Making do, settling in and red lines: Week One in our new home

Week One in our new home and I have morphed from Stoic Camper – bravely ignoring the shower and kitchen sink as I muddled through a few days trying to keep house in an alien environment – to Florence Nightingale on Speed – bleaching the F out of every surface I encounter.

A couple of days ago I reached the point where I needed the new house to be Germ Ground Zero. I felt the need to wipe out the everyday dirt of those who lived here before us so we could replace it with our own.

This is a ritual I carry out every time we move. And it must stem from the primal need to eliminate unknown threats. I’m not a germaphobe or anything, but I do need to wipe out the bugs and grime of others.

Skirting boards have been a particular focus these past few days, and door handles, and the bits on doors you might grope at in the dark when you need a wee.

Scrubbing these in the kids’ rooms until they shone has felt like an act of love today. “Nice cleaning, Mum!” was Sidney’s response. Thanks babe x

Making do
The kitchen is going to be our first big project. The whole thing needs pulling out and starting again but we’ve literally spent everything we have on this house and are going to have to make do for now. After a couple of days of every single surface being crammed with crap – and one bloody stressful roast dinner later – we’ve commandeered a stainless steel shelf thing from the garage and sawn one of the naff units in half to squeeze it in.

It looks awful. But it works. For now. So I’m putting up with it. Like I’m putting up with the bathrooms and some of the curtains.

Red lines

But there are some things I can’t put up with. We chose what I called ‘The Brown Room’ as our bedroom. It’s got a fantastic view over the hill and is big and bright. But the carpet was brown and musty, and having pulled at one corner I found some great floorboards hiding underneath. So off it went to the tip.

The walls were also covered in a very “intense” wallpaper. I once had a dress in that pattern, and I did kind of love it. But the smell of damp – acrid, unpleasant, unsettling – waking us up in the middle of the night meant we had to take immediate action. Off it came in one evening session, leaving smooth walls that will be decorated in a while.

But the brightest red line has been the two bathroom carpets. Impossible to clean, impractical with children – especially a six-year-old boy with a dodgy aim – they make me angry every time I see them. Chris wanted to keep them for now:

   “They’re just not a priority.”

But he’s been persuaded:

“I know you think I’m mental. But mental is taking out five credit cards to renovate the entire house right now. Wanting to pull up those minging carpets is not mental, it’s basic hygiene. You can either help me or I’ll do it myself when you’re at work and probably F it up.”

“OK. I’ll get some floorpaint.”

Settling in

Despite all of the carnage of last week, Sidney and Nelly are surprisingly settled in our new place. They have slept beautifully every night, which I wasn’t expecting. They love their new rooms (oblivious to the woodchip and dwarfish skirting boards) and are currently building dens in their fitted wardrobes – hence I have had an hour to write this post.

Even Maud The Cat is chilled – we let her out on Day 3 and now has her own front door to come and go as she pleases.

But I’m the one feeling out of sorts. It’s probably because I haven’t had enough time to myself to think about things, or the opportunity to explore my surroundings, but I still feel like I’m on holiday rather than living here.

School starts soon – they have places at a lovely school 4 miles away and I’m praying they settle there quickly. Then the kids will be out all day and I’ll have the chance to find a rhythm and routine that makes me feel a little easier.

In the meantime, there are still a couple of miles of skirting board that need a good scrub. Back on with the Marigolds then.



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