Thursday, 21 May 2015

Why I cut my sofa in half

Why I cut my sofa in half

When it comes to a house move there are many things to consider. There is redirecting the post, packing, hiring a removal van and biggest one of all - getting rid of all the stuff you no longer want.

I started the packing process very early. Slowly but surely I dismantled my cupboards, finding things I didn’t even know I had. The contents filled endless black bin bags - some destined for charity shops, others for the dump.
And while getting rid of the general junk was cleansing and therapeutic, I found disposing of the furniture a little on the emotional side. And not because I was attached to it, I was simply used to it.
To make the severance easier, I managed to rehouse some of the furniture. So my dining table chairs went to Caz and Captain Geek, the kitchen trolley to Waxing Queen in Herne Bay; the rest, including a sofa, was to be picked up by British Red Cross and sold to raise money for the charity.
It all started very well until the removal crew realised they couldn’t get the sofa out of my flat. I have no idea how it went in (I wasn’t home that day) but it was very obvious it wasn’t coming out. In one piece that is.
In a state of a mild panic that I would be stuck with the bulky sofa, I knocked on Mr Landlord’s door and asked him if he had a saw. He roared with laughter but grabbed his tool box and came down to my flat.
After careful examination we realised that the only way in was to break into the fabric at the back of the sofa to see how it was made, and the best way to dismember it.
As the knife ripped through the fabric, I flinched. Not because I even liked the sofa, but because it felt somehow final. I spent many nights on it by myself watching TV, eating, drinking, sleeping and writing; it was a comfortable sofa. And now I was moving in with the boys and it was going to sofa heaven.
So we found all the key joints and Mr Landlord started sawing. I inhaled and waited for an emotional pang but it didn’t strike. Instead I felt relieved that I found a solution of getting the bulky item out of my flat.
Eventually it was cut in half and dragged out of the flat. I thought the lounge would feel emptier but it didn’t. It felt more spacious and somehow airier.
Much later that night as I rearranged the boxes and cleared my desk, I couldn’t help but wonder, when it comes to furniture and life, how many pieces are we holding on to out of a habit? How many people, jobs and sofas are in our lives just because they are comfortable and we don’t want to change?
My thoughts were interrupted by a text message, the next batch of photos arrived from Mr Chateauneuf. He has been decorating for the past few weeks, getting the house ready for my arrival, and sending me photos as each part of the house was completed.
As I was admiring the white banister which complimented freshly painted grey walls, I suddenly realised that although I was giving up the comfort and safety of my little castle, I was gaining a family and starting a new chapter.
Mr Chateauneuf went above and beyond to get the house ready for me to move in. He redecorated every room, bought new wardrobes to accommodate my footwear shopping addiction and constructed an office cabin for me at the back of the garden. He built a new home for me and invited me to live there.
It was no brainer. And just like that the white banister and grey walls helped me to let go of my sofa and the single gal’s lifestyle.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

A big decision

A big decision

“Why don’t you just move in now and we will work out the rest later?”- said Mr Chateauneuf, as he was driving me to the station. “Ok, let’s do it” - I replied, for the first time in my life making a big decision and not drawing up lists of pros and cons.

Mr Chateauneuf and I have been talking about me moving in for months. Last April was the closest we came to putting our words into action but I had just got a new job which required me to be London based so we postponed the move indefinitely.

Or at least a couple of months ago when I had a breakthrough. I convinced my boss to let me work two days a week from home, helping me to achieve my goal – living in the country and still working in London.

That morning I got on the train, found the only date we had available for the move and I emailed my suggestion to Mr Chateauneuf immediately. By the time I got to the office he had already booked a removal van. It was official – I was moving in.

Much later that evening as I was walking down the familiar road home from the station, it dawned on me that the final countdown of my journeys back to my London home had commenced. I walked down the hill, crossed the treacherous roundabout, passed the guy who can’t park and simply dumps his car on the pavement and finally turned into my road.

As I was approaching the flat that has been my home for the past eight years, my heart skipped a beat. I stopped in front of the door, got my key out… but couldn’t bring myself to open it.

I was afraid that it would be too painful to see my little castle and know that I have to give it up; that I could count the times I have left to open the familiar brown door; that the London chapter of my life was nearly at its end.

After unpacking and making myself a cup of coffee, I finally settled down on the sofa and looked around. I expected  raw emotions to overwhelm me, begging me not to leave my flat.

But to my surprise all I saw was white walls, the Ikea storage unit with baskets, the desk in the corner with my laptop sitting on it and the TV on the wall showing Big Bang Theory.  Instead of pain or nostalgia there was merely a question of how to put everything into boxes.

I picked up my mug and wandered around my flat, mentally dismantling it. As I went to a freestanding lamp to turn it on, I noticed a hair clip on it. I must have been sitting on the chair, took the clip off and put it on the lamp.

It has been a habit of mine to leave my hair accessories and jewellery around ever since I can remember. When I lived with my parents, it used to drive my mum crazy – she was constantly finding my hair clips and pins all over the house. When I moved into my own place and she got her house back, she missed finding the tokens of my presence everywhere.

It dawned on me that I had seen it all wrong. I wasn’t attached to the flat at all – I had simply lived by myself for far too long. The past few years have been good - I’ve loved my little flat, my big white bed, the peace and quiet when I get home in the evening, the weekends that were all about me.

And I couldn’t help but wonder, what if I’m so used to living by myself that I won’t be any good for the family life? What if I never master the art of compromise? What if he can’t cope with finding my paraphernalia everywhere?

With the windows still open I went to my wardrobe to get a jumper. I fished out a Superdry hoody Mr Chateauneuf got me for Easter last year. As I climbed into it I felt warmer and somehow calmer, just like I do when he hugs me.

And then I had a thought. Yes, I was still nervous – after all moving in with somebody is a huge step, let alone moving in with three people and their two cats. But I knew, deep in my heart, that I wanted to move in. As much as I loved the London chapter of my life, it was over.

That’s the thing about life, sometimes good things have to end, so that even better things can begin.