Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Moving Aftermath

A week ago we went from this:

to this:

Fortunately there was no blood (although I saw red plenty of times), but there was lots of sweat (it was hot and humid in both Buntine and Kojonup), and lots of tears from me.

Duncan drove my little Hyundai Accent to Perth a few days before the move, picked up the truck we'd hired, drove it back to Buntine, and loaded it with help from Brad (his now former boss) and three of his fantastic cousins.  On Moving Day we had a our good mate, Barry, offer to come and help with driving and 'driver revival' as we were both pretty stuffed.  Duncan had Ebony in her cage on the front seat of the truck.  I drove the station wagon which carried a heap of junk, Maya the dog, and the six chooks.  We had four hens in one larger box, and Russell Crowe and another hen in a slightly smaller box (Russell is about the size of two hens, after all).  Both boxes had plenty of airholes, and I set the aircon at quite a cold temperature.

On the way down, I started to smell something strange.  At first I dismissed it as roadkill, but the smell continued to linger before eventually waning.  By the time I'd arrived at our new house, Duncan and Barry were already there unloading the truck.  They quickly took the boxes of chooks over to the chookyard, but when Duncan opened the bigger box, he told me to look away.

Eglantine (one of the older girls), Maple and Reebok (two pullets) had not survived the trip.  Whether it was the warm weather or stress that killed them, I'll never know.  Barry let Russell and Princess Layer out of their box and they were absolutely fine.  It still doesn't make sense.  Winnie, who is also an older hen well-known for looking plucked and missing a wattle, was not in a good way.  At first she seemed to be improving, but Duncan eventually had to put her out of her misery.  I took Maya on a walk while Duncan buried my four girls.

I still can't help thinking, If only I'd stopped to check on them.  It really does seem that God doesn't want us to have chooks as this happened almost two years to the day that our last lot of feathered friends were massacred by a fox.  I tried so hard to take such good care of this lot yet I still failed them.  Very few people understand having chooks as pets, but for some people (myself included) who feel isolated and disconnected, they provide the companionship we need.  For that reason, I'm getting more than a bit sick of the roast chicken jokes. :(  That night, sleeping in my sleeping bag on an old mattress in a room away from the chaos, I let myself cry about them.  Roosters are definitely not monogamous birds, and it seems so wrong seeing Russell with only one hen.

Russell and his last remaining Princess.

Every time I move house, I tell myself that this will be the time when I'm super organised, and for a while my plan seemed to be working.  I'd pack the stuff we could live without, clearly label which room it was from, and stack them neatly.  But in our rush to leave, stuff ended up being randomly chucked into boxes, and it became a mission to find things.  On my first night alone in that house, I wanted to find one thing (can't remember what it was now).  After being pretty sure that I'd located the correct box, I tried to rip the tape off, couldn't, and then hunted for scissors.  While hunting for scissors, I found a bottle of sorbolene cream had leaked in another box, so I had to hunt for tissues and rags to clean it up.  By then I'd forgotten what the original thing was I was looking for.  Ah the joys of moving!

My first night in that house was rotten.  I couldn't sleep!  First I discovered that the carpet in the room I was sleeping (camping) in was covered in dead bugs.  So I had to find the dust buster and clean them up.  Then I couldn't sleep because Ebony was exploring the house and I kept hearing her bell.  I called her to come to me, hoping she would settle down and snuggle with me, but she was so restless, she kept wandering and meowing, and I could her scratching around in her litter tray at least three times.  Then I kept worrying whether Maya was all right so I got up early to let her off her chain.  Maya kept running around the house and whimpering, and Ebony heard her so she jumped up on the windowsill, and the two animals pressed their noses against the glass as if they were trying to give each other a kiss.  Ebony seemed so relieved to see Maya.  Normally she avoids her, but this time she was like, "Dogface!  How glad I am to see you!"

I tried to go back to sleep, but was soon awoken by a menagerie of creatures including the sheep in the paddock next door, birds of all kinds, Ebony meowing, Maya whining, and Russell crowing at the top of his lungs.  So I got up and started the daunting task of setting up the kitchen and bathroom.

The most frustrating thing is that the house has been vacant for about a year and desperately needs painting and new carpets so it's pointless to unpack many things.  I began to feel that everything had gone to crap, and that we'd made a bad decision by moving here.  I started to feel resentful towards Duncan because I thought that if we'd just waited a few more weeks, it wouldn't feel like we had to move twice.  He thinks it's better to move now because that puts the pressure on for the house renovations to actually get done.  I might just be a cynic, but I have no faith in tradespeople to turn up when they say they will.  Who knows how long we'll be waiting.  Currently we can only turn our kitchen and laundry taps on and off with a spanner.  After ridding the kitchen and bathroom of countless Daddy Long Legs, I eventually got the kitchen and bathroom in working order.  The unfortunate thing about moving in the country is that there are no takeaway places close by so if you want to eat, the kitchen takes priority.

I'm trying not to sound like the Israelites grumbling in the desert, and instead trying to focus on God's goodness in giving us this house, somewhat derelict as it is, but it feels like we're rattling around it compared to the cottage.  I'm trying to enjoy the journey and not just the destination.  But it's not easy.  I feel like a bird without a nest, and I can't wait until everything is unpacked and just so.

Part of me is exhausted, not just from the move, but the fact that we're starting over.  At least Duncan was already established in Buntine when we got married, and already had many friends and family in the district.  Here, apart from the people on the farm, we don't know a soul.  I already feel daunted about meeting MORE new people and talking small-talk which I really can't be bothered doing.  Coupled with the fact it feels like we rushed off after harvest and didn't get to say proper goodbyes to as many people as we'd like, I think it's this sadness that's getting me down.  I keep wondering what's happening in Buntine and thinking of our little cottage standing empty.  It may have not been the place we wanted to live for the rest of our lives, but, after 2.5 years, at least it was familiar.  Here everything is strange and foreign.

I feel somewhat more rested than I did a few days ago.  I keep having to remind myself to trust God each step of the way.

2 comments: said...

I hope your new house feels like home really, really soon.

Iris Flavia said...

Oh, so sorry to hear about the loss of your hens! And the state your house is in!

No idea if this helps... but... we still life in chaos, too, so you kinda have "companions in misfortune" over here.

Hope you get your home done faster then we do. And that you make some friends, soon.
And find new friends for Russel Crowe, too! Try not to blame yourself for the loss - it won´t bring them back...

Best wishes, Sarah!