A couple of weeks ago, when I was still without Internet, I wrote the following post and never ended up posting it. I thought that it was about time.
|Our new house from the road.|
I have a love-hate relationship with moving, as I think many people would have. You see, I love the excitement that comes with a new house, trying to decide where things will go, buying new curtains and odds and ends to make a house a home. But the act of moving itself is both stressful and exhausting. This time was no different.
|Our lounge before the lounge suite arrived.|
Considering the number of times that I have moved over the last couple of years, I thought that I was becoming quite the expert. I moved from Cape Town to Grahamstown, from res to my digs on Cross street, from Cross street to Grant's digs on African street (even if it was only for 12 days), from African street back to Cape Town, from Cape Town to Korea, from Korea back to Cape Town and from Cape Town back to African street. Each time boxes were packed, cars were filled and the moving took place within a few hours. There were odds and ends to buy – a computer when I moved into res, a bed when I moved into digs, etc – and then there was unpacking and settling in, which would always take a few days. I thought I had the packing up, moving and unpacking thing down to a T. I was wrong.
|What is to become Grant's bar.|
First of all, while you can prepare and pack in advance, there are some things that you cannot control. Take our situation for example. I had been well prepared and had arranged with the previous tenants that we could start moving in the weekend before the actual move. You know, just taking over some boxes to make things on the day a bit easier. They were moving out on the Saturday into the home that they were building for themselves, and so I had phoned a month before and arranged that someone would be there on Sunday so that we could bring in some of our stuff. Awesome planning ahead, I thought! And then the Friday rolled around. Two days before we were supposed to get moving, I phoned the tenant to make sure that everything was going according to plan. And it wasn't. Due to recent rains, their house was not finished which meant that they couldn't start moving out and we couldn't start moving in. Which meant that Thursday was going to be a busy busy day. So much for my master plan.
|Our kitchen (a slightly wonky photo, I admit).|
And then Thursday dawned. And due to pure laziness on all of our parts (me being no exception) we were not finished packing. Not only that, but the weather decided to play a cruel joke on us and, despite the beautifully boiling Summer day that had graced us on Wednesday, we were woken up on Thursday at 6:30am by thunder, lightning and torrential rainfall. Perfect moving weather, no? It wreaked havoc with the moving process, as things like beds needed to be move in the brief gaps between downpours. And so, as the boys (Grant and Jono) braved the weather, I was left behind in the house to finish off the packing and look after the Puddims who was most perturbed by the movement all around him and his favourite play toys (ie. Our belongings) being packed up and shipped out. By 5pm, nine hours after we started, we were ready to make a final trip with our last few bits and bobs and Puddims and were all soaked to the bone.
|The bedroom that Grant and I share (Jono's was a mess and the study was where Natalie was staying, so photos of these will need to come later.)|
And then the fun started as we began to explore our new home. When we made the decision to rent the house, it was on a whim. We had taken a five minute tour around the place and decided that it was the best we were going to get, and so we said we'd take it. That was way back in August, and we hadn't seen the place since. Our vision of what it was like was starting to become blurred, and I was getting nervous that the house was not going to be all that I had imagined. And then we arrived. Now, no house is ideal, but this one is pretty close to perfect for us. Sure, the carpets are a bit grubby, sure there was a cockroach or two in the cupboard that made my skin crawl, but these were minor irritations compared to the pleasure of having a giant garden, a large lounge, a dining room/bar, a kitchen big enough to fit a dining room table and chairs and enough cupboard space for an army.
|Our en-suite bathroom.|
The house is not particularly modern, and the rooms are a fair amount smaller than what we are used to, but there are other benefits to staying in this house. Benefits like a gorgeous, modern, recently renovated en-suite bathroom which may be small, but is absolutely beautiful. Benefits like a patio perfect for a braai even when it is raining (we tested it – it works!) Benefits like a garage to park our cars in. And finally, benefits like two stunning gardens – one in the front and one in the back – filled with fruit trees and flowers. I had forgotten just how big the garden was, and walking around the back of the house, I was amazed at just how much space there was. The garden at our house in African street was not particularly small, but compared to this it was piddling. We have lemon trees galore, a plum tree, a peach tree and, I suspect, an orange tree. Mike (Beans) is also fairly sure that we have a nectarine tree buried in amidst the others. On top of that we have gooseberries, chives, a small hibiscus, a strelitzia and a tree around front that has the most beautiful white flowers. We also have numerous palms and a loquat tree that reminds me of home. Oh, and did I mention that we are paying less rent here than we were before?
