Throw the switch

Remember when I removed the door trim of a door so I could hide some cables, but then I decided I couldn't hide the trim and turned it into a different project? Well, no, I haven't fixed the cabling problem (I'm thinking under the floating floor... somehow) but stay with me.

The cable problem stems from having one speaker, my CD player and turntable on the opposite side of the door from the other speaker and my amp. Before you go all millennial on me and tell me I shouldn't have CDs, or a CD player, I'm here to say that physical media is great, so say I, and I don't care what you say about saving space or portability or whatever. Popping in a CD or sliding on a record is the decision to engage in a complete work, and staying with it until it's finished. It's about receiving something that someone thinks is complete and worthy of your time. I just like it.

I had a long stereo RCA cable (male to female, so an extension cable) I made for the turntable for the last apartment, and was reusing that here. But with the purchase of a standalone CD player (a 1991 Technics SL-PG100 from a local refurbisher on eBay), I either had to run another stereo cable or switch the cable between the two sources. While the two separate cables would provide more flexibility, I didn't want to fill the apartment with cables.

I'm somewhat more comfortable with a soldering iron in hand than a caulking gun, so I decided to build a simple audio switch. I couldn't find anything on eBay that was simple and not ugly, so a DIY job it was. I picked up the components from Jaycar and set aside an afternoon to build it.

The switch, soldered up with some hookup wire

It couldn't be simpler. A 6-socket RCA panel, a DPDT (double pole, double throw) mini toggle switch, a plastic case and some hookup wire. I wondered whether I should have used something more substantial for the internal wiring (the answer is probably yes), however I figured the wiring would be so short it's unlikely I'd notice a difference if I used cheaper, easier-to-use wire.

First I soldered the ground pins together on the RCA sockets, then all of the equally-cut wires to the 6 pins of the toggle switch. The middle two pins (taller, on this switch) go to the left and right signal pins of the output RCAs. The other four pins - paired on each side - connect to the left and right pairs of the two inputs.

I decided to use the plastic case length ways so it had a smaller profile. I drilled a hole in one side for the switch, and a few holes and used my junior hacksaw to cut out a space for the RCA sockets. The socket board is loosely held in place by the plastic screw poles in the case which is good enough if the cables are not going to be swapped very often.

The finished switch, with turntable and CD player

I sanded the cut edges and assembled it all together and it works a treat, not even a bump when the switch is thrown. There's something just a little bit fun in flicking a switch every now and then. It's not hard to imagine I'm in an airplane cockpit or I'm riding in the Batmobile and I know what all these switches do.

Black frames

It wasn't really until I moved in and spent a few nights at my desk staring out the windows that I started to appreciate the pleasant city view the new place has. It was just a shame that view was surrounded by grubby old aluminium window frames. You know, getting all grubby up in my view. So I decided early on that I'd like to paint the window frames black. No big deal. In fact, I didn't think it would make that much of a difference at all. It's just a small strip around the window, surely it wouldn't have a big impact visually?

The window before the black gloss paint

I picked up some metal etch primer (so the paint would, in theory, stick to the metal) and a tin of black gloss metal paint. On the last day of 2015, in the stinking heat, I got my supplies ready and started the smaller of the two windows/sliding doors in the living room. In the ridiculous heat, mind you. I wanted to get it done before the new couch arrived (hooray!) and got in the way.

I started by scrubbing long strips of dirty, sticky adhesive off the window frames. I'm not sure what reason one of the last tenants of this apartment had for using so much glue all over their window frames, but it made a real mess. I scrubbed and scrubbed and got most of it off with the help of some orange oil goo-remover.

Next it was time for the etch primer. I have a real knack for underestimating the time I'll need to paint by a magnitude of four or so. It ended up take two or three hours just to get a coat of the primer on. The primer was almost the same colour as the aluminium, so it was difficult to see what kind of coverage I was getting. Between that and the heat wearing me down, it's quite possible my primer coat wasn't great.

