Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

Well yes, actually I *do* think I should be able to do everything I want to. But thank you for asking.

on May 21, 2014

After getting my Decree Absolute, and the consent order which means that my ex-husband cannot benefit from any equity in the house, I am suddenly consumed with a desire to move house.  I would like a garden.  But, more importantly, I want a house which feels entirely mine.  I want a house which does not have all the painful associations of the past couple of years.  I want a house which Ex-Husband has never had the right to walk around, where he has never gone to the toilet as a matter of course, which we did not choose together, where he does not know the storage location of carrier bags.  I want a new house for my new start.

I have some difficulties in achieving this.  Firstly, a large part of my income is derived from benefits.  I’m ok with this, but many mortgage lenders aren’t.  More significantly, I don’t have much equity.  I have no real idea how much my house is worth, as nothing has sold on our street for a while, but I’m guessing that if I do owe less money than the house is worth, it’s not by much.  And, as nothing has sold for a while, there’s a good chance that my house wouldn’t sell either, unless it was at a price too low for me to buy anything else.

My brain runs round and round, worrying at the options like a dog trying to find a ball its owner only pretended to throw.  I think the reason I am not finding an immediate solution is because there isn’t one.  I think my brain has come up with this whole concept of moving to fill the void left by the divorce.

I wonder if I would actually be any happier living in a new house.  It would be *nice* to have a garden for the girls to play in, but then I would have to look after it, and I already fail to keep a house tidy.  It would be *nice* to have a bathroom with a window, but I don’t really spend that much time in there.  It would be *nice* to have the possibility of a bedroom for each child, which might solve some of the difficulties at bedtime.  But if I had three bedrooms, I would probably lose my lovely attic/sewing room/child-free room with views of the local hills.  That’s quite a big sacrifice.

And I think what I really want wouldn’t be achieved by moving house.  And I think what I really miss is the social life we had in our house: barbecues and parties and friends round.  I relied quite a lot on Ex-Husband to facilitate them: to get the house clean in preparation, to cook sausages, to be calm and friendly.  On my own, and with two small children, it feels unachievable.  I feel anxious that my house is dirty (a friend suggested yesterday that I am ‘secretly tidy’.  I laughed. A lot).  I feel anxious when entertaining.  I like having guests but I don’t feel very good at it.  But moving to a new house wouldn’t make me more tidy or less socially inept.

And I’d love to have a house which feels like a home.  But I’m not very good at it.  I have a few friends who are creative and have beautiful homes with with bits of decoration and… um… stuff, which all looks artfully put together.  I’d love to have a home which feels like that.  What I actually have is a home full of surfaces covered in random clutter and post I haven’t dealt with yet, and interesting-looking sections of the Guardian which I like to pretend I will read one day.  My floors are largely colonised by Happyland people, bits of chalk, jigsaws and games emptied out of boxes by Small Girl and left there, books taken off shelves and put into piles because this appears to constitute ‘fun’ here, and small pieces of paper which are the result of Big Girl’s obsession with making ‘tickets’.  I’m not arty or tidy and moving house is not going to make me so.

What I do have is lots of friends.  A few months ago one of my friends offered to come and do a little bit of cleaning, to help me out.  Two days later she had re-organised my entire house and come up with a list of storage solutions and furniture re-arranging ideas to make my house work better and look better.  And my sister spent a morning arguing with me about which paint colours would look nice, as opposed to the paint colours I would choose.  She painted one wall of her flat cow-poo green and made it look good.  I spent a large part of last night looking at pictures friends shared on Facebook of their back yards and the good use they made of small spaces.  I have a remarkably quantity of exceptionally kind friends.  And I’m pretty sure I have enough friends who would be willing to come round for a barbecue, picnic, afternoon tea.

And I have a lovely house which is a bit like a tardis, with a working cellar and attic; security of tenure; largely reasonable neighbours; a safe neighbourhood; amenities – on my list of things I’m grateful for this house has always figured quite highly.  It feels a little churlish to feel unhappy about the house I have when I’m in such a fortunate position.

I’ve spent the past couple of years working through all the difficult situations and experiences I’ve faced, and growing and changing because of them.  I would like to move house, and at some point I think I will need to, to have more bedroom space for the girls.  But just now, I think that more than moving to somewhere new, I need to rearrange what’s inside my head and how my life works.  Oh, and learn to keep my kitchen tidy.


2 responses to “Well yes, actually I *do* think I should be able to do everything I want to. But thank you for asking.

  1. celeste says:

    I fall in the crafty category of your friends, but I’m firmly with you on the clutter front. A bigger house just spreads the clutter out. I’d also love a bigger flatter garden too but hate cutting grass so I dug up the small amount I had and the garden now mostly looks after itself.

    If you did fancy a move though there’s a 3 bedroomed end terrace a bit further down from me, flat garden backing onto the fields on a bus route and only £70,000

    • I wonder if some of the sense of ‘craftiness’ and stylishness is to do with difference. If I did make my house look lovely and stylish, would I get used to it and not really notice it, because it’s familiar?

      It’s also the case that, although I’m not a minimalist in any way, I don’t really do any kind of accessorising or jewellery, and I don’t really like unnecessary frills – I just don’t see the point. I’m not very visual, so it might be that I need to find different ways to make my house feel like mine. I do like a bit of bunting and fairy lights though.

      Thank you for the kind offer to come and live near you. I will bear it in mind 🙂

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