Monday, 20 June 2011

Fathers Day

AC's most treasured wedding gift was the George Foreman grill we recieved. Like a child with their favourite toy he could be found at any hour of the day experimenting with it. Nothing gave him more pleasure than to see the fat dripping from the grill into the catchment dish and onto the kitchen bench. Unfortunately he didn't have the same enthusiasm for cleaning up after it.

Such 'lazy' behaviour was uncharachteristic of AC. Once a professional cleaner, he has never been one to shy away from a grotty job. Dirty toilet, filthy oven, stinky drains... he's onto it. His product selection is faultless and I'm in awe of his cleaning capabilities.

Anyways, you can imagine how irritating it was having to clean up these fatty deposits. I feared if left unchecked such behaviour might spill over into other tasks. One day I might find myself having to clean the oven! I needed to to nip things in the bud and make an example of this behavior.
I issued AC with a warning. Clean up your act or else.
But he took no heed and his fatty habit continued.
I gave him a further ultimatum. Clean it or lose it.

Still relatively new in marriage I wondered how AC would recieve my assertiveness. Would he take me seriously or take it as an empty threat? I didn't believe he'd want to risk anything happening to his precious grill and was sure I'd see some improvement.
But I didn't.

So I threw the George Foreman out.

Although it improved the quality of my life I'm not sure it improved the quality of our relationship. Nearly seven years on and he still finds many an opportunity to bring up this little incident. I do feel some regret though, mostly because it was a handy little appliance and was capable of producing a mean toastie.

AC's not easy to buy for and having shared 8 years of Birthdays and Christmases together I'm rather low on ideas for gifts. Fathers Day would have provided the perfect opportunity to make amends for the past. I came incredibly close to purchasing him the 2 portion compact grill. But I couldn't get the image of crusty hot plates and lumps of hardened fat all over the kitchen work tops out of my head. So instead he got this delightful bundle of goodies.

AC loves microfibre cloths.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Moving - Chapter 3

Our New Home

It was with tears in our eyes that we left Oxford. It was where our children had grown from being babies to toddlers to children. So many happy memories contained in each square foot. Although we never liked the fireplace, it was home. The Octonauts would never know the spectrum of emotions felt behind the door that we closed for the last time that evening.

With it being 2 hours past the kids bedtime they slept the whole way to South Shields. Thank goodness, I don't think our nerves could of taken any more of a bashing after the day we'd just had. Usually I would have had concerns about myself falling asleep also, which would have been a problem as I was the designated driver for the evening. But these days I have a little trick up my sleeve. I just doubled my dose of thyroxine for the day! Not only was I not sleepy, but come midnight I was as alert as The A-Bomb after a sugar fix.

The next morning we awoke in 'Sunny' South Shields. With family at the ready to look after the Octonauts, AC and I could focus our energies on getting through the day in one piece. Before heading over to Durham we popped to 'The Nook' (a quaint cosmopolitan shopping precinct) for a quick bite to eat. We let the A-Bomb tag along.

The penalty for exceeding the designated weight limit of a vehicle is a fine and the vehicle would obviously have to off-load some of it's goods. If the vehicle is dangerous it can be impounded! (We know this because we were warned by more than one other moving company in our initial search) You can imagine what a relief it was when half way through the morning we got a text from The Expert saying they were passing Nottingham by.

Once our new landlord had given us the keys to our new home, the waiting began. My imagination soon began to go into overdrive. They should have been here by now...
Aaron's phone rings.
It's them.
They're lost!
In Durham somewhere.
Hallelujah. This is great news. I can breathe again. I can smile again. They're almost here.
Soon they arrive and we all get the van unpacked. The only problem we encounter is that our sofa's don't fit up the stairs (we've moved to one of those modern town houses where the living room is on the middle floor). But who cares at least we have them, here, with us, with all our other things, well - except those things we had to leave behind.

One of the things left behind was our dust pan and brush,
 thankfully Shemily had remembered hers.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Moving: Chapter 2

The Big Day

The Expert and his entourage of helpers arrive with their really BIG van. As well as redefining the meaning of big, this van is also so rusty and old that the only place it should be headed is the scrapyard (not 250 miles away to Durham). Alarm bells start to reverberate around my head.

They come inside and take a fresh look at our stuff - which is now all boxed up and waiting patiently in the living room. Jaws drop and silence ensues. I pretend it's because they're impressed with my packing skills, and not because they're overwhelmed by how much stuff we actually have.

The entourage follow their leader outside where they stare into the back of the van and contemplate the task ahead. The van begins to roll away! As I watch them chase their van down the street the Alarm bells in my head get louder.

They begin packing. This is a good sign. One of the members of the entourage is The Experts older brother and he has 7 years packing experience. If anyone can make this miracle happen it's him. But just incase he can't I muster the courage to find out what they're back up plan is.

"So... have you got another van you can go and get, in case it doesn't all fit in?" I ask
"No" replied Little Brother
"How were you able to make the original quote of 2 vans?"
"I was just going to rent one"
"So what other vehicles do you have then?"
"A Ford Galaxy"

I don't ask anymore questions.
The packing continues.
It looks like they might actually pull this off.
While Big brother aserts himself in actually trying to fit everything into the van, The Expert takes a differrent approach in trying to get the job done...

"I'm happy to take some stuff to the dump for you" he says. "Like this" he continues, pointing at the kids play kitchen, " I mean do you really want that?"

Both AC and I struggle to find words.

Eventually the van is packed and bulging full. Even the foot well in the passenger cabin is crammed with princess dolls and plastic food. The back shutter can't even be shut properly, though that isn't a surprise considering the state of the van. The van is obviously above the legal weight limit and looking as suspicious as it does we keep our fingers crossed that it doesn't attract the polices attention on it's journey up.

As impressive a performance as Big Brother has given we will still have to make a return journey for the few remaining items. They agree to put whats left into storage for us for no extra charge. How kind.

Now all that's left to do is drive up north. Have a good nights sleep. Pick up the keys to our new digs. And hope the van makes it there too.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Moving: Chapter 1

How to Choose your Removal Company

If you can get something for less why pay more? Unless we're talking about baked beans in which case it's always advisable to buy Heinz. But if it's a staple or tea cakes you're after then Value it is. We applied this rule of economy in the choosing of a removal company for our recent move. We wanted a 'no frills' service and readily accepted the company who provided us with the lowest quote.

A guy came to our house to make a quick assessment to make sure everything would fit into the 2 vans we'd been quoted for. He seems a nice chap, friendly and all. I show him around.

“I can do this in one van” he reckons.
“Really?” I exclaim in unbelief.
“You've not got that much stuff” he adds.
“Really?” I repeat.

Granted the house, due to pre-moving preparations, is the tidiest it's been in our 3 years there. Everything is in it's place, we've already packed a few boxes up, and I've been throwing things out on the sly  for the past month or so. But we still have a lot of stuff; mostly toys and bonsai trees admittedly.
The guy obviously notices my scepticism.

“We've got a BIG van” he emphasises.
“Really?” I question
“Yeah - it's a luton box”

He's obviously mistaken my scepticism for stupidity. I know how 'big' a Luton box van is and I still struggle to envisage all the contents of a 4 bedroom house fitting in. But he should know...

“Your The Expert” I concede.

We're given a slightly cheaper quote for the omission of a van.
The deal is sealed and the date is set. Now all that's left to do is wait. And pack.