Helloooo <knocks on screen> anyone still out there?
Sincere apologies for the radio silence.
My mind has been somewhat distracted with the unfeasible task of moving four children and 7 years of
an undiagnosed hoarding condition lovingly collected belongings from one property to another. Due to our spontaneous, fun-loving personalities (aka, hell if we’re paying another months rent if we don’t need to) we had slightly over three weeks between the decision being made and ‘the big day of move’. Now; imagine that you are the kind of person who takes decision making verrry seriously, can debate things so successfully in your own head that sometimes you have to declare stalemate and approaches change in the same way that Peppa Pig might approach a hotdog convention…..are you there? Good, so you can probably empathise slightly with what I’m saying.
Step 1: The viewing – the first opportunity to suss out whether this property will be suitable for your needs. We approached this with a sensible, methodical system; checking room sizes, assessing outdoor space etc. Meanwhile two of the three children we had brought with us were performing there own tests “Mummy, we can both fit in the cupboard…look…MUMMY…the door won’t open…STUCK”.
Step 2: The application – applying for a private rental property is akin to attempting admission to MI5. There are application forms that put war and peace to shame and cover aspects of life you have never before considered, they have more appendixes than the staffroom fridge in a theatre department. For some reason, as soon as my eyes spy an application form they cease communication with my brain. I’m suddenly completely unaware of my own details to the point that I feel like an identity thief with every box I tick. I managed my name and date of birth…phew… I hit a hurdle with national insurance numbers, I have both mine and my husband’s stored in my head…unfortunately they are stored as a random mush of numbers and letters, they all there just not necessarily in the correct order or assigned to the right person. I also have them stored on my phone, except I know that one of them is incorrect but I can never remember which one or which part is wrong; so all in all a useful use of phone memory. Then there’s the reference element; bank, previous landlord, employee and character. That’s a lot of people to find who will say something nice about you. The employer reference is also slightly dicey when you spend your days being bossed around by a 3 year old, ‘you should give my mummy this house because if you don’t she’ll put you in timeout’.
Step 2: Checking your things fit in the desired property – now let me share some wisdom; when you visit the property again to ‘measure up’ be absolutely sure to take a tape measure. This will avoid the slight awkwardness of ‘will our bed fit?’ ‘erm, well if I lay on the floor and you take account for the headboard and the bit at the end…’ and also negate the need to come back later with said tape measure and attempt to measure up for curtains from the outsides of the windows. Note: accuracy can in no way be assured when you’re on your tiptoes in the mud trying to gauge how tall the windowsill is likely to be.
Step 3: Packing – Easy, we’ll place all our things in sturdy boxes, label them clearly and job done. And then there’s the reality: pack 3 things into a box, turn around to reach item 4, turn back to find an empty box. Children and packing DO NOT MIX. Suddenly every toy/book/potato masher that you attempt to pack is their absolute favourite that cannot possibly be put in a box. The pile of ‘stuff I’ll secretly pack once she’s asleep’ becomes considerably taller than the pile of stuff that’s actually packable. Then there’s the ‘packing tape black hole’, I swear there’s some sinister force at work, I never managed to finish an entire roll before it vanished into the ether, yet there was constantly a length of it attached to my slipper/the letterbox/the baby, although conversely I did find 12 open packets of baby wipes so at least the force was offering a swap. Finally there’s the labelling; I started off with good intentions ‘2 medium sized saucepans and a lemon – KITCHEN’ by the time I was halfway through I had boxes proudly bearing the label of ‘crap I found behind the sofa’. There’s also the boxes that I neglected to either tape or label which made me incredibly popular with those loading the van.
So, finally, after you’ve gone through these steps and completed all the admin (unsuccessfully attempting to remember every password for every website that needs an address change, then unsuccessfully attempting to remember every password for every email account for every ‘forgot password’ request..it’s a vicious circle I tell you).
Then you reach M Day (the big day of move). The day when you realise how much stuff you actually have and come to the conclusion that the property you’re leaving behind must, in fact, be some sort of tardis. The day you find out that when your husband painted the bedroom he actually left the wardrobes in situ and painted around them. The day you realise that your daughter’s beloved piano weighs more than a healthy baby hippo.
But, anyway, we are in, yes we are tripping up over boxes, but we are in. We finally have a table in the kitchen so the monkeys can sit and chat while I lovingly cook (they can sit and complain about the meal while I’m cooking it rather than after I serve it), we have tall ceilings so my
impulse buy 7ft giraffe doesn’t get concussion, we have open fire places so with a bit of training I’m hoping we can perfect ‘chim chimney chim chim cheroo’, and most importantly we have an understairs cupboard so the eldest can move in to await her letter from Hogwarts (fingers crossed we haven’t raised a muggle).
Here’s to the next few weeks of cardboard box jenga.
Welcome to my world.