a comedy of errors


To top it all off, Young Indiana has come down with the chicken pox. @.@

I had been certain he’d been immunized against it, but the HSE website says they don’t habitually use the chicken pox vaccine in Ireland. Ted was getting him ready for a shower this morning and said, “Caaaatie? Indy has spots…” And yes. Yes he did. Ten or fifteen of them. Many just looked like bug bites or something, perhaps, but there was one in particular that looked very chicken poxy. We asked if he was itchy, and he said nope!, but a bit later he said “I was itchy yesterday but I scratched!”

Oh dear.

Anyway, Ted whisked him off to the doctor, who verified that yep, that’s chicken pox all right!

Our housewarming party guests have been warned as best I can warn them, but we may stand at the door and shout, “THIS IS A HOUSE OF PLAGUE!” as people approach, just to be sure they got the message. That’s a problem with using Facebook; no certain way to know if people saw information or not. @.@

But the show is going on, because most adults have had chicken pox, and so far the one adult who as far as she knows hasn’t, has been made aware and is detouring to another location instead of coming up. Which is sad, but better than getting chicken pox at forty.

To top it all off, after a week of relentlessly beautiful weather, it’s raining!

insult to injury


You know how in the last blog post I said there was insult added to injury regarding the bookcase?

It got worse.

I thought, well, I can’t possibly finish anything if I don’t put the new bookcase together, so I got ready to do that and I opened the first box and…both the long sides were broken clean through, a foot from the end.

I had noticed when we collected it at the store that one end of the box was floppy, but c’mon, it’s flat-pack. There’s weird packing in flat-pack all the time. I just figured it was a couple of short boards or something. But no. It was broken. Completely, irreparably, totally broken.

I was pretty well ready to cry at that point. But Dad came up from Dublin to help me, and instead of trying to find places to put things away he very sensibly said we should just clean up and put things into the garage if they didn’t have a place right now, because that way the house could be beautiful for the party and the rest could wait on shelving.

I literally would not, could not, have thought of that, because I’ve been trying *so hard* to just get all the boxes emptied. So that’s what we did, and I’m just so grateful, because the house looks nice now and I just wouldn’t have managed it on my own.

And the library (which is not wonky shaped, it’s just I took another panorama) is done in rough draft form:


I have ambitions of a love seat that folds out into a bed on the wall where the rocking chair currently is, and (obviously, she said with a tired sigh) at least one more bookcase in there, but I’m *particularly* pleased with how the day bed, which used to be Young Indiana’s bed (by way of Mom, who’d had it in her sewing room and who made the cool brightly colored cover for it!), fits into the bay window. There’s a radiator under the window, so it needed something not-too-close-but-close-enough, and something that would let heat pass through, and the day bed is just perfect. That, at least, really worked out.

And with the room emptied out–with all of the rooms tidied, if not entirely put together yet–I can again see how beautiful it’s going to be, and what wonderful spaces they’ll be, and that makes me a little happier too. So it’s getting there, bit by bit.

completely defeated


I give up.

So the whole saga is that I’m trying to get boards cut for shelves for the new house. I called a place yesterday to see if they had any, but the ones they had on the website were only available in the UK. “But!” the young woman I spoke to said, “we can cut them for you!”

I said, “You *do* that?” and she said “Yes!” and so last night I made a pattern for the complicated one and got measurements for the others and we all went out to the shop, where a lady looked terribly dismayed and said that the cutters only worked 9-4 and nobody was there to do it.

Well, okay. That was incredibly frustrating, but okay. So this morning Young Indiana and I took a taxi out to the store. I went to the back corner where they do the cutting. There was a sign that said “if we’re not with you in 2 minutes, you get 10% off!”

Five minutes later I went up to the front and said I needed a board cut. The woman there looked at me like I’d grown a second head and said “We don’t do that anymore. The whole thing’s broken down.”

I said, somewhat incredulously, “Yesterday I was told you did. Twice.”

She said, “Well, we don’t.”

Shortly thereafter an ‘out of order’ sign appeared back there.

I just give up.

To add insult to injury I thought well at least I can get a bookcase because we don’t have enough, and I went to Argos and got one and upon arriving home found that the radiator that’s totally hidden behind boxes and therefore was forgotten about is in the way of where I was going to put it, and probably none of the others will fit there either.

There’s a wall it, or one of them, anyway, will fit on, but it’s different from the others and I just wanted it put over on one side so it could be different on its own and I just give up.

getting there


I’m down to about a dozen Moving Guys boxes, which all need to be emptied out so the Moving Guys can come get them again. Actually, we have quite a few left over from the last move, so the goal is now to give them not only the ones they brought this time, but also all the others. Technically I only have to empty 3 more small boxes and we’ve got enough to send back. But dammit, this time I am Unpacking All The Boxes.

