Thursday 28 July 2016

Life etc.

Well it’s been a while. What can I say? Life has been a pretty unrelenting steaming pile of poop. There I was hoping for a bit of a quiet year, to carry on getting our heads around all the drama of last year and continue to support my Mum and Himself’s Dad as they each come to terms with living life alone.

It seems the universe however had different plans. Right out of the blue we were completely floored with the unexpected news that our landlady had decided to sell the house we have called home for the last 10 years and we had just 9 weeks to find something else. Looking back over the last few weeks I have actually been surprised at just how hard this has hit me. Much harder than the death and serious illness that coloured last year so darkly.

I conclude that I was able to roll with those blows because I had a sanctuary to go back to, to shout and weep and rail against the world from, to hole myself up in and mostly to feel safe and secure in. To have that snatched away from me was like having my boat upturned in a stormy sea. I like my security and If I’m honest I just fell to bits.

I’m not great with change, a fact I’ve known about myself for a while so that is no great revelation but the uncertainty this time has been unbearable. 

We started looking for somewhere straight away but it quickly became clear just how much of a reduced rate we have been paying these last few years. The one upside of having scrooge for a landlady was that we got the property super cheap because it needed so much work doing to it. We soon realised we were going to have to find a lot more money each month.

Everyone around us has said the same, “don’t worry, you’ll find somewhere” “it’ll be great, so much better than where you are” “at least you’ll get away from the terrible landlady” but mostly a breezy “don’t worry you’ll find somewhere” Oh how I wish that had come true. 

 At first there was nothing suitable but we didn’t worry too much because we had time. We saw the house that was too small, the house that was too short (a bungalow with a loft conversion where the only place either of us could actually stand upright was the bedroom doorway where the apex of the roof was, nothing like having to crawl on your hands and knees to get into bed!)

We saw the house that was too big, the house that was falling to bits and the house that looked like a shitpit (this was literally, the toilet was unflushed!?!) but nothing that would work for us. The weeks kept rolling relentlessly by and if anything instead of more, there was less choice available.

Then Brexit happened and the whole housing market literally ground to a halt overnight in this area, not sure if it’s the same for the whole country but certainly for Oxfordshire it died a death. According to the agencies within a day viewings on sale properties were being cancelled in droves and people who were due to move out of rentals decided to take them for another year. It was desperate, we were desperate.  Finding ourselves homeless and relying on the kindness of friends or family was looking more and more like reality.

Usually when I’m upset or stressed I comfort eat, my vastly expanded waistline since last year has been the very visual proof of that. This has been different though. I have found myself literally sick with worry. I can’t eat because I feel physically sick all the time. I’ve actually lost a stone but it’s definitely not a diet I recommend.

I wake up multiple times through the night heart pounding, going hot and cold, mind racing, in a panic, panic, panic! I know it’s crazy and I’m making myself ill but I can’t seem to stop it. The slightest thing and I’m in tears and I am not a weepy person, frankly if anything I’m a more of your hard hearted bitch, now I just sit and bawl my eyes out.

I’m truly starting to feel like we are jinxed or cursed or something. Like a dog who’s been kicked too often I now cower waiting for the next hammer blow. Even my lovely neighbour put ‘I hope your luck changes soon’ in my birthday card, my fear is it won’t! Which is not like me by nature a usually a positive person and I really hate feeling as negative and low as this.  

Having said all that last week we finally managed to find something, literally at the 11th hour. The downsides are I really don’t like the house, at all, bah. Plus it’s too expensive (we are having to borrow money to pay the bills) it has no storage as well as the tiniest kitchen and bathroom known to man.

On the plus side though it’s only available short term, we have it for one year, which is great because we can’t actually afford it for any longer. It’s a roof over our heads whilst we regroup and decide what to do next and it’s owned by the manager of the rental agency so if anything goes wrong we don’t have to go too far to get it fixed!

I thought I would be relieved when we found somewhere but I’m not, it’s bloody hard to feel joy about somewhere you don’t even like. I just keep saying ‘it’s only for a year, it’s only for a year’ over and over in my head, it’s my new mantra to make myself feel better when things get too much.  

Packing is endless (you know what a shopaholic/hoarder I am!) and 10 years in a big house means a lot of accumulated ‘stuff’ I have got rid of SO much stuff. Oh my god so, so much.

Seriously bags and bags and boxes and boxes but looking round you wouldn’t even know anything has gone which is really quite depressing.  

A couple of people have said to me I should consider it a cathartic experience and to be fair if it weren’t for all the stress and worry it probably would be. It’s certainly something I plan to continue even after we have moved. As we are only there short term I’m not going to bother unpacking properly, frankly at the moment I can’t even be bothered to unpack at all!

So I will make the effort to re-sort boxes and get rid of more. It has been an eye opener actually how some things I can junk without a second glance and some things I clutch too me like Golum with his precious!! No rhyme or reason to the objects in question either. Mad.

It’s been one hell of a wakeup call. I realise how terribly complacent we had become, expecting life to jolly along at our pace and on our terms, never expecting to be asked to leave. How foolish it is to make a rental property ‘home’.

I have also had the scales fall from my eyes about myself and what I see has made me thoroughly ashamed. I realise I have spent the last few years like the cricket in Aesops fable. Merrily dancing through life being all about the excess and the good times and spending, spending, spending. Just like him my metaphorical winter has come and I find I have nothing to see me through to the next spring. What a mess.  

Not sure if and when normal service will be resumed.