Damp

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The dehumidifier rumbles on…

drowning out voices saying “damp be gone”

Rising, dripping, seeping through…

We stare in wonder “what shall we do”

pipes and leaks, they have all been tested…

But still the water comes, never arrested

Love your house, love your home…

With all this damp we’re never alone.

Spending too much time together

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Looking back on my maternity leave, my husband and I were very fortunate, although technically allegedly the Turk was rennovating the house, we were both at home throughout my 14 months.  For the first six months I found this frustrating, we never saw him.  I felt so alone.  We would hear him a lot, he would shout up the stairs “why is the baby crying so much, have you fed him?” and I would throw something at him…it wasn’t great…

He worked so hard that at 10pm in the evening I would have to go and find him and beg him to stop work and come to spend some time with us.  Aside from missing out on valuable time with his baby I really needed some support and company.

After Christmas 2013 the momentum on the money pit lessened.  Our builders had disappeared with our money leaving us in an incomplete house so it was just the Turk working on the rennovation, he had lost a lot of motivation and so spent more time with us “preparing to do work on the house” and less time “actually doing work on the house”.  This meant that we spent a lot more time together as a family, admittedly mainly traipsing around DIY stores or in front of the computer trying to work out how to fix the toilet.

This is a good thing…or is it?

I have to say for us it really wasn’t.  I think we spent too much time together, we started to bicker, and pick at each other.  Of course I think every couple does this when you have a new baby and not enough sleep, but to do this more and more as the baby was settled and slept more is a bit strange.  Suddenly my tactics for enforcing naps were questioned, someone else had a view and wanted to try putting Jem down for a nap.  There were two of us there at every mealtime – great – you might think, but actually that’s two people arguing about how much the baby eats, how much is thrown on the floor, whose turn it is to get the water and who left the bib in the living room.

Since going back to work it’s hard to hand over control, but I’ve had to let go.  We still try and have our evening meal all together and we have our weekends, but actually there’s a lot to be said for spending a little less time together.  It means we seem to bicker less, and we actually each have something different to talk about during mealtimes as we haven’t spent all day doing the same thing.  Yes we argue about how many nights out I really need, and why the housework isn’t progressing quite as well as I’d like, but I think we each now have a better understanding of the role of the person at home and give each other a little more slack than we might have done before.

Pick a Positive or Two – discovering things

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Inspired by the lovely Life on Planet T blog I am again joining in the Pick a Positive or Two linky. This week I am focusing on our home:

  1. We have a wonderful new bedroom suite…ok so it doesn’t quite fit as well as we hoped but it’s going to be fab once we’re settled into it.  It’s the first furniture we’ve had that isn’t flat pack, and having lived with second hand furniture and a glued together bed for a number of years it’s a huge achievement;
  2. All our walls are built – this has actually been the case for over six months, but I’m still pleased about it;
  3. Our house appears to be watertight (from the outside in…not yet from the inside in…);
  4. We are finally starting to see things coming together and now I’m back at work we’ve been able to buy nice new things to go in our house (see point 1, above);
  5. There is a good chance that the electricians may come and finish our electrics in the next week or so;
  6. Ditto plasterer;
  7. We’re very very lucky, we live in a 5 bedroom house, and our belongings fill it;
  8. Whatever you think about the grey and dismal area I live in our home is less than 5 minutes walk from the tube and less than 45 minutes directly to work;
  9. I love being able to pop out to the 3 local market stalls and buy our fruit and veg every day;
  10. We live near 2 of the best Turkish restaurants in London (important when you’re married to the Turk).

Counting our many blessings, particularly knowing how many are living in appalling conditions both at home and abroad.

Pick a Positive or Two – discovering things

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Inspired by the lovely Life on Planet T blog I am again joining in the Pick a Positive or Two linky.

This week I am focusing on finding things…potentially in a slightly ironic way, here are some of the things I found out this week:

  1. I found out that my Oystercard was under the rug in the lounge…a day after buying a new one;
  2. I discovered that people at work are looking forward to me coming back…I know this because they have contacted me and told me;
  3. I found a bargain knitting book at the supermarket for £1, it’s baby knitting things…although it did make me realise I haven’t actually knitted anything for Jem yet myself;
  4. I found out that my wonderful cousin is on the way to buying her first house with her fiance, so happy for them;
  5. I realised that the bedroom does fit in a wardrobe and looks pretty darn good;
  6. I found out that my son is far cleverer than I realised, he found one half of a container in his toy box and realised that the day before he had left the other half under his changing table, he went and retrieved it, I was impressed.

Pretty good week (not mentioning the disaster that has been my planning journey to “having it all” but I am working on it 😉 )

Pick a Positive or Two – returning to work

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Inspired by the lovely Life on Planet T blog I have decided to try join in the Pick a Positive or Two linky.  I haven’t really done one of these before so the timing isn’t great in terms of when I like to post, and at first I thought it was something I wouldn’t be able to manage this week, but when I narrowed myself down to one thing to think about it was a bit easier!

