week one at oak house

have you ever seen that folger’s coffee commercial (many years ago) where a couple has just moved into a new place, they’re in their kitchen surrounded by boxes and looking pretty frazzled and then one of them opens the box with the folger’s inside and then it’s like moving is this wonderful life experience so long as you have a hot cup of coffee in your hand? well, friends, i have had many (many) hot cups of coffee in my hands in the past week and — including the part where i still can’t find the mugs — coffee doesn’t make moving fun. advertising lies!

greetings from the coast! we have been in our new house for one week now and we have been busy. i’d like to say we’ve been busy soaking up the gorgeous sunshine, enjoying the beach and exploring our new city — and we have done a little bit of that — but mostly we’ve been busy scrambling through every day, spelling off childcare and trying to accomplish seven impossible things before breakfast. we’d love to take things a bit slower, but there are so many things that need our attention right away (sink clogged with cat litter, basement full of rotten wood, no working appliances, etc.) and lots of optional things that were just much easier to do without furniture and boxes everywhere… in theory at least, because we didn’t actually get around to any of those optional things before our furniture and boxes arrived.

a few posts back i set out a list of what we hoped to accomplish in our first two weeks here. we’re actually doing pretty well, considering we had to add a number of tasks to that list and that we only ended up with one week to tackle things — our furniture arrived on wednesday, about five days ahead of when we expected it. but, we should all just forget about my goal of having the bedrooms painted, closets gutted and reworked, clean and restful places for our days to end and begin…

first of all, we had (still have!) so much cleaning to do. the house has been vacant since february, but before then it was occupied by a widowed elderly woman suffering from dementia. keeping the place clean (or scooping the cat’s litter) was just not in her wheelhouse at the end, which is totally understandable, but means this place needs above-average amounts of elbow grease. other than the bathtub and floors, we haven’t yet had a chance to clean the bathroom; i haven’t touched the piano room or cleaned the fridge. i have, however, gone through ten rolls of paper towel, two bottles of cleaner and dissolved one magic eraser on the kitchen backsplash (or lack thereof) alone.

second, the basement. instead of renting a dumpster and removing the debris ourselves we decided to hire a junk removal service. they say they’ve “seen it all,” but, after three guys spent over eight hours here working (removing over 5,200 lbs of junk), they still have to return for more — but next time we have to pay a special rate to send two guys in hazmat suits underneath our porch, which is full to the brim with rotting wood, old propane tanks and boating supplies.


jussst a box of cement…?
1,200 square feet of this

plus, today was a pretty typical day. after a week here, we’re out of clean clothing, but we still don’t have a washer/dryer, so i bought some liquid laundry detergent and threw everything in our bathtub. after wringing everything out and throwing it all into two garbage bags, i dragged it all out onto the back deck, thinking to dry everything on the clothesline. but — and pierre assures me this is very difficult to have happen — our 50 ft clothesline had oxidized in place and wouldn’t move. so, sopping wet bag of three peoples’ laundry, no clothes for anyone and, now, no choice except to spend three precious hours at a laundromat. in the middle of all this, home depot calls to say they don’t have the washer and dryer that are supposed to be delivered tomorrow and won’t give me any information (as to where they might be or when they might be delivered) because i’m not the person who ordered them. and, while we’re at it, i guess we better add a new clothesline to the to-do list. that was all before 9:00 am, all the while managing a toddler whose life goal at the moment is to climb into the fireplace.


that being said, we have had a number of “wins” this week, namely:

  • frankie rose has been sleeping poorly since we left in victoria in march. since arriving last week — a 3 hr nap every afternoon and she has gone to sleep without a peep every night. no more screaming fits for 2-3 hours at a stretch every evening!
  • central vac — i’m in love. granted, the unit is from 1958 and it’s probably releasing toxic dust, but so quiet! i can vacuum anytime i want! (which is often.)
  • the double sink in the kitchen, once it was unclogged (we had to call in a pro)
  • no squeaky floors
  • ten straight days of perfect weather, even if we’re only enjoying it walking back and forth to the coffee shop
  • finding a young pair of carpenters who are going to work with us on the house on an on-going basis. their first job is the trim in frankie rose’s bedroom; we’re ripping out everything that’s not original to the house (most of it) and having them replicate what is original
  • the possibility of part-time childcare and the possibility of a part-time job for me starting in the fall
  • waffle sundays at hide and seek coffee, a new family tradition!

i hope my next update is a little more upbeat! in and amongst all the unpacking and fire fighting, i have been working hard on frankie’s new bedroom and can’t wait to share that in a few weeks’ time.

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