I haven't posted properly for days - the words in my head just evaporated into silence. My heart zippered itself tightly into a numb tent of disbelief and I am still feeling surreal. Alot of it possibly has to do with the fact that we are living in limbo, albeit in the lap of luxury, a spacious city apartment but without familiar home comforts like toys and games with which to pass daylight hours. The girls have been scratchy and flammable with each other; their new heights of bickering lead me to unzip my tent, poke out my head and growl fiercely before retreating back into the dim still place. This time is stretching them and they are relearning about sharing, empathy and not taking their blessings for granted. A few days after we arrived, they bravely joined the kids' church and were cast in the Christmas production which they will enjoy I believe. We were proud of them for taking new steps and not letting fear dominate their choices. At this stage not one of us is indulging in backwards looking - it would unleash a torrent of emotion, so we cautiously walk out further over the newly formed crust of life in this new place. When there is something good we discover, we celebrate it with enthusiasm and when things are sad, we blink hard and swallow and release our disappointment.
As far as hunting for a house went, we had a list as long as your arm of essential requirements - and by that I mean essential. Like rent being affordable and pets being allowed and enough bedrooms, and a reasonable commute into the city and please God, a garden. Each time I walked around our old garden in the last few months of living there, I petitioned God for a little treed nook just like this one I was leaving. On Saturday we spent 4 hours driving around and exploring the surrounding suburbs about the city and were feeling a little flat that the areas we could afford were so far out of the city, and looked so small and poky with dull square fenced in yards. We arrived back at the apartment and looked online again at available homes to rent, and both chewed our lips thoughfully as we look at a house we had seen many times online but in a totally different area to what we were thinking. We decided on impulse to call the agent despite it being nearly 6pm on a weekend. He said he was on his way to the house that very moment and could meet us there in 15 minutes. We ran to the car! The house is just over the harbour bridge and took about 10 minutes to get to from the inner city, which was a pleasant surprise. We overshot the number though, as it was smack on an intersection, like...ON. We turned around and found ourselves driving down a steep driveway down past several houses to a clearing at the foot of the drive. Nestled among the leaves was the house and once we had got over the shock of the steep descent to the house, we wandered over to find the agent. He was showing another group through so waved us off to explore the garden. It was just like the one I had left behind. Same size. Same lawn with bordering shrubs and trees. Room for the trampoline and a little path winding off into the native forest beyond the boundary with plenty of scope for the imagination and great fodder for my little explorers. I could hear doves and no traffic. We stood at the bottom of the garden and looked back towards the house - how could we convince the agent we were the people for this rental? But when we were shown through my heart sank - it was so dated and my taste in interiors gagged. The peachy carpets, the pink bath, the stained glass accents with autumnal brown flowers and birds and the overuse of my pet hate...pine, all flew in the face of my minimal urban style. The kitchen is one big wooden assault on the senses. I can do wood...if it is white or stained a very dark brown. Not garish timber orange. I folded my arms. No way. I cannot live in this hideous house - give me old fashioned villas any day, or retro vintage, or just plain neutrals, anything really, except PINE. Shudder. I pictured homeschooling amongst hanging baskets and bunches of dried flowers, wearing a long cotton skirt and roman sandals and making rustic patchwork quilts while I wait for my bread to rise. The following two days, my pride and dreams for a home that said AMY wrestled and writhed in a slow death. Finally on Monday morning we rang the agent and told him we would take the house. He had held it for us, giving us first option despite being offered a cash deposit sight unseen by another family. We knew it was for us. We move in at the end of the month. Please address all mail to the Orange Box and the Lady Whose Interior Dreams Have Died. God's sense of humour is profound. He found us a place that ticked all our boxes. All our needs. He didn't need to pamper my selfish indulgence in creating a haven space that inspires me. I thought He did. He says I can find my inspiration in Him. In nature. In my beautiful new garden and the birdsong. Not the knotty ceilings and tangerine-stained cabinets. In Him. Any ideas for decorating a timber rental in a contemporary fashion please feel free to leave comments of inspiration :)

The water fun photos were taken by Greg yesterday when he took the girls for a short walk after dinner to the fountain close to the apartment. I took the park and pond shots in a beautiful domain directly below our new house. In the shot of the three girls in the wooden lookout, our house is somewhere in the background.

Dawn  – (November 14, 2008 at 8:58 PM)  

You make me laugh (describing the house) and you give me perspective! We're looking for a new place to live in January, we've been renting from a family that will return then so there is no hope of staying put. This house has been a total blessing for us as it is my style, has a beautiful garden and is in a great location. It's also very old, drafty and entirely too small for our family of six. The girls and I have very specific prayer lists for our next abode and our "needs/wants" sound much like yours. You do have to post interior pics one of these days!

Erin  – (November 17, 2008 at 4:56 PM)  

I love the double entendre of your post title.

I'm afraid I can't give you much advice regarding your interior pine forest, however. Except to stay outside as much as possible!

(But I have been meaning to mention to you to look into geocaching, if you're in the mood for some outdoor adventuring with your family. As a result of geocaching, we have discovered several wonderful nooks right in our own town that we never knew existed. I think it'd be a great way to get to know your new area. And I was sneaky and looked up your locale- there are plenty of geocaches hidden where you are now!)

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