It has been roughly a month since the big moving day into our house, and we are only maybe about halfway unpacked. The reasons for that are many, and most of them are not that interesting (catching a cold, holidays, things which inevitably needed to be fixed, some more renovations after we moved in because library hadn’t been finished before we did, etc.). Instead of complaining about all of those things which are just life, and aren’t even terrible in themselves, here are some pretty pictures from a recent day of shoveling snow, when the weather gods decided that a 40-50cm snowfall in one day is what new house owners in Telemark really need to get acquainted with local conditions.
We found the car, we piled the snow downslope as advised by the neighbor who knows what it looks like when it will all start to melt, and our retired neighbors didn’t have to embarrassingly come and dig us out, and perhaps after this, they think that the city folks may actually survive the winter.
The interior renovations are now finished (at least for this year – we have some things that we’d like to fix in the house, but they are low on the priority list of things that need doing), and we have actually begun to sleep well, finally unbothered by the near-faded smell of paint from the library, and on a new and comfortable bed. The pre-moving stress insomnia wasn’t fun, but it appears to be blissfully gone.
We have also received the final bills for this round of house renovation. This (initial) round of renovations was massive, since we wanted a lot of things finished before we moved in that are the types of things you want done when you are not living in the house, such as ripping the bathroom and kitchen out in their entirety, and building them completely new, with plumbing and wiring. And the bills were, too, proportionately massive. So massive, in fact, that we ran out of money. Not permanently, since we did budget for all of this, and for the cost overrun – we just didn’t budget for the overrun that the cost overrun had.
In order to minimize the impact this has on our cash flow, this month I am going to focus on cooking and eating things we already have, and only shopping for fresh produce and dairy. Things I already have include a full box freezer of meat and seafood (and several bags of frozen wild blueberries we picked last summer), and a full pantry of grains and legumes, as well as 3 sacks of nice potatoes in the cellar. Oh, and a crate of chocolates and cookies we didn’t eat over the holidays because of having been sick after the move. We aren’t about to be living a deprived life. All I am saying is that perhaps what I need, now that I am less exhausted, and the kitchen is closer to being actually unpacked, is to inventory my freezer and the drawers, finish unpacking (because somewhere in those remaining boxes is a jar of chili flakes that I really need really soon), and make at least a loose meal plan week by week, and stick to it.
I had hoped to actually start cooking large batches of food for freezing, but the large freezer which came (for free) with this house and that I’d hoped to use because it was working when we got the house, has died the week before our move, which put a cramp in a lot of those plans, logistically speaking. We can’t afford another freezer until next month, or a couple of months down the road preferably. My small box freezer works, but it’s full so I have to think creatively not just in terms of what to make and when, but how to reshuffle food so that I can freeze the prepared meals when making larger batches.
That said, I am really, really not complaining. In fact, it’s difficult to complain when the outside looks like a glorious winter holiday postcard,
…and inside, there is a rack of dry firewood, and the cast iron fireplace (renovations spoiler!) that we have decided was one of the best renovation decisions we’ve made.
In short, I am well, the move went well, the renovations had cost overruns as is traditional, the cats are well, and it’s mind-bendingly beautiful out here. And with that in mind, I need to head to the kitchen and unpack a box or two. The chili flakes are out there, and they need to be found.
Provided I can tear my eyes from the window long enough to go do that.
You can see how that’d be somewhat difficult.