Altoids & Oreos

I figured you wouldn’t want to hear about how I can’t sleep. And then I do. And then I snap awake at 4 AM, and read by Kindle-light. How Isla goes to ‘school’ two mornings a week now, and I miss her after the first hour. How there’s a path around the house now, and that’s a good thing. But how, sometimes we, (OK, mostly I) want to lift this house and the path around it and plant it somewhere where there’s neighbours.

I figured you wouldn’t want to hear that on bad, cliche days my only happiness is my husband and my child, my books and the songs of Lee Brice.

However, you might be interested to know that my Mom came over to visit. And she brought me Wintergreen Altoids. How she stayed for two weeks and we only had two and a half fights. (I knocked half off because she brought me Altoids.)

We drove around looking for salmon and wool and world peace. We listened to The Beatles and she knitted me a sweater. Yes, really.

And after two weeks and two and half fights, I asked her to stay. Yes, really. She didn’t. The sweater’s a little big, but the visit was just the right size.

I’m not depressed. Or at least I know I shouldn’t be. Hell, I live in the most desirable place in Britain.

Scenery has got to count for something, right?

So. Not depressed. I just really like Oreos these days.

This is not a new feeling for me. When I first moved to Edinburgh, I missed my friends in Glasgow. When I was in Glasgow, I missed my student days. When I was a student, I should have stayed there.

Point is, I’m always missing something.

I didn’t grow up in the same place I was a child, and I’ve moved every five years ever since.

My sense of place and belonging has always been jumbled and fucked up. Home is more about people than a postbox. I know that. It makes life interesting, but also well, interesting.

When Mom was here we took her to Edinburgh. We rented a flat for four days. In our old building. The same building Neil and I moved into together, where we came home from work, and our honeymoon and the hospital with Isla.

Edinburgh gave me a bunch of my favourite things. And chip-shop pakora.

I’ve decided that as a place, Edinburgh is as close as I’ve come to home, as an adult.

Today, I’m thankful for Edinburgh, and all my friends there. All my friends and family, and friends who are family, everywhere. I’m thankful for everyone on this island. And my people on Long Island.

For my husband and my kid and for everyone that loves us, weird bunch that we are.

For the people who drink coffee and beer with me.

For the people who ate cookies with me in 1985, and the people who ate cookies with me last week.

Come visit.

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Scenic, right?

The Frosty North

Since we moved in we’ve had a gas leak, the washing machine won’t drain, the toaster blew a fuse.  And today, the boiler has packed in. But it’s still our house.  And apparently, it’s well, sensitive.  So.  Leave it alone.  Unless you’d like to come and fix the heat.

Actually, the same guy who fixed our farting stove two weeks ago is making another trip to fix the heat.  Don’t worry, he knows where we live.

In other news, we are online.  And we have cable TV.  And in a fit of DIY, my husband put our spare TV on our bedroom wall.  I know, I’m embarrassed enough for the both of us.

And I’m sitting here at the kitchen table.  We have one of those, too.  In related news, the new word for ‘distressed’ is ‘reclaimed’.  Furniture is now politically correct.

Neil and I spent Valentines weekend picking out and ordering our new socially-acceptable furniture.  Because we are middle-aged romantic like that.

In related news, before we braved the shops, I said if we came home with one of those entertainment centre thingies, we’ll have crossed a line from which there’s no return.

But we were safe.  Every bleary-eyed but somehow super-charged salesperson said, ‘they don’t make those any more.’

The thing was this.  Every shiny, pointy bit of bark that passed for a ‘TV table’ was the perfect height for Isla to fist-bump any TV off of it.

And so.  We found a sideboard thing and we ordered it without the ‘ornate’ top half.  That’s what passes for creative thinking these days.

So there’s a kitchen table for the laptop, a place for the telly box and a sofa big enough for three whole butts.

I still have my old faithful bookcases crammed with books.  They’re even slightly more organised than they were when I was 18.  Not really.

