Monday, November 5, 2012


My, my. A body does get around. 
 – William Faulkner, Light in August 

 Giorgio has been with us since Italy.  
He has been through five moves with us now.

My arms are covered in bruises, aubergine and plum fading to the color of the autumn leaves that have woven an elegantly golden carpet outside our window since we began this adventure. My muscles ache and it is harder to stand up straight after lowering another carton to the ground and I am reminded that I am not as young as I was the last time we did this. Carton after carton, rolls of white tape scattered throughout the house and a never-ending search for the last magic marker I had just been clutching now where did I use it last, for heaven’s sake?! And on the other side of town the busy bees are energetically flapping their wings, all in a flurry to finish the last touches to our new home.

 Good-bye and good riddance, dastardly, evil kitchen!

As you may know by now, we have moved. Yes, three long, grueling months from that wedding anniversary on which we became the proud, excited owners of a new apartment, stars in our eyes and big glamorous visions dancing in our heads, to the day we moved; three harrowing months of ripping up carpet, scraping and sanding and waxing old wood parquet, knocking down walls, plastering and painting, all in a mad dash to conclude before that fateful day when nothing would be forgiven. Three arduous, wearisome, glorious months of endless traipsing back and forth from old home to new, between installing kitchen cabinets and packing up our belongings, between hauling plasterboard, mud-colored carpets and old pieces of furniture to the dump and dragging bag upon bag of books to the used bookstore praying they will say yes. We sawed and hammered, measured and re-measured, haggled over kitchen designs, sink choices and tile color. We spent endless hours at Ikea, choosing, checking and rechecking, some of us being rushed bodily through the interesting sections displaying pots and pans, colorful sheets and fuzzy blankets, wondrously sparkling luminaries, straight to the kitchens where we made our choices before being questioned by our son, our own personal architect and toughest critic. Evenings less than romantic wandering the aisles of the industrial-sized hardware store, less home improvement than home correction, analyzing flooring, my hands caressing each possibility, perusing wall sockets and extension cords, arguing over the vital necessity of this tool or that we really do need one of these!

I hear there are people who actually enjoy moving. 
Sounds like a disease to me - they must be unstable. 
Though it does have its poetry, I’ll allow that. 
Jan Neruda, Prague Tales 

And we worked. And worked. We tore it down and slowly, slowly built it back up. We watched our home blossom and grow before our very eyes. One gorgeous floor after the next, one glossy kitchen cabinet after the next, one wall satiny smooth and glowing after the next. We counted down the dwindling days as clothes were folded and pushed into suitcases; we checked off the boxes on our calendars as each book was dusted off and lovingly placed inside a carton; we stopped grocery shopping, much to the son’s chagrin, in order to eat all the food out of the refrigerator and freezer, supplementing our diet much too often with pizza, kabobs, sandwiches from the corner bakery and fast food – yes, fast food – all washed down with cola, beer and many bottles of wine. Time pressed, punctuated by bumps in the road, glitches in the plans, a leak here, a broken something there, but on we pushed, fast and furious. Three weeks then two weeks then one as we watched the plumber install shower and tub, the sink still standing alone and forlorn in the middle of the livingroom floor surrounded by tool chests and paint cans and cabinets still to be installed. We had become accustomed to being besmudged and besmeared with plaster dust and wood dust, sticky with paint and glue. We no longer had the time nor the luxury for arguments and bickering and finger pointing, we just had to get the job done.

And Marty…poor Marty. After his brush with death, his surgery and hospitalization, poor little Marty was feeling the anguish as the cartons piled up around him and began closing in. He lay silently all day, curled up into a tight little ball in his very own poof, hunkered down and defending his territory; evenings he sought the solace of his maman’s arms, hopping up and claiming ruling status as I kerplopped into my corner of the sofa, collapsing after an arduous, exhausting day. But on we trudged, slogging on day after day, the boxes piling up ever higher until that fateful morning, that momentous ring of the doorbell when the moving men arrived.


I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself. 
Maya Angelou 

Yes, we have moved. Two long stressful days of watching men both burly and lanky lift and haul out cartons, manhandle my best coats and favorite blouses and skirts, wrap up paintings and furniture and push it all out the window, place it precariously on the platform to be lowered down and shoved in the vans. And two days of them huffing and puffing up four flights of stairs balancing boxes on their shoulders and dumping them willy-nilly throughout the much-too-tiny new space. And we have moved, and now find ourselves neck deep in our belongings, trying desperately to find a place for everything and everything in its place. We have made a tiny little oasis of our bed and lie luxuriously late into the morning, making the best of the calm and the quiet, until Marty comes to snuffle and snort at the door. And then we get back to it again.

There is something wild and poetic about the view from our windows.