I left it overnight (you know, the night all the fireworks go off). I returned home from my low-key festivities around 3am, but I knew I had a big day of painting ahead of me so I didn't indulge in much of a sleep in. I was back at it, this time with the wild fumes of the black metal paint.

This stuff was a real struggle to get on the metal. It barely stuck at all. The first coat was incredibly patchy, almost watery, and it still took me hours. If I stood back and squinted, I could get an impression of what the new black window frames should look like. What I saw shocked me. It was a big change visually. I started to worry if I had made a big mistake. The window frames were now much more obvious than before. I worried they were making the windows seem closer, and the room smaller. Even though I had concerns, I decided to crack on and see what it looked like finished. Working in the heat, with a fan pointed right at me, the paint was drying quickly at least, so I could start the second coat right after the first.

It took not just a second coat, but a third coat, and then further touch-ups (and I can still see parts that need another coat), so I was well and truly sore and sick of painting by the end of the day. It was an incredibly tedious job as there were almost no flat surfaces, lots of crevices, bends, nooks etc to cover. Having the sliding door also added so many more surfaces to paint. I was glad I wasn't painting the exterior of the window.

The window after the black gloss paint

It wasn't until a few days later that I started to like the gloss black and assuage my concerns about the dark frames making the room feel smaller. Now I love it. At night the frames are great; they disappear and the room seems bigger. The actual task of painting was so tedious though that I think I'll need to give it some time before tackling the other window that's twice the size. Maybe next New Years.

If you can't stand the iron-on edging...

My friend Greg has spent a few weeks of his summer holidays here in Melbourne. He was excited to drop by my apartment to check it out. I was giving him the tour when he stopped in the kitchen and said, with considerable reticence, "You know, this part of the kitchen is a bit weird." It was the cupboard surrounding the fridge: two tall flat panels on either side and some shelves above. One of the flat panels protruded further than the bench top making it awkward to get in there. I'd already removed the shelves to make room for the microwave (I'm firmly in the microwave above the fridge camp), and it wasn't until Greg pointed it out did I notice that the other panelling was now redundant.

The kitchen as it was. (This photo is from a few years ago. I forgot to take a photo before we started ripping into it.)

We had a cup of tea and chatted, but I had one eye on the screwdriver. Now that the idea was in my head, I wanted it rip it out. Greg was keen, so we got to work unscrewing and yanking the panels off the wall. Before long it was all out and Greg could head home to leave me with the mess.

Greg removing some panelling from the kitchen

It really opened up that corner of the kitchen. It also exposed a big U-shaped cut in the ceiling (it looked like someone had started cutting a man hole up there and never patched it), and the sides raw, unfinished of the benchtop and the overhead cupboards. I considered just painting them to match the wall, but decided to use one of the panels now removed to cut some laminated pieces to cover the ends. This was going to require a trip to the hardware store.

Cashed up with gift vouchers thanks to generous family members during Christmas, I went on one an old-fashioned shopping spree. Picture me running down the aisles gleefully waving armfuls of cornice cement and deadlocks into my skidding trolley. Well, not quite. Without a car I'm restricted to only what I can carry, so no trolley, and there was a lot less running and more gently squeezing past people who were busy carefully considering which light switch covers they prefer. Nonetheless, I came home with a bag of goodies, including a new handheld jigsaw!

After marking out the shapes I wanted, I fired up the jigsaw. Wow, that thing is loud! Maybe the loudest thing I have in my house. I asked on Twitter if there was any Power Tools In Apartments etiquette I should be aware of, but since it was about 3pm, and not on a Sunday, I seemed to be in the clear. It helped me to put in my earphones to dull the sound. If it didn't seem as loud to me, it was easier to imagine it was quieter for the neighbours. I had assumed that cutting with the jigsaw was going to be like every other DIY job: it would seem like it's very easy in theory but then you go to do it and it's very hard/fiddly/messy/frustrating/takes a long time, like painting, caulking, sanding, plastering... pretty much everything else. Well, it isn't so. Cutting with the jigsaw was a dream (aside from the noise) and I was done in a few minutes. What a dream.

