Moving was a little more distracting and challenging than expected…
I thought that moving eleven minutes away would be no big deal. I mean how hard could it be? We had just moved from the US to Portugal last January; now, THAT was a big move. Seriously, how disruptive could this one possibly be? We moved to the next town, for heaven’s sake. Monte Estoril and Cascais are so close it is difficult to discern where one starts and the other ends. Plus, we moved into a great place that fulfilled our wish list and improved our lifestyle even that much more. But I guess I underestimated the level of disruption it would cause.
I typically post every Friday and I’ve been pretty consistent in doing that for well over a year and a half. The fact that I missed posting the week of our move seemed within the realm of normal – there was basically no time to write. However, when I missed posting last Friday, well, that one caught me by surprise. It’s not like I didn’t make an effort. I tried several times during the week to write, but I could not make myself sit down and focus. I justified not posting by telling myself no one would notice (I’m touched to say I heard from a few folks who asked me if everything was OK). What is even more embarrassing is that I can always find something to write about and if for some odd reason I can’t think of a new topic, I have several draft posts in the works that I can pull up, add to, edit the bee jeepers out of, and post. Sadly, even that process eluded me. It caused me to stop and wonder…Why???
While Won was out golfing last Friday, and with Sweet Pea sitting on the outdoor lounge next to me, I took some time to stop and reflect.
First, it occurred to me that this transition has been particularly hard on Sweet Pea. She will be 13 in just a few weeks and we believe her eye sight and hearing might be waning (either that or she’s just at an age where she completely – and with total impunity – ignores us; a real possibility). If it is aging and not just blatant obstinance, we compounded the situation by turning her entire world upside down when we moved. Had it been a more typical situation where our personal belongings were shifted from one place to another, it might have been a bit easier, but because we moved from a place that was fully furnished to one that wasn’t, we had to purchase EVERYTHING new. That meant there were no familiar sights or smells to help ease any anxiety she might be having. She had to learn a completely new home, new layout, new building, new neighborhood, new sounds, new smells, new, new, new! I think that was a lot to ask of her at her advanced age.
And she was telling us it was a lot.
Since we moved in, whenever we have taken her out to explore the neighborhood or just do her business, she would literally refuse to walk or would just barely go beyond the gate before turning right around to come back in. It was as if she thought that if she went too far, she wouldn’t be able to find her way back. Initially, it was really frustrating. Both Won and I wanted to walk the nearby streets to get a feel for our neighborhood, but she wasn’t willing. And, her old nemesis, the ever present and ever annoying cobblestones, didn’t help either. She hates walking on them and prefers to walk on the concrete curb like it’s a balance beam or in the middle of the street! Ultimately, we decided it was best to give her the time and space she needed to determine where and how far she wanted to go. That helped ease the experience for all of us. Just recently she has been willing to go a couple of blocks before turning back toward home, so that’s progress!
Another big challenge for Sweet Pea – of all things – is the balcony. We thought she would be super excited to go out there and bask in the sun, take a nap on one of the lounges, or stick her head through the railing and watch the world go by. But, even with the doors wide open, she’ll just stand there and won’t cross the threshold. We believe her hesitation might be due to the glass door tracks she has to step over – does she think they are a void because her eyesight isn’t very good? Since we weren’t sure, we helped her understand that wasn’t the case by placing her paws on them so she could tell they were solid. Even after we demonstrated it wasn’t a chasm that would swallow her whole, she still won’t cross them unless we are out there and encourage/cajole/plead with her to join us (in some cases we just pick her up and carry her out). We are really hoping she’ll get past this phobia and take full advantage of the balcony for her own enjoyment.
And finally, there is the issue of Sweet Pea getting up in the middle of the night. We always take her out at 10PM so she can relieve herself before bed, but even then she may still get up later and need to go. When that happens, there is no ignoring her. We can hear the click, click, click, click of her claws on the hardwood floors and if that doesn’t get us up she “yawn talks” – loudly. Thankfully, she never barks. We are especially sensitive to her needs because we know she feels bad if she can’t get outside fast enough, but it’s hard on Won who always gets up with her. We’re hoping she’ll get past this soon and will be able to sleep through the night, which she was doing at our old place. Funny enough, in our old apartment you could hear the neighbors through the walls (above, below and to the side), which I thought would be a problem when we moved in, but it never seemed to bother her. [Side rant…I never understood why the people upstairs would choose to rearrange their furniture every single night at around one in the morning. I swear, that’s exactly what it sounded like. 😣] Thankfully it is totally quiet in our new place. Hmmm, maybe that’s what is keeping Sweet Pea up…not enough noise???
