Clifftops to suburbs: moving away

Recently, instead of Rocky Raccoon, which got a little tiresome after some eight million repetitions, I’ve been singing Bjork to the Dude when I want to calm him. Specifically The Anchor Song. “I live by the ocean… And during the night… I dive into it… Down to the bottom… Underneath all currents… And drop my anchor. And this is where I’m staying. This is my home.”

What a simple yet brilliantly expressed sentiment from the awesome Icelandic goddess! I would think about how relevant it is, given we really do live by the ocean, with the clifftops overlooking the Pacific just across the road. And the Dude was born here, it’s his home, the only one he’s ever known. But we knew the day was soon coming when we’d have to move. We planned it for first thing in the new year, and we saw only one house, which we applied for just before Christmas. After some dodgy behaviour and lies from the real estate agent, we were informed we’d been approved. And I promptly had a meltdown.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that Sydney does my head in, and the idea of moving but not moving away was a bit much for me. I cried. I couldn’t keep up the pretence any more, being positive so as not to subject Mr Chewbacca to my pointless negativity. But I had to let it out. Once I was done, after he’d left the conversation in frustration and there was a tense silence, I stopped him walking past me through the house and just said, “ring the agent, tell them we’ll take it.”

We had to move, as the Dude sat up just before Christmas and was crawling a few weeks later. Our one bedroom flat was just too small. I went for more walks than usual when we agreed to take the new house. Never again would I have a clifftop walk and multi million dollar views across the road from my house. I took the Dude to the beach at Clovelly for the first time, in fact it was the first time I’d ever been there too. I went down the hill and got gelato, because I could. And I packed boxes.

By contrast, our new place is three bedrooms, an actual house, with a huge empty back yard (yes, it has a hills hoist, how could it not?), and no storage space. And it’s in the suburbs. This is not the arse end of Sydney. There are worse places here, but it is true suburbia. Needless to say, I was very apprehensive. The security aspect worried me a bit, and the prospect of extra hot summers was not thrilling. No ocean breezes to cool things down, no beach up the road. Although there is a river and reserve nearby.

The move itself actually did happen last Saturday. And if it hadn’t been for good friends, we would have been totally screwed. Even in a small flat, we managed to accumulate a lot of stuff over two years living there. We decided to let our landlord organise the removalist for only $40 an hour, as opposed to $110 if we did it ourselves. And it would have been fine except it rained like buggery the morning of the move. So the removalist didn’t show. After our landlord yelled at him in Chinese for 15 minutes, he agreed to come, but didn’t turn up til 4pm! Poor Mr Chewbacca had to pack everything left up by himself and help load the truck, although thankfully a good friend was there to help. And the reason I wasn’t there to help, aside from having a very unimpressed eight month old to deal with, was because I had to go and sign the lease which Mr Chewbacca had already signed as Surly Biatch (as our real estate agent will henceforth be known) wouldn’t allow him to pick up the keys until I signed the lease too. I will no doubt rant at some more appropriate moment about Surly Biatch and her evil agency, but suffice it to say, she has an attitude problem, she’s rude, she’s ignorant, and she’s out to screw us over if given the chance. No, I do not trust real estate agents at all, especially rental property managers. They are like those aliens from V, flawlessly fake on the outside and evil slimy vicious monsters with no capacity for empathy underneath.

So I was the first one in the new place, closely followed by the jolly foxtel man. At least we’d have something to watch on TV, even if we had no furniture… I plopped the Dude down on the floor of his new bedroom, changed his nappy and let him have a crawl around. Soon our good friends with their monstrosity of a truck (named appropriately after a somewhat twee but consistently tough Greek mythological hero) rocked up with some essentials, and the girlfriend and I set ourselves up in their camping chairs in our empty lounge room, sipped from our water bottles, and had a good long chat while the Dude played and grizzled around us, and her boyfriend headed straight back to the Clifftop Mansion to help Mr Chewbacca.

Soon another lot of close friends rocked up with two couches and a coffee table in a borrowed trailer they’d kindly been storing for us. As they began bring them in, the neighbours (on the poor house side – yes, there are poor little fibro cottages on one side of us and an ugly ultra modern block of concrete render on the other) offered them a hand, which was really nice, says a lot for the kind of people we’ve got near us. Slowly the house began to fill with furniture and life. The husband of the couple who brought the couches set to putting away all our groceries and arranging things in the kitchen. Soon the guys from Harvey Norman rocked up with our bed, washer and fridge. They kindly installed the latter two, but the bed remained in pieces until my dear enthusiastic friend and Mr Chewbacca put it together later that evening.

What a dream to have a full size fridge! And new mattress! Soon Mr Chewbacca arrived with our friend and was promptly followed by a small Chinese man and his wife driving a truck which looked like it’d been abandoned in the back streets of St Mary’s with a big neon sign pointing to it saying ‘graffiti here’. But nevertheless it was our stuff, finally, about 6pm, 5 hours later than expected. With six adults and two kids helping take stuff into the house and Chinese guy and wife unpacking the truck, we were done in about 20 minutes. We randomly stood around outside chatting for no reason whatsoever.

I almost forgot something. We are going to be on a show in the UK about people going to live in Australia and just what happens, so camera guy was hanging around most of the day and interviewing Mr Chewbacca about stuff. He asked me what I thought when he noticed me standing by the truck directing people. I was shocking, kept looking at the camera rather than him, talked boring crap and was just generally stiff and nervous. I was surprised actually as I thought I’d be all charismatic and funny and interesting but yeah, shit. I’ll be shocked if they use any footage of me actually.

Beers were acquired, unpacking begun, food enjoyed, chats had, until our friends had to get home. Mr Chewbacca and I, despite being shattered, stayed up til 1am doing bits and pieces and debriefing. That first night was warm and restless, especially as the Dude’s cot wasn’t up yet so I had to sleep with my arm around him to stop him falling out of bed. Which he managed to do on the second night anyway! He’s fine, went straight back to sleep between us (not taking any more chances!) and now his cot is back in its sidecart position. I also managed to get him quite badly sunburnt on Monday so now the poor little guy has blisters on his arm and leg! I am terrible.

All in all, what seemed a nightmare move ended up okay. We’re here. It doesn’t suck too much. The suburbs are just okay. We’re rocking them. Just like Quiet Riot did.

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Author: curiosikat

Writer, editor, linguist, social historian...

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