Tales from Cheffing Around

The Honeymove, Part 2: Hot-Toppin’

The Honeymove, Part 2: Hot-Toppin’

It’s important to keep things in perspective.  When you move to a new city, you know it’s going to be different.  I was ready for that.  I was looking forward to it, in fact.

The morning after our 3:00 am arrival at the hotel, Francis, Amelia and I woke up early due to some amorous neighbors. kennedy The hotel is called The Kennedy School and is a converted Elementary School.  The rooms are large, but kind of offbeat.  It’s not a fancy hotel at all, but it’s not a dump either; eclectic and funky is what I’d say.  There are chalkboards in every room.  The Kennedy School was the perfect landing place for the three of us; zombied and bent from our epic relocation journey (see part 1http://awonderlandofwords.com/the-honeymove-part-1-the-bearded-dog/).

We had purchased a beautiful home (well, it was a home with beautiful potential) at the end of November with the intention of having it revamped by the time I moved. IMG_5470 You’ll be not surprised at all to learn that our contractor was slower than molasses and about as honest.  Many apologies to all the honorable contractors out there reading this blog.  I don’t mean to offend, but I’ve had more bad experiences than good – and I know I’m not alone.  Apologies to molasses too.  This guy was the worst.

We had hoped to drive right from the airport to our new home, but the house was kind of a disaster.

Oh, wait.  Hold on.  I hate that word.

We are living the American Dream, Francis and I.  We were able to buy a house because we had made relatively good choices about money through the years.  We’re getting a chance to do something many people can’t and I acknowledge that every single moment.  So the house isn’t ready.  It’s an inconvenience, not a disaster.  The Hindenburg was a disaster.  Pompeii was a DISASTER.  This… is just life.

We checked out of The Kennedy School the following day.  Our contractor said he had finally gotten enough done for us to move in.  IMG_5347We wouldn’t be able to get settled in the upstairs bedroom yet, because he hadn’t even started to build the new bathroom, but we could live in the downstairs bedroom, which is next to the bathroom his crew had been using.  The American Dream continues.

Unable to dig Francis’ queen mattress from underneath his moving boxes in the basement, we unearthed his futon and dragged it into the bedroom.  This would be fun!  It’s like camping!  I set about cleaning the floors and scouring the bathroom to prepare for our pre-life stay in the house of our dreams.  I clothed the futon with fresh sheets and a fluffy comforter.  I tucked towels under the door so that we would keep the dusty construction away from our quiet nest.  We would not only make the best of this situation, we would master it.

So… there’s a thing that happens when you live in small quarters.  You make plans to be very organized.  You set up systems.  You rise to the challenge.  On the first day, we had sparkling floors, dusted shelves, and a tidily made bed.  We had a trash bag in one corner and a laundry bag in the other.  We had ambition and moxie.  But it took almost no time at all for that system to break down.  My suitcase exploded into a jumbled pile of clothes.  The bed was made but heavily trampled by us and the dog.  We hadn’t rummaged through the boxes downstairs to find plates or silverware, so we were drinking water out of old soda bottles and eating cereal with plastic forks from the previous night’s take-out.

Your mind deceives you in situations like this.  You feel crafty and like you’re living purer than you ever have, but the reality that you’re not well-suited to it sinks in quickly.  You toss your bunched up paper into the trash and miss and then don’t get up to actually put it in the trash can because the bed is on the floor and you’re old and tired.trash  You start collecting little bits of things that make you feel less hillbilly and tuck them next to you between the mattress and the floor.  I have a small bottle of lotion from the hotel, dental floss, and a folded magazine article about the best new restaurants in Portland that someone gave me before I left New York. These things keep me going.

One morning, I looked around and thought we seemed more like junkies squatting in an abandoned building than a newly married couple starting their life together. hot top I shared this with Francis and we started to chortle.  Our eating habits had followed our clean living mantra-  in that we were getting lazy and more focused on convenience than health.  I proclaimed that my book’s focus had changed.  Now I’m going to write the masterpiece of all masterpieces.  A cup of noodles cookbook, perhaps.  Or, Francis suggested, we could get a hot-top electric plate and cook everything in our little bedroom.  We’ll hot-top Ramen and Dinty Moore Stew and cans of Chef Boyardee.  We’ll eat like frat boys!  We’ll gain 400 pounds in a month and eventually have to be carried out in piano boxes.  We were falling over ourselves laughing.  Hot-toppers!  That’s us!  We are hot-toppin’ our way through life now.  Farm to Futon cuisine!

