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As I was about to go to bed, around ten, I heard a tiny noise.

It sounded like a drop of water hitting the floor, a sadly familiar noise to me in this house, but usually it's hitting tiles because it's falling from the bathroom to the kitchen (we had a problem with the tub leaking for a while). This time it was hitting carpet.

But that was unheard of. I ignored it. Probably my imagination. It's rare for it to be so quiet in this house, no music or podcasts or Netflix playing. My ears were probably playing tricks on me.

But I kept hearing it. I ended up poking my bare toes at suspicious looking spots on the carpet (of which there are many; it's old and stained) and gazing open-mouthed at the ceiling like a bewildered tourist in a cathedral.

Eventually, I found a tiny wet patch, no bigger than the big toe I was prodding it with. I glared at the ceiling but it offered no explanation. Luckily the water wasn't coming from near the light fixture or anything. It was right in the middle of the hallway, though, not even near a wall or anything. So weird.

We have plumbing insurance because we have an old house and it's basically just an installment plan for all the bills we'd have otherwise. It's also pretty great because you can call them any time, even ten o'clock on a Sunday night. So Andrew did that and that would've been the end of it, except where the water was dripping from was underneath our bedroom. And the valve where we should be trying to turn off the radiator (not that they're being used, but it might stop the water leak though I don't thin so, because it'd be right over the door if it was the radiator leaking, not in the middle of the room), and the part of the room where it seemed like the water would be coming from, were blocked by our wardrobes.

There are two of them, identical and right next to each other. They were left here by the previous owners. I have actually always hated them -- modular Ikea jobs that don't solve the problems we have very well, but they were free and they were there and we didn't have the finances or the energy to argue with that when we moved in. Or at any time since.

But getting them unbolted from the wall, emptied enough to move them, unbolted from each other which we didn't even know they had been and which involved more screws than should physically fit into that space (this is the part where Andrew was nearly in tears, having had to help me crawl around and reach for awkward things and try to unscrew screws that didn't seem to unscrew, but I recognized this as an unavoidable part of DIY) and then when the wardrobes were finally moved I got to vacuum up enough of the dust around where they'd been that I didn't feel like I getting black lung, find new homes for all the stuff that been in or on the wardrobe that we'd foolishly thrown on the bed at first...which ended up moving stuff not just into the spare room but moving some stuff into the loft that should've been there long ago...

It's been nagging at me in the back of my mind that I need to tidy and get rid of stuff anyway. I actually have a few bags of clothes that need donating to charity that I've been amassing for a while. But of course doing this past my bedtime on a Sunday night so a plumber can see how bad a problem we have is hardly ideal. Still I did manage to bin some things beyond donating and add more to the bags for the charity shop and even find a thing or two I'd forgotten I have.

But between enough physical work to work up a sweat, making all the decisions I had been deferring because I didn't have the energy to deal with them before, having Emotions about feeling out of control because of being surrounded by a level of untidiness that makes things inaccessible to me and feeling ashamed and restless in my house because there's so much that needs repairing or just replacing with things more suited to us, and not having the money for any of it...I can't remember when I was last so tired.

I hate those wardrobes. I hate most of my clothes and the other things in the wardrobes. I hate not knowing where anything is. Andrew hates the carpet; it's bad for his feet. And yet here we are.

The bed is clear enough to get into it, so I'm going to try to sleep. The plumber will be here in a time window that starts in only six hours so at least one of us will have to be awake then, and somehow I don't think it'll be Andrew!
hollymath: (Default)
I went to see my friends' new house today and I was kind of an asshole about it. Because it was so great, and I'm so happy for them, but it was also hard not to be envious.

I don't like my house nearly as much and there was so much I wanted to change when we got it that immediately became unaffordable when I lost my job. It was such a long time ago and we're so much poorer now with little prospect of being able to afford the things that were supposed to happen then, much less anything I want changed cosmetically or less-essentially.

I thought I'd gotten better about this but last couple of months, it's been worse again. I just feel like I have no control over my environment, and I'm getting mopey and resentful and all the bad emotions about that.

I wish being happy for my friends didn't have to be mixed up with all this ugly shit in my own head and life.


