I usually refrain from writing ‘Sorry for the lack of updates’ blog posts because, as my most loyal readers surely remember, my policy has always been to write posts and articles only when I felt I had something to say, not to just keep this place updated for the sake of it. If I make an exception now, it’s because of an exceptional situation. In this past month-and-a-half, I had indeed things to say, things I wanted to talk about, but my concentration and focus have been shattered first in mid-January by the news that my father was not well and had to be hospitalised for heart-related issues. (Thankfully he is now better, they had to change his heart medications and the new therapy is making him feel much better than before, but I was worried because we live in different countries, about 1,500 kilometres apart, and it was impossible for me to just catch the first available plane and be there.)
Then, at the end of January, our landlord called my wife out of the blue and told her that his son and his fiancée want to come live in the apartment we’re now in, and that we had a couple of months to find another place to live and move out.
When you rent a place instead of owning it, you know the day may come, the day when you’re made aware that the owner has other plans for the place you’re living in. Sometimes you’re lucky, like my grandparents, whose landlord was a single man who owned several apartments and was very happy to rent them long-time. Then I have friends who had to move, like, five times in three years because they haven’t been able to find a stable living solution yet. My wife and I have been living in this apartment for the past twelve years, we never had problems with the landlord, and our contact with him has been truly sporadic. The last time we spoke with him was probably sometime in 2015, so this latest development really caught us by surprise.
If you’ve ever experienced the situation where you have to find somewhere to go on a relatively short notice (as opposed to choosing to move someplace else when you see fit and on your own terms), especially when you’ve been living in the same place for a long time and it truly feels your home, you’ll understand how suddenly my wife and I couldn’t think of anything else except browsing apartments for rent on specialised websites and talking with estate agencies. There were days when the inability to write while at the same time being consumed with the need to write was truly killing me. But what can you do when time is short, and you have to 1) find a suitable place with enough room for your stuff and your needs, and 2) take into account a few days to pack, move your stuff, and clean the place you’re leaving behind?
Fortunately we have found a new apartment, and next week the moving process will start for good. We are now in the sorting phase, when you start going through your stuff and do a bit of a spring cleaning ahead of schedule. Since we basically have all March to move out, the idea is to pack and move a few boxes at a time, bring them to the new apartment, take things out and put them in place, then return to the old apartment with the empty boxes and fill them again; rinse and repeat. This is to avoid having to deal with dozens of big boxes and move everything at once, and then having to deal with a new apartment so crammed with boxes you can’t move around, like it happened last time.
As you can imagine, all this is time- and energy-consuming. Now I feel less stressed than a month ago, because the initial uncertainty is gone now that we’ve finally found a new place. But there is indeed a lot of stuff to pack, a month passes quickly, and I want things to go as smoothly as possible. We don’t have much furniture to move, thankfully. The apartment we now live in came mostly furnished, and the one we’re moving to is fully furnished, but still we own a sizeable amount of books, CDs, vinyl records, cassette tapes, DVDs, personal papers (a lot of written material in my case: old poetry and prose), then there are clothes, home textiles, kitchen utensils, and so forth.
A move is especially painful if you, like me, like to collect and use vintage computers and devices. Fortunately I’ve managed to keep my collection of vintage Macs and peripherals at a manageable size, so it’s not going to be a huge problem moving it out. There are other things, however, which are taking too much space and are too bulky to carry around. It was sad to bring my trusty 17-inch CRT Belinea display to be recycled, but the flat Eizo display I acquired to replace it weighs almost three times less and is six times less bulky. And, with impeccable timing, my old workhorse of a printer, a 23-year-old HP LaserJet 4L, decided to give up the other day. I’m sad, but from a pragmatic standpoint, it’s another bulky thing I won’t have to pack. I’ve been asked what I plan to do with beasts like the Quadra 950 and the Power Mac G4, which are currently not working, but my motto is ‘Leave no Mac behind’, so they’ll come with me and I intend to fix them eventually, especially the Power Mac G4.
Another unwelcome consequence of having to move not because you choose to, but because you’re forced to, is the financial impact. Having to pay certain expenses upfront and all at once, ending up in a place which is way better than this one but is also going to cost a slightly higher monthly rent, plus paying either for the services of a moving company or for the rental of a van, all these (and more) are costs and expenses we didn’t plan for. What we were planning for just before our landlord called and gave us the news, was to upgrade our aging computers and devices, and buy a new set of tyres for our car, among other things. While we’ve been mostly able to weather the storm, so to speak, this move is definitely solving my dilemma regarding my next Mac upgrade (desktop or laptop?) — I won’t be able to upgrade anything for a while.
You know me, I’m not one of those people who change Mac or iPhone or iPad every year. Technically, my 2009 MacBook Pro, third-generation iPad, and iPhone 5 are still capable, dependable devices. But my Mac officially doesn’t support Sierra, my iPhone 5 will certainly not be supported by iOS 11, my iPad is already stuck at iOS 9. For work I sometimes need to test apps: I dread the moment when I’ll have to decline an assignment because an app I have to localise or test won’t even work on my devices. Further, I dread the moment when the software I need for work won’t run on OS X versions older than Sierra. If you have newer devices than those I have, and could donate them or at least sell them at a reasonable price while allowing me to pay via regular instalments instead of all at once, that would be a great help. If you simply want to support me while I’m dealing with this difficult period, you can purchase my ebooks of short stories, or just send a contribution via PayPal. It’s truly appreciated.
In March I’ll try to update this blog whenever I can. If Apple introduces new iPads — as the current rumour goes — I’ll certainly have something to write about. I hope I will also have the time and opportunity to do so. Thanks in advance for your understanding.