So here we are, right at the very beginning. A very good place to start, or so ‘The Sound of Music’ led me to believe.
Let me fill you in on the details, I got my dad’s house after he passed away last year. It’s a perfectly compact three bedroom semi detached in the north of England and to be honest, I really didn’t know what to do with it.
At the time I was living in London and I could have just sold the house, but my dad had owned that house since I was 5 years old and I felt like I couldn’t just sell it. Even though, my dad planned to eventually up sticks and move back to Italy – and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have minded if I had sold the house – I was too attached. My next option was renting it out – but I didn’t really feel like doing that either.
Grief, I’ve learnt, is very unusual in how it manifests itself within you. My best plan at the time, so as not to lose anything that belonged to my precious dad, was just to do absolutely nothing and carry on as normal as possible.
Fast forward a year (honestly I cannot believe it has been a whole year) and I’ve moved myself and my other half – and his dog into the house. Completely uprooting the three of us was not an easy decision to make but here we are.
So as you can imagine – theres a lot to do in a house that has not been touched in a year. My mind has been in overdrive coming up with colour schemes and storage solutions and remodels. My head is a spider diagram of creativity – which I think is clear from that astoundingly corny metaphor. Anyway, the long and short of it is I’ve been itching to get decorating for about a month now but have I been allowed to?
No I have not.
We’ve had to clear it out first. When I say I hate cleaning and tidying – I mean it with every inch of my being. I hate packing things into boxes, I hate Dettol, I hate heavy lifting. It makes me understand why small children throw almighty tantrums and thrash around on the floor, wailing.
Fortunately, I have excellent friends that helped and a skip, which is now full.
I thought it would be awful going through my Dad’s things (I’ve kept nearly all his clothes and endless pairs of shoes and other such Dad related items) but actually it was great.
I had so many memories of him and it gave me an opportunity to talk about him for three whole days. We laughed at the 3 million bottle openers he had managed to collect and equal number of wine glasses (This isn’t as much of an exaggeration as you might think). We found old photos and so many things that had a story to tell, including a sizeable collection of Chef’s whites which we’ve put in a box called ‘Dad’s dressing up things’.
The last and hardest room to clear was the kitchen. Partly because the Dettol was out in full force but also because this was where dad and I spent so much time together. Where I learned to cook with him, possibly where the most memories were made. For the first time in the three days I cried. It’s quite unbearable to miss someone so much and to not have any way of contacting them, and even though I was in his house clearing his things out because he’s not around – every so often I’d have to stop and imagine him there, taking it all in so as not to forget any part of him.
Dad always had fancy plates and glasses and kitchen gadgets and I would always ask if I could have them because I liked them. Dad’s response would be “No.” and then he would follow it up with “When I die, you can have everything, I’ve got loads of glasses in the loft”. Literally, every single time.
I would always argue that I didn’t want to wait for that to have a nice pasta bowl, since I assumed it would be many many years ahead of me and I didn’t want the bowl anyway, if that’s what it would take to get it. However, now I’m dealing with that very thing, I can at least say my dad kept his word. If you are a parent reading this – please note, your child does not need to inherit loads of wine glasses left in a loft. It’s ok to throw things out once in a while, you do not need to hoard them just in case there is a worldwide glass shortage.
So with the help of my wonderful pals, the house is finally clear and boxed up – let the renovations begin…