Archive | November, 2016

Moving is the worst part 2: A stool story

21 Nov

 A much better use for a stool

The thing I love about London is that you can carry a large wooden stool down the street, bring it on the tube, proceed to sit on it while riding the tube, then carry it down the street again and no one bats an eye. In America I’m sure at least someone would have quipped “Brought your own seat, eh? Smart!”

Why was I carrying a stool around London? I’ll get to that.

On Thursday we moved home — I believe that’s the phrase they use here, “move home,” along with “removal company,” which makes sense linguistically, but I still imagine the removal company removing all of your belongings and then taking them away forever when I see “removal” on the side of a van. But I digress. We moved and as I say every time, moving is the worst. We had the movers pack for us, which you’d think would make the process stress-free, but it was still completely mentally and physically draining. We didn’t get the keys to our new place until the day of, and discovered that not only did the previous owner not clean the flat whatsoever, but they took the chandeliers with them, meaning we walked into a nearly pitch-black flat. Stephen had to run out to buy £5 lamps at Argos just so the movers could see where they were going. So we had plenty to deal with at our new place, but things also had to be settled at our old flat. There was some miscommunication regarding the check out inspection and I found out Friday morning it was at noon and I had booked the flat to be cleaned at 2pm. So I had to frantically find a cleaner who could start as soon as possible and got the inspection moved to 2:30, the latest they could do. But before I could go over to meet the inspector, I had to supervisor the cleaners at our new place (who were not happy about all the boxes everywhere!), let in the guy to install our internet (superfast fibre, yay!) and wait for the sofa delivery. As expected, the sofa guys arrived 10 minutes before I had to go to meet the inspector at our old flat, so I let them in then asked the porter to supervise them. Then my stool and I were off.

About the stool — at our old place we took down some of the landlord’s curtains in the bedroom. I put them in the closet with the towels, but by the time I remembered we needed to rehang them, the movers had packed them up. Once we moved I dug the curtain out of the towel box. Time was of the essence because I needed to get to the flat before the inspector arrived and quickly hang it up. Because of the delayed sofa delivery, Uber was no longer an option, so my stool and I rode the tube. I got to the flat at 2:20pm — just in time to stand on my stool, hold the curtain up and realize I was missing curtain hooks.


I explained to the inspector that I had the hooks at home in a box somewhere and could bring them later. He said it wasn’t his problem — his job was just to photograph and inspect the flat, which was still in a quasi state of disarray despite the fact that the cleaner had been working for 3 hours. I sat on my stool and waited for him to finish. Since the cleaner was still working and I had to lock up after her, he told me to drop the keys off at the estate agent’s office after the cleaner was done. When she finally finished, without thinking, I promptly packed up the items we had forgotten in the top closet, left the curtain in the wardrobe, and loaded my stool into an Uber to the estate agent. I carried my stool into the office, handed over the keys, then loaded my stool into another Uber to go home. There was no way I was walking it to the tube in the dark. When I got home I asked the porter how the sofa delivery went. He said he had something he must ask me.

“Why are you carrying that thing all around?”

I could only laugh.

It’s called the laugh of recognition / When you laugh but you feel like dyin’ – Over the Rhine

The next day I did nothing but unpack, yet the boxes seemed to be multiplying. And what did I find in the bottom of the towel box? (“Curtain hooks!” I bet you’re thinking, but no, the curtain hooks appear to be gone forever and I almost lost my mind searching for them.) Another curtain. Because of course the window has two curtains. So I need to make another trip to the flat. I guess I always needed to make another trip to the flat. Which begs the question: why the heck did I bring the stool all the way back?

So today my stool and I have another Tube date. Maybe I should go at rush hour just to have a seat. I can’t wait to see the porter’s face when he sees me and my stool again.

I’m already nostalgic and we haven’t even moved yet

16 Nov

On Monday I made my last trek to Aldi. It was dark, cloudy and rainy and I was tempted to hop on a bus, but knew I had to walk. I somehow figured if my last grocery trip from this flat was long and miserable, perhaps I’d feel less nostalgic for it once we move. I’m not sure it worked.

