Missive from Michelle: Moving violations

THEY say moving house is up there with death and divorce on the stress scale. So, when we decided to return to Durban I told my No 1 that whatever else he had a mind
to do, dying and settling divorce proceedings into motion, were not options for the next six months at least.

And I’m quite glad I did because packing box after box and deciding what to throw out and what to keep, can lead to some interesting and passionately defensive debates.

I read. Avidly. So I can’t deny rather a large number of boxes are filled with books. And No 1’s long and hearty lecture regarding the convenience of a Kindle and how books will eventually be obsolete anyway, so we can chuck out most of the books and then we will need only a little truck to move our belongings.

How rude, I thought. I am not a space cadet and I am tactile. I like to hold my books, and turn the pages by hand. I do not want to press yet another button. I like to have piles of books around me, not neat little electronic devices.

My counter-move was pointing out the number of boxes filled with fish tank paraphernalia, not to mention the tank itself, a huge monstrosity of glass and wood, plus its wells (smaller tanks which form part of of the filter system, I think). The counter-move was summarily dismissed.

“The fish tank is a live, aesthetically appealing, educational centrepiece that adds value and appeal to the home,” said No 1 with great enthusiasm. I also love art and paint, do collages and sew and as I can see the beauty, wonder and potential of every shell, bead, fabric and pebble, I simply cannot throw them away so I confess
to another cache of boxes being filled with, what I like to call, my objets d art.”

“Can I chuck out this box labelled sticks?” asked the 16-year-old daughter’s friend. “No”, she shrieked hysterically. “That’s my mother’s art sticks handpicked on the beach. Put a fragile sticker on that box.”

“You must tell your pets about the move and explain to them what is happening,” said a dear friend who I did not realise was crossing the abyss into the world of insanity. So to appease her and to avoid the cost of future pet therapy sessions, I told them. The cat raised her eyes to the heavens in the same desultory way my 16-year-old does when she thinks she knows everything, and, sadly, I do not, and headed for her food bowl. (Comfort eating, already?).
The parrot squawked and almost fell off his perch in hysterical laughter.

The parrot, I fear, is following the mad friend’s path into a nether world. And so the Dennis clan begin yet another new chapter (in hard copy, please note), this time in Westville. The unpacking is almost done and I can’t find the iron… perhaps it’s nestled safely, like a little bird.


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Michelle Dennis

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