Back in Hampton

My first official post from my new home. Moved in last Friday week. Big day. In the days leading up to it I’d used all my spare time packing boxes, so I was weary even before the day began. Then the day came and I trooped backwards and forwards with the removalists, carrying boxes and sorting out what goes where. In between I visited the real estate agent to collect the keys, before returning.

I remember a feeling of deep melancholy that lasted for just over an hour. Even now I can’t say what brought it on. I wasn’t sad to leave the old place. I looked forward to moving into the new.

Perhaps there was a sense of a rat in the wheel, repeating what I have done so often before – and with less cause for hope than previously. Financially I was under the pump – I had to borrow to get into the new place – and if I reflected over the course of my life it seemed I had entered an era of ever diminishing repairs.

That passed. There were things to do after all. At one point I was certain that they wouldn’t fit everything in the truck and that I’d be up for a second trip. But somehow they squeezed it all in, and about 6 hours after they started all my earthly possessions had been shifted from one location to another.

By now I was fading. I was bone tired and my lower back stiff and aching. Later my tracking software told me I was on the move for 6 hours through the day, much of that bending and shifting and carrying. Still, I couldn’t stopped. I had moved from a larger house to a smaller unit. A bunch of boxes had been packed into the lock-up garage, but the rest were in the house, and they crammed it so tight that in the kitchen and study it was hard to move. I had to unpack.

I unpacked for the rest of the day and over the weekend. Come Monday evening there was still much to do, but the place was livable, and beginning to look cosy. There will be a different feel to this place. I am much better located – walking distance to train and shops and even the beach. The Cheese’s are 10 minutes away. It’s an area I feel much more comfortable in – I am much more a Hampton person than East Bentleigh. I know the people, even if it isn’t the inner city I miss so much.

Then there is the place itself. I chose to go more compact this time. I wanted to be enclosed by my things, and not have them spread out. I wanted something more modest and manageable, and to be rid of a lawn that needed mowing.

I won’t miss the old place, but there are aspects I can think of with fondness. I used to watch Rigby pick his way through the back yard. Though it was an open expanses he would always wander the same path, to the point that he had begun to wear a track. As his route curled back towards the back door he would pick up pace and then run, leaping the stairs into the back room of the house.

I had a small possum that lived somewhere on the property. Sometimes I would hear him scrabble about on the roof over my bedroom. Most nights I would sit in my living room watching TV and see him take the wire that led from the point of the roof over my bedroom to the pole outside the house. He did this every night at the same time, and often go back and forwards many times over the night. I have some regret knowing than within weeks the house will be no more, and the fate of the possum unknown.

I am in my new home now though, and still settling. One thing I discovered moving in was that there was no telephone connection. It was something I feared, and had contacted the property manager in reference to in the weeks leading to my move. He was uninterested in doing more than he had to, and barely that, so it was left to me to resolve. No phone line means no internet. I had to arrange for a phone line to be connected to the property, but when I advised the property manager I was told that the landlord wouldn’t cover the cost of it.

Apparently the law says that the property owner is not obliged to provide such essential services. It’s a poor law, but even so I would have thought it the right thing to do. Not that ‘right’ exists any more. When I was growing up you knew basically what was the right and what was the wrong thing. You might do the wrong thing sometimes, but you’d know it, and you’d make sure to do the right thing next. It’s what I’ve always believed and how I’ve tried to conduct myself. The right thing is independent of self-interest, but has a truth that can’t be denied.

I think it’s wrong that the owner of a property should expect a tenant to pay for essential capital improvements. The law may say different, but morality, even karma, paints a different picture. Of course I feel this much more keenly having not a spare cent to my name.

The work is due to happen on the 30/6 (I’m using pocket wi-fi for this). If they have to do the full works it will cost upwards of $300. I don’t know how I can pay for that, but I can’t be without the internet. I’ve gone back to the property manager pointing out my position and suggesting the landlord pay half. I haven’t heard from him, which is pretty weasel. I won’t let him off that easy.

And so here I am. For the first time in years I’m actually in stable accommodation. There’s a sense of returning to somewhere I actually belong. It’s still very messy, and a lot of questions in general still need answers, but I can begin to plan. I need to get the job sorted out, and money in general, but I’ve also decided the time now is finally right to start dating again – but more of that soon. There’s no time to be melancholy now.

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