It is an oxymoron to say we are settled into our temporary digs, but we are as settled as life amid stacks of boxes can get.
The new house is getting a makeover, which I assure myself daily will be complete by May 1. I thought we might be camping out in the POD for a month, but friends happened to have a vacant, furnished two bedroom condo just around the corner from our new address. Our new best friends (thank you, John & Lindsay!xoxo). Perfectly in line with the domino cascade of luck the universe seems to have set up around this whole transition.
Not that it has been without bumps. The day after we moved, both mine and Patrick's immune systems crashed spectacularly, amplified by the onset of tree pollen season. Coming from Newfoundland, which is mostly rock dotted by lichen and scrubby spruce, I couldn't imagine I would ever curse a tree. But Arkansas is blanketed with them, and they are a menace in the spring. Seriously. This state ranks near the top of the nation for asthma because of it. The EPA needs to write the trees a very strongly worded letter.
So we've been wheezing and coughing and sniffling and popping lortadine, not sure how much of our fatigue is due to pollen having displaced all the oxygen in our bloodstreams, and how much is attributable to having spent two weeks making the contents of a 2200 square feet home fit into a 16 foot storage container.
Small stuff, compared to the sad news that Eureka, our granddaddy cat, went out for cigarettes one night last week and never came back. He did this the last time we moved, and turned up many weeks after we had written him off, but he was quite a bit spryer then. I will put some signs up around the neighborhood, but I think maybe he just took a look around at all the boxes and decided he was too old and too tired for it.
Fanny, in the meantime, has gone to rehab. We had to board her anyway, so I signed her up for in-house obedience training. It was hard to tell the trainer where to begin. Curing her of attacking the kids' friends would be a huge improvement.
That leaves Lucy, our calico cat, who must wonder if all the other animals have been raptured, leaving her to eat her kibbles from a paper coffee filter on a strange floor.
The kids, on the other hand, are having a blast. The condo is like an ultra-futuristic hotel to them, full of modern wonders our old home lacked, like carpeting and a microwave. Also a garbage disposal, which I am quite enamoured of myself. I've never had one, and I've kind of become obsessed with seeing what it likes to eat. I call it, "Baby." I'm hoping there will be room in the kitchen budget for the new house to install one.
Ah, the dratted budget. The last year wrecked our credit so thoroughly, it was a minor miracle we were able to get a mortgage at all. To do so, we had to make a down payment that was much bigger than the usual minimum. Which is probably a good thing in the long run, even if it means we have had to scale way back on our remodelling plans. Still, we are getting the paint and floors done, and the process of hiring that out is pushing my tiny, stunted left brain to its limit.
The first quote I got on the painting was twenty thousand dollars. For a three bedroom, 1800 square-foot house. Now, the U.S. dollar has taken a beating, but we are not yet paying $100 for a loaf of bread, and I am not paying five figures for a paint job. Not if the risen Jackson Pollack himself were to come and do it. The second quote was $10,000. These guys were convincing. They were so nice and so thorough in their measuring and figuring, I was almost sold on it. We would have to eat on a card table and watch tv on the floor, but the paint on our walls would hold up under 100X magnification. Then I came to my senses.
"If we had the time, we'd paint this place ourselves, and we'd be happy with it," I said to Patrick. So we passed on the micro-precision job, and hired a friend. Good enough will be good enough. And my color scheme is so bright, you won't be able to get that close to the wall to detect flaws anyway.
We took the inspiration from here. I went through so many sample pints trying to get just the right colors, the walls look like a patchwork quilt. Our friend was going to start today. I'm half expecting a call from him asking me if I'm really, really sure.
No, but that's never stopped me before.
Lots more to come.