Part I • Part II
…and after all this fun and games I sort of broke.
Living with an invisible chronic illness that limits your energy means that there are limits to your energy. (In)conveniently, I never remember that until the red lamp is not even blinking in a warning, but is the only part of my body and mind that remains functioning. I can’t rest in advance and I can’t just “push myself”, I know it never ends well when I try, that I must take a break. I even know the definition of insanity. I always do the same thing. I am yet to gain any benefits from that.
Surprisingly, this time was not an exception. I pushed and pushed until I reached the absolute, unbreakable limit, then broke it too. That was it for my participation in the move, as I became a near-literal deadweight. Husby took care of the rest whilst I was plopped on our new sofa, staring melancholically at the garden outside our window. But I did get an unexpected benefit. A magical one.
I kind of lost track of chronology due to sheer exhaustion, so this instalment won’t be neatly divided into days of the week.
My dear friend G arrived on Saturday and ensured that I will remain grateful forever by offering to paint ceilings. My spine makes various things impossible – painting ceilings is one of those things. So I spent the first few hours tearing off the remaining wallpaper in the living room. Finishing the task coincided with G and Husby beginning to sand various parts of the room, which created so much noise that I ran upstairs and made sure not to get any rest anytime soon. Some wallpaper there was coming off, so I grabbed a corner, thinking about nothing in particular, and pulled at it.
Old Vumman, as it soon transpired, had three hobbies. One was placing motivational texts along the lines of “If you dribble when you piddle, be a sweetie and wipe the seetie” (yes, SEETIE) everywhere. Those are gone by now. Another was putting nails in every wall, at random spots and random angles. Those are mostly gone. The third hobby, however, was wallpapering. The living room had one layer. The gym room and my future office had six. Using the steamer helped only partly, because the last layer was something between plastic and paper, just thick enough to refuse to come off, and just paper-y enough to tear off some of the wall, which is made of something that may or may not be cardboard. If I had known, I wouldn’t have pulled at that corner, just tried to glue it and told myself that I adore Old Vumman’s wallpaper choices… but… well. See the picture above to get an idea how far I got after two days of doing this. Layer four was actually quite pretty, looking as if some graffiti artists came over, sprayed paint in the air, then sneezed (many times), but all of the many wallpapers formed a semi-whole that would neither come off all at once nor one layer after the other.
Photo: my birthday party. This is not the final decor of the living room.
We’ve now officially moved out of Amsterdam. The place where we now live, Almere, is a small-ish suburban-ish town-ish – I’m going to tell everyone it’s a village, because I like the idea of living in the countryside more than in the suburbs. It most probably isn’t because “Town-ish people” wouldn’t make a very catchy blog post title. Most probably.
Thursday, Oct 3
A day of two very important events: my 42nd birthday (and as we know 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything) and the house keys being passed from Old Vumman to us.
The Old Vumman proved not to be all that old and not half as weird as we expected her to be. She was actually quite nice and a bit talkative. The proceedings began with her wishing me a happy birthday and handing us a pot of chrysanthemums (which in Poland are a funeral flower). This was the last bit I really understood before she launched full-speed into explanations of something. Husby listened and I sort of let the word-flood wash over me, until I caught something that kept repeating. Cliquot. Cliquot. Cliquot. What can she possibly mean, I wondered, then she briefly slowed down just enough for me to understand that it had to do with rubbish. Did the rubbish collectors expect only top quality drinks handed to them as… uh… tips…? Later Husby explained to me that she was actually saying “clicco”, because the rubbish bins, when they’re being dragged to the pick-up spot, make a click-click-click sound… Ah. Obviously.