Apr. 15th, 2017 10:40 am
hollymath: (Default)
If someone asked me right now what my deepest fantasy was, I'd say "for someone to come to my house and organize my kitchen and my bedroom, without making me feel bad for the state they've been in all this time."

The first part is merely not going to happen. The second part is unimaginable.
hollymath: (Default)
* According to Facebook's On This Day feature, anyway.

Went swimming with [personal profile] haggis and Katie today, first time I've been able to join them in more than a week of trying to go together. [personal profile] haggis and I are going to try out the yoga class tomorrow evening, whiich I'm intrigued by. I've never done yoga.

Then Tea Hive, then [personal profile] haggis got me my Christmas present, which was to drive me to B&Q and buy me a ladder because it'd be impossible for me to get one home on the bus.

This is unreasonabbly exciting. A lot of stuff at B&Q was exciting: well-designed kitchens! Nice light fixtures! I had a moment of oh god I'm so old and boring..., etc., but part of me didn't even feel it as I was thinking it. Part of me was already thinking well, actually... DIY stores were always boring as hell when I was a kid but that doesn't mean being an adult is boring.

I was bored when I was a kid because I didn't have any say in the choices being made, couldn't pick a new light fittng or be allowed up a ladder so of course I was bored. Now I can do what I want (well exept I have no money but still), and that's never boring. In a similar way, grocery shopping, which I considered its own circle of hell as a kid, got a lot more fun when I went to college and could buy whatever I wanted (until my money ran out).

It might be exhausting (there's a lot of decision-fatigue in my life!), but not boring.

I wouldn't want to be a kid again. I feel enough like one when I'm back at my parents, and that's bbad enough even knowing now what I didn't know then (like that the internet exists, and I can escape in a week!).
hollymath: (Default)
In the interests of fairness: the second pair of curtains my parents bought for us, for our bedroom, are good and an improvement over the heavy, ugly ones we had before.
  • They're blackout curtains, which I promised Andrew I'd get because he says he doesn't sleep well in the summer when it gets light too early.
  • The color my mom still insists is berry is not pink like I feared, but a nice dark red I don't actually hate the sight of; colors aren't too important to me but still this is something I can hardly say about anything in my house.
  • These curtains don't billow so dramatically, which not only makes me less likely to be in a horror movie (to be fair they should probably be more filmy and pale for that to be a concern anyway) but also means all the stuff on my bedside table has a much better chance of staying there rather than getting knocked off whenever the breeze came from the right direction.
Today we didn't have to get on a bus or go to the Arndale, which is a win because it's the first time that's happened since they got here. Especially a win since I'm not using my white cane with them, a decision I still think is less aggro than their reactions to it (and their reactions to other people's reactions to me, if you see what I mean) but which is making all the crowds and shopping much more difficult for me than I'm used to. And I already find it pretty damn difficult.

More drama with Andrew's family today. More card games with them, too. I love them but I'm so exhausted. Perhaps it's no surprise that I think I've got a migraine now (hooray for blackout curtains! I don't like them normally -- natural light helps me wake up -- but they're useful when I've got a migraine!). Until half an hour ago I hadn't had any food since breakfast, which was only scrambled eggs on toast.

Eating and sleeping to other people's schedules is always so bad for me. The night before last, I only got three hours' sleep, was awake from one o'clock in the morning, and still had to get through a whole day of shopping and socializing and playing the role of a more cheerful, patient and polite version of myself.

And I'm missing Eurovision for this! Right now! I'm trying to console myself with the thought that I'd be missing it anyway due to my migraine...but somehow I think if my parents weren't visiting and preventing me from seeing it, I might not have the migraine.
hollymath: (Default)
1. What kind of soap is in your bathtub right now?

In my bathtub? I first read this as "in your bathroom." I don't have any in the tub, but we keep all our shower stuff along the edges of it: Lush juniper shampoo and any random shower gel for me (right now it's one I got for Christmas last year, though I actually got it in about March I think); tea tree shampoo and coconut oil (for his beard) for Andrew.

2. Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator?

Not now! Wrong time of year! I'm too cold to want to eat watermelon right now. And my veg box has made me aggressively seasonal in my eating because it's very rare indeed I buy fresh fruit or veg outside of it. This week we got plums and bananas.

