OK, we’re exhausted. On Wednesday night we went down to the lake house (we named it Rowell, not sure if I ever mentioned that here). Thursday morning early the moving truck showed up, with all our stuff from the Netherlands. The truck wasn’t more than half-full; we’ve been living in furnished flats for the last six years. Still, half a 40-foot moving van is a lot of stuff, especially when you’re trying to fit it all into a house that’s already furnished. The load included two rowing singles; the two sets of oars that go with them; two segments of a beautiful old wooden eight that we bought when our club in the Netherlands retired a couple of their boats, three sets of wooden oars (these boats and oars will be used for decoration, not rowing); two nightstands; a lingerie chest; a rocking chair; a matching ottoman; a storage ottoman; two patio chairs; and all of the books, clothes, pots, dishes, glasses, kitchen utensils, sheets, towels, tools, travel souvenirs and art and hobby stuff (beads and yarn) that we took with us or bought along the way.

Ted’s always said that it really bothers him when things in a house don’t have a place they go in; that’s not something that’s ever bothered me before, but now I understand what he means; I felt like I was drowning in a tidal wave of possessions. There was so … much … stuff. We worked from early every morning to late at night getting it sorted; I’m proud to say that now the entire upstairs of that house is cleared out. Books are on shelves, clothes are in closets and drawers, sheets are neatly stored in bins labeled according to which bed they’re for, kitchen stuff is put away. (The house is oddly organized; the main floor is a 3-bedroom two-bath house, with a large fitness room, craft room, garage, large laundry/workroom, and two baths downstairs.) The fitness room has the ergs and weights set up and usable on one side, with stuff meant for the new house on the other side. We brought back one load of stuff that we’ll need in the new house right away, but we kept it to a minimum since everything we brought back now had to be carried up stairs to this apartment and will then have to be brought to the new house and carried up there. (It’s three floors: garage, then living room, dining room, kitchen and den, with bedrooms on top.) The craft/storage room in Rowell is also full, but we can clear that out at our leisure. It was just such a relief to get the stuff all sorted away!

Also, it was great to have all our stuff on one continent. I made shrimp étouffée on Friday night and was able to use the new German knife we bought for that house just before leaving the Netherlands, my good cast iron Dutch oven, a pot from Taiwan (that was in a box the whole time we were in the Netherlands), and that house’s gas stove, all together for the first time. (I do not like Chef Emeril’s recipe, however. There was something wrong with his proportion of flour to butter and I had to correct them by guess.) Ted was happy to finally get to row his single on that lake, and I took my open water boat (it’s a Wintech Explorer 21 rec shell, good for training or open water) out for a shakedown cruise, though the water was like glass, and its extra stability wasn’t needed.

And we even got back in time to see the Superbowl – I’ve seen better years for commercials, but the game itself and the halftime show were some of the better ones I recall.