PHS columnist Nicole Locke lets us peep through the keyhole into her new home...
I’m in transition. Well, my whole family is in transition. In December, we moved from London to Seattle. Since it’s been six months, does that mean we’re all settled?
Not on your life.
Mostly because the move wasn’t a clean sweep. After eleven years, we left London and most of our things except for some personal items. So we didn’t come to this country with much.
But we lived in the Seattle house a few years before we moved to London. We came back to someplace that looks familiar and yet isn’t at all. Someplace that used to fit us with a 3yo boy, but doesn’t fit us now with a 14yo son and an 8yo daughter.
Someplace where we built a shed to house items while we lived somewhere else. Items which I still intend to keep (I was ruthless before we moved), and items that my husband argues we don’t need at all (with good reason—we haven’t used it!).
There’s no doubt I’m not the same Nicole who left, but returning here throws the change in stark relief. Because I’m not traditional decor anymore, and yet I have loads of toile. There are pieces of furniture I still admire and yet they don’t fit in with my new white shag rug and glass desk.
We’re having trouble fitting in, too. I can’t put my dishtowels in the same place they were before because my use of spices has increased. We bought a new king-sized bed and now can’t fit dressers in our bedroom, and I still haven’t managed to put my clothes all in one closet.
It’s Spring, and I need my sunglasses, which are packed away in a box somewhere, but if I take them out, where are they going to go? We have no entryway table like we did in London.
And yet, this is our home, so I’m constantly rearranging things so we can live here. My dining room can’t be a dining room anymore because my daughter needs light for her music. My former living room is now my office. The recreation room has been divided equally between the kids, and the former office is my son’s bedroom.
Everything is topsy-turvy, but I’m going to show you bits and bobs; the little treasures that are anchoring me now: my daughter’s found baby shoes and her violin; my son’s mechanical arm next to a bowl that fits with the shag rug.
My office is being overtaken with my daughter’s Lego trays that were built by her father and my brother. There’s an antique rocker from our past life. No one can sit in it, but it has lion’s heads and lots of memories. And my desk. Finally, a desk where I can write this post, visit with you and write stories.
So nothing of my current life is normal or practical. I have no true furniture, and most of our things are still in boxes. And yet, this chaos is a memory, too.
And in that sense, I like it. I like having Lego trays and no coffee table or sofa. I like that I have a space for my daughter and her violin, but no place to put my sunglasses.
My son finally gets to stretch his legs and fiddle with all his robotics, so it doesn’t matter that most of my clothes are still on the floor.
And I’m doing okay…most days. That’s because I have these stories to tell about characters finding their happily-ever-afters. And sometimes in their worlds, I imagine them having drawers for their dishtowels…
Nicole's latest book, In Debt to the Enemy Lord, is out now. For more information about her and her writing, check out her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.