On the morning after the day before, I woke up to the sound of my alarm clock.  I tensed momentarily until I remembered it was over.  There were no boxes to pack, things to remember or calls to make.  I lay in my comfy bed for 5 minutes.  Enough luxuriating I thought.  These boxes aren’t going to unpack themselves.  I struggled out of bed,  already feeling miles better than last night, but still pretty sore.  I went into the kitchen to put the kettle on.  The kitchen looked like we had been bombed by an enemy supermarket.  There were herbs, spices, pasta, jars and  packets upon packets of stuff spread on every available surface.  The kitchen is small.  I mean I have seen smaller, but as someone who spends a large part of her life cooking, this one seems seriously small to me. I made a cup of tea and started getting ready to go to the house to let the cleaners in.

I went into my room and deliberately chose a pair of jeans and a sweater.  I have been wearing sweats and a long-sleeved polo shirts under a hoodie for about a month now.  Although comfortable, warm, and easily washed, this uniform was making me a bit depressed.  You know when you slob around in the house in your pyjamas all day when you’re on holiday or ill.  It feels good, almost decadent for the first day, maybe two.  After that you start to feel like well – a slob.  I had been feeling like a slob for long enough.  I put on jeans and a nice knitted jumper and weaved my way into the front room to have breakfast after having climbed over two boxes, balanced on a stool and trapped my leg between the sofas.  D commented when I came into the room.

“You look different.  What’s changed? Did you do something to your hair?”

“I am wearing clothes.” I announced proudly as if I had been naked for the past month.

“Oh yes!” she said. “That’s it!  I hadn’t clicked but you are wearing something that didn’t cost less than a tenner from cotton traders!  Yay we’ve moved!!!”

There was loads of laundry to be done, so I thought I would try and figure out the washing machine.  I loaded the stuff into the drum, located the detergents etc and put the machine on.  As we were sitting in the front room with D while she had breakfast, she suddenly said she smelled gas.  “Can you smell it?” she asked.  I couldn’t but as we approached the kitchen it was obvious.

She was right; one of the knobs for the hobs was turned and the gas was on.  We quickly turned it off and opened the kitchen window and front door to get rid of the gas.  How did that happen?

I’ll tell you how it happened.  Remember how I said the kitchen was small?  Well I wasn’t exaggerating.  As I was bending over to load the washing machine.  I switched on the hob WITH MY BUTT.  It turns out that my booty is a deadly weapon.  I am going to have to be very careful in the future.  Imagine the story:

DISASTER IN NORTH LONDON

A flat in Cricklewood, North London exploded this morning.  Eye witnesses report seeing a frazzled woman with the seat of her pants on fire running screaming from the building. A representative from the fire department confirmed that the woman had in fact switched the gas on with her backside. Oh the humanity.

Anyway.  Where was I?  Oh yes, the move.  I know that I have been saying that it’s over, but it isn’t really.  We now had to empty all the boxes and  make the flat inhabitable.  I mean it isn’t condemned or anything, but I am a firm believer that if you are going to stay anywhere for any length of time, you need to sort your stuff out.  I am the kind of person who refers to a hotel room as home after two days.  I always unpack, and I don’t really like to live out of a suitcase or boxes.  So I started opening and emptying boxes.  I also filled boxes.  I removed superfluous equipment from the kitchen, and filled three boxes for the garage.  I filled a big box with excess coathangers and folded all the empty boxes and took everything downstairs – out of sight and out of mind.  I mean there are two of us living here.  I am the only one who drinks tea and D drinks the occasional hot chocolate.  I therefore wrapped 15 of our 30 or so mugs.  I mean if the seven dwarves or even Arsenal come to tea, there are still enough mugs to go around.  (Although where all these people will sit is another issue).  By the time D came home from work, there were no boxes left in the living room and it was only her boxes to unpack.

I left her home alone with her boxes and went out to my friend’s house for an impromptu Chinese takeaway meal with ten other friends.  Apart from the fact that all of these people are near and dear friends, it was made all the sweeter by the fact that we were able to organise it within the day which is no mean feat considering only two of us don’t have children.  We had a real laugh and I felt carefree for the first time in ages.  I didn’t have “the move” hanging over me.  I was just spending time with friends.  A perfect and relaxing way to ease myself back into normality.

When I got home, normality was waiting for me.

“Don’t be too upset…  I kind of spread my stuff out a bit.”

Suddenly leaving D alone in the house didn’t seem like such a good idea.  There were three jewellery stands groaning with jewellery sitting on the unit next to the television.

“Those aren’t staying there are they?”  I asked trepidatiously.  “This is the living room.”

“I know, but they’re so pretty and sparkly, I didn’t think you would mind… When I move into my flat I will decorate the whole place with my jewellery and accessories.”

“And I will come and visit and admire them as much as you want without saying a bad word about them,” I replied.  “But this is not going to work for me. Let’s see what we can do to help you make more space.”

After some discussion, we decided that a couple of shelves in her room would solve the problem.  It is worth IKEA on a Saturday not to have the hairbands and jewellery stands in the living room.

At some point in the afternoon, I had gone to the house to pay the cleaners and ‘inspect’ their work.  As I wandered around the empty house, I marvelled at how big it was.  It had seemed like we were always out of space and yet now that it was empty, I found myself thinking, wow, this is a really nice house.  We should move here…  The carpets were steamed and everything was shining.  I told my sister K that you could see your face in the taps in the bathroom.  My two and half year old niece overheard the comment and said “Could you see my face in the taps?”  Kids, you’ve got to love their logic.

One of the highlights of the visit to the clean house was a pair of plastic booties to put over my shoes so that I could walk around on the newly steamed carpets.  I take pleasure in the little things, and those are seriously hilarious.  They are the equivalent of shower caps for your feet, what’s not to love?!

I think I might sneak them into the line up of high heels that mysteriously appeared under the sideboard in the front room while I was out last night.

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