Thursday 8 November 2012


We are currently looking for flats. I rank this up there with coal mining. I’m claustrophobic with a cleaning disorder; I think you can gather how I feel about the flat hunting process. The worst part is – well not the worst part, there are so many parts about flat hunting that are profoundly undesirable – this entire relocation situation is being forced upon us. [Yes landlords, I do hope you’re reading this]. In short, our wonderful and empathetic landlords (yes, that’s sarcasm) have given us notice a month before Christmas as they claim they are going to do renovations on the flat we live in and the one below (not sure about the other 24 flats, that's been mysteriously unanswered) so as to proper insulate it for sound. In short, your kid makes too much noise, the neighbors below you hate you (and are apparently moving out) and we want you out, like yesterday.

It’s amazing the above is legal, but apparently it is. At least over here.

Now, firstly, the fact that this is in so many ways being laid at the King’s door makes the primal mother gene in me stand up and want to kick some ass. The kid likes to make noise. He’s a boy, a two year old boy at that, who likes to wake up at the crack of dawn and start singing at the top of his lungs about trucks and bears, and…well, dinner (cause every meal is dinner apparently). I’m not saying it’s always enjoyable to those around us, but it’s far from controllable. You try negotiating with a toddler who doesn’t fully comprehend reason, (I’m giving him the benefit here) I assure you, it’s an uphill struggle.

Furthermore, the neighbors around us, as most of you know who are readers of this blog, have never been a picnic either. In fact, from the loud chronic schizophrenic music from the upstairs neighbor (he never plays a song for more than ten seconds and they switch from hardcore rap to Celine Dion) to the chronic fighting and partying of the downstairs neighbors, well I’d say we’re in good company for noise pollution. Funny thing is, the upstairs neighbor is going nowhere. Curious that.

Anyway, to date, I’ve seen about fifteen flats. I’ve been looking for a few days. Yesterday I walked nine miles around our hood, dragging my insomniac self from property to property attempting to walk in the door and greet my new potential surroundings with rose coloured glasses. This whole journey takes a boost of positivity, and I assure you, this is not an easy feat. First there is the uber peppy, android estate agents one has to deal with; they are a bit like LA talent agents in that they never really look at you, they don't use normal, vernacular, and they are always pushing the hard sell.  

The most annoying part of these androids is their insistence to pitch the property you’re looking at as anything but what it really is: a matchbook sized hovel. They use heaps of misleading euphemisms like cozy (small); quaint (small); full of character (old), in need of some love (falling apart), possessing atmosphere (serious mold problem); existing in an area steeped in local flavor (you’re going to get knifed or shot) or, my favorite, ‘it's the best thing we have right now.’ Which means, this is London, people are willing to live in refrigerator boxes, if you don’t like it lady, someone else will.

Then there is the state of the property itself. Aside from being small and in need of some major TLC, most are kept - and shown - in such disarray even the King walks in, looks at me and says, ‘dirty, mamma.’ God is he well trained or what? Then he marches around the flat like he owns the place and usually ends up back at the door where he issues the command, ‘outside, mamma,' like one more second in the place is going to age him considerably. I seriously don’t blame the kid.

I was actually shown one today that was four floors up (Yeah. Two year old kid that is the size of a pony; Pram; groceries bags; Insomnia. I don’t think so) and the supposed wall between the two bedrooms was a giant door that opened like an accordian at the touch of a finger. The estate agent thought this would be sheer brilliance as we had a child, exclaiming, 'you see, you can hear him at all times!' I looked at her and said, you’re not a parent are you? The point is, he’s two. We don’t want to hear him anymore (love you King, but at 4am, mamma wants to NOT hear you).

And so, the search continues. In mere hours I’m off to see a handful more potential ‘homes’ for the King where I’m hoping the floor is padded (the only solution really for a toddler with a propensity for running sprints indoors), the ceiling is mirrored (I mean seriously, what toddler wouldn’t love that) and the kitchen cleans itself. A woman can dream, can’t she?

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