Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Chaos Theory

We've lived in the new flat in North London for nearly two months, one of which I spent galavanting around the Nordic countries, so for me the new life following our Big Move has only lasted a few weeks.

Weekend before last Husband remarked that we really ought to stop treating our new life as a holiday. We were sitting at our local pub, The Holly Bush, for the 3rd time that first week after my return from Finland. Earlier in the evening we'd again decided not to bother with any of the cooking business and had instead booked tickets to see a film at the Everyman, and afterwards drifted towards the pub on top of Hampstead.

'It is a Sunday,' I said and smiled. But I knew what he meant; for one thing our finances could not sustain eating out or ordering a take-away every night. Besides, surely there would become a time when I'd get tired of food cooked by others? (Hmm.)

Needs must, of course. One has to go to work at some point. Daughter needs to be organised for university. Son is spending couple of nights a week with us to give him a break from a gruelling two-hour commute.

So from the following Monday a certain normality descended on our family life. How quickly that happened surprised even me. In a few days I was stressed, Husband was stressed. There was no time to sort out the flat, money, food. One week night when everyone had arrived home late and no-one had thought about food, we were all at each others throats until the curry take-away arrived and blood sugar levels were back to normal.

On the morning after my second working day, our shower leaked into the flat below. I spent the day with a builder and a plumber. The following day my pc refused to recognise either of our two wireless networks. It's still being difficult, only occasionally connecting to the internet, mostly refusing to operate. (It's definitely male). I'm saved by my little laptop. With its odd quirks, like suddenly deciding to fling the cursor anywhere on the screen and type on the wrong paragraph, or its temperamental space bar, at least for now it's allowing me to use the internet and blog.

Something we've talked about for a while is to go over to Apple. First sensible step seemed to be to change to an iPhone. But the transition from an old Blackberry Pearl seems ridiculously difficult. I keep deleting emails, unwittingly Tweeting (yes I know I'm not alone), and my mailbox is constantly 'unavailable'. My network operator refuses to touch the iPhone, telling me to 'pop over to an Apple Store'.  When did you last 'pop' over to Brent Park or Regent Street? We're waiting for a phone call from Apple Business to advice us on our possible transition from Microsoft. I haven't had time to chase them.

My to do list is growing faster than I can cross things of it: find a new GP, vet, dentist, optician, dry cleaner, butcher, tinker, tailor, candle-maker (you get the idea). I have an endless list of places and people I need to tell about the change of address.

I can't use the new gas cooker in the flat. I feel very Finnish about this - in my childhood I was told gas is dangerous. The washing machine and and tumble drier seem to have a life of their own: noise and steam engulf the flat when I turn them on. The kitchen is minuscule compared to our old one, which I admit was ridiculously proportioned. But it means that we now don't have enough room to store all our dry foodstuffs. When I do have time to cook, I can never find a spice I need.

My beloved books are still stacked on heaps all over the floors in the flat. We can't agree on how to arrange the lounge to accommodate them. Perhaps we should put them all in the study? And have no room for desks...?

We have no curtains, just blinds. All our paintings, prints and mirrors are stacked against the wall in the lounge and bedrooms. We need to call the builder to put them up but until we have finally decided how to organise the space we can't do this. Besides, there doesn't ever seem to be a day when we are both here for this to happen anyway.

We have no wardrobes in our bedroom. These were supposed to be purchased and put up before we moved, but somehow in the chaos that was the Big Move, this seemed unimportant and was placed in the 'to do later when we're more settled' category.

There are several lovely London friends I haven't even had time to see yet, let alone answer their lovely emails. (Sorry) My social diary is deliciously full and I love being busy, but...

I feel my life is far from the calm that I felt settled over me when we finally moved out of the sticks and into this lovely flat. At least I have an office, which if you ignore the unopened boxes and books on the floor, allows me to sit down and write a blog rant.

My life reminds me of the chaos theory Son told me about a few years ago. It's used in Mathematics and describes a system where a state of disorder always prevails and can even be predicted. Like the weather. I'm sure our family is just such a mechanism. We may have periods of lucidity, 'clear moments', but in the end the whole of our existence returns to its normal state, that of Chaos.

Or perhaps I just have post-move-stress disorder?


North West London Girl said...

Oh dear, it does sound stressful, so you need to be in your home for a few hours (alone), and put on some music and just wander around it and think about how the space can work best, and where (in an ideal world) you would want to put things. Write it all down and start at the top and work down.... ++++ I shared a flat with the most wonderful vet in the whole wide world, I love him and would have happily married him, but I think he was a bit of a rogue and probably prefers the company of animals he is called Rodney Zasman, he has a few practices scattered about NW London, but I think he works from Crouch End, but probably visits all branches... you can call (0208 347 5200) to find him ONLY SEE HIM xxxx Good luck

North West London Girl said...

oh and the doctors surgery in DOWNSHIRE hill is the best x

truestarr said...

I'm sorry things are still so upside down! From all my moving experiences- (4 moves in 2 years was my worst! and that was literally a WHOLE house full of stuff into three different countries!) the best personal recommendation I can come up with is "one room at a time".

It's really nice to have one room to back into that is "done" with no boxes or things in the wrong place... just a sort of free spot where there is no chaos, where you can regroup and take a deep breath (and then go back to tackle the mess!).

I try to make it the master bedroom, so both of us can have a good nights sleep and find most of our most needed clothes to take on the next day, and also to close the door to everything that is driving us both crazy.

(it's also a 'somewhere' that gives little bit of hope that the rest of the house will come together and make you feel as good as you do in your "quiet place"...)

wishing you well!

Margit said...

Haha Helena, having just moved myself - inter-continentally as well so to speak - I know exactly what you mean! Although our flat is fairly finished, the unpacking done by the removal men the day we moved in, wardrobe built up by them and clothes hung up tidily,I can so relate to this "we're on holiday"- feeling! (Even though my husband is already slogging his way through 10-hour days at work). But everything here seems like one giant big holiday lark! So take care, one step at a time, and make sure the holiday never ends! xx P.S. We also haven't got curtains yet just blinds, I can't decide what colour they should be!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"Husband remarked that we really ought to stop treating our new life as a holiday."

With that long list, I think you should just keep on with the holiday. All that other stuff will work out - some day.

Chic Mama said...

two months already? It takes a long time to settle and you have been away, I hope you feel calmer about it all soon. When do ALL of the boxes ever get emptied?? We still have least that saves a job when moving next! ;0) xx

Helena Halme said...

I think I'm just really very impatient...I want everything to be orgaised straight away.

Thank you all for your supportive comments, I really appreciate them. xx

PS. North West London Girl, thanks for the GP recommendation! xx

Looking Fab in your forties said...

Things would probably be more sorted and settled if you hadn't have gone away. It will all get done, eventually, try not to stress and just enjoy catching up with people when you can. I can't believe it has already been two months, where did our summer go?