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five months in a nutshell

May 18, 2017

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When life throws curve balls, I press the pause button. And when it comes time to press play again, I kind of freeze. I want to backdate everything. I want to tell you about all the things that have happened over the past five months and this task is, naturally, insurmountable and far too overwhelming. Namely because I can hardly remember what I did last week. It’s easier to not press play at all, to not even start.

But if I don’t start now, I suppose I never will.

Yesterday, I wrote a long ranting post of all the shitting annoying stuff that has happened over the past five months. I felt the need to explain myself because I didn’t want you guys to think that something horrible had happened. Nothing horrible has happened (except, perhaps, the fuckmuppet that was elected as President of the United States while I was in hibernation). Just lots of life stuff happened, which meant that I had to step away from Instagram/blogging to take care of business.

It felt good to have a big old rant. But then I realised that post was like the angry email you draft to make yourself feel better but never send, because sending it would just open up a nasty can of worms and make you feel worse in the end.

But then I changed my mind again because a) I’m full of baby hormones and 90% of my brain is taken up with thoughts of IMMINENT LABOUR and so b) I couldn’t be arsed to write another post.

So here we go. Behold: a rant.

The house had been up for sale for months when we dropped the price and suddenly I found myself scheduling hundreds of viewings between four real estate agencies. It was complete chaos. Competing real estate agents showing up at the same time. Potential buyers arriving late, moments before Wren’s bedtime, and me smiling at them through gritted teeth. A half-dozen real estate agents emailing and calling while Joe and I were at work. Mayhem. Who signs a contract with four real estate agencies, you ask? Exactly. Who does that? The entire thing was out of our control. But that’s a story for another day.

We were meant to move into a new flat around Christmas but the flat fell through and we were being bullied into moving out (I can’t say anything more about that because I’d have to kill you, all of you. And I really don’t have time for that. But I will tell you the whole story in all its inglorious details someday. Oh yes! I will). So began our frantic search for flats on the other side of London and for those of you who don’t know London, “popping over” to the other side of London to view a flat is no small feat. We viewed 15 flats one Saturday morning in December, because we’re efficient like that. I’m not going to lie to you, that shit was grim. There are some ugly ass flats out there. It’s quite depressing to see what £1,600-£1,800 per month gets you (and that’s not even in a desirable part of London). Fuck all is what £1,600-£1,800 per month gets you, that’s what. Also, going back to flat living after owning a house is a tough pill to swallow. We settled on one of the first flats that we viewed, mainly because of its proximity to friends and also because we couldn’t be asked to travel halfway across London to view anymore flats and also because it was the least shitty of them all. That is not to say that it’s not shitty, it’s just that it could be shittier. In all honesty, it’s only shitty compared to the designer home we were lucky enough to live in for 18 months (I know, I know, poor me — I’m still working on my attitude adjustment). 

We moved in mid-February. The flat smelled (still smells) of moth balls and came with the landlady’s massive brown armoires that take up entire rooms. The bathtub looked like something out of CSI and it took a dozen magic erasers to get it back to white, off white, anything but rusty-brown. You have to run the bath at just the right speed to get a decent amount of hot water. Ten out of the twelve kitchen light bulbs were burnt when we moved in. It cost us £40 to replace them. We had to fight tooth and nail with the landlady for a reimbursement. The oven dial is completely rubbed off so I never really know at what temperature the oven’s at. There are no light fixtures in two of the bedrooms — it’s like living in a frat house. There’s mould in one of the kitchen cabinets and the kitchen sink is the size of a small poodle. All the windows have condensation between the panes so it feels like I’m looking at the world through cataracts. We still get the landlady’s bloody mail every day because she hasn’t bothered to change her address. The flat came with gauzy curtains, the kind that always smell of dust, the kind your grand-ma probably has hanging in her living room. Several stained walls were meant to have been painted before we moved in. They were not. The landlady has finally agreed to send the builders over, 3 months later, 6 days past my due date. At least we got a toilet seat in the end (something we had to negotiate for). And it’s costing us a fortune.

The good news is, I started a full-time job at Headspace in December. This has been the highlight of the past five months. I love my job. It’s kept me sane. Hashtag blessed.

Wren started nursery a week after we moved in. She took to it like a boss. She’s a tough cookie, that kid. Based on how petulant this post is, I’m pretty sure we have her dad to thank for her adaptability.

My commute to work takes an hour on a good day. East to West London. If I want to pick up my kid on time (and I do), my options are to either jetpack to nursery or finish work at 4:30. Luckily I have an amazing boss who allows me to do that twice a week. So does Joe. Working full-time half-way across London and being a mom is a constant juggling act. The days are long and the downtime is short. I work from Sunday to Thursday, which means that I haven’t had a full weekend with my family in months. But we’re making it work. This is life in London.

Other mini shit storms:

When we moved out of the house, we got a bill for £1,600 from the water company. And we were all WTF? It turns out that the rainwater harvest tank that we had installed, for the very purpose of SAVING us water, had been leaking for months. So fuck you very much, tank.