Jigsawing the new cupboard side panels

Fitting the lower side panel

After cutting the two pieces and turning my apartment into an Lonestar Restaurant (you know, how they had the peanut shells all over the floor, which just looked like sawdust?), I was able to screw on from the inside of the cupboards and things were looking a whole lot better.

I also took this chance to run the long telephone extension cord I was running to my modem through the cavity above the overhead cupboards. That required some drilling and a frustrating process of feeding the cable through while taped to another stiffer cable to act as a feeding rod. Sometimes you just have to improvise to get things done. Hiding that cable was well worth the hassle.

The exposed edge at the top of the overhead cupboards

I was left with the cupboards looking pretty good, but the lower panel still had rough exposed edges that ought to be covered. During my next trip to the hardware I sought out some melamine edging tape. It comes in a roll like normal masking tape (but thick) and you simply iron it on to the edge, with some baking paper between (or the tape itself melts). The tape is pre-glued so it just needs that heat. Unfortunately I couldn't get any in a woodgrain to match, so I settled for black. It wasn't a bad choice as the bench top is dark grey and the front of the cupboard has a black spacer strip anyway. So there I was, listening to the new Broadway cast of Follies and sanding and ironing my benchtop late at night. Later, when I was doing some caulking in the bathroom I ran a tiny amount of silicon along the join between the countertop and the new panel to stop any water from getting down there. I hope.

Ironing on the edging

Later, after the cleaning

I think it has come up a treat considering I am once again relying on zero handy skills and know-how. It has made that part of the kitchen so much more usable, and it's where I keep my kettle and tea so it's basically the only part of the kitchen I use. Now I need to go and buy some more wall paint to finish painting the newly exposed walls behind the fridge, and properly repair the cuts in the ceiling, but those are jobs for another day.

From doorway to dust

Trawling Pinterest and design blogs with a cup of tea, as I do, I came across these these invisible doors and kinda fell in love with them. They look so uncluttered; free of trim and hinges to emit a sense of peace and stability. Perhaps I'm asking too much of a door, but they were so beautiful how could I resist looking to them for a little comfort? Realising that they were not really achievable for me without some serious carpentry work (and even then...), I pinned a few more and moved onto bathroom taps or something else.

Meanwhile I've got a very prominent bedroom door in the middle of what is my single lounge room wall. I've placed my new, eBay-acquired 1991 Technics CD player and turntable, along with my record collection on one side of the door, with my TV and amp on the other. This raised the problem of cabling. Since I moved in I just hung the cables over the door frame with some vague notion of running them through the wall, around the door at some point. Well, that point was this weekend as I thought about the things I needed to achieve to make my apartment less chaotic. I did some reading and it seemed it might be possible to remove the trim from the door, run the cable in the gap between the door frame and the plaster and then attach the trim. And before I knew it, I had a paint scraper and utility knife in my hand plying off the trim. In terms of making the apartment a bit less chaotic, I was one step forward, eight steps back.

Lounge room door

The trim came off in one piece leaving behind some dried glue and lots of nails, however I quickly realised that there simply wasn't anywhere to run a cable without making things a whole lot worse. The door frame is made of solid wood which seems to but right up against the metal bracing and the plaster. The only option I could think of was to cut out a groove from the solid wood and run the cables in that.

As I stepped back to consider all of this work I looked up and memories of those invisible doors came flooding back. Sure, I couldn't achieve the totally flush look of those doors, but without the trim perhaps I could achieve a look almost as modern. The door itself is perfectly flat so it might just work. The lack of trim would give me a few extra inches of wall space and might make the wall seem a little bigger. I didn't need much convincing. The need to hide the cables was now out the window and my eyes were on a bigger bounty now.

