It had been over a month since the servant woman could see, touch and listen to her friends.
I am speaking of her books, the objects that represent interests, hobbies and dreams. They were still packed in wine boxes and piled in various corners of our new, crowded rental.
A strange human habit
She says that for some humans, it’s important to display your books in a home library, accessible for selective reading and visible for visitors to your home. The human says it’s not a snobby, “look at me, I can read” thing; it’s more of a “get to know me and my interests” thing.
But who has visitors to their home during a pandemic?
One humid Saturday, she spent most of the day in the lower level of our home to unpack books, categorize and find space for them in one of the bookcases we brought along with the move. She says it broke her heart to discard two others because there wouldn’t be enough room.
I don’t see what the problem is. We have room on the main level for three bookcases but they don’t all contain books. She says when you live in limited rental space, you have to go vertical to accommodate your home office supplies, writing and creativity references – and plants.
The houseplants deserve their own shelving unit, close to the window for sunshine and fresh air. They make us feel happy and relaxed. I am glad that the humans cleared away most of the boxes and other clutter lingering here since the move. (Saunter over to The Tabby Cat survived the move.)
The rooms in the lower level don’t provide much smooth wall space for positioning book cases – especially if you wanted to anchor something securely to the wall.
The servant woman had to place a small bookcase in her closet (for those esoteric categories in her personal library). I like snooping around in there whenever I get the chance.
She decided on the most suitable spot in the bedroom for the larger bookcase. With limited surfaces available, she had to find a home for the stereo.
Next to books, she says having access to music is very important to her well-being.
She had to move the stereo down one level because she could not see the LCD display properly when turning the radio to different stations. It sucks to be short. I should know.
I see that Teddy Bear has made an appearance again. Apparently, he holds sentimental value.
She says she feels satisfied with being able to get the house in order this weekend.
I was waiting for my daughter’s fifteen year-old cat to die instead of causing her stress with moving our household again. I’m such a softy – and procrastinator.
We lived in that hotbox of an apartment for ten years. I had moved there with three kids and two cats, downsizing from a spacious and increasingly expensive four-bedroom garden home to what was to be a secure three bedroom apartment.
The kids grew, some moved out, one moved back in-between training assignments, then one came back last fall after employment loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One cat eventually met his maker in 2019 at the ripe and messy old age of 18 years.
The Tabby Cat held on at 15 years old.
In January 2021, I decided to move out due to the degraded cleanliness, quality of building maintenance and security since the previous summer. I also wanted a place with our own laundry facilities – especially during a pandemic. This was part of my long term plan to downsize belongings before I would eventually retire and live in humble but healthy conditions.
By coincidence during a walk around the community in the chilly new year, I met a couple who had to break their lease on a clean, new rental due to getting a new job in a different city.
For the next three months I put my project management skills to use, increased our downsizing efforts at the old apartment, engaged with the landlord to sign forms and agree to the ridiculously high rent.
Project Management 101
My main project resource, the Resident Millennial occasionally joined me with the downsizing and packing efforts;
I engaged with family, friends and neighbours to relay useful belongings and help me transfer delicate items;
I engaged with contractors for moving our belongings, removing the excess items and helping with the cleanup;
We supported local food service establishments by ordering delivery or picking up quick and tasty meals during the messy, stressful days;
The cat, a major stakeholder in this endeavour was curious about the boxes piling up around her domain. It was gradual enough as to not cause her stress;
We set milestones and did the move in two phases: essential furniture, dishes, clothing and toiletries first; then boxes of extra household items, clothing and sentimental items. I have so many sentimental items.
One priority was to set up a corner for my home office since I am still performing my work with the remote option. For that I am grateful and relieved!
I was sad to not bring two of our bookcases due to lack of room in our smaller living space. My favourite books, my old friends are still packed in wine boxes tucked under counters and piled in my closet. My college program books and binders are waiting in bins for me to resume classes in the fall.
The Tabby Cat survived the move. She soon adapted to her new home, sniffed out every nook and cranny, and knew where to find me in the early hours to serve her breakfast.
I spent my spare time during the final weeks sorting the excess for charitable donations, junk pickup, and attempting to clean up at the old apartment. That was a challenge for me due to a broken thermostat causing unbearable heat and with what might be a broken toe (stubbed by anger, a bout of frustration during a laundry night session).
Start tasks early, stay on track working towards milestones and deadlines;
Don’t do things while angry – you’ll only hurt yourself!
Practice patience, pray for courage and strength;
Breathe in, out and repeat as needed.
On the final night of retrieving useful items and raising mugs of water in a toast to that hot box of hell, we left a note for the landlord’s people. I was exhausted and feeling cheeky.
The Cat, she survived the move.
The humans are still recovering.
I am still hobbling around and plan to see the doctor about my swollen and sensitive pinkie toe.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay well. Stay safe. Be kind.