Also, the buyer’s surveyor recently detected a leak behind our pantry, which cost thousands of pounds to repair. It appears the builders drilled a hole through a pipe early on during construction and it had slowly been leaking since the day we moved in. Still waiting to hear if our insurance is going to cover this. Excellent craftsmanship, boys! Thanks for the kick in the dick!

We are hemorrhaging money. We keep waiting for this house sale to complete (no, it STILL hasn’t completed) so that we can pay all the bills required to complete the house sale. And we don’t really have much control over what’s going on because the house is under the bully’s name (as I said, a story for another day).

While I’m on a roll… There was also that time Wren got tonsillitis and we were stuck at A&E for hours on Good Friday while my sister, whom I only see once a year, was visiting. And then that nasty chest infection that I got, when I pulled a stomach muscle (pregnant bellies were not designed to cough up lungs) and didn’t sleep for a week straight. That was SUPER fun!

Also, the weather in this country is bullshit!

End of rant.

On the bright side (because there’s always a bright side), I have a job that encourages me to meditate every day (so, despite the tone of this post, I’ve actually managed to stay pretty sane since December). I have a daughter who now runs to me, squealing mamaaaa, when I pick her up from nursery, which gets me right in the feels, every single time. And I have a husband who shows up, who has our back, who does other sorts of worrying so that I don’t have to, who looks after his family. I reach out to him in the darkness, I whisper I love you into the night and in those moments, all the other stuff doesn’t matter.

And in the end, isn’t it a writer’s job to experience everything so that she can write about it? The dusty curtains, the mouldy cabinet, the trips to A&E on Easter weekend, the 50-year-old bully, the chest infection, the crack-of-dawn commute. The life phases. The things that pass and then you move on and then you tell the story to your second kid about how he/she was born in the birthing centre near the shitty flat mummy and daddy used to live in. “Remember how dirty that bathtub was?,” LOLs.

The truth of the matter is that I’ve been rather spoiled. I got used to luxury and forgot about my roots. I grew up on mother-fucking Puffed Wheat for breakfast y’all. Do you know how cheap and bland that stuff is? It’s a bit like eating sawdust. Ain’t no Cap’n Crunch in the Caron house. Sometimes, if Rice Krispies were on sale, and very occasionally if there was Nestle’s Quik in the house, we’d make our own damn version of sweet cereal. What I’m saying is, I’ve been eating Cap’n Crunch for 18 months and now, we’re having us a bit of Puffed Wheat. This is the year of Puffed Wheat. And it’s up to me to be creative and make it sweet. It’s taken me about five months to come around to this. I still can’t get rid of that mothball smell, but summer is around the corner. Time to open the windows and let the fresh air in and press the play button again.

 

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2017 6:07 pm

    You’re amazing!! Your insight and sense of humor has remained keen!! Keep the faith!! And all good things in the next five months!!

  2. Karin permalink
    May 19, 2017 12:08 am

    Jeanine!
    It’s so good to “hear” your voice again! Thank God you’re okay! Yes, I have to say that I have worried some over you, a person I have never met, but someone, because of your excellent writing and storytelling skills, I feel like I know (and love). That sentence was rather awkward, but I hope you catch what I’m trying to throw down. My goodness but it sounds like you’ve been through the wringer! I hope the dang insurance comes through for you guys. Doesn’t it only seem right? Well, I’ll hope and send out some positive vibes during my own meditations. I want to ask when is the baby is due? And I want to tell you how sorry I am about the shit storm you’ve been living through. Im glad that you are all safe. Hang in there!
    💙 Karin

  3. May 19, 2017 12:55 am

    Such a happy surprise to have you back. Hang in there, li’l buckaroo.

  4. May 19, 2017 3:31 pm

    You. I bow and clap and give you the longest hug. Sending you so much love.

  5. Libby permalink
    May 22, 2017 11:00 am

    Oh my god!!! No words! Lavender and lavender oil got rid of our moth ball smell. Rocking in the corner is ok if you need to. You just might not be able to stand up. Soon. 😘😘😘😘😘

  6. May 22, 2017 2:58 pm

    Honey that house is going to produce the setting for one of your books, I just know it. You are amazeballs.

  7. May 23, 2017 8:43 pm

    you are so inspiring, even and especially during this puffed wheat period. much love and bushels of good fortune to you and yours.

  8. May 25, 2017 2:01 am

    Oh, dear. I wish that the reasons you were on pause were different. Holy Cats. I am so happy to see your words today! And another baby is on the way??!! Or is here??!! Congratulations! I am so glad you pushed play! Things are looking up for you, I just know it!

    xoxoxox

  9. caro permalink
    June 22, 2017 5:54 am

    whaaaaaaa!!!!! you’re preggers again!!!? yay!!!! oh i hope it has been going so well for you despite all the shit! sending you love love love.

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