In addition to Won being sleep deprived because he has to get up up in the middle of the night with Sweet Pea, he is having to improve his meal planning and optimize his grocery shopping. In our old place we could just pop over to the little market that was a two minute walk away or to the fruit and veggie bodega just around the corner. It was addictively convenient when we needed to grab a carton of milk, garbage bags, laundry detergent, freshly baked bread, seasonal fruit, or any other random item we might need on the spur of the moment. Unfortunately, there are no such stores within walking distance of our new place so all of Won’s shopping trips require getting in the car. In case you are wondering why Won has those particular responsibilities, it’s because he has embraced his inner chef and is the one doing the driving these days. I’m in charge of all the clean up. You might be thinking, why doesn’t he just load up the grocery cart when he’s shopping? The issue is the size of the refrigerator and limited storage space, which results in more trips to the store, primarily, to replenish frequently used items.
As for me? I’m taking the lead on getting our new home furnished and comfortable, which, when starting from scratch, can be both fun and daunting. I get anxious when I look around and see side tables with no lamps, a missing dining room table, no artwork on the walls, and a lack of personal decorative items that pull a room together (what’s especially annoying is that we have all of this in storage back in New Jersey 🙄). Compounding my anxiety is that we will be welcoming two of my siblings and their spouses the first week of September. I’m so excited to see them I can hardly stand it, and I want our home to be as comfortable and complete as possible so they can relax and enjoy their time here. The problem is that I have run into one road block after another in my effort to complete this project. I shared some of these frustrations in an earlier post when we initiated our furniture shopping extravaganza in June, but the challenges have continued. Inventories are low and items are either on backorder or just plain nonexistent due to supply chain problems across the world. Here’s an example…
Status: T-minus 3 weeks until family arrive. I wanted a large round mirror over the sideboard in the dining area and found what I was looking for on the KARE Design website. We drove to the store in Belém to place the order and hopefully bring one home (I thought they might have one in the back storeroom). The salesperson looked it up on his computer and told me it would take two weeks to get it. I thought, OK, not great, but two weeks wasn’t too bad, it would get here before my family. He spun his computer around to show me and that’s when I realized it was the wrong finish. I called this to his attention. He apologized, found the right one and informed me that the wait would now be seven weeks. NOOOO!! I pleaded with him to sell me the one on the wall in the store, but he said he couldn’t; his reason was that they didn’t want to have an empty space on the wall (…neither did I 🤨). I suggested they order the one with the other finish, adding enthusiastically, that it would be there in two weeks. He didn’t seem to appreciate my creative solution and declined. I left the store angry and frustrated and continued to complain bitterly to Won all the way home. By the time we got there I was a crazy woman on a mission. I was going to find that blasted mirror – or one that was like it – come hell or high water. My determination and insanity paid off. I found the EXACT same mirror, manufactured by KARE Design on the Amazon Germany website. It was even available for delivery within 48 hours. And the bonus? It was less expensive!! Score one for me. The problem was that I spent hours scouring every possible website I could think of and/or find before, out of complete desperation and frustration, I decided to try Amazon. Go figure.
Another total time suck was my effort to find table lamps for the living room. You would think this would be easy peasy, right? Ha!, I reply emphatically!! Through my extensive (and when I say extensive, I mean extensive) online searches, walking tour of Cascais, and visiting every store I could think of within driving distance, I could not find lamps that I liked, were available, or that would fit the room from a style perspective. It was making me crazy. I’d find one I liked, but it would be discontinued. I’d find another, but there would only one in stock. I’d find yet another, but it would be on backorder with a delivery date 7-9 weeks out. It was absolutely maddening. Finally, the other night I found a pair I liked that were in stock. Even though they are coming from France they will get here before my family. But, once again I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find them.
My current obsession/time suck? A rug for the entry way. It’s an odd size. 🙄 …sigh…
There are so many other aspects of decorating the house that still need to be done. Slowly, but surely, we’re ticking them off the to-do list, but I think the process has been way more distracting and time-consuming than I had initially anticipated. For now, and until the lamps get here, I will continue to sit in the darkness of the living room, my face eerily illuminated by the screen of my laptop, scrolling through the same four websites and constantly refreshing pages, hoping beyond hope that new items will magically appear for me to consider.
So, there you have it; my lame excuse for why I didn’t post last week. I’m really hoping that I’m past this disruption in the force and can get my groove back (two easy movie references there…who’ll be the first to name them?).
Until next time (next Friday I hope!), please stay safe, stay healthy, and stay in touch.
From Portugal with love,