This week marks a year since I bought and moved into Blonde Towers, and it’s a milestone that’s come round with frightening speed. Even now, I’m not past feeling like a fraud every time I put my key into the lock: I’m still not entirely sure I should be trusted to live alone, let alone owning the place I’m living alone in.
In what I’m advised by The Father is true homeowner fashion, there are several (hundred) things on the house to-do list that I rather assumed would be done and dusted by this point in the process. I’m yet to paint (anywhere. Oops); commission some art for the very blank sitting room wall and – despite complaints from several hundred house guests – fit mirrors to any room that’s not my bedroom.
But in my year of owning and occupying, I have learnt a few small but crucial lessons.
- Read the paperwork from your mortgage provider carefully. It might well list the address of your new home, for which they’re lending you a little cash, incorrectly. Ideal? Not so much.
- Curtains and associated paraphernalia are objectionably expensive.
- It’s worth having the housewarming before you paint, wallpaper or acquire new, neutral carpets.
- Cleaners are worth their weight in gold.
- Don’t let your father see you wield a screwdriver. The look of hurt that’ll cross his face when he realises you don’t need him to put up a picture or assemble furniture is utterly heartbreaking.
- You either have spiders or dust. If you have a cleaner, you’ll have no dust. An inquisitive and greedy kitten is an ideal acquisition to deal with the pesky arachnids.
- If your teenage years were anything like mine, you’ll have spent much time hearing the words: “Not while you’re living under my roof! When you have your own house, you can do as you please.” It’s lies. It doesn’t matter how old you are, nor the size of your mortgage: opinions (unsolicited) will be given on everything from the wisdom of adopting aforementioned kitten (foolish) to the acquisition of a garden shed (necessary) via your chosen energy supplier (I can’t remember. I wasn’t listening).
- If you managed to nab your late grandmother’s fabulous art nouveau bookcase with the silver panelling on the sides in the great 2008 Claiming of Stuff and have housed it, unbeknownst to your favourite cousin, in your spare room, do let him know before he comes to stay.
- Get to know your neighbours, but only to the right degree. Enough that they’ll take in parcels whilst you’re at work. Not so much that they’ll feel you’re good enough friends that they can ask difficult questions about exactly what the noise was that sounded suspiciously like a headboard banging against the wall.
It remains to be seen whether, by this time next year, I’ll have learnt anything further. Or whether the sitting room is still the same colour.
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