I found the PERFECT SHELVES to fit into one of our kitchen closets. Unfortunately, they’re only in stock at the UK version of the store. #sigh The good news is I called to ask about them rather than trying to take a taxi out to the place that nominally had them. The better news is that I found out while on the phone that this place will CUT WOOD TO FIT A SPACE, which is not something most places here seem to do. So this evening we’re gonna go do that. If I’m really amazing I’ll find a piece of paper large enough to make a pattern for the other shelf we need cut, too, and then I’ll be able to put the rest of the things in the kitchen away. Although a shelf on the wall for Pretty Things would also be a good idea. Maybe not today, though.

We do, unquestionably, need at least one more bookshelf. At Least. Possibly two. For the library. I also want one for the dining room that is of such specificity that I’m never gonna find it and must adapt my desires. Or pay a great deal, neither of which is really appealing. :)(This one is very nearly perfect, except it’s expensive and not quite as tall or wide as I’d like but I’m not gonna get exactly what I want and whine whine whine :)) In the meantime I’ve got a thing that will do.

Okay. I’m going to go try to empty the last box in the library, which will at least…tell me what’s in it, and perhaps give me some idea as to what to do with its contents. Possibly cry and throw them out the window, but y’know, whatever.

Kitchen Illusion


So the thing about Irish houses is they mostly have laundry facilities in the kitchen. This is because even up until about five years ago, “all mod cons” — all modern conveniences, including, say, a washing machine (but not a tumble dryer; those are more than Modern Conveniences) — were stil fancy enough to be mentioned in house ads, and most of those Mod Cons ended up in the kitchen because it’s where the running water was.

We spent the first 3 days in this house with our 6′ butcher block against one wall, a table and several chairs in the middle of the room, our small freezer in front of the radiator, and the dryer stuck randomly more or less in front of the sink while we tried to figure out what the hell to do with everything, because this house, like most, is not designed for such things. (Let’s not talk about the electric socket options, either.)

The table and chairs went into the Long Room (which isn’t quite ready for photos yet), at which point Ted said the kitchen was TOO BIG and I said OH FOR GOD’S SAKE and the next morning measured the long butcher block, which I thought was too big to fit across the room without compromising the dishwasher and washing machine, but it turned out to work just fine:





We’ll ignore this corner, which is full of the things I couldn’t put away without acquiring more shelf space, but moved aside in order to create the illusion that the kitchen was finished. :)


After doing all that I also cooked dinner last night, which I think is fricking amazing.

Today all I’ve done so far is massive amounts of laundry and made some food, which is possibly about as ambitious as I’m going to get. It’s very tired around here, after a week solid of packing, moving, cleaning, and unpacking.

Having said that, I’m going to go deal with the bathrooms now. And possibly make some cookies.

The Long Room


Our living room is about 20 feet long, and will contain the dining table when we’re done, so it will henceforth (at least in these hallowed pages) be referred to as the Long Room.

The living room half of the Long Room is pretty well sorted now:


(For the record, Young Indiana’s leg is not strangely deformed, it’s just the photo is a panorama and he moved while I was taking it. :))

It and our bedroom are about the only two spaces that can be considered pretty well sorted thus far. The back half of the Long Room is currently a staging area, and while last night the library was looking well enough that I was going to post a Rough Draft photo, since then things have been moved in and it’s an utter disaster again.

But we have amazing roses:



and there are AT LEAST FIVE apple trees in the back garden. I have no idea, save to wait and hope, how to find out if they’re edible or crab apples, although some of them are certainly already as big as I’ve ever heard of crab apples getting and it’s only the end of June. And there are lots of things that can be made of crab apples if it turns out they’re not eating apples…

…but I really hope they’re eating apples. :) Two of the trees look like they might have a fairly decent crop, and all of them clearly need some TLC, so we’ll see how it all goes over the next months.

Okay. There’s still a great deal to do, so I’d better get to it.

in & out


We are, after a very tiring day of cleaning, out of the Dublin house. It took longer than we hoped, but it’s clean and we’re out, so that’s that. Done and dusted. The woman at the post office, the guy at the corner shop, and various others all expressed surprise and dismay that we were moving away, generally couched in terms of a horrified, “*Drogheda*?” followed by, “Oh, well, that’s not so bad,” when informed that Ted works in Swords which isn’t too bad a drive from Drogheda.

So we’re back at the manor house (which is called Willowbrook, incidentally), and we…have a lot of boxes to deal with. I had an idea that the library was going to be the easiest room to sort, but probably the living room is going to be easier. If Ted knows where all the wires for the television-related stuff is, I have hopes of getting those all hooked up so the entertainment centre can be moved into its corner and I can start arranging other things in the room.

We have three pieces of art up: Ursula’s Mandarin, which has become our traditional First Art Up, Ted’s world map, and my Michael Whelan print of the cover of BLACK SUN RISING, which has gone into the library and looks Just Right there. :)

So much stuff. So. Much. Stuff. Even though I got rid of an awful lot of stuff. We ended up with a lot more boxes of Things at the end than we expected, and we’re sort of going “so have we just once more packed up uncountable Things that we did not really need? could we have thrown all this stuff away?” so I’m afraid this may be a slow unpacking process where we try to throw more stuff out.

