This week I have been swinging wildly between excitement and despair about this move. In one moment, I can be full of enthusiasm about the life I am heading toward, and within seconds I can racked with grief — and it truly is grief — for the home I am leaving behind. But I can’t both stay and go, so the only way to deal with it is think positively about this move. And when I need to do that, I run through a mental list of some of the things I am looking forward to:
- A house with HEATING. Right now — this minute — I am so bone-chilled cold and I can’t warm up. I live in a house that has no heating other than the two fires downstairs. I’ve got a million things to do but I don’t want to walk more than a few feet away from the fire. We sleep each night in a completely unheated bedroom. I wear socks and a sweater (that’s right, a sweater) to bed. I CANNOT WAIT to live in a house with heating!
- Shops that stay open after 5pm. How much easier would Christmas shopping be if we had that option? How much easier life in general would be, come to think of it.
- Showers. I haven’t had a shower in over a year, since we were on holiday. Don’t get me wrong — I do bathe. We have a lovely cast-iron bathtub against the middle of one wall with a kind-of plastic showerhead-on-a-hose. M is forever moaning about the fact that he is 40-some years old and he has to wash on his knees with a plastic hose, and I am forever pointing out that there’s no point in moaning. But, deep down, I hate it too. There’s something wonderful about standing under a steaming, strong shower. And, fast — there’s something fast about it too, and that really counts when you’ve got these two little people calling more and more urgently for you to come get them out of bed now!
- More than 4 channels on the telly. We don’t have Sky or cable here (I mean, it’s available, but we don’t have it) and, because we live in the vale (a valley), we can’t pick up Channel 5. I’m not much of a telly-addict so, most of the time, I don’t really notice the lack of choice, but sometimes… sometimes, when there’s sport on 3 channels and horror on the fourth… that’s when I tell myself happy fantasies about the cornucopia of American cable TV.
- A garage. Or even just a driveway. Or even the ability to park on the same side of the street as the house. It’s really difficult to get everything — me, girls, baby equipment, and shopping — into the house when I have to park the car part-way up the road and on the other side of a street where the cars (sporadic though they are) come whizzing round the corner at 40 or 50 (or 60!) miles per hour. It’s even harder when both girls have fallen asleep, and I have to make three or four trips back and forth to carry each snoring lump and all the various bags into the house. How I look forward to pulling a car straight into a garage and just walking directly into a house. The thought of it excites me wildly. Don’t ever let my husband tell you I’m difficult to please!
- Some space. Our only living area is about 12′ x 12′ square — that’s living room, dining room, and den for the four of us. It’s where we spend all our time, all day, falling all over one another. The kitchen is so small that you can’t fit two people in it at the same time without the sure probability of knocking an elbow into something and breaking some glassware. The house we will be renting when we first arrive in the US has 3 bedrooms, a separate living room, dining room, and two family rooms, as well as a full-size eat-in kitchen, and a garage. Oh, the glory of it!
- The ability to do the laundry at night, when I’ve finally remembered it. I’m terrible for doing a load of laundry during the day and then utterly forgetting it until I’ve gotten the girls in bed and do my last-minute before-bed tally. It’s only then that I discover it, limp and soaking wet, in the washing machine. But because we live in a terraced house, I can’t run the dryer after 9pm without disturbing (and seriously pissing off) my neighbours, so my only choice is to hang each piece of wet laundry on any appropriate surface (the fire guard, the bannister, doorknobs) to air out overnight and then gather it all up again to go in the dryer tomorrow. Or, I could leave it, damp and mildewing in the washing machine until the morning, when I can run it through a second cycle and hope I don’t forget it this time. But when we get to the States, we will live in a detached house and I can run the dryer any time I like. I can do laundry at 2am if it pleases me! I can stay up all night and do load after load after load, not stopping until I see the sun break over the horizon! And I know you think I’m taking the mick, but I am really quite overcome with giddiness at the though of that kind of freedom.
As I was sitting here trying to think of things for this list, I asked M what he was looking forward to about moving to the States. He looked blank for a minute, then his face brightened and he said, “I think guns and porn, mostly.”
Saints preserve me.