Before leaving for work this morning Hub blithely walked into a minefield. He did it with unalloyed innocence and a smile on his face, one could say that’s not a bad way to meet one’s doom. As a slow, half-smile lifted one side of my mouth and a gleam entered my eyes he know he was in trouble. In his folly he pronounced his own sentence, the study is looking much better already. Oh dear. Oh yes, he is right, very much right but better doesn’t mean done.
Let us skip back a few years, thirteen to be precise. Thirteen years ago we bought our present home. We did as most people do in the run-up to such a thing. We perused the for sale section of newspapers. We window shopped at estate agents. We even went mad and went inside to look along the twirly stands of perspex fronted displays for pictures of houses in out price band that appealed to us. Of course those two factors did not always align. We would see something we could afford but not like the look of it, we would see something we loved and then harbour undue resentment towards everyone and everything that it was beyond our reach. Interestingly this was only the case for properties just beyond us. The mansions and palaces were fine, we didn’t expect to have one anyway. Okay, there weren’t any palaces for sale although now and again there would be the odd castle. Many of those we could afford, because there was nothing much left but rubble. Nice if you want to say you own a castle, not much use for living in never mind keeping the rain off the heads of your family.
I had another problem which didn’t seem to bother Hub at all. It was to do with what we could get for our money, what bang for our buck. I love that phrase even though we don’t have bucks, we have quids or squids, if we have six of them. That part had Hub’s agreement, we wanted to feel we were getting value but I had to go further. I compared our potential new home to the one we hoped to be leaving. By hoped, you understand, I mean, couldn’t wait to leave. Hub focused on that. We wanted to move, we hated the place, the neighbourhood and to my shame, the neighbours. The latter was only made a little more tolerable to me as someone who doesn’t actually want to hate people, by the fact they felt exactly the same. It didn’t start out like that but things like access and their traipsing through our garden to make a point that they could, legally, traipse through our garden, didn’t really build the bonds of friendship. Robert Frost knew best, “good fences make good neighbours.”
Each house we viewed I compared to the one we had. They were twice the price for the same number of rooms. They were closer in price but had fewer rooms, or smaller rooms or there was something I found displeasing. I found myself saying, “if only we could lift that house and move it to where we want it.” Hub wisely kept to himself the number of faults I found to point out about our then home. We were out-growing it but it had room to extend, if we wanted to move upwards.
Finally we found this house. I won’t say I fell in love because I didn’t. The houses I really liked were either wildly beyond our price bracket or were small, cute little cottages that would fit two people, three at a push. They were the sort of places I could see myself living happily on my own, however with a husband and four young children in tow we may as well have all tried to squeeze into a Wendy house as try to live in one. The house we bought was fairly new, twenty years old rather than one hundred as the old one had been. It was square rather than a very stretched rectangle. It had big bright windows and, now this I DO love, a wonderful view. It also had one more bedroom than the previous house and a study.
When we looked at the specifications of the house I almost fainted when we reached the bit about a study. Oh my. My own room with a desk and bookcases, my computer which was a monster back in 1999 and space for me to do all my cerebral stuff. Hub, again wisely, did not make any mention of the fact I don’t actually DO anything cerebral. We were on dial-up back then so internet time was severely restricted. No early days blogging for me, no surfing for anyone. Who could afford the telephone line fees for that malarkey in Britain in 1999?
The reality of the study was, unsurprising completely different. It was, and I believe I am using a technical term from the world of real estate here, compact and bijou. In other words, our then cat had no need to fear random swinging attacks. One step into the room and you are almost at the opposite wall. Real estate, always knowingly oversold. A desk does fit, so does a bookcase but neither are large. There will be no re-enactments of lazy library afternoons from the days of the grand houses. However I did set up the computer on the desk and worked at it. Then, a few years down the line we bought guinea pigs and they moved their sweet little home into the office. I moved out, there wasn’t room for the three of us in the relationship. Then the guineas died, their home was removed and no one much felt like using the room again.
The boxes moved in. One by one and then in droves. The room morphed once more from home office through guinea pig home to storage room. Dead electrical items were put there by Hub who somehow could not bring himself to admit their passing from a life of usefulness to one of just being a plastic shape with a lead, possibly with a screen attached. Last weekend steps were taken to reclaim the room. I announced I needed an office. Once again Hub raised no comment as to what the heck I would be doing with one. I made soothing remarks like, with an office I could have shelves and on the shelves would be my cameras and they would be out of your way. Perhaps he felt this alone was sufficient justification. Frankly, if he keeps buying it I will keep selling it.
Now that sorting has begun and recyclables have been recycled, unrecyclables have been bagged to be dumped we can no longer escape the fact that the room is full of dead electricals. They have to be taken to a specific dump just for men to go to weep over their dear departed darlings. With a smile that may have been in no small part shark-like I informed Hub that with a few trips to dispose of these and with the boys leaving soon and taking with them their boxes the room would be practically empty. The end is within sight, I promised, just take the crap to the dump, I encouraged.
See you when I get home, said Hub and he left for the peace of his own office.
All images © L. McG.-E. All rights reserved.
© 2012, Penbleth / L. McG.-E.. All rights reserved.