This week I’ve been hitting up all my favorite running spots around here since they’ll be farther away after the move. I told myself I could always run to Regent’s Park and Primose Hill from our new place, it would just be a long run. Though I don’t think I’ve run more than 5 miles at a time since my half 2 months ago. But if I get word there are good Pokemon in these parts, you know I’ll be back.

regents park autumn.png

autumn in regents park.png

paddington rec ground autumn.png(Photos of Regent’s Park and Paddington Recreation Ground I took on my runs this month)

We hired movers to do our packing, but I still spent a lot of today organizing and packing things. We’re just moving a couple miles away, but I’ve got it in my mind that I will never see my belongings again — like when we made the initial move out here and our stuff was out at sea for 6 weeks. I’ve packed my suitcase for my European trip with my parents even though we don’t leave until Black Friday (9 days from now). Surely I will have unpacked the flat at least a little by then, but I convinced myself that if I don’t pack the selfie stick and travel adapters now, they will disappear in some box and I will never see them again. That is the downside of having someone else pack for you — you have no idea what’s in every box. But the way I’m acting lately, it’s like we won’t be able to open any of the boxes.

They always say moving is a good way to purge all those unnecessary items that don’t bring you joy, which is probably one of the reasons I hate moving so much. I hate getting rid of things, even if it is things I no longer use or haven’t touched since we last moved. Though I am getting better and — dare I say — even enjoyed a bit of the purging I’ve been doing. Please remind me of this when you find me curled up in a ball in a month lamenting about the new flat’s lack of storage space. I can do this!

corgi box.gif


(What I wish my moving boxes contained)

Moving is the worst: round 2

11 Nov

It still hasn’t hit me that we’re moving in 5 days. I realize I need to clarify when I say “we’re officially moving,” as I texted it to my friend the other day and she thought I meant to Asia or back to America. So in 5 days we’re moving into a new flat in central London. I remember reading somewhere that moving is one the most stressful things in life, especially on a relationship. Even when you hire movers to do all the packing for you (as we’re going to), there’s just so many things to consider and do. I cleaned out my closet for the first time in three years and donated 7 bags of clothing (OK, 3 of those bags may have been Stephen’s). I even found a belt I was sure I had lost in the Great Megabus Fire of 2014. Yet I still seem to have way too many belongings and our new flat has entirely way too little storage space. Stephen does not see the problem in this, but I lay awake at night wondering where I will store my shopping trolley in the new place and whether the kitchen has enough counter space for my collection of artificial flavouring. (Don’t ask. OK, you can ask. I put them in smoothies and oatmeal.) One of our biggest arguments during the flat search happened when Stephen wanted to buy a place that did not have a washing machine, dishwasher or freezer and didn’t really have any space for them. Luckily we did not go with that place. I keep forgetting that since this new flat will truly be ours, we can make modifications. We can completely redo the kitchen if we want and add cabinets and counter space galore. But that takes a lot of time and money. I’ve been looking at standalone wardrobes to put in the bedroom because there are zero closets in there — zero (WHY, OH WHY, DO YOU HATE STORAGE SPACE, LONDON?!), but we can’t buy it until we first strip the wallpaper and repaint the bedroom, which, again takes time and money. So while I’m looking forward to living in our new place — I’ll be able to walk to theatre day seat queues! — I am dreading that in-between phase where I’m tripping on boxes and living out of suitcases. And my parents will get to experience this with me, as they are coming to stay with us 6 days after we move. I still can’t decide if that is the best or worst timing ever. They’ll get to see our new place, but it will be in a state of disarray. I’ll also get to temporarily leave the chaos and accompany them on a journey through Europe as we visit our ancestors’ homelands. I’m looking forward to that, but all this moving stress hasn’t given me much time to plan the trip (or update the blog if you haven’t noticed). I’ve got a rough itinerary, all the transportation and accommodations booked, and Rick Steves books on my iPad, so I think we’ll be in good shape. If I can just get through this move first!

Completely unrelated, but since this post lacks pictures, here’s a photo of me in 30 years: