libri-che-cadonoKnowing the importance of getting a good night’s sleep,  I went to bed at 10pm last night and woke up some time later feeling stuffed up, and achy.  Oh well, I thought, I might as well get up, it doesn’t look like I will be able to get back to sleep.  I squinted at my watch.  12:30am. Shit.  That’s too early even for me.  I tried to go back to sleep and finally fell back asleep until 5:30.  This is the first night I have ever spent in the new flat, I thought it would be easier to greet the movers here than fight my way through the school run traffic to get here for 08:30.  As far as first nights in a new place go, it wasn’t a complete disaster.  I mean, the bed was ok, it won’t take me ages to get used to and the showers I had last night and this morning were absolute perfection.  Pressure!  Temperature! Space!  No shower curtain lovingly clinging to me!  I was in heaven.  I am sold on this place on the strength of that alone.

As for sleeping, well the flat looks out onto a fairly busy road, so you can hear the traffic, but it isn’t deafening or anything.  I assume it’s worse if you are trying to nap during the day, but since I don’t do that too often it shouldn’t really affect me.  The issue which will affect me most is the light coming into the room.  I don’t usually draw my curtains or lower my blinds to sleep.  I don’t usually mind a little light in the room, and I certainly don’t need full blackout blinds to be able to sleep.  There are 3 large windows in my room, and you can practically read by the light that comes in through the windows.  I think I may have to revise my not closing the curtains policy.  Apart from that, the little sleep I had was all good, and so now I am prepared for the onslaught.

So I have tidied as much as possible, cleared multiple surfaces to put boxes on, thought about where everything should go for when the guys stand there holding superheavy boxes waiting for my direction and generally feel as prepared as I can.  What I am really concerned about is the stuff I don’t remember.  You know the extra container of stuff that when it comes upstairs I will think we kept that?  Why is this in my house? What am I going to do with that?  The spare room is already nearly full.  There is no more room for the we-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-these-so-just-put-them-in-there items.  Still, think positive, maybe there isn’t as much stuff as I thought…


2 x Lemsip max cold and flu capsules? Check

Hot tea? Check

Nose spray and cough sweets in my pockets? Check

Tissues within easy reach? Checkity check

Let’s do this.

08:30 came and went, and no sign of them.  At 08:50 or so, I saw the lorry pull up and they came in.  It was Peter, two Pauls and a Chris.  I had met all of them before and they were busy reminiscing about which move they had been involved in.  Peter takes his paper and disappears into the bathroom for an honest to goodness 20 minute session while the guys brought the two items that were loose in the van (too big for the palettes) up the stairs.  The first item, a rather large sideboard arrived and much manoeuvering was required to get it through the front door.  The second was much lighter but no less unwieldy, it was the painting that took so long to hang at the old house .

Then they started unloading the rest of the stuff.  The spare room was the room where everything that didn’t have a home went.  That filled up after the first 20 minutes.  The other bedroom then became the spare room and we started putting superfluous stuff in there.  I had forgotten how much furniture D has, and it obviously doesn’t fit in her room, so it all came into mine.  I now have four bedside tables, a massive rocking chair, two chests of drawers and a wardrobe box (Mum & Dad’s, not D’s) in my room.  Suddenly the acres of space have been reduced to a square foot or two and navigating around my room is not unlike a military training exercise (just as well there’s always so much light coming in then).  There is also a problem with my lights, so when I turn them on they flicker something awful and it gives me a headache and makes me feel like I should have one of those warnings up:


But that is easily fixed I am assured, so I am off to buy new light bulbs asap before all my movements seem to be in slow motion due to the strobe lighting.

After the two large items, the boxes started coming up.  I stationed myself in the kitchen, and started unpacking.  Box after box after box was piled up until I was pretty much boxed in (pun intended).  I couldn’t see over the boxes never mind stay on top of things. About two hours in, P came over and with two of us unpacking we seemed to catch up a little.

Every so often, one of the men would call out an item and I would be forced to make a decision on the spot about where to put it.  A lot hinged on whether or not our round ‘kitchen table’ fit into the room off the kitchen.  I felt it would fit, but if it did would there be room for this chest of drawers that I wanted in there?  Of course, the table was the last thing that came out of the last container, so we had a few items in the middle of the hallway waiting.  Finally, we put the table in place and it fits, and the drawers fit so hurray! Lots of extra storage space.