Consequently, there will be no pictures of the unpacking process. Or rather, there might be over on Twitter, but I haven’t got that hooked up to my website yet so you’re just going to have to wait until it’s actually sorted out, or follow me on Twitter (I’m ce_murphy) if you’re really desperate to see them. I’ll get more of the grounds, though, tomorrow, and show you my climbing roses and such things.

Like the TWO apple trees! O.O Food does not grow on trees in the land of my people, so I’m quite awed by apple trees. If these things actually fruit decently we’re going to be up to our eyes in apple pie! :)

Adventures in Housecleaning

Adventures in Housecleaning

So I was doing okay until I almost set the kitchen on fire.

Our stovetop dials turn very easily. Something got pushed against one and it turned on, which normally isn’t a problem because the power to the stovetop is controlled by a wall switch that we leave set to off. But I turned the wall switch on so I could cook something in the oven, and I didn’t notice that beneath the stuff on the stove a burner was on.

(yes, I know, NEVER PUT ANYTHING ON TOP OF THE STOVE. usually we don’t, but post-move housecleaning means stuff I’d piled everywhere. :p)

I went to work on cleaning the dining room and after a few minutes thought, that really doesn’t smell like pizza cooking, which turned out to be because it was a rubber cleaning glove cooking, and the whole kitchen was filled with acrid smoke.

I yanked the burning things off the stove and flung open doors and windows and got it cleaned up, but it was a perfectly awful few minutes and I stink of burned rubber and I was doing okay, for a value of okay that means tired, sore, emotionally and physically drained, nowhere near done with the work at hand, and generally sick of being an adult. Now I’m all of those things *and* feeling somewhat incompetent at adulting, and I wanna go hide under the covers and have somebody take care of me for at least a month.

Which isn’t going to happen, but when Ted got home and heard my tale of woe, he sent me out of the house to decompress, which is something. :)

Home Sweet Home


The movers called at 10 and said they were running about half an hour late. They arrived and began work at half ten, worked with admirable and somewhat depressing speed (it took them SO LITTLE time to pack up a giant room full of book boxes that had taken me weeks to fill), threw the last things we hadn’t quite managed to get into boxes, into boxes, got everything including the trees and the barbeque into the truck, and hied themselves off to Drogheda where they got lost trying to find the house.

Even so, I wasn’t able to get in and take pictures of the empty rooms before they got there, so I’ll have to wait until things are unpacked to start taking pictures for showing-off purposes. :)

Well, mostly:


There was no way for the poor movers to pull the truck up to the house, so they had to bring all the boxes down the 40″ walkway and into the house, which, as they said, added an hour, easy, to the total time it took them. Still, they were done in 6 hours flat.

The landlady, who has only just moved out, left us a generous home-cooked meal of salmon and potatoes and carrots and broccoli in the freezer, and a rhubarb pie and ice cream to go with it. Was that not just the most incredibly kind thing?!

We walked into town, not entirely intentionally, for dinner, and found a rather decent Italian place (which was nice, because I’d been really wanting to go out for a decent Italian meal!), and the waitress, who had boys of 5 and 7, brought Young Indiana out to the restaurant’s back terrace to show him the 4-day-old baby pigeons who’d been born there.

So those are nice ways to start off in a new town. :)

Thus far I think we’ve unpacked two boxes and I have ascertained that none of our bookcases are suitable for the living room space available to them. That’s okay (?) because we needed more anyway…

This picture was taken from approximately the middle of the back garden; there’s as much space behind me as there was in front. (Also it’s not crooked, that was just the photographer’s exhausted tilt…)


“We could hold a party for a hundred in this place,” Ted said, “Not that I want to.” Pause. “Well…”

T minus 1


Less than that even, now. The movers are coming in 12 hours. Actually less, or they’d better be.

Things are more or less packed, with the emphasis on more. As Ted said, at this point it’s almost impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s hard to tell what’s unpacked anymore because there are boxes all over the damn place.

We’re all very tired. Poor Indy is high strung with excited nerves and exhaustion. Ted and I are just exhausted. We keep saying, “It’s only Monday,” with disbelieving horror. The rest of the week is full of rather horrid back and forthing, what with trying to unpack in one house, clean another, finish up the pre-school year for Indy, and (in my case) somewhat later than intended bringing our nephews to see the IMAX Jurassic World. (I brought them to see the IMAX re-release of Jurassic Park, which they were the perfect age for. They spent most of the film NOT QUITE climbing into my lap in sheer delighted terror. I can’t resist bringing them to JW. :))

I smashed my arm against a wardrobe today and have a lumpy bruise that still hurts.

Going to bed now. Long damn day ahead of us tomorrow. Wish us luck.