New Home

I’m in my new home, surrounded by boxes, but I have furniture and Internet, so I’m more or less back. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. There was the frantic packing, then my furniture was picked up on the 6th. I spent a couple of days clearing out my old house, got to my parents’ house and collapsed for a day, then took off on Friday the 10th and drove two days, arriving here Saturday evening. I had an air mattress and featherbed to sleep on and my patio lounger, camp chair, laptop stand, and a TV tray table for furniture to last me until my stuff arrived on Wednesday. It was supposed to be delivered Wednesday morning, but it didn’t come until almost 5, and it took a long time for the guy to unload it because his local helper never showed up. I got the bed made up and collapsed. I got a lot of unpacking done yesterday but ran out of steam today and have mostly been catching up with online stuff, since the Internet got connected today.

Sunday, I did some grocery shopping to get basics to live on, then spent the rest of the day taking walks around the neighborhood and just relaxing. That evening, the person who used to live in this apartment, with whom I’ve been chatting on Facebook, came by with a plant and some food, and we had a good chat (it turns out we have a ton in common). Monday, I walked downtown (about 20 minutes away) to see about getting my Internet set up, then had a fairly strenuous hike home, since my home is on a big hill. While I was downtown, I stopped by the visitor center to see if there was anything going on in town to do while I waited for my furniture. It turned out that the lady working in the visitor center is a neighbor, and she let me know about my other neighbors. I hit Target in the afternoon to get a bunch of things for setting up my house.

And then I had to wonder what I used to do with my time because the Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul effect kicked in. I didn’t think I watched that much TV, but I guess I was online a lot because suddenly without Internet I felt like I didn’t have a lot to do. Monday evening I got out the laptop and started editing a book. I have a nice little back porch that overlooks a shady lawn that’s surrounded by trees, and it was lovely sitting out there to work until it got dark enough that I had to go inside. Tuesday was likely to be rainy, so I didn’t want to go anywhere. I sat on the porch and worked for a while, then took a walk but had to rush home when it started raining. I had lunch and took a nap and did some more work and reading.

I think part of the reason the time felt a bit empty was the fact that it’s so quiet. I hadn’t realized how noisy my old house was, but it backed up to a six-lane major road that had constant traffic on it, day and night, plus I was near a major airport, with constant airplane noise. My neighborhood now consists mostly of 100+ year-old houses. It’s a narrow street that winds up and over a hill. There’s maybe one car going by every hour or so. I can sit on the back porch and listen to the leaves rustling in the wind, and I can hear bird songs. I love it, but it definitely changes my perception of the passage of time.

I may need to pretend I don’t have Internet to gain a lot more time to write, read, and do other things. There’s a lot I need to Internet to do, but I think it eats a lot of time. I need to find a good balance.

I think I’m going to like it here, but there are some adjustments to make. For one thing, my home is much smaller than my old house. I purged a lot of stuff before I moved, but I’m still having to work to make room for everything. I’m only going to be living here for about a year until I find a house to buy, so I may just have to get used to tighter quarters. There’s also a different sense of scale in the town. I used to live in the suburbs in Texas, where everything was planned around cars and very spread out. My new town was established before the American Revolution and most of the center part of the city, where I live, was built and developed before cars were common. That means everything is a lot more compact, and there’s not a lot of parking. I’m having to re-learn how to parallel park, as there’s not even a parking lot for my apartment building. It’s all street-side parking. Thank goodness for that back-up camera on the new car! The upside is that just about everything is in walking distance. I’m a block from the big city park, a few blocks from the library, 20 minutes from downtown, where there are a lot of shops and restaurants. There’s also a neighborhood pub not too far away. I mostly just need to drive for major grocery shopping, and the nearest Target is in a neighboring town, a pleasant drive toward the Blue Ridge Mountains. I hope I never get totally used to seeing the mountains as I run errands. That’s the sort of thing you should be in awe of.

Then there’s temperature. I just about came down with heat exhaustion while clearing out my old place. When I got here, I had to turn on the heat. It’s a bit warmer now than it was the first few days, and having the furniture helps. This is essentially a “railroad” flat, so it’s all one long room, and then a bedroom, and that big kitchen/dining room/office/living room got pretty cold, with wood floors and bare walls. It seems a lot warmer now that it’s not so empty, but I still need blankets at night, which I love. I sleep better when I’m burrowed under blankets.

The neighbors are really nice, and I think I’m going to fit in well. Apparently, the lady at the visitor center told the other neighbors about me because they’ve stopped by. One brought over a plant and a pretty notebook. Another brought me the info on the recycling center so I could deal with all the boxes. I knew I’d probably landed in the right place when she said if I needed anything during the unloading of my furniture, she was across the street at the other neighbors’ house, where they were all watching Lord of the Rings.

It may take me a week or so to get totally unpacked. The plan is to spend the mornings working, then doing the unpacking in the afternoons and evenings. I’m going to have to unpack and organize in phases because I need to empty and clear out boxes in order to have room to set up the shelves and other stuff I need to be able to put things away, so first I’m just sticking things on shelves or in closets, and then I’ll have to organize the shelves and closets. I re-read Rydding Village book 2 while I was waiting for my furniture to arrive, during that time without TV or Internet, and now I just have some minor revising to do. I’m trying to get back into the swing of a regular writing habit after all the disruption.

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