Read more... )
hollymath: (Default)
One of Andrew's tweets from this afternoon says
Improvised a standing desk by putting a chair on the dining room table and putting laptop on that. Using books as keyboard rest
Place your bets on exactly how much damage to property and possessions I can look forward to when I get home this evening!
hollymath: (Default)
I accidentally read a blog post about good stuff for small kitchens and then fell down this rabbit hole of things I suddenly really really want, like cabinet shelves (though I am of course sure I could find some less expensive way to get the same result!) and under-cabinet lighting (though it's not exactly under the cabinets that I need more light, the whole kitchen is so terribly lit and dingy that it couldn't hurt!) and my house actually has some of this wildly useful kitchen shelving stuff...but in the basement -- I keep meaning it get it out of there and install these things upstairs, perhaps a good inaugural project for the little cordless drill [livejournal.com profile] ejbigred has gifted me! Plus it turns out you can (at least in America...) get stick blenders with food processor attachments, which was very exciting because it seems so many of the recipes I'm interested in lately call for a food processor, or at least are things that'd be incredibly easy if I had one and are difficult or too faffy to do without (my stick blender has already been asked to occasionally do the job of afood processor, leading to okay but not great results, and once a nasty flesh wound...). And I'm hoping that a stick-blender kind might be a bit cheaper as that's far more of a concern to me than how much space it takes up.
hollymath: (Default)
James assures me whisky is a good idea, even at nine in the morning, because it's medicinal. Bless him. For now, at least, I've stuck to tea with honey in it.

But whisky does sound like a good idea. Did I mention that there was water leaking from the bathroom through the kitchen ceiling last night?
hollymath: (Default)
Today I'm trying to sort out our home insurance, which I've been informed needs to be renewed in the next thirty days.

That means it's only a month short of a year we've been living in this house now. Which is hard to believe: it either feels like we've been here forever, or that it's no time at all and I still have excuses for why nothing's been sorted out yet.

It's been a terrible and difficult year. I am anxious for the weather to improve and life to improve this spring.


Feb. 24th, 2015 08:41 am
hollymath: (Default)
A month shy of having been here a year, I've finally been able to convince Andrew to let me teach him how to turn the heating on (or off). I'm very pleased to have one more thing that I am not solely responsible for!

Every time

Jan. 11th, 2015 11:31 pm
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Light is fixed. Like everybody said, the starters needed replacing.

Such a simple solution, after all that angst.. I'm grateful that these things are relatively straightforward because I'm already running on empty, but it also makes me feel sheepish about flying off the handle.

[livejournal.com profile] haggis was kind enough to drive me to B&Q twice in less than 24 hours when that became necessary, and after buying my starters and her carefully choosing a new bedside lamp (which unfortunately took long enough that I had plenty of opportunity to get excited at overhead lights I'd love to have in my house, especially because I so hate the lights in my kitchen) we went back to hers to hang up some paintings.

She had some complex damage-free picture-hanging stuff, so we carefully measured and made marks on the wall -- blue-tack and string got involved -- and pressed and held the sticky stuff on the back of the painting, and then pressed and held the painting on the wall...and then it didn't stay. And a bit of the paint came off along with the sticky stuff. And this led us to the conclusion that the poor paint job needs to be stripped off and the room repainted.

I sympathize and empathize so much with [livejournal.com profile] haggis's plight here. Looking forward to having the beloved paintings up on display, instead she faces a big new task that's comprised of several small tasks: because the paint is coming off so easily, she thinks that won't be helping the sticky stuff stick to the wall, so the paint has to be stripped, the room has to be repainted, the stuff has to be moved out of the room so it can be repainted, so a place has to be found to move all that stuff into, and then after all that is done we're back to the original problem of the best way to get these paintings hung on these walls

I certainly wouldn't wish such a problem on her. But since it's there, watching how she reacted to it was really good for me because I so thoroughly identified with it, and it helped me to see how someone else dealt with the situation. It feels very lonely when I find myself lacking some skill, knowledge or information that becomes necessary. Often I don't even know the right questions to ask or where to start seeking answers.

I am not alone in my struggles. I am not doing particularly badly.

It's hard to believe these things when that's exactly what it feels like, but that's also when it's most important to remember.

