Tag Archives: neighbor

moving right along

After months of looking at all kinds of houses and being very picky and demanding about the area but open to fixer-uppers, we are about to close on a house in our neighbourhood. Once that decision was finally determined, we immediately put our townhouse on the market and have since been playing the game of “hide every shred of human existence and make your house look like a hotel and do it quick.”

The market in Australia usually runs by open houses rather than private showings, though D and I never hesitate to ask for private showings of listings when it suits us. The result of the open house is a frenzy of people winding their way through the house in a thirty-minute span, dripping with sweat, and by the end of the day they are totally dizzy with what they have seen. My one neighbour went to six open houses today in her search for the perfect investment property, and another neighbour was doing the same in search of the ideal home for her growing family. Our house was opened up around the same time as two others on our street today, so people filter down the street like a parade.

While keeping our home as pristine as one can with a school-aged child and three pets, not to mention two full-grown adults who like to live and eat and work at home, I have slowly begun the boxing books.jpgbusiness of packing up. I am ever amazed at the quantity of things we moved to Australia on airplane trips. We have all of our photo albums from birth to now, little treasures like our Christmas ornaments, my grandmother’s silver, and then all the clothes (considering we dumped what felt like the majority of the wardrobes before we moved here and have constantly donated since we moved here, this, too, is impressive). I have fifty-three boxes that can be filled (the suggested quantity from our removalists). I wonder how many will be full on moving day.

As I pack, however, I see D and S really struggling with this move. This one is somehow different and harder and scarier even though we are moving only three streets over and about 5 houses up the hill. This townhouse has been an anchor for us. Our daughter has lived here for the majority of her little life. We have loved it and hated it and we are about to move from a new modern sleek place to an old funky one that needs a lot of love and attention.

In all of this, I have realised, for reasons I cannot explain, I just keep pushing forward. I push even when it is not the most sensible thing to do. And as I push myself, those who love me and want to live with me get pushed and pulled along my path. I was speaking with S’s therapist a couple of weeks ago about this and she pointed out that sometimes when we are pushing forward, we just drag more and more and more stuff behind us. I’m clomping on through the snow that’s up to my knees and I’m on the verge of collapsing. At some point, I’m going to need to stop and sit still and work on what’s here in front of me without the distraction of moving again.

 

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comforting things

Although I cannot classify my neighbors as hoarders, they accumulate things in the backyard. The former political refugees, who came to Australia some 30 years ago, own both their house and the one we are renting. They have smartly rearranged the back of the two houses so that they get full access to both “yards” while we and our downstairs neighbors have patio space only. This extra free space has allowed them to move in a train car and various other storage units, dog houses, water tanks, sheds and planting areas in the back.

Last weekend a new bird cage suddenly appeared in the back. I felt vaguely happy for their caged cockatoos — who make me sad, amused, and annoyed — even though they’re apparently well-adapted to their environment. The new cage sat in the back and I wondered if it had been a deal too good to pass up and how long it would sit there before being put to use.

Not long at all, it turns out. By Sunday there was a Galah parrot living in the cage. More sad feelings – Galah’s are my current favorite wild parrot in the area. Now my neighbors’ menagerie includes 2 rotweilers, 3 bichon frisés, 2 sulphur-crested cockatoos and 1 galah (not to mention the son, daughter-in-law, and three grand-daughters who live with them).

This whole experience of watching things accumulate in the backyard is all too familiar. There are about 12 ladders of only three different sizes piled up in the back yard, and this makes sense to me. But I’m probably projecting from my own experience of watching my father find deal after deal too good to pass up  because the neighbors do use the various things for projects. Everything is relatively neatly stacked and stored, even if it looks a bit like a trash heap. Nonetheless, there’s a strange kind of comfort in watching someone store away quality pieces they’ve accumulated just in case they might need them later.