Category Archives: Uncategorized

Restless Furniture Syndrome

I wake. First day of spring…time to move the furniture around.

What? says my husband, who by now, after nearly 30 years of navigating my quirks, should be used to enduring my restless furniture syndrome, but who still stumbles over obstacles every time the syndrome grips me.

Groan, moans my dog, who rushes to hide behind whatever chair or couch she thinks is safe. It’s not.

What is it that rises with an such intense craving—the turning of the seasons, new energy sources sprouting out of the softening ground, new cloud shapes, sunlight entering the house at new and brighter angles, the memory of a stylish new Easter outfit, with hat?

Something about renewal, waking up after a winter’s hibernation, birds chirping a joyful accompaniment. Life is good.

I needed more input. I Googled “spring fancies” and all that came up was the line of poetry by Alfred Lord Tennyson: “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” So is this aberration I go through all about love? Love of home, perhaps, of nest feathering and placing these fine antiques where the sun will light them up?

Not really.

Aha! Spring fever. The ubiquitous Wikipedia has turned up a definition: “It refers to an increase in energy, vitality and particularly sexual appetite…”

Okay, so with regard to the first two increases, I’ve got them. I’ve been known to muscle all the furniture in the house into alternate configurations because of some nebulous idea I’ve had.

Often when I stand back and survey the results, panting slightly because I did it all in the space of minutes, I see that this is not quite the arrangement I had imagined. It’s like catching a leprechaun. Oh, there it is, over there. Rustle and hustle and move the load again, uncover the secret.

Could it be my astrological sign? Libra. Balance, looking for the perfect symbiosis of furniture, nest, love. Or it could be far simpler: a new beginning.

Once the furniture is arranged, there is plenty of energy and vitality left to feed the other appetite. But that’s another story.

Home Sweet Home

I was talking with a friend this morning about the strange corners we can find ourselves in at times in our lives.

Last week my husband and I had to vacate our home—an expatriation for three weeks while plumbing and wall boarding activities rehab the place with improved water pressure, clear water free from rust and a whole lot of drywall dust—that fine white dust that permeates everything.

It wasn’t a simple matter of packing for vacation; we had to empty closets where hot water heaters live, clear out bathrooms and kitchen, cover it all over with floaty plastic sheeting, and then try to fashion some kind of weird life in squatters’ quarters. First we found a condo in the throes of remodeling—subflooring, stove and sink but no counters, air mattress for a bed, rough bathroom.

Here’s where we discovered the nature of the drywall dust, and vacuumed it for two days before we moved in. Still, every time we got too close to a wall we had telltale white smudges on all our clothing that don’t easily rub off.

Here’s the thing: it’s not easy to relocate. People said, oh, a vacation. Baloney. In some strange twist of emotions, I fell apart. I wanted to go home. I couldn’t live in drywall and subfloor. I had no Internet, no counters on which to prepare meals. I didn’t have with me any of the feathers that fluff up my home. I was not happy.

Our dog was disoriented. Every time we left the place, she turned toward home. She wanted to go home as badly as I did. She could not be soothed by a Tanqueray dirty martini.

Two days later, though, I had brought my level back to center. We had two camp chairs and we sat out on the deck for hours, watching the clouds and smoke from distant fires move over the mountains and through the pines. We talked. There was no TV. We plotted novels, scribbled poems on bits of paper and read books. A new normal. Even our dog relaxed. She was with her people, after all.

We don’t have the flexibility we had when we were younger, my friend said to me. Now, it is not such an easy matter to go with the flow.

Take, for example, the beds in the two squatters’ condos we’ve been fortunate enough to have at our disposal. The first was an air mattress—hard to lurch up out of from its place down on the floor. It felt like a waterbed when one of us got up, leaving the other to rock its waves. But it was comfortable and we slept well. The second was a real bed, easy to slide into, but hard as granite. Sciatica and bum shoulders don’t allow for a good night’s sleep on an extra-firm mattress. That, too, has been fixed by the loan from my friend of a foam camping pad. Dreamland is mine.

It’s a good lesson to learn to remain as flexible as possible. And the greatest takeaway, besides the joy I will have when at last I am back home, is that even bare-bones living can work when you get into a routine. I see homelessness from a new perspective. Even homelessness can begin to feel like home when it has rules and rhythms.