Monday 1st August 2011
Hello again everyone!
Time for another update from me, and this time, I have some very exciting news!
I am FINALLY in my brand new shiny house!
We completed the sale on Wednesday last week, and so the last few days have been a very exciting whirlwind of activity!
I got my keys on Wednesday, and then rented a van to go and collect various things I had managed to find for free (one colleague had a freezer going spare, while another colleague was trying to give away an Ikea flat-pack bed and wardrobe, and yet another was giving away 2 Ikea bookshelves etc). So I rented a Streetvan for a couple of hours, and off I went, with the help of two kind friends, to go and collect all my free furniture!
Driving the van was a bit scary at first – as I’ve never driven one before! It was fairly easy on the whole, but the hardest part was getting used to the brakes! I’m used to driving incredibly old and crap cars which require you to stomp on the brakes several hundred metres before you actually want to stop (it’s a highly-refined skill). However this particular van was a very swish, brand-new all-singing all-dancing van (a VW transporter for any of you who might care), with power steering and incredibly powerful brakes, so every time I lightly touched the brake pedal, the van would literally screech to an INSTANTANEOUS stop, hurling myself and my passengers towards the windscreen every time. That took quite some getting used to!
Anyway, it went well, and my lovely friends helped me haul freezers and all sorts all over Oxford (although they have probably vowed never to get in a van that I am driving again!).
On Thursday I managed to get a carpet cleaner in to give everything a proper once-over before the rest of my stuff arrived. The previous owners had had a dog and there was a rather pungent smell in certain parts of the carpet! The cleaner duly arrived and worked wonders on the carpets, lifting up pretty much all of the stains except for the bizarre pink stains at the top of the stairs. He was quite the character too. After asking me what I did for a living, he plunged into a weird point of view on charity work, including “So do you go over and tell all those stupid idiots to stop having so many babies then?” (“Um, no, not really….”). “Well, I mean, I’m not racist or nothing, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t see why we’re giving any of those foreigners our money when we need it here!” etc etc. It went on quite a long time, so I just quietly left him to it and went off to clean the kitchen.
Later on, after the carpetr man had left, I was still cleaning the kitchen when the door blew shut in a gust of wind, and I discovered that the handle on the inside didn’t quite turn the latch enough to open the door. So I tried jiggling it a bit, and then a bit harder until the entire handle came off in my hand! Realising I was now trapped in my kitchen, I leaned out the window to try and get the attention of some kids playing at the end of the street. They couldn’t hear me, so I cleared off the countertop and prepared to climb out the window.
I was up on the counter with one leg out of the window when a neighbour walked past, and very kindly came and let me out! It was quite a dramatic way to meet the neighbours, but she was very nice, and later on another lady from across the road came over to say hello and introduce herself. I have now wedged my kitchen door open as a safety precaution, but will have to be careful, as I think the downstairs loo has the same problem, and there’s no windows in there! I now have a very Bridget Jones-style fear that if I get trapped in the loo, no-one will find me for days on end…. These are the moments when being single has it’s flaws, however I am planning to be prepared for this eventuality by keeping my loo stocked with books to read, and some sort of emergency food rations. I may even need to run a phone line in there so I can call for help. Or maybe it would be simpler to just get new door handles?
Anyhoo, by Thursday evening my moving van arrived, with all of my boxes and furniture from my mum’s house in Suffolk. So there was a long evening of sorting and organising, and much the same for the rest of the weekend.
On Friday I popped out to the shops, and when I returned, I found a lovely gift-basket sitting on my doorstep addressed to me from the Halifax (my mortgage provider). The basket was amazing – and full of lovely things, like tea, coffee, biscuits, a bottle of wine (sauvingnon-blanc – my favourite!), some nice soap and moisturiser, a mini toolkit and picture hooks, and a bag of chocolates! There was even a card saying congratulations on my new home!
I’ve never felt warm and fuzzy towards a bank before, but wow, Halifax, seriously, well done.
My lovely sister came down for the weekend to help me, and I have now become a bit of an expert at constructing flat-pack furniture, and got to use several items from my new toolbox. I haven’t yet tried out my new drill, but am going to try and put up some blinds this week, so wish me luck! I have also managed to spend an absolute fortune in the last week, setting up direct debits for gas, electricity, contents insurance, council tax, tv licence, etc etc, not to mention blowing a whopping £400 in homebase buying bins, lampshades, blinds, a bathroom cabinet, a shower curtain and pole, doormats, bathmats, shelving units, drill-bits, alan keys, plant pots, and all sorts! I’ll admit that some of it, like the table I bought for my garden, might come under “non-essential items”, and ordinarily I wouldn’t have bought all of those things at once, but I wanted to take advantage of my sister being here with a car! Doing most of that on my own would require several exhausting trips on foot and buses otherwise!
Anyway, I have also ordered some curtains, which will hopefully arrive this week, and it’s all starting to look fairly ship-shape now!
I must admit I found it hard to drag myself out of the house to go to work this morning, as I would much rather have stayed at home organising my jewellry and hanging pictures, but nevermind!
I was also planning to get a lodger at some point, although I had hoped to spend a month or so on my own in the house first, but it seems that I might have a house-guest a bit sooner than originally planned! One of my colleagues had given notice at her flat after her contract finished, and was about to move when she was re-hired for two more months to help out with our emergency response in east Africa. She is desperate for somewhere to live and has to move out of her other flat by Friday, so I’ve said she can come and stay with me for 2 months – a bit of a trial lodger really!
So, it is with great pleasure that I give you all my new address (no landline yet but it will be installed in a couple of weeks), and invite you all to come and stay with me anytime!
(feel free to post me things! Heehee!)
Hope you are all well!
love home-owning Maya
p.s. – I have also passed the final test of adulthood and home-ownership. Dealing with spiders. On Friday morning, when a giant spider crawled out of one of the boxes I was unpacking and onto my handbag, I simply hurled the entire handbag out into the street and stomped around on it a bit before calmly retrieving my slightly battered bag and returning to my unpacking.
This morning when I discovered a spider the size of my fist in my wastepaper bin, I jumped slightly in shock, but only for a moment, and then calmly opened the window wide, and very slowly and carefully lifted the bin, carried it gently over to the window and BANGED IT REALLY HARD ON THE WALL UNTIL THE SPIDER FELL OUT. Then I calmly brought the bin back inside and closed the window.
I could have thrown my entire bin out the window, but as you can see, I have now matured into a calm and rational home owner.