Taking two days and a mini-nervous breakdown to get some light in the basement seems, to say the least, not a very sustainable method of solving this kind of problem: I don’t want to flounder every time there's a crisis and feel stupid and get upset until one of my friends bails me out with the essential knowledge or ability that I'm lacking. It's too hard on my emotional and mental health. I suspect there's some comprehensive solution that consists of both increasing my resilience and finding some good resources for the the known-unknowns and the unknown-unknowns of DIY and being responsible for a house.

For now, I'm just glad that I have so many generous, kind, adept, and above all supportive friends catching me every time I stumble.


Jan. 10th, 2015 10:10 pm
hollymath: (Default)
I'm really disappointed that buying a new bulb for the fluorescent light downstairs hasn't resulted in the light actually working.

Buying a house has put a million demands on my time and money and knowledge when none of them are up to it. I'm annoyed that I knew I wasn't up to this before we even started looking for a house and yet the choice to burden me with it was made. I feel lonely every time something goes wrong, like the world's waiting for me to sort it out.

I'm trying to get lifelong conditions for both Andrew and I properly diagnosed so we can both get some much-needed official acknowledgment and support, I'm trying to find a job or better yet a way to train to do something other than shitty office work. Everything I try just leads me to more phone calls or e-mails I have to send to explain myself yet again to more strangers.

For every item I cross off my to-do list, three appear to take its place. I try to focus on the positives and be cheerful and look after myself, but these things are all hard to do, too. I just wish everything wasn't so hard.


Nov. 3rd, 2014 03:09 pm
hollymath: (Default)
When the plumber asked if he could see the boiler (this was before he wanted to see the gas meter and after he wanted me to turn the heating on), I pointed him at the bathroom. He opened the cupboard and said, "I've worked here before! I recognize the boiler."

I thought that was adorable.

[livejournal.com profile] haggis has earned undying gratitude for sorting out this plumber: she knew he was good and e-mailed him detailing the problem and asking him to get in touch with me. It all went smoothly and as soon as the carpet dries out we'll have a normal house again. (Until the next thing!)

Also today I've finally cut and measured a shelf to fit (and it's still not perfect, but I'm so done with that piece of wood now!), which meant I could empty another box of books, and I lugged a few more upstairs to a vaguely more useful place for them to be than clogging up the living room. And I'm still working on sawing huge bits of wood into useful shelves. And I did a Mount Dishmore of washing-up. And put away laundry.

All this on a day when I was supposed to be taking it easy because I was so sick last night. But the bug seems to have receded, and it's really boring sitting around waiting to get better. At least this way I feel better about the house.


Oct. 30th, 2014 09:18 am
hollymath: (Default)
Let's review.

I am still waiting for owning a house to be this amazing, fantastic feeling everyone has assured me it is

In the meantime, I hate DIY -- I abandoned a shelf in the bedroom yesterday after even careful measuring and cutting left it a bit too long to fit where it needs to go and I gave up in despair and exhaustion. The other bits of wood I was hoping would fit in the spaces for other shelves were too short, so it was altogether a pretty frustrating morning, where I had nothing to show for all the effort I'd expended.

And I hate radiators. Last night when Andrew came to bed he asked why the floor in front of the front door is all wet. He was talking about terrifying things like spending a few grand on getting stuff fixed that might be causing things, things that were mentioned in the survey but which my job being insecure and then nonexistent have meant we've entirely ignored in in the seven months we've lived here. So he was also talking about scary things like getting a loan to pay for all this shit. No wonder my sleep wasn't very restful after that...

Upon small investigation this morning, I wondered if the water might not be coming from the pipe to the radiator there. That's one of the radiators that always was red-hot whenever I turned the heating on, but this time it was cold, so I think the water's not making it that far. So I turned off the heating for a while, we'll see if that does anything.

Andrew says he's going to sort this out. I fear he'll have to; I just don't feel I can deal with anything or contemplate spending money I am not contributing to at the moment.

I know renting is no fun in these situations either -- [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours asked for his dehumidifier back last night, to dry out his own entryway after the leak there had been fixed, and now I can't give it to him yet because I'm using it in exactly the same part of my own house! and the horrible time he had getting his landlady to fix that leak does make home ownership seem unstressful in comparison, because at least you aren't beholden to the whims of someone negligent or obstructive people (which has always been my experience of landlords), but having all the responsibility myself seems absolutely crushing right now.
hollymath: (Default)
I just had a big rant at Andrew about how much I hate radiators -- it started because I said "I have to buy some pliers" and then realized that I was saying I needed pliers for my house to be at a convenient temperature and I hate to get all entitled-first-world person about this...but that's exactly what I am.

