Thursday, 29 January
Getting settled continues to rule our lives. More workers, more deliveries. Among the latter, endlich, our hook-up box from Kabel Deutschland. The job's not quite done and they'll have to come back, but Saturday morning I was able to e-mail and google to my heart's content.
So what if Saturn still hadn't located the refrigerator that was supposed to arrive a week ago? It's winter and outside works okay. So what if we had no water in the kitchen for the weekend ahead? Our laundry room became the nerve centre: clothes, washing up, shaving station for David (our bathroom sink not yet finished) and telecom hub.
In any case, all Saturday we were too busy debating different models of loo brushes (free-standing vs. wall fixture vs. combined loo paper holder and brush, an option that seems to be a peculiarly German thing but which we quickly rejected) to worry about such mundane topics as preserved food and running water.
When my mother moved into a smaller house a couple of years ago, she’d put a lot of my parents' furniture in storage. Last summer David and I had gone to the warehouse to pick our way through wrapped objects in huge wooden crates and arrange to have my half (the rest was left for my sister) sent to Berlin. It was a befuddling job and I had little recollection of what or how much we had chosen.
Monday morning the shipment arrived.
It was a veritable invasion of what my friend Helen W. tells me is now called ‘brown furniture’, aka antiques, a category of chattels currently eschewed by much of the population in favour of a clean-lined IKEA-type look.
As objects streamed through the door, my life passed before me: dining room chairs I cannot not remember, the silver chest and lots of silver (two sugar bowls, complete with antique sugar of two sorts!), the secretaire, which I spent many hours rifling through as a child, especially the third drawer down where my mother stored my memorabilia, but also the second drawer with all the family photos not in albums.
I worried about David’s reaction to this annexion. Having known these objects all my life, I hardly felt capable of judgment; they are just part of me. As much as he too likes brown furniture, this is my memory lane.
But after we'd distributed most of the chairs (good-bye exercise ball and piano stool, at least until the piano comes) and the chests and the side tables (good-bye cardboard boxes) and the place no longer looked like a depot, he sat down on our new Berlin sofa, looked around and said: "this furniture really does warm up the place. It's beginning to feel like home."
Elsa seems to agree.