Saturday, February 04, 2017

Nicole Locke: Are You Settled Yet?

Are you settled yet?

I can’t say how many times I’ve been asked this question since arriving in the US on the 17th of December. I'm sure people are simply being friendly and making idle chat. I'm sure they don't truly mean it.

Do they mean it!?  Because that sentence is equivalent to asking a new mother if she’s sleeping through the night. Isn’t it just assumed she isn’t sleeping through the night?

There is no way I am settled. What does that even mean? That I have a routine, that I’ve formed habits?

Because I don’t…I haven’t. I’m sleeping, I’m not. The kids are getting to school on time…they’re not. I don’t even leave my bedroom the same way yet.  I can go straight or turn right to get to the kitchen. Which way should I go? Which is faster, convenient, more scenic?

Does being settled mean my house is furnished because let me share some pictures with you. One is of the living room, and the other of my daughter's room.

These pictures are of the house right now. This is after copious amounts of shopping. Way more shopping than I ever care to do. Going to any store once a month is too much for me. Now I have to go food shopping two times a week, plus the hardware store, and the paint store. Don’t get me started on the online purchases. This is…this is death by shopping for me. And what do I have to show for it? Three mattresses, some bed frames, and a few rugs. Oh, I may have bought some bath towels, too.

But that’s all that people are going to see when they come in. They’re not going to see that I had to change my daughter’s rug three times only to realize none of them worked, so her floor is still bare. That her bed frame came, but the feet were all broken and I've been waiting weeks for replacements.
People aren’t going to come into my house and say: 'Nice paperclips and envelopes!' Or: 'Wow, you really agonized over that toothpaste brand didn’t you?'

Because I did. Absolutely. And that’s a story I’ll share another day when my shudders have lessened, and the store clerks aren’t alarmed anymore by the mumbling.

Quite simply, I can’t seem to have a routine if there’s nothing to routine with. My house is bare.

The horror of it is, you don’t know what you need until you don’t have it. Get out of the bath? Need a bath mat. Want to make fried rice? Buy every ingredient except… soy sauce. Have something stuck in your teeth? Well…you get the picture.

We left some things here in our old home, and are now using our new things, but this doesn’t help at all. There are no habits here. This isn’t the same spoon I’ve been using every day for a decade. I’m not turning on the same hob I’ve used for the last eleven years.

And how am I dealing with the fact I seem to have nothing and yet I’m shopping all the time? Not very well.  In fact, I resent it, am frustrated at it. Just want to set fire and start again. Except, I am starting again and have to buy a laundry basket. 

Does being settled mean what I fear it means. That I feel at home?  Because I don’t. Not at all. Not…yet. But I know something is beginning to happen. I found everyday cheese the family likes. And I think for now, that’ll have to be enough.

In the meantime, I'll keep battling and reporting from the trenches of moving house. Has anyone else moved home? Would love to know how you survived!

-- Nicole :-)

To find out more about Nicole Locke, visit her website, and follow her on Twitter.

The fourth book in the Lovers and Legends series, In Debt to the Enemy Lord, is out now! 

Chapter 1, excerpt



dstoutholcomb said...

what is everyday cheese?

Nicole Locke said...

Hello dstoutholcomb! My family (well mostly me) are cheese fanatics. The one cheese we always have in the house is cheddar; hence, it's our everyday cheese. But since our move it's been a process of finding the right cheddar for grilled cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, etc. Do you have a favourite cheese?

dstoutholcomb said...

I love cheese! I love a good sharp cheddar. If I'm treating myself, I love Cabot. It's pricier and regional (co-op), so you might not find it. For mac'n'cheese, I'll buy any brand. My husband can't eat cheddar, so I substitute colby-jack for that, but the rest of us can eat cheddar. Helluva is mid-range brand and good. Sargento is good, too. Their customer service is wonderful They sent me great mini cookbooks just for calling and asking a question. I've been known to use muenster for grilled cheese. Hope you can find something everyone likes.


Nicole Locke said...

Thanks Denise for the tips! I don't know if I've seen those brands on the West Coast, but I'm going to look. I've heard Cabot is really good. My daughter can't get used to orange colouring in her cheddar because it's all white cheddar in the UK. So it took some convincing on my part. I love the Jalapeno Colby Jack, which I could never get in London. I could eat that stuff every day.

Can't wait to put muenster on grilled cheese now...that has got to be super melty!

dstoutholcomb said...

yeah, for some reason, we Americans really love orange cheese. Me, I prefer white cheeses when I can get them. White cheddar, white American (from the deli), Swiss, Havarti, mozzarella, provolone, etc...

I'm a born and raised American, and my kids are used to me only buying white cheeses; they would refuse orange colored cheese for a long time. 11yob still isn't convinced.