My apartment smells of brown cardboard boxes and frustration.
I really dislike moving. In terms of fun activities, it’s right up there with sticking a fork in your own eye. And man, it’s expensive. From the 40,000 boxes that you need to cram your stuff in, to the brawny men with the overpriced truck, to the cleaning company who convinces you that there’s no way you’ll get your bond back until the faucets have all been hand-polished with cloth woven from the wings of fairies.
But hey-ho, it seems that there’s no getting away from it. Every time I’ve moved in the last five years (roughly once a year), I’ve sworn that THIS IS IT, the final move, I’m hanging all my pictures on proper hooks and putting down some roots. And at the end of twelve months there’s always some compelling reason to box everything up and get going again.
This time it’s simply a lack of space. Now five and seven, the kids are finding it harder to share a bedroom. They’ve been talking longingly about swing sets, and gardens, and not having to drive for an hour to see their father. And so I sighed and made the decision and got out the packing tape.
It’s not all bad, though. At least it means I get to chuck out all the annoying junk, because I flatly refuse to move anything that isn’t beautiful or at least vaguely useful. And this time we are in fact moving to a nice house. Three bedrooms and a garden that is large enough for a trampoline. If only that was the biggest plan that the kids had developed for the outdoor space.
My daughter is even more of a bleeding heart than me when it comes to pets. The idea of a garden is synonymous with the idea of having an animal to poop in it. The older and scabbier the creature, the better. Bonus points are awarded for missing ears and limbs.
I knew better than to take her with me when I went to the pound to see what kind of dogs were available. We’d end up with a battle-scarred, sixty kilo Rottweiler just because it had ‘kind eyes’ and an imminent appointment with the wrong end of a needle. My idea of a manageable dog is one that you can put in the laundry sink when it’s rolled in something gross.
Then again, I was kidding myself about that it would be any easier for me. What I should have done is dispatched a hard hearted friend with vague instructions and a box to measure dimensions like they have for hand luggage at boarding gates. “If it’s fluffy, non-psychotic and fits in this, it’s a winner!”
It was awful. I wandered up and down the rows, which had cutesy names like ‘Labrador Lane’ when really they should have been called ‘Long Tooth Alley’ (double walled and reserved for the dogs that harboured dreams to take down more humans than Cujo) or ‘Last Chance Saloon’ (for the old, bald, oozy ones with chronic depression).
There were a handful of cute, healthy, perky animals with knots of people standing around them oohing and aahing. They all had more adoption applications than you could shake a stick at and reminded me of the popular girls with sleek hair at school. I felt a brief blaze of annoyance. They probably made themselves homeless when the standard of service and hand prepared food dropped at their current residences.
My daughter pounced on me when I got home and demanded a blow by blow account of the visit. She’s a canny wee beastie and could tell when I was hiding something.
“But what was the SADDEST looking dog there?” she demanded to know.
I admitted it had to be the skinny Maltese which had such bad flea allergy that it was literally bald from the neck down. It had crusty eyes, bad teeth and an unsettlingly moist look.
She checked it out on the website. “It looks HORRIBLE,” she breathed, with the light of evangelism in her eyes. “Mummy, we could make such a DIFFERENCE!”
She skipped off to turn on the printer so that I could start on the interminable paperwork to adopt the world’s least attractive canine. Looks like we’re going to have a small, smelly, permanent dinner guest. Our vet is rubbing his hands together already at the prospect of the extra income. But hey… we feel good 🙂