S02, Episode 1: Sorted
Get it together...
"Mum, there's a man at the front door."
"Oh great! Is it the electrician?"
"I don't know...I howled at him." My eldest daughter part-wolf helpful as ever.
Here we are three months on and this house is falling apart around my ears. I'm trying to juggle not freezing to death, drowning from a leaky ceiling, or electrocuting myself. The landlord is flaky if we are being generous, and if we are not? Well, insert a considerable amount of swearing here.
The electrician cast his magic and we have power and heating restored. For how long the augers cannot say, but I'll take it for now. At least I can wrestle the mountain of laundry into submission. Who knew two small crotch goblins could produce so much fucking laundry?! Especially when Daisy insists on wearing only two outfits: the ironman ensemble plus tutu and the flimsy summer dress even though it's still baltic outside. I suspect they fill the basket to keep me at work. I can hear it now:
'She's such a dreadful mother.'
'Give her more washing, that way we know where she is at all times...'
Followed by high fives after which they return to various ways of killing each other.
When I viewed this house I was taken by its shabby chic beachy charm. Open wooden stairs leading up three floors, with the top room having a stunning sea view. A long tiled bathroom with an actual bath with feet! The quirky open plan kitchen, sitting room and dining nook. Yes, looking back the word 'nook' should have been a foreshadowing of the hell to come.
But I saw myself and the kids enjoying family dinners in said nook of freshly caught fish. We could have fun sandy-feet days paddling, swimming and building castles. They would have their own rooms and I would have a studio overlooking the sea. Painting to my heart's content and to the delight of my bank manager, who was getting antsy. Apparently, savings don't last forever.
It seemed to have slipped my Pinterest addled brain that Aberdeen is situated on the North Sea. Average summer temperature approaching 14℃ in a good year with a wind chill factor of about -10. Also, my kids hate fish.
Their 'own room' scheme lasted approximately one hour when Daisy came charging through screaming.
'Mummmyyyy! There's a goose!'
'A goose? Are you sure, darling?'
'Yes! A big goose, it scary me.'
Given the madness that happens in this house, I am willing to entertain that somehow there is a goose parading around my daughter's bedroom.
Lily not to miss out on the fun, comes armed with an archery set and leads the way along the corridor. A fake fur wolf tail swaying behind her and howling announcing her arrival.
'Shhhhhh, we don't want to frighten it!'
'But mummy it's a goose, we need to scare it away,' reasons Daisy.
'If it's a goose darling, it will be more frightened of us than we are of it.' Although I have a memory of geese being pretty big and aggressive.
Cautiously I ease open the door, pushing the girls behind me. I peer into the room expecting to be honked at but there is no goose to be seen.
I enter fully, flick on the lights and still see nothing.
'Darling, are you sure there was a goose?'
'Yes, mama.' Wide-eyed Daisy points to the corner. 'It was there.'
Whilst Daisy is prone to flights of fancy, she isn't a deceptive child so somewhere along the line, I have to believe there is something goosey lurking in my house. Anyway, it was clear nothing more will be resolved tonight so I tuck her up in with her sister, much to Lily's disgust.
The goose was a feature for the next few nights. I could only put it down to night frights. Until Ross came for dinner.
Once the kids were in bed, we were enjoying a rather steamy moment. Just as he was wrestling rather nicely with my bra strap Daisy burst in crying and very distraught.
If you ever want a sex life don't even contemplate having kids.
'Mummy!' She wailed. 'It's the goose!!'
Ross, surreptitiously wiping off lipstick kisses, took her onto his knee and comforted her.
'Goose?' He enquired, eyebrows cocked.
'There's a scary goose in my room,' sniffled the youngest.
Ross being a manly man took her to investigate promising to scare away the bad goose. Daisy clung to him - the great protector.
'Ross scary it away'
No mention I had already done this several billion times this week. Mums get no credit. Slightly put out I follow, ready with a smug told-you-there's-no-goose.
'You show me where it is, sweetheart.' I feel my smugness reaching peak. Any moment now.
Daisy points to the empty corner.
Ross looks at me, looks at the space...
I draw breath to say I told you there is no goose.
He hunkers down to Daisy's height. 'It's ok, the ghost is probably sad and wants to play.'
Ghost. I think my smugness might just choke me. Of course, she meant ghost, not a goose at all. Fuckity bugger. Enter bad mother guilt. This is probably the opportune moment to mention Ross is a social worker and has a particular talent at unintentionally making me look crap.
Anyway, now Daisy can sleep in her room. Only the heating is variable and Lily's room is the only cosy spot in the house. So they end up sharing. All I have had is:
'It's not fair.'
'Lily bit me!'
'I am a wolf, of course, I bite.'
Oh god. There is not enough wine in the world. Besides I reason it keeps me warm.
The house is so cold that the luxurious baths imagined are reduced to the fastest shower I can achieve without my feet freezing to the floor.
That studio with a view? The roof is leaking so badly I have had to store my paints and canvases in the dining nook. So now when we gather to eat there is a serious risk of ending dinner looking like a Jackson Pollock painting.
However hard I harangue the landlord I get no action. He's apologetic and perfectly nice and perfectly bloody useless.
We can't live and work like this!
I think I need to move house. Again.
Episode 2 Next week 👇🏻
Apart from Emma and Ross. All other names have been changed for privacy. This memoir is set in the city of Aberdeen, UK but I have altered some of the place and business names.