DON'T FORGET THE SECURITY BLANKET
Stranded in a sea of tea chests and fraught with demands such as "where do you want this great big pot plant lady?" the thought of making beds may not spring instantly to mind.
In fact the vision of your nice old dining table refusing to conform to the odd proportions of the hallway ( in spite of your mate's helpful advice to the professionals whose smiles seem to be looking somewhat fixed) may drive such mundane considerations right out of your head.
It's also surprising what the sound of breaking glass can do to the concentration, allied to the sneaking suspicion that the missing wine glasses have just turned up. However such distractions should not be allowed to deter you from that most important goal....finding the elusive bedclothes
Even when cries of "Yuk! Who packed the old Kitty Litter!" rend the air and your four- year -old suddenly discovers that all the lights have dimmer switches , this priority must prevail. Although you could be accused of wanting to hog the glory, being hailed as a hero because the beds are all ready when the troops start to drop from exhaustion is worth the flak.
Of course in a perfect world you'd wake up in your own cosy bed the first morning in your new home to the smell of fresh coffee and patterns of dappled sunlight falling across the wall. The children would rush in extolling the delights of the garden and planning the day's adventures.
In reality, because the curtains aren't up, the sun hits you smack in the face at daybreak, and the coffee grinder is nowhere to be found. The plates you need are in one of the anonymous boxes but it doesn't matter because you've even less idea where the spoons are hiding. Then the children start crying about leaving their friends and accuse you of not caring that they "didn't want to move anyway!" (Suggestions of "egg McMuffin" may stem the flow of tears but as they're dependant on rediscovering the car keys you daren't make them.)
There's no doubt these first few days in a new abode can be somewhat akin to setting up base camp in the Himalaya, unnerving and exhilarating at the same time.
In the middle of the night, when you're on auto pilot and mistake the wall for the bathroom door (because for some years you've been walking the same forty paces in the dark without mishap) a certain nostalgia for the familiar tends to take over. Reaching out to where the light switch used to be and coming up with a wet facewasher makes the eccentricities of your old bathroom recede into the distance, like new wrinkles on the face of an old friend. The advantages of erstewhile bedrooms with a common door also make themselves felt, when a little body invades your bed because it can't hear you arguing over who'll now get up to put the wretched light out.
The things that go bump in the night sound disturbingly different too and if you're attuned to the sound of sirens and the hum of traffic, a four am chorus of Kookaburras may be shattering to your dreams of peace in suburbia, and the mechanical rhythm of next door's pool filter might provide you with a brain teaser matched only by a PD.James novel.
However it's essential that you approach this initiation and familiarisation period stoically. Eventually you will find the secret hole the dog is escaping through to terrorize next door's cat and you'll even learn to roll over relatively undisturbed by murderous growls outside the bedroom window secure in the knowledge that, though it sounds like an alien, it's simply the local possum come shopping for your mulberries.
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