Home Is Where The Cats Are…

I started to title this “Home Is Where Your Stuff Is…” It sounded good on paper, but what if you have stuff in two places?

It turns out that on reflection most of the stuff isn’t that important. If we need something we already have in Seattle, we can usually just buy another one. Yay mass production and global distribution.

The cats on the other hand… well, that’d be tricky to say the least.

Hence: “home is where the cats are.” Seems legit.

We’ve been in the new flat for just over three weeks, and overall it’s gone well. Better than we had any right to hope for, really, considering we decided to move, found a flat, and arranged movers in the span of a couple weeks.

We had to buy a dining table, which arrived a week or so back, and the rug we picked to go under it arrived Friday.

How did we do these things before the internet?

As expected from a place that’s been empty for a few months, there’s been a small punch list. Just little things that need fixing. The property management company so far is “typically British” – they do their best to ignore me and the problem until I shake their cage. I’m pretty good at being a demanding customer, and not afraid of fixing thing myself, so ultimately they’ll either they’ll fix it, or I’ll fix it and deduct the cost of repairs from rent.

Despite all that, we’ve quickly settled in. Our last flat was purpose-built as a rental. The new place was lived in by the owners, who remodeled it a handful of years ago before moving abroad (and kept and left nearly all the manuals, I love these people already). The contrast is significant – the space, the storage, and the kitchen are just that much more usable. Like someone, you know, gave a crap.

Dawnise and I agreed that despite the short time we’ve been here, it feels more like a “home” than the last place, though neither of us can quite put our finger on why.

I’ve run into our neighbors, once while they were taking their two kids to school, and once while they were going down to collect their milk delivery. We exchanged names, and I’m hoping to be more properly introduced once lock-down relaxes.

The weather recently has been what you might call “variable” – some beautiful, clear crisp days (12C/mid-50’sF), some downright chilly (2C/mid-30’sF), and occasional driving wind and rain. So far all the rain has stayed outside, which was really the point of this, after all.

This morning I walked to our favorite local cafe and picked up “take away shakshouka” for breakfast. The owner hadn’t done take away before, but decided to make a go of it this time. Chatting with her while waiting, I was happy to hear it’s been going reasonably well so far.

The same can’t be said, I’m afraid, for COVID in the UK generally. Case counts, hospitalization counts, and death rates are all still trending up, though our immediate neighborhood seems to be in reasonable shape for the moment.

These worrying trends, combined with the news last week of the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine, suggest that continued conservatism is a sensible course. Not gathering with friends and family over this holiday season will suck, but getting sick now – while medical systems strain under the load and a vaccine is “on the horizon” – means that the “downside risk” is increasing at the same time as the “investment horizon” shortens.

If that’s all gibberish and jargon, another (intentionally provocative) way to say it is “no one wants to be the last soldier to die in Vietnam.”

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay sane.

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