Still moving house
FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - June 24, 2018 - 12:00am

Once again I apologize for my absence last Sunday. I was in the middle of moving house or trying to pour the ocean into three small holes. It was that difficult because now I have to admit I am old.  I have no more energy left. I sort out my things but something always happens.  Suddenly a major interruption. Something that felt like a typhoon but wasn’t. Two holidays. Lunches and other dates. Finally I asked our joint household staff to pack for me so I could move into three little holes.

 Hole One is my husband’s guest room now crowded with my desk, shelves with my beads, paintings, a big TV set, tons of things. You can’t even walk in there. There is just no room.

 Hole Two is my own picayune apartment. Why did I choose this tiny apartment?  How do I fit?  I fix a few hours a day and put it slowly together. The biggest bags of things I choose to give away I set aside for Caritas.  Clothes I don’t wear anymore, language dictionaries, grammar books and cookie sheets. Why don’t I just throw away everything? No, I must find a way.

 My husband wants blinds or whatever you call the things that roll up. I was thinking of curtains that I would sew myself because once I bought lovely white semi-sheer Ilocano fabric that I thought would make lovely curtains. Of course, it would take time. Time sort of makes my husband impatient. There’s also the question of privacy. My husband loves privacy. At his unit if he had his way all the blinds are down all day. But since I moved in in a three-paneled window one panel is always up during the day to make me feel less claustrophobic. We now have more light.  The window in my work room is always open to let the fresh air in.

 But my husband wins. First the supplier sends a little lady to measure the windows.  How soon will you install? Usually a week, she said.  Hah! Yesterday after two weeks and a threat that if they could not do it in two days I would cancel they finally installed the blinds.  The measurements were wrong.  Of the six panels I needed, they could only install five.  When will you install the last one?  Hard to say, Ma’am, because the measurements were wrong so  they have to charge the girl who made the mistake first.  I — the innocent customer — will take the punishment.  At least he did not charge for the balance.

 This morning they finally installed the water heater I bought for my shower.  Only a day late. The installer arrived at 11 a.m, when I expected him at 10 a.m. Par for the course, right? Then I went to buy the glass shelves for my small bathroom.  Sometimes I want to weep for the bathroom I left behind. It had a bathtub, two sinks, a water closet, a bidet and a shower and it was four times as big as my tiny bathroom today. Never mind, I tell myself. One day this little apartment will be mine.  Do you want it? Asks a voice in my head. You know, I really don’t know. But very slowly Hole Two is shaping up. Maybe one day soon I will love it.

 Hole 3 is another condo that my husband earned as lawyer’s fees. We went to check it out as a possible place for one of his daughter’s things when she moved to a small condo. The building, named after one of my favorite colors, had an impressive location but when we entered it was totally depressing. Not all the elevators worked. From the 19th to the 32nd floor — my husband’s unit was on the 21st floor — only one elevator worked. The Administration office was in the basement and looked like a forgotten government office. At the lobby were little stalls of snack foods.  It had a miserable, neglected air about it. On the spot we could think of a hundred things that could be done to improve it. But the unit itself was big, unfinished, lacking two glass windows and had five years of dust on the floor.  Nevertheless it impressed me because it was bigger than my Hole Two. However, Hole Three threatened to be Problem One.

 They said we couldn’t fix it unless we presented all manner of things. My husband wanted to put in the bathroom and a kitchenette but they wanted to see full working drawings. Innumerable delays. Threatened lawsuits. But in the end I could get the balance of my things in anyway.

 So now after so much hassle my moving days are clearing up. The worst is over.  I don’t think I will miss a deadline anymore. I have entered the slower phase of my moving house. But remember I am still moving house.

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