Thursday 18 November 2010

And in Other News...

OK - there have been mucho many things happening of late, beyond last night (next entry).

For starters, David and I completed the house purchase on the 9th. We met the estate agent at the house at 230pm to pick up keys. To my great embarrassment, David insisted on having the estate agent make a video of us walking up to the door, unlocking it and opening it. Oy vey.

Anyway - first time to actually poke around the nooks and crannies of the house, which, up until then, had people and furniture in it. Ooh, and the first things we discover that aren't quite up to snuff! Oven fan vents to nowhere. Oh well - part of the fun of owning a 120 year old house, I guess... We'd already had the bathroom designer out (for adding the 2nd bathroom). The evening we completed (after popping off to Sainsbury's for £99 worth of cleaning equipment, Robin showed up with a bottle of champagne. Yay, champagne on a school night! We had the kitchen designer showing up about 730 - this late middle aged Polish woman. I'm sure she had no idea we were all a bit tipsy by that point. (Yeah, right). Three hours, and many measurements later, she presents us with drawings of what the kitchen will look like, and the rather astoundingly large bill to get it to that point. Well, we'd already been hosed with the bathroom bill, so we did manage to talk her down quite a bit. I'm sure we still got hosed, but less so.

Wow, a house in London! We've been spending the entire time on weekends at places like B&Q (HomeDepot), appliance stores, paint stores, etc. I now own my very own hedge trimmers. It's a Bosch - got it for only £49 on sale. I never thought I would own a hedge trimmer. But, this being England, we have a hedge, and it needs to be trimmed. David wanted a chainsaw, but I managed to convince him that we probably didn't actually have any need for a chainsaw for our tiny little postage stamp back yard - esp a gas powered one. How boring of me.

So, lots and increasingly more lots of work to be done - all these things I'd never thought about moving into a very old house. "Oh yeah, we can take out the remains of the chimney in the kitchen. Legally we have to support it with steel beams, but if we add some wood to the rafters, it will be fine". Ooh, a leak here! Strange electrical connections there! What the hell is that thing with the numbers on it over the door? They really used horse hair in the plaster? Eek! The pipe covered with hessian - what is it - water? Gas? Oh, it's gas, and looks like it's as old as the house! Hmm, the slate tiles seem to be a bit wavy - in fact, the entire roof is wavy. But then, so are the other houses, and they haven't fallen down yet. Yet.

Ah well, I suppose that's part of the adventure.

Meanwhile, our bitch-troll landlady announced that she wanted us out of current flat by 3rd December so that she can complete her sale by the 10th. Survey says, wrong, b/c we have this cool thing called a contract that you signed and you have to give us two month's written notice. So, I served her with our notice first - ha ha! We're planning on moving before Christmas, but as our rent period goes from the first, we have until the end of December to get the place spic and span and get our deposit back (which, fortunately, is held by the estate agent, who thinks that aforementioned landlady is, essentially, smoking crack, or at least not entirely in tune with her obligations drawn from the contract). That also gives us time to deal with the little, um, furniture issues. When we moved in here, the place was furnished (normal here). Cheapass landlady wouldn't store anything for us, but we could, at about £150/month. Yeah, right. (This is the same landlady who deprived Robin of a working shower for four months after it leaked so she could get the same tile installed, made by a factory in Italy that didn't work over the summer) and us of our shower for several weeks while she tried to find someone suitably cheap to fix it. There was the leaking roof that took, oh, almost three years to get sorted as well. So, we were initially going to try to help her out with her sale, but, to leave early, David would have had to cancel a trip to the USA to visit his mom. So, he asked landlady if we could work out some deal, as he would have to cancel £500, non-refundable tickets. But no, she thought she was being very reasonable by lowering our astromomical rent to something slightly less astronomical for the three months when dozens of people tromped through this place looking to buy, and she feels that David has her up against the wall and is trying to blackmail her. Hmm - lesson 1 - don't mess with queens with a contract. So, David actually did cancel his trip so that we could be out (at a time of our choosing though). We do, however, have a missing couch to figure out (it was broken to begin with, but had an unfortunate encounter with the ground when we shoved it off the roof, having decided that the council could come pick it up. We did shrink wrap it before we put it up there, you know - it may have been white trash, but it was classy white trash). There is the awful wicker chair that has been living on the roof, getting more plant like by the day. Some glue and a lot of lacquer will fix that. There was a bed that went to a friend and then to God only knows where when he moved. Ebay! And there are what were once oil stains and are now slightly bleached patches on the wall-to-wall sisal carpet (I mean, really - what kind of idiot puts in non-cleanable carpet in a flat?). I'm hoping that strong tea, or perhaps coffee can fix the little bleached bits where I cleaned. So yeah, we have a little conniving to do before we move out, I suppose, but all will be as it was when we moved in (actually, probably a lot cleaner than it was, as the girls who lived here before us were complete pigs).

Busy then.

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