I scraped off the remaining glue and gave it a light sanding. The nails were sticking out just a few millimetres so I bought a junior hacksaw from Bunnings and cut the buggers off. I used a grinding stone attachment for a dremel in a drill I had on loan from a friend and ran over the nails to make sure no sharp bits were still sticking out. The hacksaw had cut up the area around the nails a little, and there were a few pits and chunks missing around the door. A sizeable portion of the plasterboard had come loose (or perhaps it was just a few layers of paint) so it had kind of curled up to create a gap. I was going to need to plaster the area to smooth out these issues before painting.

Now, of all the jobs I hate, plastering is it. I just don't understand how to do it properly. I've watched youtube videos, but it's just like dancing to me. I can see someone do it, and I can comprehend the movement but no amount of time or practice will see me doing anywhere near as competently. In theory it's easy. Apply it to the wall, smooth it out, let it dry, then sand it back. Apply, smooth, dry, sand. Apply, smooth, dry, sand. I mixed up a batch of cornice cement and went at it. I made a huge mess of it.

The result was absolutely terrible. Lumpy, pitted, protruding wall. It was better before I started. Once it had dried I tried to sand it down, but it really seemed to be a lost cause. All I was doing was covering the entire apartment in a fine layer of dust that will be with me until the building burns down. Even then it will probably still follow me around like the mask in The Mask. "Maybe it'll be fine with a coat of paint?" I lied to myself. I painted one small area and NOPE. It looked like I had just painted over playdough.

I got my scraper and worked out some frustration but just scraping the whole lot off again. What a waste of time and supplies. And the dust, my goodness, the dust (this is about the sixth time I made a futile mental note to pick up some mouth masks next time I go to Bunnings). Suddenly, it all started to look a bit better. A bit. The large lumpiness was gone, but I left just enough to hold down the flapping paint, and fill in a few of scrapes. It's still not great, mind you, but at least it doesn't look like the leading character from the film Trog. In low lighting people might not even gasp in horror when they see it.

After a few coats of paint I realised I was never ever really going to be satisfied until I painted the door as well. That cream door would really stick out with my new modern trim-less frame. So, I sanded it back (MY GOD IT'S MADE OF DUST) and gave it a few coats of the same colour but in semi-gloss (when I picked up the paint the day before the first tin had cracked and spilt paint all through the shaking machine, such fun). It seems so easy to say it in one sentence like that, but it was really 4 coats over 2 days, cramping hands and I'm still picking dried paint off my body.

I am also considering painting the inside of the door frame in a colour, or charcoal for a bit of visual interest. I think I'll mock it up with coloured bits of paper first, and see if I like it before I commit to the paint. I tried to find an example of someone having done this on pinterest and couldn't find anything (just two tone doors, which I love but I don't have the space for).

So, it's very rough, and didn't fix the original problem of the cabling, but I do love my new door so much. I think it has really changed the tone of the lounge room. I'm considering removing the trim on few other doors in the apartment, but I definitely need to hone my plastering skills before I do, and maybe a few more laps with the vacuum first.

Making it rain (and not catch on fire)

After the nightmare that was moving house, waking up in the new bedroom under my crisp white linen with all that natural, bright light shining in felt so good. It took a few more days of Gumtree no-shows to eventually offload the rest of my furniture, dump the trash and ask my friend Phillip to kindly rent a car so we could move the last few things that didn't make it onto the truck. I had to sell my couch after deciding it probably wouldn't fit in the new apartment, and I was able to offload it on Gumtree to an unbelievably attractive couple from Canada. As we squeezed the couch down the fire escape (yet again) into the awaiting ute and I struggled to breathe let alone engage in a conversation with the extraordinarily beautiful French Canadian woman tailing us down the stairs, I just kept thinking "after this, it's done." The next morning I handed the keys back in and said goodbye to renting, the constant threat of eviction and seeking approval for every little repair and change.