"You know what happens at my parents' house?" I said. They have a thermostat, and whatever temperature you set it to, the whole house is that!" Our house has a thermostat, too, but the temperature it gives you isn't anything to do with reality because the radiators seem to have two settings: full blast and off, so the house is an interesting patchwork of places that are too warm and places that are too cold. All the radiators have little knobs you can twiddle but these seem to be some kind of placebo, allowing you the impression that you have any control over the ambient temperature but the radiators stay either dangerously hot or disappointingly frigid whatever you do.

Andrew helpfully said things like "Believe it or not, central heating wasn't even a thing in Brtiain until about fifteen years ago."

"I do believe it!" I said. "Because central heating is still included in descriptions of places up for rent." And I know we got asked if this house we were going to buy had central heating. Even my parents didn't ask that -- and, remember, they had to ask if my house had windows.

More than most of the things I've had to learn how to fix or deal with since we bought the house, the radiators piss me off. For all my joking entitlement, my real problem is that they are entirely outside my experience. They don't work and I don't know why and I don't even know where to begin. But I know I have to, because it doesn't stop getting cold just because I don't feel up to dealing with it.

And my reward for sorting this out will not be enjoying the warm and dry; it'll be Andrew whinging that he's too hot.

True story

Oct. 17th, 2014 09:59 am
hollymath: (Default)
So far today I've learned that when I try to write "DIY" on my phone, it autocorrects it to DIARRHEA.

Yeah, I look forward to each about as much as the other, so I can see the phone's point.
hollymath: (Default)
Oh well, I didn't like that laptop anyway.

I've still got fingerprint ink on my hands (good liberal that I am, I made sure the fingerprints were only for purposes of eliminating me from stuff and they wouldn't be kept after that). The fingerprinting lady was super nice and chatty, and half-convinced me to do a course and get a job like hers, perhaps because I seemed interested in things other people would be upset about, like my house being covered in powder.

Of course this was the first day in a month that Andrew was going into the office. After weeks of teasing him about how inconvenient it is that he's been around all the time, today he had to leave. He already had a back-to-work interview to stress about before he had to turn up and tell them his laptop had been nicked.

His work laptop has all kinds of complicated locks on it, so it won't be any use to anyone else. "They'll probably only get fifty quid for the lot," Andrew said of our laptops. "They might as well have just asked me for the fifty quid!"

"I wouldn't have given it to them," he added, needlessly.

The police officer had been really lovely too. Total opposite of the last time we were burgled, when I had to deal with them on my own and despite Andrew saying on the phone that his wife was off work sick with depression and be gentle with her, and me actually hearing that message come over their police radios, they said I wasn't depressed. It was my first day on my first SSRI, which had made me throw up already that morning.

This guy has a daughter with autism and a sister with depression so he was very good at the things we needed him to be good at. He was very thorough and kind. I actually felt better when he left than I had before, and I wasn't expecting that.

After the fingerprint lady had gone I was finally free to leave the house, and lovely [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours and [livejournal.com profile] greyeyedeve told me to come over and have tea. So I'm sitting in the gazebo with [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours now, feeling...a bit like I have the flu, post-panic attack: shaky and too hot or too cold all the time, not able to eat, and just feeling all uncomfortable and wrong.
hollymath: (Default)
...because I'm stumbling into and out of the bathroom at Andrew's parents', and being really unnerved that I don't have to step down/up respectively.

My sore ankle is glad this house doesn't have as many random steps up and down as ours (I have two just to get from our bedroom to our bathroom, which is nothing until your ankle hurts), but the rest of me has already decided that a house actually being on the level is Weird.
hollymath: (Default)
I took the post-late-night-mattress-adventure tea cups into the kitchen, surprised to see how crowded the countertop next to the sink was with similar of their kind.

I just did the dishes first thing this morning, and now most of the mugs are dirty again.

I had to smile when I saw them. It's so nice to have company.


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