But I do have a TBR bookcase now.

And there’s a bird-feeder stuck to the kitchen window.  A seagull came to investigate it one day last week.  Isla learned a new word that day.

Apparently, the boiler needs a new part.  That’s another word.

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Isla is cold.  And unimpressed with her book.

 

Do you have any funny or not-so funny stories about moving and setting up home?

 

 

The Bookshelves Are Concerned

Before I moved in with Neil, I lived in six apartments over five years. Several of my landlords used my rent to pay for ski trips instead of their mortgages. Because that’s a thing. Anyway, there was legal stuff that had nothing to do with me. Except I had to move a lot, and with each new place I unpacked less and less.

When Neil and I met, I was down to my cat and my bookshelves. He bought me a coffee machine, which rounded out the kitchen. But really, my last Christmas party in Glasgow was just us, some friends, the cat and some chicken wings.

We moved in together and the bus-stop downstairs provided a weird kind of opera every Friday night. The boiler stopped working a bunch of times which meant there was a hole in our bedroom floor.  Which the plumber never got the chance to fix.

The old place was interesting. And truthfully, I miss it. It was where I set out pebbles and asked Neil to marry me, and then he turned around and asked me. It was where we landed after the honeymoon. It was where my husband told me I was pregnant.

It was Isla’s first home outside my body.

But when the opportunity arose and we moved to Skye, we were ready. OK, Neil was a little more ready than I was.

Even though we want Isla to grow up in the country with easy access to trees and y’know,  other country stuff, I was afraid we were giving up too much to soon. Things like time with friends.  And easy access to nachos.

But we did it.

Living with my Dad and Anne has been interesting. There’s been laughs and chocolate and episodes of Poirot. I have essentially moved my family in with my parents, and it’s been easier and harder than I thought it would be.

So we are on the move again. The three of us.

I’ve become good at moving. Home has always been more about people than walls for me. But I’m glad there’s a place for my people now.

I’ve never had a whole house to live in. I had a renter’s fear of holes in the walls, so I was careful about hanging the New York skyline that’s followed me through all my moves.

My furniture, including the bookshelves is flatpack, Ikea specials.

I left home at eighteen. The ceiling of my bedroom was purple. Every place since has been rented. And white.

As a twenty-something I would traipse around stores that aren’t Ikea, imagining what my ‘grown-up house’ would look like and the people and pieces that I would fill that home.  I might have even cried a little.

And now, I have my people. And other people who are always welcome to visit. Our furniture might be ‘beachy and distressed’ as per my Google search last night. But our (maybe purple) door will always be open.

 

 

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In February.

Goals For 2016

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Start here.

Part of the re-vamp of this blog will be me participating more regularly in memes, blog-hops and other social blogging projects that I like/make sense to me/want to share with others.

One of those such things is Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and The Bookish.

Today’s list is Resolutions for 2016. I prefer the term goals. Let’s call them goals. See, they’re trees, um, goals.

And here they are with nifty categories.

Writing

Start/continue the journal/letters to Isla and show her that life is mostly beautiful and always an adventure, with a lesson in there somewhere. I’ll also be mentioning that all her weirdness comes from her father. And me. OK, both of us. Sorry not sorry.

Participate as far as I can in NYC Midnight’s Short Story Challenge. I thought about it last year. This year I’m in.

Write more consistently/constantly, generally-speaking. I want to get back to that person who filled a notebook every night and wrote a story every week. That person was me. And I have writing to do.

Reading

Finish the books I start. This could be said for the ones I’ve started writing, as well. But for now let’s talk about books by other people.

My husband calls me a flippant reader. To illustrate this point, up until a few days ago, I had 57 (!) books on Goodreads listed under currently reading.

I have this thing where if I see something that hits me somewhere, I have to read it RIGHT NOW. All the books. Or at least 57 of them. Then I had a baby. And moved. Either that, or I lost the book. Or fell asleep. Or read the last page. And then picked up another book.