Not yet quite ready to unveil the spectacle, our new home, not until the countertop is cleared, the livingroom floor walkable, the bedroom and office presentable to curious eyes. Until then, we toy with the idea of simply leaving everything as is, piled haphazardly wherever it just happens to have been dropped, living as bohemians, hippies, or just two crazy old people who live packed in among their every belonging.

Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; 
stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration. 
- Charles Dickens 

And of course, we now are familiar with all of the local Happy Hour spots. Methinks we will become habitués.



Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, moves are always stressful and in case case even more as you had to renovated the whole apartment. Lovely kitchen! I can't wait to see more pictures of your new home.

Give a kiss from me to the cute Marty! What a gorgeous dog he is.



Robin O said...

Well captured first installment. Cheers to you Jamie and crew. Can't wait for the rest of the story.

blandina said...

Un saluto a Giorgio, allora!
(he looks a little worn out though...because of the move?)

Rossella said...

Poetic and sister has just bought her first home. So you scare me :)
Anyway, you must be pround of all your effords. Results sound really great.

Lizzy Do said...

Oh, the glimpses of your new place look divine! And give sweet Marty a smooch from me!!!!

Rambling Tart said...

I'm SO proud of you, Jamie, and so very, very happy for you. :-) How wonderful to be on the cusp of actually being moved in. :-) I love moving and hate moving but I'm always, always glad that I have moved. :-)

Kalyn Denny said...

Congrats! Moving is so bad and good, all at the same time.

Lisa said...

I'm so glad you got through the really hard part and everything looks great! I can't wait to see all the little tweaks and additions that take place in the coming months. You worked so hard for so long..I'm so happy for you! OH, I wouldn't want to run into 'Giorgio' in a dark room :P

Jill Colonna said...

Wow! What a transformation compared to the previous photos of the living room and kitchen. Congrats to you, Jamie. Très classe! Ah, the joys of Ikea and marker pens ;-)

Maureen said...

Congratulations. It won't be long before everything has a spot to go to and you'll feel like your new home has been around you forever. We're all exhausted with you. :)

Amanda said...

Congratulations at last Jamie - and what stunning views you have from your windows. I hate moving house with a passion, so genuinely feel your pain, but it's always such a relief when it's done. I, too, am looking forward to seeing some more pics of the new apartment.

Not Quite Nigella said...

Moving is so very stressful and I've been catching up with your progress via Facebook. I remember when I was in Nantes and you pointed at where you would be and you hadn't yet moved! Ahh that was so long ago! :D

A Canadian Foodie said...

I am looking very forward to the "unveiling". What a feat! Bravo! I seriously cannot imagine one more move - yet I know there will be one... someday. We are, however, renovating, so my life is aligned metaphorically with my transition from the work world into retirement where I am literally rebuilding my world to find my place in it once more. And most ironically - it has been on hold now - amid the plaster - before the paint - until I finish the sorting and the thinking...
Waiting to see the reveal!!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

1A1Oh, Jamie, what an experience! Moving is the worst and something I always dread. The thought of watching my possession go out the window is more than I can imagine. It sounds like you are almost there and I can't wait to see photos of your new home.

Junglefrog said...

O boy it's been a while since we last moved although I felt a bit like it during the building of our new kitchen. Tom hates to move, I actually like to move into a new home every once in a while but yes it's also a big pain! Can't wait to see the final pics of your new place Jamie. I'm sure it's gonna be gorgeous!

Chez Us said...

Congrats Sweet Jamie! You have amazed me during this journey! Not only did you remodel a new house but you managed to keep writing, cooking, shooting ... amazing. Truly. From the sneak peek, the new abode is gorgeous. Cannot wait to see more!! xo

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Oh wow Jamie, what an upheaval. Glad most of the torture of moving is over. I know the pains (a year on since we left the Netherlands, I still feel it). d Congratulations and Happy new Maison!

Nuts about food said...

Catching up on your posts after a couple of weeks away from the blogging world. Congratulations on the move!

Nuts about food said...

Catching up on your posts after a couple of weeks away from the blogging world. Congratulations on the move!

mlaiuppa said...

Wow. A view? That could certainly be worth moving.

I must say I love your old living room; the arches, high ceilings, that fireplace and the floors.

Can't wait to see the new space. I love what you did with the bathroom.

Now, do you "own" this apartment, like a Condo in the U.S.? You pay a fee for the common area upkeep but you own the apartment and can do whatever you want to it?

(You have to walk up four flights? Yikes! I'd pass on that, no matter how lovely the view. I'd have to carry grocery bags up four flights.)

Jamie said...

@mlaiuppa No no we don't have to walk up four flights - the building has an elevator but I need to start taking the stairs after 3 years of barely moving from my desk chair! Yes, this apartment we own and do pay comdominium charges.

Becca@Carpet Cleaning Melbourne said...

Moving pretty much always takes longer than you think it's going to take. So, be smart and plan ahead. There's lots of packing and organizing you can get out of the way two months in advance of your move.


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