As many of you will know, my wife’s daughter, husband and ten month old baby have living with us for the last 4 months, and they emigrated to South Africa at the end of May, so we finally have our house back. I wrote about this firstly HERE and then with a follow up HERE if you would like to get the full story, which I won’t go into again here.
It has been a very emotional time since they left on Thursday, it’s now Monday, so only 4 days has passed, but we made good progress over the weekend in finally making the house our own.
We only moved into the house in late October 2009, and didn’t have a chance to really do an awful lot before our guests arrived in February. We also got married in early April, so we haven’t had a chance to be alone since we returned from our honeymoon in Cornwall.
With 4 adults, a baby, and for 3 months 2 small dogs in the house, the carpets had become very dirty, let alone other areas that hadn’t been wiped down properly, and Debbie’s back has also been bad for the last 7 weeks, so this weekend was a perfect opportunity to catch up on cleaning and to begin to make the house our own again.
With the money that we were generously given as wedding gifts, we ordered new couches, since our existing ones are “hand me downs” that have seen better days. The couches should be arriving later this week, and we wanted to be sure that the house was clean ready for their arrival.
So, having woken up very early on Saturday, we went to B&Q (similar to Home Depot) shortly after they opened, to rent a Rug Doctor to clean the carpets. It was extremely frustrating to find that they require two types of Id to rent these carpet cleaners. A Drivers License will do for one, but they need either a utility bill, Bank Statement or a Passport as the second proof of identity. Well as you can imagine, we don’t carry utility bills or passports around with us, so we had to drive the 5 miles home again, then back, and finally got the machine. It was only £5 ($8) to rent it for a second day, so we did that, meaning we didn’t have to hurry to return it, and could give the carpets a second cleaning if they needed it.
I moved some of the furniture around, including a baby stroller, high chair and car seat that we are left with to get rid of, making more space, and then Debbie vacuumed the living room, while I helped to move things around as she went.
While she then got to work on the carpets, I got to work outside in the garden, since it was a nice day, and set my new strimmer (weed whacker) to work, making short work of all the weeds that had sprung up since the winter, and putting down some weedkiller afterward.
I also cut the grass, and tidied up the front garden, which Debbie’s daughter and son-in-law had worked in, but left unfinished. There is so much to do out there, it’s not just a day or two of work, it’s a month of Sunday’s and then some.
We also finished hammering in the base for the rotary clothes line, which Debbie’s son-in-law had put in several weeks ago, but managed to shatter a piece of wood in the process, so it flew up in his face and practically broke his nose. This was the first chance I had to work on it, and Debbie had to hold the wood for me so I could hammer away at the base. Finally it went into the ground, but since they had been using it to dry clothes for several weeks, the base is not as firm as it ought to be, and it’s tilting slightly. Bummer! It’s now impossible to get the spike out of the ground, so it’s staying put! Some jobs just need two people to do them, and it’s frustrating when they get attempted with only one, and then no matter what you do, the result is less than perfect.
By late afternoon we were both knackered, so we took a short break out in the garden, where the sun was shining. Neither of us wanted to overdo things.
We were going to have a Barbecue, but in the end couldn’t be bothered to light it, wait for the charcoal to burn through, then cook it, and so Debbie cooked the burgers and sausage in the kitchen, while I took a shower and did more chores inside.
I had to take a shower, since the weed eating had left my feet very dirty (I was wearing Crocs), and the last thing I wanted was to walk on the still wet carpets with dirty feet!
In preparation for the new couches coming in, we moved the old chair and couch around, and also decide to move the television as well. Unfortunately, the cable coming in from the satellite dish is not long enough, so I had to re-plug everything in the television cabinet, and pull out the Sky Box, putting this on a coffee table which was in reach of the existing cables, and also in reach to be plugged into the television. I looked up on the internet and finally bought some extension cables on eBay, which should arrive in a few days, and then I can hook everything up properly again.
It felt strange on Saturday night, sitting with the chairs and television in a different position, but more changes were to come on Sunday.
Sunday it was supposed to rain heavily, and my back and head were hurting, but we both woke up to brilliant sunshine, and so I ended up doing more work in the garden.
Debbie meantime advertised our 2-seater couch on Freecycle, a web site where you can let people know of items that you have to give away, or if you are looking for something free. Within no time, someone contacted her, and within hours our 2-seater couch was gone and out of the way. It’s so much easier than having to haul it away yourself, and better to go to a home where someone can make use of it than to scrap it. Now just an armchair to go…
Meantime Debbie put the Rug Doctor to more good use, having a second go at the worst and most trafficked areas downstairs, and also the bedrooms upstairs. OMG that machine is really heavy to lift!
The garden now looks a lot better, with more weeds got rid of, and most of the old tree stumps and pulled up roots, weeds etc incinerated. It finally feels like we are making progress and making the place our own.
So Sunday evening we sat down to watch television, Debbie in the armchair, and me on a lawn chair, for want of anything else. It wasn’t that comfortable, but it’s only for a few days – hopefully.
I will keep you updated on the saga, but needless to say, we both feel that this weekend was very productive, and the house is looking a lot nicer as a result.