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Adventures in Domesticity

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The problem with moving is not related to the distance of relocation, the relative size of the homes being moved from or to, or even the difficulties of moving in with someone. The problem with moving is that it makes a person stupid. Routines are important, and simple things, like walking the dog or brushing teeth, become frustrating and complex until there’s a regular place to put the necessary objects. No matter how good a cook a person is (and I’m pretty excellent) it’s easy to make elementary mistakes if you can’t quickly locate common ingredients or cooking tools. And no matter how efficient a person is, the entire experience is just unsettling. Moving from the Land of Skyscrapers to the Land of Houses isn’t disorienting, but failure to pick a comfy reading corner is.

In less than two weeks, I’ve unpacked every box, arranged furniture, and found the local pub. This isn’t bad, really, and most people I know are somewhat impressed. Personally, I’m mildly unnerved; no matter how much I’ve done, there’s more to do. The problem is that while mostly little things are left, they’re of the sort I can’t do by myself. The living room curtains need to be hung, but it’s a job that requires someone more than five feet tall, like Bob. The office blinds need to be hung, also by someone with a few more inches or a much taller step stool than I have, and there’s some electrical work to be done, and while height has nothing to do with it, Bob has the required skills; I do not.

In an effort to gain some sense of control and do something useful, I decided to hang art. I’d already managed to hang more than half of it, and today I decided to tackle our dining nook, which has a solid plaster wall and another of fairly flimsy plywood. Bob and I had discussed this matter, and he pointed out that he had a number of framed photos on the plaster wall and they’d have to go somewhere. “No problem,” I assured him, “They’re light and the plywood wall will support them.”

Hanging four pieces meant that I had to take all the photos down, get the nails out of the wall, do a ton of measuring, hammer nails, and finally, put the pieces up, an arduous process that required much getting up and down on the step stool. It was like a home aerobics class without Jane Fonda yelling at me, and without enough picture hooks. Finally, one wall was finished and I was ready to re-hang the photos. I got up on the step stool with my trusty little hammer (which admittedly, is floral) and had just managed to figure out where and how to affix the nails for the photos, when I dropped one. A framed photograph, not a nail. Behind the bookcase. Fortunately, the picture, of Bob and three of his Clarion buddies, was undamaged, but the bookcase has books in it, as these things do. Once again, the moving of a six-foot long bookcase is not something I can easily do by myself. Once again, I need to wait for Bob, and much to my chagrin, rather than completing a project, I’ve made more work for him.

When I called him to tell him what I’d done he just laughed, said that if I became vexed and needed to throw things, it would be better to throw dishes than to fling his things behind furniture.

I’d say that I feel even more useless than I did before, except at the end of it all, this is what I managed to do:

dining nook with art

Not to shabby, for an afternoon of bent nails and dropped photos. Tomorrow, I’ll go to the hardware store
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On December 12th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC), dabroots commented:
It looks good.

And I like the idea of you being back in Brooklyn. I remember your stories about riding the subways by yourself when you were a kid, and about the wicker seats.
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On December 12th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC), eleanor replied:
Hey! I'm way too young to remember the wicker seats! You're confusing me with my brother.
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On December 12th, 2008 03:02 am (UTC), dabroots replied:
You know what? I'm just now remembering that it was that other E who told me about the wicker seats. She's only about five years older than you, though. What's this thing about small Jewish women from Brooklyn, anyway?
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On December 12th, 2008 04:43 am (UTC), catelynn commented:
It looks good. And familiar from being in your apt.
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On December 12th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC), eleanor replied:
A different configuration, but yes, it makes the space feel more familiar to me.
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On December 12th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC), mallorys_camera commented:
Honestly, you should be very proud of yourself. Most people I know still have unpacked boxes years after they've moved. And if they're moving into a place that's already decorated, it would never occur to them to decorate themselves.
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On December 12th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC), eleanor replied:
Well, it wasn't so much decorated, as space was occupied. Bob has a much greater sense of clean and order than I do, and I have a better sense of design and space than he does.

I suppose it's just another way that we compliment one another.
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