Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Time Marches On

Our sparse furnishings for the past few months, including Sam's minimal birthday celebration.

Getting geared up for a couch to go where the table is now. It almost feels like a home.

(This is NOT the couch we picked, but I love this shot of my 'good sport' husband.)

It’s time to reorganize. I feel like I say that about every six months, as life circumstances change, but this time I really and truly mean it. The calendar is bearing down on me and I need to be ready.

Thanksgiving is two weeks from tomorrow. That’s the day my life goes into hyper drive. Either by train or plane, my college boy will be returning home from school, and I’ll get to hug him for the first time in three months. We’ll also be welcoming another visitor to our feast table. One of Michael’s best friends in NY has a sister who attends college in Denver and cannot get home for this holiday. So she’s joining our family. It’s a tradition my mom upheld through my childhood and I’m pleased to pass on.

So that weekend will be a blur of cooking in our tiny kitchen, serving meals on fancy paper plates, cleaning up as we joke around, and then lots and lots of board games. It will be over in the blink of an eye, I know.

Then as soon as Michael steps on that train platform, or boards that plane, I will be packing for my own trip. The last day of November, the day after my 45th birthday, I’ll be flying back to New York. For one long weekend my daughter and I will do one last purge, weeding out any item that’s not worth hauling out to CO. More loads to the dump, as trash, and to use their wonderful ‘free pile’.

Then Monday morning the packers arrive. For two days they will pack and box up all our belongings. I will have carefully kept out any items we might be needing in the next six months (that will fit in Meredith’s car) since all of our stuff will be going to storage until late spring. I’m trying to remember that ‘more Legos’ are high on that priority list.

Wednesday of that week the truck will be loaded and drive out of our driveway with all our worldly belongings. Meredith and I will spend a day getting the house ‘broom clean’ and then we set off on our own cross country drive together.

It will be the fourth time I’ve made that 2000 mile drive in the past nine months. I know it well now. This time we’ll hopefully have time to stop by to see some of my family, as we pass through Missouri.

Two days after we get back to CO, we load up the new Suburban and head to Utah. It will be time for Michael’s winter break. It will be our first ‘all family’ trip in years. I can’t tell you how excited I am for those moments. We travel well together, and I know the kids will feel like ‘kings’ in our new, bigger vehicle.

(Isaac already admitted that every time he gets in the Suburban he feels like it’s a rental car…it’s just too nice to be ours!)

When we arrive back in Colorado, two weeks before Christmas, we will figure out how six of us are going to fit in this space that has barely fit the four of us for the past few months. That’s where my schedule right now is affected.

I’m the mom. I will be the one who will pull off this feat, of having six very tall, independent people, living (and eating!) in 800 square of living space (with a dog and a cat). Bed space alone is a hurdle I’ve been brainstorming about for weeks.

I have to solve these problems now, because once Thanksgiving hits, my schedule is full and I don’t come up for air until the moment we pull into the condo parking lot in December, with six people unloading their stuff.

I am not even allowing myself to think about the fact that at the end of that journey Christmas will be a few weeks away and again, as the mom, I will have things prepared for that too. It’s always a trick, in the new house, to figure out how the holiday ‘goes’, and this year will be even trickier than most.

We’ve always known we would be getting a new sofa in Colorado. We dream of a large sectional, that we all could fit on to watch movies. We’ve never had that. We lived with my childhood, fifty year old couch, for every year of my kids’ upbringing. It’s time to get a couch that works for us.

But knowing we’ll be in this condo for at least six more months, a huge sectional is not going to work. So we need a temporary couch. One we can sit on to watch movies (we don’t have cable at the condo) that will also work for the person who didn’t get one of the sacred mattresses.

Right now we’ve had only a thrift store kitchen table. On one end we eat meals and on the other end we have our mini office set up. I live by the computer so it was high on the priority list to get an office set up. We also watch our few favorite TV shows on Hulu, so our computer monitor has become our TV screen.

This set up will not work for six people. For one thing, there’s just nowhere to sit down. Right now we either sit on straight back kitchen chairs to watch computer/TV or recline on the mattresses on the floor to read a book. We really, really, really need more (comfortable) seating, especially if this place is going to stop feeling like ‘temporary living’ and start feeling like a home.

Last weekend, we left the sports bar after my Seahawks (again) lost their game, and headed to the furniture store. While the boys hung out at the bike park for hours on end, Jeff and I sat on three bazillion sofas.

We didn’t want to spend a lot. This will be the ‘extra’ sofa, once we get the big sectional sometime next year. But it needs to be comfortable and it needs to be long. All of my kids, with the exception, for now, of the 11 year old, are five foot ten and taller. We need a couch that could accommodate a tall person stretching out for the night.

We finally found it. It was the longest one we found, fit the budget, and is comfortable to sit on as well. It will work great for our red box movie nights and also for the sleeping accommodations we’ll need for the month of December.

So the computer had to come off of the kitchen table and I had to make the living room work as a living room. Once again, the Habitat for Humanity Resale store saved the day. We’ve shopped at them in every state we’ve lived. We’ve always found treasures at great prices. It’s a fun way to feel like you’re ‘recycling’.

Yesterday I popped into our local branch and found a great TV stand and a small, perfect computer desk, then paid 30 bucks for the both of them. The computer desk even came with a rolling chair. Bonus!

Last night we moved the computer to its new home, and moved the TV out of the boys room. The kitchen table got cleared off, wiped down, and moved to the center of the room. For now we’ll still sit around it to watch our Hulu shows, but next week, when the sofa comes, we will officially move it to the small dining area. And if all goes according to plan, this place just might finally feel like a home.

The two older kids will never know how this condo felt for the past few months, when it was just the four of us, getting by on what we could find at thrift stores (while all our favorite furniture sits in a big vacant house in NY). But it was a bonding time for Jeff and me, and the two boys we now have in our immediate, day to day family. We’ve been carving out our new life in Colorado, and this small, nearly empty condo has been our home base. It’s worked. It’s safe and warm and clean.

But in just over a month, it will be brimming with a huge family. And we’ll find a whole different life, as we all learn to live together again, in this new space. I just hope all my planning, all my work in the past few weeks, comes together.

And for each one of my kids, this place feels like home.


theelfqueen said...

My mom and dad are each one of four kids. And they each grew up in homes less than 1000 sq ft. (Although at some point after my dad moved out, his parents converted their one car garage to a family room.) Their whole lives. Sometimes we'd go and visit and I'd think -- how did they do that!!

I'm sure you can make it work!!

rebecca @ altared spaces said...

Colorado! I live in Colorado! Wahoo! I totally get the whole Christmas in a new home thing and dreaming of a couch your home can't yet fit.