Tag Archives: House

What Fridays should be, and what they shouldn’t

Photo 08-05-2015 2 52 11 pm

It’s Friday. Let out your breath. We’re done. We’re done. It’s Friday.

I do not go out on Friday nights. Friday night is the bit at the end of the marathon where you hug your fellow runners and leave sweaty salt trails on each other’s cheeks. You wouldn’t then put on something in which the safe coverage of your boobs was in question and go make sparkling conversation over a mocktail, would you? No, you hug, you wobble out of the arena, you go find yourself twelve Mars Bars and neck them all in under five minutes. That’s Friday night.

This Friday has been an especially gruelling kind of 25th mile, thanks to that dumb horror of an election result, and two boys who seem, at the moment, to have been possessed by a minor devil. What a weird day, when three party leaders fall on their swords in the same hour, and the one chap who doesn’t care about any of the things you do now has carte blanche to do whatever he wants. The result today has made me want to be more vocal, more informed, more committed to defending the rights of those whose voices don’t seem to count for much.

I also kind of wish I’d joined the Milifandom while I had the chance. This Careless Whisper/Ed Miliband vine was about the best thing I saw during the whole campaign.

And then boys. Oh gosh, boys, if you’re reading this later: you went through a simultaneous phase when you were almost four and almost two, where you just screamed a lot. Don’t want to do this: scream. Do want to do this and can’t: scream. Brother has toy I want (EVERY MINUTE): scream. Offended by this jumper: scream. My face hurts. My brain hurts, from anticipating seismic mood shifts and keeping that kind, brisk Mary Poppins tone in my voice even while I’m holding down kicking legs.

All in all, the only thing to do is change into fuzzy pyjamas and knock some brownie into the oven and watch some House. House! We are only eight or so years late, because we like to be right in the middle of things. I love medical procedurals because they’re so beautifully predictable, unlike threenagers and election results. Someone collapses in the opening two minutes, so we guess who it’s going to be. Then the team diagnose him, wrongly, and the treatment makes him worse. At this point he either goes into a seizure (‘SEI-ZURE! SEI-ZURE!’ we chant, pumping our brownie spoons in the air) or his lungs collapse and someone gets out the old scalpel (‘IN-TU-BATE! IN-TU-BATE!’ *brownie wave*). At the end Hugh Laurie is talking to someone who says something innocuous, and he gets an epiphany face that looks like he’s smelling a serious fart, and solves the puzzle. And all the while he’s being a totally hilarious, sarcastic jerk and maintaining the best amount of stubble, always, and it’s perfection.

Just so, so much better than marathons.

This is your house now: a tour for the person about to buy my house

I’ve had this post in my head for months, and months. The thought of writing it kept making me cry at inconvenient points. Now we finally have a fixed move date (in, um, two days), it’s probably time to let it out. 

Come on in. This is your house now.

Here are some stairs. You’d better get used to that, because there are a lot of them. I don’t want to know how many times I’ve staggered up and down with furniture and work bags, then later car seats, endless bags of groceries, and boys, always boys. The very first time we came here to stay, straight out of the taxi from a South African honeymoon, we found a basket of food and wedding presents just here. We carried it upstairs and sat on a brand-new bed to open them, and laughed a lot.

Once we manhandled our old oven down the steps, just the two of us. Don’t ever do that.

We don’t have a cat (people always ask). The boys like to use the cat flap for poking their heads through. I wouldn’t recommend this either.

***

Come in here, to the living room. The kitchen is small, but we’ve attempted all sorts. Mostly pies and things involving potatoes. Do you like pies? This oven does.

I brought my first baby home to this room, and I set the car seat on the floor just there and thought how alien it looked, and how nothing would be the same again, for my whole life. There was a before and an after, and the point in the middle was marked by that car seat on the floor. I was so sore, and so frightened. Then we sat on the sofa just here, battered and bruised together, and I smelled his head, uncurled his tiny fingers, and knew he belonged here just as we did. It worked out alright.

Henry walked for the first time from that sofa to that chair. He’s climbed up here and fallen off. And here. And here. And (lots of times) here. Right here is where he said ‘car keys’, which was the phrase that set loose all the others. Teddy worked out how to propel himself backwards here. And here he went forwards. And here (see those dents on the floor?) he went turbo-charged.

If you lie on the sofa and the weather’s just right, you can look straight up through the skylight like it’s a window into space.

Come and look out of the bay window. It’s nice. Be warned though, the neighbour will be able to see you dancing from their window.

This is a good floor for dancing.

***

This room started off as a study, became a nursery, then Sarah’s room, then back into a nursery for two boys instead of one. I thought a lot (too much) about putting that green on the walls, but now it reminds me of industrious train-building afternoons, early bed-head mornings, and quiet nights with soft breathing and soft warm bodies. I like a room with history, and this one has the most.

I like to sit here on the sheepskin rug, against the radiator, and write.

***

Upstairs again, and this is our room. I think of love and lazy mornings and that magnificent balcony. Sitting on the edge of the bed for a 4am feed, everything still, breathless with ache and wonder.

Teddy arrived just here. Yes, here. There’s a reason the carpet is new, and it isn’t that we liked the pile.

I’ve saved the best till last. Look, here’s where the sun floods through the skylight onto the floor. I’ve sat here to dry off, to cry, to read, to shut my eyes and let the sunshine bleed through my skin and light me up from the outside in. Sometimes I’ve sat here feeling broken into pieces. But I promise you, sometimes I’ve felt like every wonderful thing I ever dreamed of has flown through this window and landed on my lap.

We’ve been so happy here the walls must hum with it. It feels like I’m leaving my heart behind. It feels like I’m ripping myself in half.

Stand here, and let the warmth come up through your feet. This is your house now.

Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams. Oh my dear, they have been multi-coloured, diamond-sharded, breath-taking things.

I’ll let myself out.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

Sun-seekers

I was thinking today about how attached I am to this house. The house we came back to from our honeymoon. The house I brought my baby (babies?) home to. The house in which he took his first steps and said his first word*. The house with the big skylight overhead in our bedroom. How will I ever give it up? Our next house better have an adventure playground, that’s all I’m saying.

On clear mornings, the sun streams through the skylight and there’s a neat square of sunshine on the carpet. I can’t resist going to sit in it, wherever it is. I plop Henry down in it after his bath and let him dry off in the warm. We turn our faces up to the light and luxuriate in it like fat cats. Also like cats, we discover many tangles of hair around our persons on the carpet. This is when I make my weekly resolve to vacuum more often.

This morning, the sunshine lit up the doorway to the landing. Henry was napping. I sat on the floor with my scriptures and read and thought, delicate heat on my skin, glare on my face, metal carpet strip digging into my bottom. It was everything I needed to have a good day.

Our next house better have an adventure playground AND a tap that delivers melted chocolate AND a built-in cinema. Or, you know, just a big skylight and some quiet half hours.

*Incidentally, I’ll give you three guesses as to the word he chose. He’s been babbling ‘dadada’ for ages, while I’ve been in comfortable denial. Now there’s no mistake: ‘daddy!’ ‘daddy?’ ‘daddy!’ ‘daddy!’

Tsk. Favouritism.

%d bloggers like this: