Creating a new home. OR...Home sweet (small tiny, nothing like the 2 story, 4 bedroom house with pool and big backyard I used to live in) home.
So I find myself being a single, partly (not nearly enough) employed dad guy, needing to find a new home.
3 levels, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, huge double sized lounge room with fire place, double garage, large multi level garden, work shed, trampoline and swimming pool, all over looking a lush green bush reserve, full of friendly visiting wildlife and stunning views of the river below.......
.....and leaving all that behind to move into a tiny, barely 2 bedroom apartment, with all in one kitchen-dining-lounge-desk-room, a small dysfunctionally designed bathroom direct from a 1970’s “50 shades of brown” tile catalogue, all of which could fit into the same floor space as the lounge room of the home I’d just moved out of. Minus the view.
So…. this took a little adjusting.
Like finding out while moving into my new place, that two of my favourite pieces of furniture didn’t even fit up the stairs, let alone inside the new apartment.
Like finding out the hard way, it’s no longer possible to casually walk around the apartment naked, let alone get dressed in your bedroom after a shower perusing my wardrobe for something to wear for the day, without putting on an R rated show for the surrounding neighbours being put off their breakfast, while peering into my bedroom windows.
Like finding out that everything you cook, will also be the same tasty scent through every breathe-able fibre in the apartment, including your clothes, bed sheets and pillows, because the kitchen with out a range hood fan, is so close you could sit on the end of the bed while stirring the bolognese on the stove.
Regardless of where and how you land on your feet in a new home after separating, the longer you resist, telling your self it's not fair, not the same, too small.... the longer it takes to feel like home.
I guess I've had some training in this area, with a career in radio, I moved between most capital cities around Australia, having to set up a new home each time. And even when it’s forced upon you, or out of your control, the quicker you can create that space and a “feeling of home”, the quicker you can have somewhere to start healing, that is comfortable enough to sit on the couch crying face first into a giant bag of Cheese and Bacon Balls while binging on Netflix at 10am on a weekday.
More importantly, your kid/s have a better chance of feeling safe and secure, as they settle into the new home you have both created.
Welcome to our new home!
Proud of the door mat he chose.
When I realised my marriage was coming to a very fast end, my mind was full of “what nexts?” and “where do I even f%$king start?” and “who gets this and who gets that?” and the biggest one for me “how often will I see Jethro?”.
With all of that swirling around my head, I found trying to set up a new space for Jethro and myself to call home the most important thing on my list. The other shit will happen and you’ll deal with it along the way, some with a degree of intelligence, and some like a petulant spoilt child, kind of like Trumps tiny thumbs in a Twitter rage….
BUT it will all sort itself out eventually. You have it in you to make it. Well that’s what I kept telling myself, and it's worked so far.
Same bed, new room! First night in the new home.
So….family home up for sale, rental market here I come. Oh the joy of looking for an apartment to rent, with the added element of being a half stay at home dad, no rental references from the last 10 years, and as a freelance creative, no full time employment prospects - what an attractive prospect for realestate agents I was.
And still am.
My new Saturday ritual began - trying to attend 20 open house inspections, half of which are showing at the exact same time, while the remaining half are in 15 minute back to back intervals, making it physically impossible to get to, even while driving like you’re in a rally car, fighting through the “Volvo driving soccer Mom's” and dads, and the carefree brunching, long lunching people with out kids and designer dogs you now despise as a single parent, to then arrive at the apartment with no hope of finding a legal car park within a 100km radius, while you run like you’re in Pamplona, pushing past the other 10,000 people viewing the same apartment.
And when you do finally reach the apartment, you run around taking mental pictures, confirming it looks nothing like the images you saw online and is neither “modern” or “spacious” and the “second bedroom” is more like a built in wardrobe.
As long as I have enough space to put my coffee machine....
Father and son mugs.
When you do find somewhere to rent, more so because in a panic that you’ll be left homeless, you say yes to the first place you get accepted for, it's now time to ask some friends the one question no friend ever wants to hear.
The age old test of a true friendship...
“Will you help me move house?” (Thanks Brendan and Jamie).
Yes all of that, is a lot to deal with.
Supposedly (because I read it somewhere once and someone else told me so it must be true) starting a new job, moving house and breaking up are the three most stressful things in life. I'm sure running from war lords, as a new found refugee after your house has been bombed in Syria, is probably a bit stressful too, it's probably number four.
So the point is.... it's a lot to deal with, so take care of yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You don’t have to have a perfect house or apartment, you can make any space feel like home. The first place may just be temporary till you find what you really want.
You will eventually find your self somewhere to call home.
Ok, so now your in your new place, things are unpacked and its starting to take shape. Photos and art and what ever you put up on your walls are up, beds built, books in their place, your favourite music filling the space and it’s starting to feel like a new home.
But what Ive found really makes a home start to feel like a home, is what happens next.....
You start creating moments. Your first favourite meal together. Your first wrestle on the couch. Your first movie night and home made popcorn snuggled up on the couch. Your first dad joke, and the sharing of laughter together.
Even if it is just you laughing at the dad joke you just made, it was a moment.
And moments together create a home.
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