|The front garden from our patio|
Anyway, enough of the bragging and on to the stories. After a stressful day of moving, packing and unpacking I had a nice early night since, unlike the boys, I had to be at work on Friday morning. It was the last thing that I wanted to do, but I made my way into the office and sat down to the longest day of work ever. It was almost impossible to concentrate as in between answering phone calls and emails, there were the phone calls from Grant himself, first in excitement that Puddims had used his catbox (we had been worried that he had found somewhere in the house when we woke up on Friday morning to find the litter untouched), and then to ask about phone numbers and furniture. At lunch I met up with the boys for a bit of furniture shopping. One aspect of the house that can be considered as a downfall is that we have to buy all of our furniture as the house is completely unfurnished and has only come with a stove/oven that does not work very well. This does mean that we get to pick the furniture and move it with us when we move houses, but it is also incredibly expensive decking a house out, and my photography studio is going to have to wait a few months until we can afford to start work on it. After picking out a dining room set, a coffee table, outdoor furniture, a cabinet for the lounge and new curtains, it was time to head back to work where I finished off the day watching the clock and waiting for the stroke of five.
(Above: Mike and Danika enjoying the relaxing weekend braai)
Saturday started early with unpacking the last big boxes and picking the necessities from the small ones before packing them away in cupboards and making the house presentable for our friends who were coming over to help us put things up. We bribed them with a braai, which Vicky and I ended up making and cooking on while the boys (Grant, Jono, Enzo and Mike) ran cabling through the roof and hung (skew) mirrors on the walls. By the time work was done, food was ready and we ate way too much as is the tendency at braais before settling in to watch some TV and play some board games.
(Above: Danika chasing Piddles around the golf course and Puddims enjoying a hard-earned golf ball).
On Sunday, we woke up a little later only to find that the electricity was out. This, of course, led to us freaking out. Had the municipality cut us off? We hadn't received our final electricity bill for November, so we suspected that they might have and, because it was early morning and the sun was shining rather brightly, there was no way of telling if the neighbours were having the same problem. This utterly flummoxed Grant whose first action of the morning was to go and turn on the kettle and looked at us as though we were crazy when we told him he couldn't have his coffee. By lunchtime, there was still no power and, thanks to a number of phonecalls, we found out that this was not a localised problem – the whole of town was out. Which meant that another braai was in order. We brought out the leftovers and bought a little more to add to it, and invited people round for yet another braai, which was made by the boys (Grant and Mike with Tom putting in his two cents worth every now and then) this time around. It was, once again, followed by board games and, when the electricity had still not returning at 4:30, a walk on the golf course with Mike and Vicky's appropriately named puppy, Piddle. A light dinner was in order as, by 7:30 we were feeling peckish again (not having gone overboard with the braai like the last time) and Natalie, Jono's visiting sister, suggested sushi. We all jumped at the opportunity and the weekend came to an abrupt halt with a final meal of sushi and a movie that Natalie and I picked out.
(Above: Puddims helping to pack and making his first escape).
And so the weekend of moving came to an end with all of us feeling that this house was more of a home. It certainly feels like more of a home to me than the house on African street did, as that always had the air of men around it, Grant and Jono having lived there for over a year before I moved in. Even Puddims has made himself at home and has started being let out for walk abouts. The first time this happened, we kept a watchful eye on him, until he wandered too close to the neigbour's garden, not noticing their dog, and got the fright of his life when it approached him. Off he sped, straight back into the house, and from that moment, we knew that he had decided this was his safe spot. I think we’ve decided that it’s ours too.