Saturday was spent trying to unpack and clear a path through the mess of items everywhere. The removalists had declared that the washing machine wasn't going to fit through the gap in the laundry (even though I had just pulled one out of there a few days prior, and you know - they're all the same width), so it was sitting out in the lounge room. I was going to need some clean clothes sooner or later, so I tried to move the washing machine into the laundry. I had already removed the door to make getting it in easier, but I couldn't get the machine moving at all. My usual trick is to put a piece of heavy furniture on something slippery like a couple of cushions to make sliding easier, but I was worried about the damage to the cushions. In the end I realised I could achieve the same outcome by wetting the floor to let the rubber feet slide. Four black rubber skids on the floor later (which I still haven't cleaned) and the washing machine was in place. Unfortunately, being one of those new fangled front loaders with a bulky door, I found it was too deep for the cupboard by a few centimetres. There was no chance of getting that door back on and having it close. The washing machine is only fairly new and I'm not willing to consider changing the machine, so the door will be sacrificed and I might look into a sliding door mechanism that sits over the top or extending the doorframe. A few people suggested a curtain might do, but it's right in the entrance way so I'd like to be able to close it properly. That would help with the washing machine noise.

Even once it the washing machine was in, it wasn't smooth sailing. The hot water tap had a smaller diameter than the cold tap so the large plastic bolt around the hose couldn't connect to the tap. I could use the machine with cold water only, however I find it's important to use to hot water every now and to clean heavily stained items (the hot water keeps my white bed linen brighter – not that I'm suggesting my bedding is heavily stained), as well as keeping the machine clean. Being the son of a plumber is extremely handy in situations like this, so I phoned for advice and was told I can buy a bush/adaptor to bridge the gap. It seems the wrong tap had been installed at some point. That makes sense because the previous washing machine didn't have the hot water pipe connected, and the taps generally seemed newer than the fittings in the rest of the apartment.

On Sunday, the apartment still a complete mess, I chose to cash in some of my enthusiasm and make a trip out to Bunnings to get some supplies. After a good 20 minutes staring at all of the plumbing connectors in little boxes stacked up high, I called my Dad again for his assistance. I eventually found the part I needed for the washing machine for a few dollars and grabbed some plumbing tape (the pink stuff is better than the white stuff) and a shifter. I swung by the bathroom fittings aisle and picked up a rainfall showerhead and gooseneck spout for the shower to replace the stained, stock standard showerhead. I also grabbed some other items for future projects and racked up a $250 bill.

Washing machine tap adaptor being fitted

I was feeling like quite the handyman when I successfully taped and fitted the washing machine tap adaptor. At first I hadn't attached enough pink tape so when I turned it on there was a very slow dribble that leaked out. More tape fixed that problem, and a good tip from my Dad was to use a towel to catch the water sitting in the hose that will squirt out (if you need to disconnect an existing pipe as I did). With a bit more tape there was no leaking and my clothes could bathe in hot water once again.

Showerhead comparison

I turned my attention to the rainfall showerhead (yes, I know I still need to paint the ceiling, and those tiles are the least white "white" imaginable so they'll eventually go but let's focus on the prize). It was all going smoothly until the thumb screw on the shifter jammed up and I couldn't get it loose again. I probably wasted an hour on it, trying different techniques to loosen it. Out of frustration, I decided to hit it with a hammer. Turns out that works a treat. I was back on track, and had a glorious new rainfall shower experience awaiting me.

The next task was to remove a glass shelf in the shower. The metal parts were fairly gross and the glass had actually cracked in a few places. I was convinced I was going to knock it one day in the shower and send tiny slivers of glass down into the shower. I would instantly freak out and then stand on some and the blood would drain from me like me Marion Crane. The tiny screws that hooked it onto the wall plates were all gummed up and couldn't be freed, so I used my old friend brute force again. I taped up the glass part with packing tape to make sure it wouldn't shatter everywhere when it moved, and then wrapped it in an old towel and pulled it right off the wall. Quite a part of it had rusted so it was really the only way I was going to get it out of the wall. I also removed the plastic plugs into which the screws would connect with, so I was left with 4 holes in the shower wall. I hadn't thought to pick up a new bottle of silicon at Bunnings, so for now I've just carefully taped packing tape over the holes to stop water from dripping down behind the tiles. I really must get on that, though.

