Friday, June 25, 2004

Temporary glitch in transmission

Looks like I won’t have internet connection (or phone) until Thursday. This is the way private companies in the UK seem to work – not at all. So here’s some Monica’s Life stuff to keep you occupied.

So you might have figured out from small hints here and there that we’re moving house. Exhausting, dusty, annoying, expensive – you name the bad thing and moving house has probably got a little bit of it mingled in.

…which is why it may be a little hard to understand why M and I have done this every year since we’ve been together. It’s not that we skip on the rent, dear readers – it’s always been to something bigger, better, less mouldy. It’s just that something always just comes up pretty much dead on the anniversary of the move IN that triggers a move OUT.

First we moved in together. ‘Twas the cheapest thing we could find in the worst suburb of Perth. I’ll spare you the details bar saying that the couch was vinyl, the kitchen (in hindsight) frightening and the walls bled dirt whenever you boiled something and the steam built up. We really didn’t give a damn then and I’m not embarrassed of it now. Our pressing concern at the time was to live together on our (VERY) meagre budget – we did it. It was our first home, we were happy, it meant a lot to come back to an environment built and controlled by us. The thing that triggered our move out was me finding used syringes on the car one morning, roughly a year(ish) after the move in. Coincidentally, my parents were moving out of the country and asked us if we would house-sit for them. A rent was nominated, conditions were discussed. We agreed.

So we packed and scrubbed, got a truck and loaded it. Dumped it all under mother’s pergola. Didn't work out. A one week tenancy…woo, shortest one ever.

So we moved to a much better suburb, to a much better place. Five minutes from the city. It was built a little like a tropical resort with thick greenery everywhere, a pool and spa in the middle with windy little paths through the ‘forest’ to the flats. Heaven. We bought a big silver fridge and a home gym. We both worked and I studied. We scrimped and saved and went property hunting EVERY weekend. We would have seen close to 50 properties before we found ours. Fantastic ROI from projected rental, though. Positive gearing, baby. Roughly a year(ish) after moving into the resort, we decided to move into the flat we now owned to live in it and renovate it ourselves.

Packing again – this time hurriedly. Middle of my exams. Hired a truck for 24 hours, ran it back and forth – ran things to other people’s houses to get rid of them (the flat we bought was small). Drove back and forth, ferrying boxes and assorted things best categorised under 'Stuff' until the sun came up. Finished the run and thought we’d drop into McDonald’s for a coffee. I remember sitting at the table, my limbs heavy and grit in every pore, exhausted. I looked at my watch and the world seemed to spin a little too fast – I had an exam in 45 mins at my uni – which was 45 mins away in morning traffic. I babbled something to M about making his own way home and ran out the door. Drove like a maniac (so normally for me, in other words). Ran into an exam room of people hunched over, reading. Three hours of Strategic Management exam later I actually felt more energized than when I had walked in – it was a fantastic case study about a logging and forestry products company. The material was so thick that some people only finished reading it 20 mins before the end. I devoured it and aced the damned thing. Walked out into the bright sunshine and light smattering of rain wanting to solve management problems like that forever. Didn’t realise then that what makes rational sense on paper and as a solution doesn’t often get implemented in the venom-pits of today’s corporate world. Walked to my car. Flat battery – I had left the lights on because it had been raining hard on the way. Sat on warm concrete dreaming about woodchipping machinery until the auto club guy came along to rescue me.

Renovated our flat slowly. I had quit my night job so as to concentrate on my exams and had too much energy for my own good. Painted the flat ourselves in that tricky suede paint. I retiled the bathroom by hand. Oh yeah, every single tile was cut with just a blade, some pressure and a lot of swearing. Bear in mind I did the entire floor, shower cubicle and some walls in a teensy bathroom – there ain’t nothing but corners and crevices in teensy bathrooms. Discovered newfound respect for professional tradesmen.

A year(ish) later we decided to leave Australia to live in the UK and here we are.

After a brief and spectacularly unsuccessful stay with (Yeah, you guessed it) my parents, (Do we learn? Sometimes it takes us a while) we went flat hunting like crazy and found our lovely little place. It’s where I find myself now amongst the rubble of a days frantic move. M and C are ferrying one of the last loads of goodies from this place to the new one and I’ve been left with loads of IKEA furniture, an allen key, a wrench and a snazzy power drill/screwdriver thingy. They are very wise to leave me alone as I tend to get carried away with the drill. I make manical little noises and murmur things about “..taking over the WORLD!” whilst pressing the button and making it go ‘Whzzz! Whzzzzzz!” I suppose it could be considered sad, but I’m sure that there’s enough IKEA furniture out there holding the world together that a couple of people with whirry screwdrivers could send us into a new dark age. Well, perhaps an age where our storage wasn’t optimised or in quite so many colours with names like ‘Gruppy’ and ‘Nooglen’.

In hindsight, it’s nice to live in places for a limited time. A year is perfect – the scenery changes around you and you know you should enjoy it for what it is now, because there’s no guarantee you’ll ever see it again. You don’t get into staid habits. You need to find your local store and pharmacy and transport and exercise route and interesting spots all over again. You simply don’t have the opportunity to be complacent.

This move is a little sad – rather than choosing to leave, our landlord has been recalled from his Home Office service somewhere in the Middle East (no surprise there, frankly) and we’re not having our lease renewed. We really loved this spot and this house, there are a lot of great memories here. I suppose, though, that like everything that counts in life, I need to carry it with me in my memory rather than in physical representations, trinkets or places.

Alright, being shooed off by the compatriots. I suppose I’ll post if and when I can ‘till Thursday.

M

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