 

This week I am focusing on my imminent return to work, it terrifies me on many levels, but on the positive side:

  1. I will finally have some baby free time;
  2. I am really looking forward to having a reason to get dressed and showered in a morning even if I do have to get up an hour earlier than I used to;
  3. I think it will do our relationship a lot of good to have some separation, living and “working” at home together for 14 months hasn’t done our relationship any favours;
  4. I am looking forward to chatting to adults regularly, about non-baby things, like work and stress;
  5. I will feel like I am getting some of my old self back;
  6. Our son will get to spend lots of time with his dad;
  7. I will be able to focus on “quality time” rather than dealing with all the boring bits;
  8. I will be earning money, something we have missed over the past six months!
  9. My job is relatively stable and secure;
  10. I actually have the benefit of doing a job that I enjoy.

Why I should be grateful…

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What have I missed during my 3 weeks away?

Tea, proper builders with milk,
English tv,
My damp, dirty, half finished house,
Space!
Wardrobes,
The kindness of strangers, even here in London!
Silence,
My bed,
Teleshopping,
My own toilet

It’s nice to go away, and it’s nice to come home!

The House and how it came to be

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After renting for a few years near Pentonville Prison I finally got a permanent job and the Turk started talking property.  I was reluctant to invest all our savings into property, it seemed a bit of a waste of time, but I eventually accepted that lining the landlords pockets was not the wisest of ideas so we began a hunt.  I was adamant that we needed to go “in” so we had an offer accepted on a filthy disgusting flat in Kings Cross with real potential.  That eventually fell through and we found ourselves looking further out into the dreaded suburbia of “zone 2”.  This might not seem a big deal to you…to me it was massive.

Our next flat fell through as well and I uttered the fateful words “I don’t care any more, just put an offer in on the last flat we saw“.  At the time I couldn’t remember what it was, but luckily it turned out to be a beautiful conversion flat in Tufnell Park with a large garden and stunning lounge complete with fire.  We lived there for a relatively happy 5 years before the Turk got itchy feet again…

This time I refused to view any flats (we had seen over 100 the first time round) unless the Turk had already vetted them.  It had to have a garden (it didn’t really, I was just being difficult), 2 bed and period features, no further than a 10 minute walk from the tube.  We ended up in an ex-council flat (incredibly close to the tube though) which we renovated in a 6 month stress fest at the same time as I decided to change my career path…fun.

I clearly didn’t learn my lesson though, on my way to work one day I spotted something amazing.  A house for sale…a whole house…by auction…it was AMAZING.  We went to view it, the guardians showed us around and I ooh’d and ahh’d over the missing floorboards, massive gaping cracks in the wall and view of the stars through the absent roof and rear wall.  Ok so it didn’t have a garden, but in all honesty that was all I could see being wrong with it.

The Turk thought I had gone slightly insane…

Ok so the auction estimate was over our budget (by £200,000), but it had only 3/4 of a roof and no back wall (or garden…) so naturally it was unlikely to attract a lot of interest….

…it went for £200,000 over the asking price…

(we didn’t get it…)

To say I was disappointed is putting it mildly.  I needed a house, ideally not one that required a massive amount of work, but in our area I accepted that for our budget it would need some investment.  We searched and searched and it became apparent that we were unlikely to ever be able to afford anything.

The Turk got excited, in massively slightly rougher areas you could buy a house cheaply.  If we bought one and converted it into flats we could make a FORTUNE!

I didn’t want to live in a different area.  But I agreed to look (because, as you may have gathered, I’m incredibly reasonable 😉 ) and I found the most amazing house…again it wasn’t really habitable, and it was pretty far from a tube in zone 3 (literally the middle of nowhere in London terms) but I thought it was fab.  It fell through…

*sigh* I was getting rather bored of looking by this point, and looking around Haringey was getting rather expensive in terms of parking tickets (I lived in Islington for 7 years and didn’t get a ticket once, we had 7 while we were looking for a house in Haringey, most of which were successfully appealed but it was a massive waste of time).  Eventually we found a house, it was 5 minutes to a tube, pretty run down, but with amazing potential.

Then came the big debate, on the one hand the Turk wanted to convert it into flats, make money, and move on.  I wanted to live in a house.

I became pregnant 2 months after we completed on the house…so I won the argument 🙂

I do wonder sometimes about whether we made the right decision, I’ll post another time about the horrors of renovating, the stress of planning permission and raising a baby in a building site.  On top of everything it’s a complete money pit, badly timed with maternity leave it has sucked all our life savings without being completed.  House prices have risen massively and it’s clear now that had we either invested the sale money differently, or turned this house into flats we would have made a big profit giving us financial stability…but on the other hand I don’t know that those choices would have resulted in us living in a home…