Sunday, January 12, 2020

Rehoming myself

It always breaks my heart when I read about people needing to re-home beloved dogs or cats because their circumstances have changed. I’m about to “re-home” myself due to changed circumstances, but in this case it’s the best way to help heal my broken heart.

On Friday, I took formal ownership of my new house. It was the culmination of the work I’ve been doing over the past several months to lay the groundwork for my new life, and to fulfil Nigel’s wish that I’d be okay. As I put the key into the lock for the first time (photo above and, of course, I shared the photo on Facebook…), I was keenly aware that it was sixteen weeks to the day since Nigel died. And—I was okay.

In the days leading up to the event, I wondered how I’d react. Would I burst into tears? Would I just be sad? I knew I wouldn’t be happy, as such, due to the circumstances that lead me to buying the new house, but maybe I could be just a little glad? I kind of was, but more in the sense of being relieved that the long, hard, stressful work to get to that point was finally over. And that was okay, too.

There’s still one more hurdle to get over, though: My move into my new house. That, too, has been a big effort.

On Thursday, I accepted the quote from the movers, and the schedule is that they arrive to start packing on the Monday, come back the next morning to finish the packing, load the truck, and then take it to their depot for delivery at the new house on the morning of the third day. I’ve never actually heard of it being done that way, but I understand because, as the agent put it, “it’s a big job”.

Unlike cheaper movers, they carefully pack things like flatscreen TVs, mattresses, and even sofas in special protection. They also take away that special packaging at the new house to I don’t have to get rid of it. That, and the fact there’s so much to pack and move, is why it’ll take so long.

My new house is a three bedroom with an open plan lounge/kitchen/dining. My current house is four bedrooms, and has a rumpus room. The ground level is where the fourth bedroom (used as my office) and rumpus are, and I’ve seldom gone there since Nigel died—mainly just to laundry, which is also on that level. The reality, then, is that I’m basically living in a three bedroom house already.

I’d originally been looking for a larger house, one similar in size to my current one. I said at the time that Nigel and I worked too long and too hard for me to go backwards. And yet, I realised that what I was actually looking for was a house we’d have enjoyed together, and that wasn’t sensible: It would cost more (easily 10-15% more), and I’d end up looking after a big house that would have just me and the dogs there the vast majority of the time. I only need one office and one guest room now, so three bedrooms is enough. And, as it happens, this smaller house means a larger yard than any house I’d looked at in Hamilton. The dogs will thank me. Well, if they could talk, I’m sure they would.

However, I have furniture for a larger house, and not all of it will fit into the new one. My plan has always been to sell what I don’t need (or to try to…) and donate the rest, and for a couple years (at least) I was telling Nigel that I wanted to sell our sofas and matching chair for something smaller, but he seemed less interested in that than I was. It definitely will be too much for the new house.

I thought about selling some stuff before moving, but our next door neighbour pointed out that our area is “In the middle of nowhere”, so I’d have an easier time getting people to pick up stuff from Hamilton than here, and that means I’m more likely to actually sell stuff in Hamilton. I think she’s right—but it means I’ll have a lot of stuff to sort it out once I’m moved. I’m okay with that.

I said some time ago that the family and I packed up the garage, and I planned to go through and sort out the stuff in Hamilton. That was based on the plans I had at the time, that I’d put all that stuff into storage, but my plans changed a few times afterward. I also ended up deciding to delay going though things in the rest of the house, too: All the boxes (and a bit of excess furniture), will go into the garage to keep the new house as uncluttered as possible. And, waiting until I get to Hamilton before paring down will definitely be easier one box at a time than one whole room at a time.

There’s another reason this sorting later is a good idea: I’ve found it extremely difficult to actually deal with stuff in the house. I want to, and I’ve actually managed to pack up a bit, but it’s extremely hard for me. I’m not entirely sure why that is—probably something to do with the finality of it all. Whatever the cause, I’ve spent a lot of time not sorting and packing. If I’d been able to deal with stuff, I probably could have packed up the entire house and saved myself a fair bit in moving costs. That wasn’t meant to be, I guess. I spent my energies on getting a new home, instead, and I think that was a good tradeoff—stuff is just stuff, but a new house means the start of a new life.

My inability to pack stuff up has been a huge source of guilt and disappointment. Many people in mourning feel guilty about what they said/didn’t say to the person they’ve lost, or what they did/didn’t do. Not me. Nigel and I made sure we said everything we needed to say, so I’m okay with all that, but what I’ve done or not done since then, particularly to get ready to move? That’s a different story. I know that once I’m in my new house, all this guilt about how little I’ve done (from my perspective) to prepare for the actual move will be gone—though I’ll probably then feel guilty about not going through things fast enough! Some things don’t change.

So, as the fog from all this work finally lifts, I’m looking forward to having a smaller and easier to take care of house, one in which I’ll live in most of the space, all on one level, with plenty of room for the dogs to run around, and for me to begin whatever my new life will become. All that depended on me finding the right house, and now I have. In this case, “rehoming” myself was the just the biggest step in that work.

And it’s also the best way to help heal my broken heart.

My original Facebook caption for this photo: Having a little beverage to celebrate completing the purchase of my new house, because it’s what one does. In my case, thanks to medication, it’s “alcohol removed”, meaning it has a tiny amount (about as much as orange juice). But it’s also the nicest non-alcoholic bubbles I’ve yet found. The realtor gave me what looks like a nice bottle of tawny port to celebrate my new house; I’ll eventually even be able to have some! šŸ˜

1 comment:

rogerogreen said...

Duh. I just realized that this will be a massive change for the furbabies. It does appear that a newer, smaller space is a good idea. Bless you in your natal week move.