I am not a fussy person.  I don’t need a lot of fancy stuff to be happy, but I would be miserable if Francis wasn’t here with me.  There’s no question that it’s a challenge, but we’ve been laughing so much that it doesn’t really feel bad at all.  Every single moment is full of something– sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s exhausting, sometimes it’s exciting, but it’s never the same twice and it’s never dull.  The other night, we decided that getting coffee from the cafe every morning was going to add up quickly.  IMG_5362Francis had packed his coffee maker in the back of his car, so we just needed coffee, some filters and a little milk.  The store was out of basket filters which are the only ones his machine can use, but one of the clerks in the store said he could steal some of the big basket filters they use for brewing coffee for 50.  This morning, my incredible architect husband delicately trimmed, without scissors, about 2 inches off the huge coffee filters and made coffee on the floor next to the laundry and Amelia’s kibble bowl.  He is my hot-toppin’ hero.  And the coffee was pretty good.

We still don’t have a fridge though.

We keep our milk on the porch.

It was 52 degrees yesterday.

IMG_5557

 



8 thoughts on “The Honeymove, Part 2: Hot-Toppin’”

  • When my husband was stationed in Germany, he rented a house for us. We had three kids. It was January when the kids and I got there. I was surprised to find out that German houses don’t have anything in them…some don’t even have toilets. Thank God this one did. But we didn’t have a stove, refrigerator or any beds. The Army issues you furniture if you rent a house or apartment. But we were here now and as the saying goes, Shit Happens, my mother in law passed away. My husband was the only one who could return to the states for her funeral and he had to sit at the airport until he could get a hop! (space on a flight leaving for the states) So with him leaving, he couldn’t put in the paperwork for us to get furniture. A friend was kind enought to offer us the use of her hot plate to cook some meals and we used the ledge of the window for a refrigerator. We piled up the snow and put the milk and other parishables out there. It was difficult for us, but the kids had a blast. We all slept on the floor and it was more like a camping trip and we all made the best of it. We finally got the furniture when my husband returned. So have fun and make some great memories, Alison and Francis.

    • Gianna,
      EXACTLY. You summed it up perfectly. It’s a challenge to remember the things that would have thrilled you as a kid when you’re in your 40’s but there is an excitement to the whole thing. I love that we will always have this time to reflect back on. All the chaos and all the laughter… maybe that’s the best foundation a couple can have!

  • I cannot begin to imagine – but the good news is that you are both getting some good laughs out of this experience – life is too short to let it get to you – HOWEVER – you should be giving the contractor a VERY hard time – and now that you are there stand over him and crack a whip – just don’t let him see you laughing.
    And on another note – where is the wine – you surely should be drinking a bit of wine EVERY day (I can imagine your dad suggesting the wine) – and don’t wait until five o’clock!!!

    • Bobbi,
      Laughter is definitely the best medicine.
      We fired the contractor a few weeks ago and have much better guys finishing up the work now. It’s still a struggle as the work takes time, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it looks amazing.
      I’m 7 years sober so no wine for me — if I had been drinking through this chaos it only would have been worse for me, but I can definitely understand the temptation!
      Thanks for the support,
      Alison

  • Love your gumption, drive & perseverance- LOVE will allow room for so many things one didn’t think they had time to wade through, in my humble digital nomadic gypsy wanderlust life opinion 🙂 & I hear ya on the getting by ‘seeing’ changes in one’s habits ‘grow’ around you in temporary spaces. I could write an encyclopedia on that! xx

    • Brady,
      Haha! You truly are the master of nomads! I think Francis and I are learning so much about ourselves and about life through this part of our adventure. Love is getting us through indeed.
      xoxox
      aw

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