Moving house in the same period that the children were returning to school has proved to generate even more chaos and stress than we envisaged. It was critical that we get the house up and running and be fully functioning as a household in time for the boys returning to school but, as if to thwart our efforts, our packing boxes just kept breeding. Every time we emptied and flattened a box, the space created would almost instantly fill with another box or package. It was as if spare space in the house was a black hole sucking everything in. This past little while has been a whirlwind of packing boxes, labelling boxes, moving boxes, stacking boxes, arranging boxes into the correct rooms, unpacking boxes, flattening boxes, stacking flat boxes and turning around and seeing yet more boxes arrive – thanks to two trips to Ikea. Boxes. I never want to see them again. This is the second time this year that I have packed up all my worldly goods into boxes, unpacked them and found the contents new homes. I am done. I am going to freecycle the boxes so that I never have to see them again.
However, somehow amid the chaos of all this unpacking and sorting, furniture deliveries (we didn’t own a sofa) and building of flat-packs, the house is beginning to take shape as a home. The moment this crystalised in my mind was when I pegged laundry out for this first time. I have not pegged laundry out for eleven months, since I left my in-laws’ house to emigrate to America. The rental house did not have a laundry line and, when I bought one, I discovered it had to be cemented into the ground. No good for a temporary residence. So the rotary line moved to our new house with us and – because I finally have a house to call my own again – it could be cemented into the ground. I have missed hanging laundry out to dry. It was incredibly frustrating to spend so many dry and sunny days with laundry being dried in the tumble dryer – especially since I do at least six loads of laundry each week. Drying outdoors is kinder on the wallet and on the environment plus I just prefer it. Hanging laundry is the one household chore I enjoy. I have missed it. So standing in my back garden, looking at a load of laundry hung out to dry, I definitely felt like I was in a house that was becoming my home.
Sometimes epiphanies are small, mundane and domestic.