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Small discoveries

Like happy little geckoes, we are settling into our new hollow log and I am learning new things about it all the time.  It turns out M and I aren’t the kind of sharp-eyed, high-cheekboned, young-and-ruthlessly-ascendant real estate moguls you might see on a polished reality TV show.  We’re more the kind of wool-hat-wearing, enthusiastic-but-basically-unobservant types you might see a heartwarming film based on.  Which is…something. (I do most of the wool-hat-wearing, truth be told.)  Evidence:

(a) Discovered our new house had a dishwasher well after our offer had been made/accepted/initial deposit laid.Who knew? Thing is, you couldn’t see it in the photos online and on the day of the Open House, there were too many people cluttering up the kitchen for us to really get a look in.

(b) In the first week after moving in, we discovered:

  • A skylight! In the kitchen!
  • A doorbell! (When someone rang it.)
  • A mirror on the back of the bedroom door!
  • A vegetable patch!
  • Where the fuse box is!

(c) A currawong stole one of my socks off the clothesline.  Swooped down, examined it, then picked it up and flew away, despite me dashing onto the back porch crying “No, stop, that’s my sock!” (as if the currawong would say “Oh, is it? Sorry, my bad.” and put it back).  This is, I think, one of the cutest and funniest things to happen to me ever. This may not be evidence in terms of my basic inability to evaluate real estate, but it is evidence of my basic inability to use pegs.

I want to just have a little gloat: having looked at a lot of Open Houses while we were searching, we knew as soon as we walked up the driveway that this place was a good one.  We were surly, cynical and tired — you might say I was wearing a particularly black wool hat that day — and as we drove over we agreed that this house would have to be something special to even tempt us.  And it did.  All that other stuff, the little details we’re only just discovering as we settle, are completely inconsequential in the face of the fact that the house resonates so strongly with us both.  It’s the house for us, no question.

Also, I think I’ve got a handle on why moving is so thoroughly discombobulating.  It’s not just the physical demands of reshuffling all your stuff, the packing and unpacking, etc. It’s the process of mapping your mind to a whole new physical context.  M’s dad pointed out that all the tiny jolts you hardly notice, like getting up in the night and not being 100% sure where the light switch is, are tiny disruptions to your resting mind that tire you out.  And that got me thinking about how we come to rely upon physical places as reassurances and as context.  I suspect most people have markers of some sort of boundary that reassure them and make them feel grounded.  For a lot of people, it’s their house, obviously, but for others — those with a turbulent home life, or sharing their home space with a lot of people, or with a different way of looking at the world — it can be a workplace or even their car.  Travellers fix on their hire cars or their tents or their backpacks or a talisman (like a teddybear or something) of some sort.  I think it’s a pretty natural impulse, when the stress of change or unfamiliar environments or excitement starts to shake up the mind a bit. It’s like finding the bottom of the riverbed after you’ve been turfed out of your kayak: once your get your toes in the sand, you know which way to go.So I started to see home as context, the place I’m surrounded with reminders of who I am and what I value — things like what food I keep on standby or the logical arrangement of toothbrush/toothpaste/hairbrush on my bathroom sink. And that’s why moving shakes you up so much: you have to realign all that stuff, relearn it, and get used to a reconfiguration of all those reminders.

I celebrated this breakthrough by redyeing my hair and casting on a pair of extra-thick boot socks. Reestablishing my context, indeed.

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