Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New place for the new year

I signed the papers and received my jingling ring of keys for my new (rental) townhouse today. As I did the walk through with my new landlady, I couldn't help but grin and it took every ounce of self-restraint to keep from giggling and squealing in excitement.

The anticipation for this place has been huge - at 1300 square feet, it not only is more than double the size of my current apartment, but it also is two-story and unmodified from it's original 1970's style furnishings. Which means Agent M can thump and stomp in his room, without worry of annoyed neighbors thumping back from below, and it has a a subtle kitsch vibe that is making me nutso with decorating ideas.

Olive green was a prominent color at the time, and lives on in my kitchen (floor tiles, oven) and bathroom (shower tiles). Gold pseudo-ornate frames wrap themselves around the mirror medicine cabinets in both bathrooms, glitzy compliments to the embossed patterns on the walls. The dining area is made to feel larger thanks to floor to ceiling mirroring, which I've already made a mental note that now I really will be watching what I eat. Under the half floating staircase is a rock garden, and as you walk up the stairs you can check yourself out in the giant wall mirror that faces the stairs. Bonus is the patio with built in barbecue and storage shed. And the numerous cabinets. And the larger rooms. And the powder-blue eagle sculpture on the front door. (Ok, so the whole place feels like a bonus to me!) 

Of course, having had surgery on my left shoulder barely a month ago has not helping in the packing and moving process. I can't use my left arm for much still, so needless to say I have spent many moments in pure frustration at not being able to lift a box from one location to another. Or not being able to pack certain things at all because of their size. The worst though was the feeling of being an absolute jackass today as I watched my Dad and sister-in-law carry boxes down the stairs of my current apartment, load them unto my mum's van, then unload the boxes into my new place. I simply could not carry 99% of what was being moved and felt awkward and in the way when I did manage to get a box tucked under my right arm.

This same frustration is taunting me on the horizon - when I begin to unpack. Packing has been a slow process, but at it's core packing is simply a matter of picking up and placing objects into a box. Unpacking requires planning, finding a place, tucking into drawers, lifting into cabinets. All things that would be simpler with two hands. I fear for how long it is going to take to unpack. Then there's the matter of furniture placement. I've always been the type of person to put all the furniture out, then move it piece by piece into different locations until it all feels right. Much like a giant version of the 9-tiled sliding puzzle games I used to get in birthday party goody bags as a kid. But you can't move a vintage stereo console with one hand. This is troubling to me, but still distant enough in my thoughts that I have not brought out my graph paper and measuring tape to make detailed floor plans and scale representations of my furniture, to be slid around and contemplated in various angles. (As I type this, I did do a mental check of if I had packed the graph paper yet though, so not sure if these thoughts are as distant as I believed they were.)

But the excitement over shadows all else. More room finally! Only 125 square feet less than the house I owned with my husband! As much as I have loved our little apartment, it's just so little! Agent M's room-to-be is double the size of what he is in now. As a child who loves to have every single toy out as often as I will allow, this will be bliss. A real pantry with shelves means I won't have to climb up on a foot stool just to figure out if we have canned green beans or not. The patio means I won't resort to storing unused planters under our dining room table, and the shed means I can sleep a little better at night, knowing our bikes are slightly more secure behind a locked door.

Excitement, anticipation, and a clean, uncluttered space that's only filled with possibility? Indeed, this sounds like a great way to start off a new year.


  1. Ashley,
    I just read all of your blog. Wonderful! You definitely have given us an eye opening view of life as a single mom, navigating through uncharted waters with a number of challenges nipping at your heels. Thank you for sharing so candidly your daily experiences in life with Agent M right by your side. Your gift of writing is flavored with worldly insight and tongue in cheek humor. Great Job!