The Ex-Pat Mommy: Moving House – Dream vs. Reality

By at home

A very warm welcome to our brand new columnist, Emma Kaufmann! Every month, Emma will be sharing her musings from across the pond exclusively with at home readers and in her first column, this ex-pat mommy talks all about moving home…

Well we’ve recently moved house and things are a bit chaotic, to say the least. There’s dust swirling about the house and I’ve been sneezing up a storm. I’ve spent the last few days pulling ivy off a tree and pruning some lethal roses. I’ve ended up with thorns in my fingers, scratches all over my arms and two broken nails. I am a wreck. But I am a happy wreck.
The fact was I fell in love with this house. I spied it driving past – nestled in a quiet neighbourhood with lots of trees, wide open spaces and a stream in the garden. It had a finished basement where the kids could live, so my husband and me could snatch the odd half hour of quiet in which to sip wine and contemplate our beautiful house. I wanted the house. I was head over heels in love with the house. And miraculously we bid on it and got it!
We’ve now moved from Baltimore City to the County and as soon as I stepped over the threshold I felt like I had to make this our home. Usually I am a bit of a ‘let it all hang out’ kind of girl, but something about the new house makes me feel like I have to at least attempt to be a domestic goddess. Within days of moving in I was dreaming about the ultimate female fantasy: a complete kitchen remodel. I knew what I wanted: an island in the middle of an airy bright kitchen on which to roll out pastry to make apple and blackberry pie, while another part of the kitchen would serve as a sophisticated seating area where I would throw fabulous dinner parties.
Unfortunately when we moved in, reality bit me in the bum. This was not the countryside, my husband informed me. The rolling hills opposite our house were in fact part of a golf course. A country lad, he explained that the countryside is peopled by cows and cow pats not men in pastel sweaters teeing off. Still, as a London girl, this was all the countryside I’d ever need. The kitchen – not yet remodelled – was okay apart from the fact that the oven left over from the previous owners didn’t work – it didn’t even have an oven knob – just a lethal spike sticking out of it mocking me and showing me just how far I still had to travel from malfunctioning oven to sparkling brushed steel kitchen of my dreams.
We lasted a week in the kitchen without an oven until I cracked. There is only so much microwave pizza you can take. And since we’re not remodelling for a few months we had to bite the bullet and buy a new stove. Yes the sort of functional cheap stove that does exactly what it does on the tin – cook food rather than look like a sleek throbbing Ferrari in the middle of a kitchen. I will have to wait for the huge stove of my fantasy, the stove with three separate ovens to cook soufflé, roast beef and Pavlova all at once.
Isn’t it ironic that now that we women spend less and less time in the kitchen we want our kitchens to be more and more stylish – mainly to show off to our friends. Still, like many women, I love to daydream about my trophy kitchen and its sparkling countertops.
Meanwhile back in the real world I’m still unpacking boxes, waiting for the boring cooker to be delivered and trying not to choke on the microwaved pizza.
So what do you reckon? Are you guilty of spending far too much time fantasizing about a new sexy kitchen when you can barely boil an egg?


About the author
A Londoner born and bred, Emma Kaufmann met her Prince Charming and hopped the Pond (to Baltimore, USA) ten years ago, spawned two frogs and has lived there ever since!  While bringing up two demanding babies – like many mums she soon felt like she was losing her mind, her marbles and her identity. Her hilarious blog, started as a creative outlet, an attempt to rediscover her old sassy self. The blog spawned a book and (together with Gillian Martin) she penned and published Cocktails At Naptime – A Woefully Inadequate Guide to Early Motherhood which has saved the sanity of many a mum!

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