work in those feeling of course. It's bin night tonight and for most of the afternoon when I was trying to work my mind kept drifting off to the evening ahead when I would go through the cupboards in my workroom and take out all the rubbish, then sneak out under the cover of darkness and lope up & down the street poking hoarded scraps of interfacing and and bits of cardboard and brittle, cracked plastic cake covers and empty dented tin canisters and broken zippers into other people's wheelie bins. Surprisingly many of my neighbours keep the insides of their bins spotlessly clean and smelling faintly of lemon, garbage neatly bagged and sectioned up inside like delicacies in a bento box.

I have never really thought of myself as a hoarder and was a bit shocked to find thirty-two Aussie souvenir linen teatowels in one drawer. They are going to be washed, then used for the purpose they were originally intended. Another drawer contained a large shoe box crammed full to overflowing with brightly coloured nylon trouser zips. Another contained nothing but ancient iron-on transfer patterns for embroidering dancing elephants and kittens onto tea towels. Why did I have three springform cake tins? It is quite impossible that as many as three cakes baked in springform tins have even been made in this house during the period of our residence. My courage deserted me when I got to the drawer holding ever smaller and smaller pieces of Marimekko fabric. It is still there awaiting a day when I have the patience to sort out the useable pieces from the merely neurotically undiscarded. So far I haven't thrown away anything useable - most of it we'll try to get rid of in a pay whatever you like garage sale, and as a last resort it will be parcelled up and sent (back) to the op-shop.

I am taking thirty or so books to uni with me every morning & leaving them in my office in order to lighten the load and expense on moving day. Dorian is on holidays and he spent today straightening up the back yard. We have never watered the grass on this block, and it's all dead and dry of course. But so is everyone else's now.

Basil is having a slightly bad time amid these mild upheavals - a couple of days ago he escaped into the night and got himself bitten on the ear by some uncouth feline for his trouble. There was an abscess which is on the mend now but I don't want to go into the profoundly disgusting details. Tonight he sat inside the screen door wailing piteously as he watched Dorian sweep seven years' worth of cobwebs and large malevolent black spiders away from the brickwork outside. I hope he will be happy in his new home.

18 comments:

JahTeh said...

As a living-aloner, my bins are in constant demand. Neighbours will even come in and put them out for me if I forget and then fill them.

Fyodor said...

Blimey. Just...blimey.

Brownie said...

dear Baz

you should know by now that it is better to spend the nights indoors.

pls get well soon.

lucy tartan said...

Basil has learned his lesson and his ear is a great deal better. He thanks you for the well wishes.

lucy tartan said...

It's a bit of a relief to know spreading the rubbish around is not unheard of JahTeh.

oh, and....blimey?

Zoe said...

I too lurk through the street exploiting the emptier bins of others.

This can be quite difficult in a cul-de-sac.

Fyodor said...

Yes, blimey: "used to express surprise or excitement".

The things girls worry about, sheesh. I once moved five times in 18 months. For one thing, it teaches you how little you really will need that extra pair of wakizashi with matching ivory & sharkshin hiltgrips.

If I wake up in a hot sweat at 3.32am it's because I've just had the zombie ninja pirate queen dream. Again.

P.S. the cannibalism fixation of yours reminds me of a question I meant to ask: have you seen "Ravenous"?

lucy tartan said...

Yes of course I have. Wendigo stories are excellent, should be more of them.

Cozalcoatl said...

I know how you feel and it will be awesome when its over.
When we moved in we'd been travelling for a year so we had a few boxs of books, clothes, mexican blankies and souvenier shot glasses. Tables and chairs came later from the side of the road mostly.
We moved after 6 years in November, and since it is to be countries you should have seen the stuff we threw out or gave to Vinnies/friends. OMG!1! The suburbs bins were overflowing plus nearly a ton to the tip. We fly out in 5 days and I'm still tossing stuff.

Good luck.

Just Like A Woman said...

Oh no, poor Baz - I was afraid this would happen. Boy cats are nororiously neurotic when it comes to moving.......and he hasn't even moved yet.
I have been down the abscess path with dear old Kimba, who is no longer with us. He just kept on going out lookin' for trouble, and this was during the day, he was always locked up safely at night.

Eventually, after providing the vet with the just about the cost of his annual junket up north, he suggested a course of female hormones which worked a treat for a while, and settled him down nicely............I do hope you are not in for such a rocky road with dear Baz.......
Give him lots of cuddles and attention, and reassure him that he's still king of the castle.

rowan said...

All I'll say is you can never have too many springform cake tins.

redcap said...

Boy cats are notoriously neurotic, period. The other half was packing to go overseas the other night. Naturally, puss sniffed that Something Was Not Right. He ended in the suitcase, chasing his tail and biting things.

Helen said...

i saw that set of statistics, L, and I couldn't understand the idea of moving house being that stressful either. i imagine it depends completely on circumstances. Are you a young and single student (in which case the major stresses are, getting the bond back, who moves the fridge and couch, and cleaning the oven, as that's the only time it's ever done.) On the other hand, if you're a family with kids in schools and have to move a substantial distance...
Also, wouldn't it differ a lot depending on whethere you're moving to a better place or worse place- etc...

Ariel said...

I always find moving house both exciting and gut-wrenchingly keep-me-awake-at-night disturbing. Though actually, the most disturbing part is usually finding a new place, and you've done that.

This post captures the scattergun/nostalgic state of mind moving always puts me in. Good luck with it!

jac said...

Congrats on the house! Basil is acting just as he should - why should Dorian have all the fun with the spiders?

kate said...

I think househunting with a time limit is more stressful than the moving. I've moved millions of times, never very far, and regardless of the distance can I recommend that people not move the week before Christmas? I've done it twice. It sucks.

Genevieve said...

I've only moved twice in my whole life (the first time so long ago, I almost forgot to count it). I think it may have a lot to do with why I blog.
Enjoy all that 'last time' fun, Laura. Can't believe that thing about Russ, i thought you made it up.

Helena said...

Nobody mentioned the Kangaroo Doors.

Is there a motto about only being sorry about the things one didn't do?
Buy them!

I came here to draw to your attention this melbourne girls great ebay purchase - a 1950's sewing canister you will love xxx Brownie