I had scheduled an electrician to come and replace my halogen downlight/roof fires with LED downlights. Two of the existing downlights in the kitchen would overheat and shut off after about an hour of being turned on, so even though it was an outright expense, I considered it fairly urgent. I like to keep any and all fires where they belong: in the bedroom, not the ceiling (ugh, no). I got excited by the Victorian government rebate on offer for switching out downlights, but it turns out that just covered a bulb switch, so the same old, heavy transformer bricks would still live in the ceiling. Putting LED downlights into those old fittings isn't always a great experience – the bulbs can flicker and die out quickly – so I decided to pay a little more and replace all of the transformers and fittings with new units. I also paid a little more again to keep the dimmer functionality in the living room and bedroom. Gotta have a little mood lighting every now and then. The chatty electrician also wired up 240v sockets in the ceiling so the LED light fittings can be switched at any time; this is important if, like me, you want to do everything yourself and save some cash because you won't need an electrician as you won't be touching any wiring. The electrician copped a parking fine while he worked on my lights (for hours and hours, it seemed). It was just a week before christmas, so I felt spectacularly bad about his fine. As I carried his ladder back to his ute, I offered to pay the fine and tried to hand him the cash but he wouldn't take it. Merry Christmas, I guess.

There's still so much to be done. Everywhere I look there are projects. Projects with dependencies on other projects. This apartment is an Escher drawing of Bunnings trips and irreversible destruction, but I'm sure chipping away at it (in some cases, literally) will get me there.

Moving is a young man's game

Usually if you're really stressed or anxious about some event, once it arrives you realise there wasn't anything to stress about. Not the case for the move from my rented apartment to the new place.

After painting all weekend, I got on with the job of packing each evening with the move booked in for Thursday. I still had a lot to do on Tuesday night, so I cancelled my freelance engagements for Wednesday and spent the whole day packing. Every single moment was spent putting things into boxes. Earlier in the day I bargained with myself: if I could get everything packed by around 7pm I'd let myself go to the movies as a destress. Well, it took a great deal longer than I had imagined and I was still frantically packing until about 9pm. At every turn it seemed I had forgotten a cupboard or hiding space. Under the bed. The cupboard behind the bathroom door with the vacuum cleaner. The kitchen. No movies for me.

Thankfully I had decided to rent moving boxes weeks ago, so I had loads of blue corrugated plastic boxes dropped off to my house. If I had to keep running around to shops to ask for boxes the pack simply wouldn't have been completed in time. Even better, you book in a return date and they come and pick up all the boxes from your new house. What a dream. This service is cheap if you value your time and dignity.

My old apartment

The removalists arrived the next day right on midday. As when I moved in, I recommended they pull into the dirty laneway behind the building. Unlike when I moved in, the laneway was being used by a team of builders for another building, so there was a lot of time wasted while they moved the truck in and out of the laneway. Even so, with three removalists on the job, I was surprised as the hours slipped away and apartment barely looked touched. I was up in the apartment assisting with the wrapping of furniture when one of the men said "There are some weirdos hanging around your stuff down there, you might want to go down." I went downstairs to find a load of my stuff spread across the laneway - not loaded on the truck - with randoms walking throughout it. Even my piano was leaning up against the side of another building. In a dirty laneway. In the roughest part of the CBD. I was freaking out.

My stuff in the laneway

There was a long, greasy-haired guy who seemed pretty content to chain smoke and sit right amongst my stuff all afternoon. He also ate some food, but spread the rest of it across the laneway, which was super helpful. He didn't seem to mind being in the way at all. I stared him down and telepathically told him that if he tried anything my stress levels would pump me so full of adrenaline that I might just take him on. At the other end of the laneway, another man had taken off his shirt and was screaming at passers-by. Soon the police showed up to try to calm him down. All I could do was stand back and watch the removalists wheel my washing machine through this carnival of crazy.

