Thursday, January 29, 2009

Not-so-secret diary of a (temporary) housewife

Today's mission: get a microwave, start permanent residence application, call the Good Guys about overbilling us for the washer and fridge, do laundry (that gets LINE DRIED, yikes), clean the tile in Tom's bathroom with a bottle of contraband acid I got off the building manager, respond to the 25 or so very sweet notes I got from old friends in an online restaurant review group (I was review of the day for a breakfast sandwich I ate a month ago!) and organize our google social calendar for the next few weeks. And perhaps, if there's time, apply for a job or two. Meh...

So when I walked by the mirrored closet door and saw this, I had one of those shocking "how did we get here"? moments. Have I lost my edge? Is that education we just sacrificed so much for going to good use? Am I, god forbid, getting BORED? It's a little out of focus. That's serves to protect you, believe me.

I'm wearing boys undershorts (don't ask) and curlers in my bangs. There is a vacuum in the bedroom, a laptop, phone, and papers on our new $1800 unmade bed. My legs are ripped though, hmm. I suspect that part of Tom's reasoning for not wanting a car is that we're more active without one. I've lost ten pounds since we started moving and am at the lowest weight I've been for about 10 years, so we're doing something right.

Here we are a month ago, knee deep in Portland's fifty-year Christmas storm.  It's also lacking photo detail to protect the visually innocent...I'm wearing my "take the picture fast cause I got furniture to carry down the block to a neighbor's for the consignment people to pick up" expression.

There's a deconstruction and simplicity to my new life that I'm thoroughly enjoying. I like pinning socks up to dry, it triggers a visceral desire of domesticity perhaps? I liked chasing the tram down with my new microwave strapped into a little dolly they call a "jeep" here. My Jeeprowave. I like making chicken salad and seeing that every bathroom cabinet is fully stocked with non-baby-powder-smelling TP. Does anyone really like the smell of baby powder and why are the sneaking it, unlabeled, into TP?

I really like that our stuff isn't here. Why did we ship all that stuff, WHY? So far the shipping bill for 36 boxes is over US $4000.00, and that doesn't include any appliances or furniture. Just half full bottles of face cream I didn't like, a collection of Mao busts, records, tools, kitchen knives and shoes (lots of shoes, actually). (Lots of Mao statues too, but let's not get into that). Tom can feel the anxiety about what to do with all this stuff coming off me in waves.

After we get our Permanent Residence documents filed, get on the national health insurance, have all our stuff delivered and perhaps even get a couch, I think my housewifiness may end....give it a week, maybe two for all that to happen. A new friend I met at the Australia Day BBQ suggested I get myself a job sooner rather than later, as the economy is just getting worse. So time to dust off the old resume.

Having the last six months off from work has been a gift. A gift from Tom, actually. When we met I was making good money, sitting on a board, wearing heels, big hair and makeup every day. Today I find great joy when, every few hours, I can go tip the tiny ice cube trays into the catching bin below. Or take my new pink kickboard down to the lap pool. But a big bag of oranges and porter it home from the market in my jeep trolley. Cleaning the house. Who knew?

Some people take a sabbatical to write a semi-autobiographical first novel. I guess I scratched that itch in writing dozens of online restaurant reviews a week. Some are drawn to parenting. I find a deep sense of satisfaction in having found Abbie (our golden retriever) and Neko (our tabby cat) incredibly good homes.

Tom is driven to accomplish and make a difference in the world, while I'm more motivated by your standard gluttony, relaxation, sunshine and laughter. Though to take stock, in the past six months I got an MBA (two actually), sold the house and most everything we own, said goodbye to friends, family and pets, survived the 50 year Christmas Storm of 08, moved across the world and set up an incredibly peaceful new place to live in a foreign land, where I'm working hard to make new friends and explore all that this beautiful country has to offer.

I don't think it matters that there's a vacuum in the bedroom. In spite of whatever's going on in this picture here, I'm speechlessly grateful to get to be me these days. We'll do another happiness metrics after I get a job.

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