I was thinking that things were under control from my cocoon in the kitchen.  Boxes were emptying and we had a feeling of satisfaction that we were super-efficient.  I ventured outside to see what was going on and squealed.  I would have been happier not being out there.  We have 12 dining room chairs and they had been lined up theatre style in the dining room.  This of course, left no space for the dining room table which is in three parts, the central one of which broke as it was going into storage.  This means that I have to contact the company and ask them to recommend a carpenter or something.  It also means that our usually massive dining room table is really dinky at the moment…  What is for certain is that it doesn’t seat 12.  Maybe 4.  6 at a pinch, if the people are skinny and know each other well.  If you add to the 12 dining chairs, the leftover chairs from around the kitchen table and our dining room was looking more like a theatre than anything else.  Neat rows of chairs of different shapes and sizes all facing the front of the room waiting for the presentation.  The rest of the room had paintings leaning against every wall which meant that the other furniture in the room was about 2 feet away from the wall.  The room was beginning to look very snug indeed.

Paul came in.

“Where do you want this bar, Maria?”

At last, I had thought about this one. I knew the answer.  Hurray!

“In the dining room please, in the far corner next to the sideboard.”

He paused.

“Over there?” he gulped.

I turned round and looked.  There were about 10 paintings and 20 pieces of furniture between us and the bar’s final resting place.

“Yes, sorry!” I adopted their method of telling you unpleasant things in a cheery tone to make up for the unpleasantness. “We’ll have to move stuff around a bit!”

I helped him move, lift and generally re-arrange until we had it where I liked it.  There was no way I was going to let them leave stuff everywhere and move it myself.

The day seemed to be going well.  I had mentioned in the morning that there were a couple of items that I wanted to retrieve from the storage room downstairs, but we were making good time and they assured me this wasn’t a problem.  They headed off to lunch having emptied 3 of the 5 containers and P and I finished emptying the kitchen boxes and I went off into the lounge to put the albums away.  I had arranged the four shelving units we have around the room and was especially proud of having put the lower shelves behind the sofa which was now acting as a room divider.  This allowed me to have two clearly defined spaces in the room, one around the TV and one smaller part with comfortable seating for chatting/reading whatever.  I opened the 20 or so boxes of albums and arranged them in what I hoped was a tidy and attractive manner on the shelves.  Getting rid of all those boxes from the room made a huge difference instantly.  I thought it looked great and was really pleased with the effect both of the full shelves and the room divider.

When the men came back with more stuff it seemed to get a bit easier for a while.  Paul told me that there weren’t that many boxes left and it was mainly furniture in the last container.  Finally the kitchen table came upstairs.  We took it into the room off the kitchen and held it up (it was just the table top at that point, the base was in another location) it fit.  Success! Now we could move the rest of the furniture we wanted in that room.  I will be taking the door off at some point because that will give us more space, but I am so relieved that it fit because my brother and sister (harbingers of doom) had spent the three months building up to the move telling me that it wouldn’t and that I was crazy for thinking of putting it there.  My brother had offered no alternative locations for it I might add, although D had offered a suggestion which I didn’t like at all and so refused. The deal was, if it fit in the room that was the logical place for it.  Ok, the room is quite snug with it in.  And it is much better pushed against the far wall thus eliminating about 40% of the available seating area around it, but it does fit with chairs all around it too, so I am taking it as a win.

Just as my heart was lifting and the end of the day was in sight, I saw the guys come in with an item that made me just want to sit on the floor and howl.

“Where do you want this…” he was at a loss.

I was too.  I was staring at it with tears forming in my eyes.  Why was it here?  What was it doing here?  Who thought it was a good idea to have it first at our rented house and now at the apartment?  Logically, I knew it was in with our stuff but I had completely forgotten about it.

It was a circular metal window frame from our old family home.  It’s about 5 feet in diameter, weighs a tonne and has no possible practical use ever, apart from as a window frame for a circular window, which handily we had at the old family home, but haven’t had since.  Presumably the only time we will have one again is if any of us buys a plot of land and builds a house around a 5ft circular window frame.

Peter saw the expression on my face and took pity on me.

“We’ll take it downstairs to the store room when we go to get that piece of furniture you want Maria.”

