We had a portable combo washer/dryer that smelled the place up whenever we did laundry. The whole apartment was smaller than the basement in my townhouse. Mom and dad shared a sofabed in the living room (where they conceived my little brother, which once I figured out what “conceived” meant, gave me an undying respect for their courage). I was 6, and Tim was 4, and he was wired. We lived in that little place for a year.
Getting back to my original point when I started this thing. We had lovely geothermal heating that ran through pipes under the floor. Whenever we came out on Saturday morning to wake mom and dad up so we could watch ancient cartoons on the only network we got (AFN – It irreversibly stunted my pop culture growth. I’m a generation behind in TV viewing), we’d sit on the floor in our footie pajamas, eat cereal and let the heat from the pipes seep up through our bodies. I never felt warmer or more secure than those mornings sitting on the floor with my little brother.
We lived about 300 yards from the end of the runway. Fighter jets, airliners, transport planes, etc would take off at all hours of the day and come in to land right over our house. The walls shook; the windows rattled; whatever was sitting on the table that stood on our slanted floor ended up on the slanted floor and rolling towards the front door. We had blizzards with sixty-five mile-an-hour winds and twenty foot drifts that blew over the tops of buildings. Yet, our little apartment always had warm floors, aluminum foiled windows in the bedroom and that stupid tub. I know it was probably miserable at the time, and I have no idea how my mom survived being pregnant and having to deal with my brother and I in that tiny place. What’s odd is how fond my memories are of the place. I can’t think of anything bad to say about living there (other than the time my dad kicked me in the neck on accident while we were sledding down a dormant volcano in a refrigerator box and my ulcer, but that’s not really connected to Iceland but another story I’ll tell another time). My memories are rosy and warm, like geothermal floors and footie pajamas.