Appearances can be deceptive, and other moving tales

Having blogged back in February about jumping head first and putting an offer on a local property that we were not really ready to buy, we finally exchanged and completed on the 22nd.

Excitement and trepidation had been building for some time, and with the help of friends and family we prepped and packed virtually everything that could be prepped and packed. Every room was thoroughly cleaned as it was emptied and once the keys were in our hands, we were away!

messy living room with upturned furniture
Moving day chaos with upturned sofa

My expectations were high for the new house, having been showcased as something that we could just move in to. With recent improvements to the bathrooms, a relatively modern conversion in the garage, new-ish windows, a decent kitchen etc it ticked all the boxes. I wasn’t keen on some of the paint colour choices, but smother everything in magnolia and you can’t go wrong (at least in the short term).

Unfortunately, life is never that simple. The move itself was fine, I’m never particularly bothered about packing and moving, but every day since has thrown up challenges.

The whole house was dirty with dog hair and debris like false nails left in drawers and in the carpet in my son’s room. There’s windows that jam, the extractor hood over the hob blew on the first use (and not just a fuse, it’s actually fucked). None of the internal doors fit properly in their frames which means they don’t shut properly, there’s no hot water and we’re not sure why, the back door drops in the frame when you open it and it won’t shut again, and there’s a mystery leak causing water to seep through the garage which seemed minor at first but we’ve just discovered is also affecting the cupboard under the stairs so suddenly becomes a big deal.

Walls had been painted between our initial viewings and the sale for some utterly bizarre reason, and every paint job was terrible with the various previous colours showing through brush marks on the walls. There’s screws half-in door handles, we removed a pinboard that was attached to a wall with an entire packet of blu tack, and we found a mystery Christmas present under the stairs. It wasn’t even a good one.

The smell of dog, probably not helped by the water leak, is overwhelming despite vacuuming the carpet again and again and suddenly explains why she had a lot of air fresheners running during the viewings. There’s scratch marks in doors and the conservatory windows where they were obviously shut away during the day.

Every house has its quirks, and it’ll take time to find and fix (or come to terms with) those in this one, but the huge disconnect between my expectations and the reality is crushing.

Update 2018-06-05: having ripped back some of the vinyl in the converted garage bathroom this morning, the leak appears to be coming from the shower, which is a lot easier to fix than if it were e.g. coming from upstairs. Still a twat, but less of a twat than I thought.

Lead photo by Stephanie Watters Flores. Not my new house, obviously, I’m just being dramatic.

On the Exciting Topic of Damp

I bet you all wish you were leading a life as exciting as mine… tidying, vomiting and coping with damp.

Seriously though, as if it wasn’t the weirdest phase of my life ever these past few months (if you’ve never been pregnant, wait until you have a sprog growing inside you and then try and put that into words) and I wasn’t already panicking about a) pending finances, b) labour and birth (mm, pain) and c) actually buying all the shit that I don’t have like baby clothes, a cot, etc, the fact that we have an ever increasing problem with rising damp is just about ready to push me over the edge. And I’m sorry for the epic run on sentence.

We’ve had problems on and off with damp since we moved into the flat. It wasn’t so big a deal at first, we cleaned it up and got on with things. However, because we’ve had some rain but the weather has still been warm (and thus we’ve not had the heating on) the muggy / humid atmosphere is really bringing it back with a vengeance. We have quite bad mould growing on one of our walls — it just so happens to be the wall to my little ‘office’ room — and it’s badly affecting both Karl and myself.

Now struggling with the idea of breaking out of our tenancy agreement early to get away from it (which may cost us financially) or putting up with it until Feb which will affect both us and sproglet physically (it’s not healthy, let’s put it that way). Landlords are aware and are sorting out replacement guttering, which is apparently one of the causes, but I don’t think that will solve it all as I’m sure we have rising damp down by the front door.

Bah. All very tiresome, and seriously affecting my Internet access as I daren’t go in the little room at the moment.