I could have kissed him.  That together with two (more) cast iron radiators were left outside the flat to be taken downstairs.  I went down with Peter and Paul and showed them what I wanted to come up.  Peter sent me upstairs to get the other two boys. The store room downstairs is a smallish room that has been packed to the rafters.  They had to move stuff around to get to the chest of drawers I wanted.  Also, we packed the room tight and there is a radiator in it.  I didn’t turn the radiator off when we stacked the room and the heating has been on in there at the building’s whim for about 10 years.  It’s dusty and it’s warm, and could be used as a virtual reality chamber for acclimatising to the desert I imagine.  After about 10 minutes down there we are all coughing and spluttering and having visions of oases.  The items I wanted upstairs were a large chest of drawers, and a headboard.  The headboard was the one that used to be in my Grandmother’s room and it matches the wardrobes etc.  I am not a fan of these things usually, but I thought it was worth seeing what it looked like, and if I don’t like it, I could retire it.  It is in 4 parts.  The large part that attaches to the bed, two bedside tables that attach to the large part but are not freestanding as they only have two legs in the front and are fixed to the wall at the back, and a cushioned bit that rests against the large part.  The cushioned bit is faded and dusty, but I intend to re-upholster is with some nice fabric, thus updating it a bit and also removing about 50 years of accumulated dust.  It fixes to the headboard with nails, which are still in there, and Peter saw one at the top and tucked it in to avoid injury.  Unfortunately, he did not notice the other 8 nails and managed to pierce himself about three times whilst on the way to the lift.  I thought he would take the stuff up and I would go up either on foot or wait for the next lift, but no.

“Go on, after you Maria.” He said cheerfully.

I got into the lift and backed up to the wall where the headboard was leaning.  Peter then got in and put the cushioned bit between himself and the door.  As the doors closed, his hand got trapped between the door and the furniture.

“Ow, shit!” he exclaimed.

I quickly pressed the open door button.  He adjusted his grip and the doors closed smoothly.  He turned to say something and exclaimed again

“Ouch oh, that stings, what is that?”

I looked over.  Peter was wearing the cushioned board in his arm.  Literally, the nail was in his skin.

“Don’t move Peter.” I said.

The lift doors opened and he winced as the lift jerked.  I pulled the board carefully to remove it from his skin.  The guys took the board from him and we exited the lift.  He was busy being all macho about it.

“It’s ok, wow, that was a bit sore, no problem now, where’s the board going Maria?”

I left it.  “My room please.”

After they had deposited the board and drawers in my room (and then moved them because seriously?  Who puts the headboard in front of the cupboard?) I noticed that there was a trail of blood running down his arm.

“Peter, you’re bleeding. Let me have a look.”

“Nah, it’s nothing no problem, it’s fine.”

“Let me have a look.”

“No, it’s fine.”

Nanny mode kicked in full throttle.

“Peter, you’re bleeding all over my furniture! Come here and let me have a look!”  I used what my sisters call ‘the tone’ and it worked immediately.  With his colleagues sniggering and nudging each other, Peter shuffled over and showed me his arm.  I went to the bathroom and got him some antiseptic cream and a plaster.

“Don’t make me come in there and make sure you’re using them.” I said, jokingly.

Off he went to perform first aid and I went off to do something else.  It was nearly the end of the day and the boys were hovering.

Peter came out of the bathroom.  He handed me the savlon and presented the plaster for inspection unprompted (Ah, years of the tone – I still have it).

“Thank you for the stuff Maria”

“That’s ok, No dying on my shift!” I replied cheerily.  It was in fact one of the two cardinal rules when I was nannying.  When asked what the rules were, the kids would always answer: Look where you’re going and no dying on Maria’s shift. I should get it stitched onto a pillow or something.

Peter turned to Chris: “You could have put the kettle on! I thought we were having tea!”

Chris turned to me and lifted up his shirtsleeve.  I thought it might turn into a clinic situation where they all came in for attention to their booboos (maybe the tone was overkill, I don’t know).  The skin from his on his upper bicep was puckered and scarred, obviously from a burn.

“That’s from hot tea that is.  I won’t go near a kettle.”

Wow, fear of kettles, that’s a new one, but I shouldn’t really speak, I’m a little bit afraid of spoons.

Peter boiled the kettle, they all had tea, I paid, tipped and generally cleared up after them.  They all came in one by one to say goodbye and then I was alone in the house with all the stuff.

D came straight over after work, and we did a little bit of shuffling stuff around, but I was so tired and achy and blocked up and generally bleh, that we just got a takeaway and went home.

Moving Day Two had passed, been survived, and tomorrow there would be plenty of time to get our bearings and prepare for Moving Day Three a few days later.