In the end it took three men four hours to empty my apartment (and it took some convincing and eventually demonstration to get them to take my washing machine). It was now 4pm and I hadn't eaten, nor really inhaled, since 8am. I started to walk to the new place and stopped off at a McDonalds on the way. Unlike most people, I can't eat in times of stress (it's not a blessing, it's a curse because it leaves me very open to fainting), so I had managed only three bites of a chicken burger when the removalists arrived at the new apartment. I was coming to terms with the fact that this move was going to cost a lot more than I had expected, and I made a note to investigate fixed cost removalists next time, hopefully far in the future.

I still had one, big stress. I was worried that my year-old couch wouldn't fit through the right angled corridor of the new apartment. Even at the old place it had to enter and leave via the fire escape rather than the front entrance. The couch had been on my mind for weeks, and my anxiety wasn't going to go away until that couch was in the apartment.

The guys rushed everything in. Better parking and a bigger lift meant it took just over half the time to unload. I stayed in the apartment unwrapping all the furniture they had wrapped so they could take their blankets and bubblewrap when they left. I even unwrapped the piano, bolted on the legs and flipped it upright. The piano weights 110kg, proving my point that the long-haired, chain smoking layabout was best not to try my patience today. On the second last lift load, one of the guys said "Your couch doesn't fit in the lift." I hadn't expected this. I thought the lift would be fine. My new apartment was on the ninth floor. I hadn't planned for this. I asked what my options were. They said they could carry it up the 9 floors, but they had another job to go to, so they'd have to come back later that night, around 10pm to do it. The removalists left around 6:30pm.

With the couch unresolved, I was still a ball of anxiety and exhaustion, and now that all the motion had stopped it weirdly pivoted into depression. I was sad, and I couldn't work out why. I wondered if it was because I felt I had made a mistake, or if I really loved the last apartment. Surely it couldn't be the latter - the day's parade of bad choices hanging out in the laneway should have cured that. Perhaps it was that this was the first time I'd moved alone. Even the first time, when I moved out of home my brother had helped load up the ute with my few possessions. Likely it was just an exhaustion cry, but I still couldn't bear the thought that my couch would be carried up 9 storeys and then get jammed up in the hallway. I didn't know what I would do at that point, but it would definitely involved hysterical sobbing.

I spoke to my mum on the phone and told her my situation. I floated an idea: what if I just sent it back to my old apartment. I knew it could fit in there, and I still had the keys for another week. I could try to sell the couch and buy a new one for this apartment. The more I thought about it, it was the only option I could emotionally handle. It took away the risk, it just meant I had to go back to the old apartment later that night and extended my day. Visions of me, as Joan Crawford, screaming "Bring me the axe!" as face cream slopped off my face before hacking away at my couch in the narrow hallway were all I could see. I just couldn't take it.

I texted the removalist and told him of the change of plans. I bet they were relieved they only had to carry the couch 4 floors rather than 9.

I went back to the apartment around 9:30pm, ate three slices of pizza, and awaited the removalists. I made the terrible mistake of sitting in the laneway late at night with the fire escape door open. I was the flame to which the many, stoned, off their faces moths flocked. One guy tried to sell me a photocopied page of words for $5, and then told me he could vibrate through concrete. I asked him not to try because I didn't want to be waiting around for an ambulance. As soon as I got a break, I ducked back inside and waited for the removalists behind the safety of a fire door.

It was after 11pm by the time the couch was dealt with and I could finally head to my new home to sleep. Chris (of Christopher Doesn't Live Here Anymore - so he knows a thing or two about moving) had told me, during the sadness, that I should make my bed. Nothing else was important on the first night, I just needed somewhere to sleep. Having taken his advice I crawled into bed and dozed off sometime about 1am vowing that next time I move, I'll only taking a backpack.