Anyway, 57 became 4. Because, well, I’m currently reading them.

Leave a stack to read through this month, and pack the rest.

Finish that series. And that one. And this one.

Home

Organise the new place, when we get there. Or at least try.

Get new bookshelves. My current ones have followed me around since I was 18. There’s mutual love there. But they are tired. And scuffed. And missing some damn dowels.

Find a mosaic coffee-table. Or maybe make one. Does that mean I get to break shit? And call it art? OK, then.

Paint a wall with chalkboard paint. For Isla. For us.

Life

Let go of anxiety. I’ve had the one with the big A since Isla’s been around. I’d like it to move out already.

Be. Laugh with my kid, and Neil. Read. Write. Drink coffee. Neflix. And chill. No, really.

So that’s 12. Or maybe its only two, and the rest is how I get there.

I shall try. We shall see.

What about you?

Paving The Way

And so, I don’t have any excuses for not writing. Except maybe too much furniture blocking the computer.  And a toddler.

But those are really bad excuses.

Because there’s also notebooks. And coffee. And pens. And OK, maybe the pens don’t work. But there’s crayons. Because there’s a toddler.

Anyway. The last day of the year makes you think. Mostly about what you’ve done with the other 364 days.

There’s been a lot of clapping. And crying. And laughing. And being generally amazed by my kid. There’s also the time I said, ‘Isla, please don’t put Mama’s Spanx in the toilet.’ But I only had to say that once.

There hasn’t been a lot of writing.

There’s been moving. And meeting new people. Unpacking boxes. And introducing Isla to the joy of bubble-wrap.

I even found myself using an orange as a stress-ball. But that only happened once.

There’s been lots of hotels. And a few hurricanes. And even more hugs. And while we’re here, I haven’t been very impressed with this season of Homeland.

And I could have been writing. About the time we got caught in a blizzard. Or the time Isla tried to wipe off one of my scars.

Or that time we bought a house.

We’ll be moving into that house, our new home, in 2016.

There will be more boxes. And bubble-wrap. Less furniture. More space. Lots of love. And books.

And I’ll write all about it. For Isla. For me. For everything.

Please stay tuned. And Happy 2016, when it comes.

 

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Isla leading me, happily, into 2016.

 

 

A New View

And so, I’m sitting in the office.  My desk is somewhere between Isla’s crib and one of the bookcases.  I kinda like that.  Symbolism.  Or something.

We moved up here with more than 17 boxes of books.  Yesterday was spent emptying them into the bookcases.

In the old flat, I knew them so well, I almost didn’t see them.  Favourites and doorstops, old schoolbooks I can’t part with.

Those have been moved to the loft.

What I’m looking at now are books I’ve dipped into and others I haven’t started.  There’s also some notebooks, a rolled up penguin poster, our wedding invitation, and one of those colouring books for adults.  Which I haven’t started.

Yet.  And for someone who has essentially moved back in with her parents, with her husband and their one year-old, in the same week as PMS, I’m surprised I haven’t had to break out my new coloured pencils.  Y’know, to etch bad words on my desk. I mean, to colour.

In other news, we have local library cards.  Like I have any business reading a book that isn’t in this house already.  But we have library cards.  Because I don’t feel at home anywhere until I can go somewhere and get free books with clear covers on their covers.

We left the building with a book on stargazing, because we can do that now.  Also two books for me and one for Isla.  She got a sticker, too.  I might have put the sticker on her forehead as we walked to the car.  Because that’s the kind of mother I am.

Isla seems to like me.  This morning, she head-butted me.  That’s how she shows appreciation.  Next week, we’ll work on blowing kisses.

And I’ll be working on sitting at this desk, looking out that window, writing more words.  And perhaps colouring.

The bird on the window is a decal. My timing is good, but not that good.
The bird on the window is a decal. My timing is good, but not that good.

***

And so, the bookcases are up and my desk has my computer on it.  And I have a library card.  After a move, what finally makes you feel at home?