We’re on the move again. Or perhaps we’re running away.
We do this a lot as the relationships in our family, that now comprises of four adults, continue to evolve. The average age for kids to leave home is now 27 due to rising house prices, as opposed to 21 in the past, so I imagine that many middle-aged couples are making similar adjustments for extended shared living.
We realise now that we jumped the gun with our decision to downsize prematurely two years ago. The driving factor back then was similar to a State of Emergency in that we had to find somewhere small enough to contain Kurt to keep an eye on him as well as reduce costs; the added bonus was that the apartment also minimised housework, an unnecessary evil.
We’ve enjoyed the view.
The impetus behind this latest move has been the impact of us both working from home now, which has reduced the breathing space substantially in our three bedroom unit, even though in reality the old man’s desk only absorbs about one square metre of real space.
With one living area and my desk shunted off to a Harry Potter-esque dark corner of our tiny bedroom, the apartment has begun to feel claustrophobic over the past few months.
The snooty attitude of the other tenants/owners in the building towards us hasn’t helped. One of the younger couples, it has become quite obvious to us that some of our older neighbours have slid comfortably into a barely concealed intolerance towards change and rental tenants.
Of course, Kurt should never have snipped off the end of the garden hose or left those beer bottles in the sauna, and not everyone has an appreciation for the masterful lyrics of Kanye West. And if you don’t have a dog, it’s hard to understand how territorial they become when someone knocks at the door, nevertheless a little more tolerance might have made us feel more welcome.
We’ve found the cutest little chocolate box house in an adjacent suburb, that is walking distance to the beach if you carry crampons and rope for the uphill journey back; there is a local pool for my therapy sessions, and the local pub serves my favourite wine by the glass with $9.99 steak.
There is a small study for the old man, where we can lock him and his bad moods away whenever the stock market crashes so that they don’t permeate through to everyone, and he will be able to take his afternoon naps in there without judgment.
It’s the little things that bring happiness.
We know we’ll freeze our rocks off in winter because there’s no heating and old, drafty timber floors, and I have spotted the old man rub his forehead anxiously every time he looks at photos of the lawn that he will be responsible for keeping green, but as soon as NC and I walked into the house we got that tingly feeling and just knew.
I like change. Every now and again I have to brush away the cobwebs and breathe in different, clean air to provide me with the energy to carry on.
We’re not doing this for Kurt – although I can’t deny that the semi-contained bedroom under the house complete with en suite and spider roommates that we refer to as his ‘new flat’ to his face and secretly as ‘the dungeon’, was definitely a contributing factor in our decision. It also happens to be at the opposite end of the house to our bedroom so no more Kanye lullabies for us.
We accepted a long time ago that change does not alter Kurt’s approach to life and if anything this move will provoke two weeks of oppositional behavior because he doesn’t cope well with it, but a different floor plan will hopefully give us better separation.
Better still, there are stairs that lead down to his new abode so there is no door for him to slam.
I’ve already begun to dream about where to position the cushions and rugs, compiled a ‘what we will need’ list (secretly called ‘what I must have’) to make this house a home and spend every waking moment browsing the Ikea website for those little extra touches that are cheap enough not to draw the old man’s attention to any unnecessary spending, because I assured him that wouldn’t happen if we moved, and he believed me.