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Yes...this is ALL about me, and mine. Marvellously self indulgent, feel free to tell me how splendid I am, leave comments, nice ones please, I have little kids and teenagers who can do the rude stuff. I am a grandma, to the glorious Joshua, I'm allowed to look frazzled and weary, I earned it. The older I get, the more I see that hanging on and being patient is worth it! They ( whoever 'they' are) are so right when they say you never know what is around the corner, it isn't always an articulated truck! It is vital to make the time for making memories, friends are the greatest treasure, I love mine. I am rich!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

More for my benefit than entertainment, maybe!

Whenever I lie in a hot bath, I find myself having such thoughts that make me almost hurry and get out because MUST BLOG..must remember that and write it down so in 3 years time I can look back and remember and laugh ( or cry) then, by the time I have finished my ablutions, dried my tired but clean and refreshed body and put some comfy PJs and soft slippers on, I have forgotten what was so intruiging, so hysterically funny, so unbelievably important that I must document it for posterity. Not surprising because if I forget in btween legs to shave the second one,when all I have to do is lather up and rinse the razor, well, of course I'm going to blank out and blink hard in an effort to remember after 25 minutes of activity aren't I?
Today though, I was thinking about how I must sound so whiny about the endless ' must find the money' situations we are always in. ( Blimey, in a totally different train of thought, it's raining so hard I just had to turn the TV up! Better move the sofa over there while I'm at'll be rained on in about 3 minutes)
So, whilst soaking away my cares just now I was thinking about the ways we are saving money to try and gather together the shortfall for the newest move. Typically, because this is so boring for anyone else but will be one of those " Oooh listen H! Remember when we did THIS?" moments in our lives ( for me, because H? When I do that in 3 years times he will nod and smile while trying not to let me see that he has his ear phones in and his iPod on and cannot hear a single word I am saying) Anyway, typically etc etc I can remember that I wanted to write this down, so here we go.
We have a card for our gas, every week we put on as much as we need and plug it in....instant warmth and hot water and no bills, marvellous, bugger if you forget and it runs out and then you have to dash out and finda garage that is open at night ( which never happens because I am organised and remember these things because every THURSDAY we must do that!)
Right now H and I only have the heating on when the boys are at home and awake, when they go to school, we wear jumpers and use blankets, when they go to bed and when they are fast asleep and toasty, we use hot water bottles and blankets and I use him when I go to bed and his side is warm and my side is hurty and cold.
We are ( again) eating what we have in the cupboards and freezer ( unless I go out with Jane and we see lime and hinger fish goujons for £1 a pack and MUST EAT THEM, which we did and YUM.) I am making £5 a day feed all of us every day and even feeding other people sometimes ( but not often)
My lovely free car is saving us a fortune, when the old one gave up the ghost it was doing 23 miles for every £10 petrol I put in it. OUCH.
The new little, zippy number that turns on a sixpence and even sings to me while I drive, ( still not over the joy of RADIO, while I drive MUSIC.....marvellous) anyway, new one, this week did 86 miles on £10 of petrol HOW FABULOUS IS THAT?? It has no clock though, which drives me batty.
I hope that tomorrow I hear that I have sold the trampoline, that would knock £100 off that lump I can't yet find.
I gave away some stuff on freecycle this weekend so the reading / dog pooh room is pretty clear so we can start putting boxes and cases in there as we pack them. I did a run to the tip and cleared a bit more space.
I had a letter from Landlady saying that she had spoken with the council and they had told her that indeed she should have invested that money and should make attempts to do so immediately.She said that she would invest ourmoney immediately ( for 2 weeks???)
I'm not sure how to feel about that, the fact that she spoke with the council worries me as that would be the very place that she could cause trouble for us.
I let go of the anger I felt when we were told that we couldn't take action against her in case she caused trouble for us for a stupid mistake I made.
I realised that she can keep £750 and then we are free of her and this house, troubles over. Her troubles are going nowhere, she has several houses that are not selling, can't be rented because they need repairs she can't afford. Most of her actions are done out of fear and ignorance, she is sinking and the £750 she can keep that belongs to us, won't even begin to help her out.
I am sure we will find what we need somehow and then we will be fine, we start again and we have what we have sought all along.
I drafted a letter to her that I will probably send tomorrow, I want her to have written notice that we are moving because the letter she wrote sounds as though she doesn't think we are actually going. She didn't give us a reference and I suspect she thinks that has stopped us being able to go. She has no idea that her word isn't of any value anyway as her reputation preceds her, especially with the agency that we are working with on the new house, our reputation however is in good stead.

This is the letter, I would appreciate your views..unless you read this mid week when it will be too late!

Dear Landlady,
Thankyou for writing and explaining about the deposit, after our conversation last week I was left feeling frustrated and somewhat disappointed.I know pretty much what is 'within our rights' and also what legally, you are entitled to do.
Due to experiences in the past, I have made it my business to know exactly where I stand and have been accused of being a little TOO obsessive about documenting and taking pictures, making sure that I won't get walked all over. I do do my homework and usually have a good knowledge of where I stand.
Since we first became your tenants, up until quite recently, I felt that we had a mutual trust and respect, both helping each other out and trying to do what is good and right. Moving to this house changed a lot of those feelings.

This house has been a bad one to live in, the appalling condition when we took it over, the sheer volume of work and expense ( and I DO appreciate that you did compensate us for our expenses, that has been the only thing that kept me from completely losing it while cleaning and heaving my way through the filth.)
Moving is incredibly stressful, horribly expensive with all the hidden expenses, cable vs freeview, BT vs cable, deposits, money up front ( that calor gas was a killer for example) vans, petrol, cleaning stuff.
This house has so many extra costs, the new toilet seat, replacing the sink ( while the sink was free the new tap, pipes, sealant etc weren't ), putting on padlocks and repairing the door and window after the attempted break in too, the list seems endless.
To move from the Barn after only EIGHT weeks was unbelievable, I was so tempted to just put my foot down and say no, but I didn't. I retracted my instructions to the estate agents and once again we put aside what would have been better for us and accomodated your wishes.

In lovely town house that we first rented, when we had every one and his aunt telling us to sit tight, force an eviction, go through the courts, we refused, I even went as far as seeing a solicitor to prevent having to put you and the new owners through that.

We were very grateful to move to the barn, we hired expensive equipment to get through that paddock and make it wonderful, we put in hours of work getting it looking lovely and we enjoyed our time there,we cleaned, we dusted and washed, we fixed the gates, we did everything we could to keep it nice. We didn't complain about the broken shower, the broken dishwasher, the fridge door that kept falling off, we just fixed what we could and forgot about the things we couldn't. We believed you when you said you would refund us the £160 for the gas in the tank, we were disappointed to hear that you wouldn't do that because 'you aren't using it ', neither are we, we don't have access to it, we have no way of making up that money.
We tried to let that go, but when we are living here, with the smell of damp, with the rain coming in the front room, having to move the sofa into the middle of the room to avoid being rained on, being magnaminous is very tough. That was the turning point, that was what made me decide that it was time to do what is best for my family.
The floor in the bathroom in this house is so much more than an inconvenience, it is dangerous, the whole floor gives when we walk into the bathroom and now the landing floor is 'bouncing' too. The smell is intolerable to me, the wood is completely rotten.
Whilst we have infinite sympathy for your plight, with empty houses and the terrible housing market ect, it really isn't our problem, we have tried so hard to be patient and understanding, not be whiners and endlessly trouble you to repair and make good.
We asked in September and again in October about the floor, when you said that you simply couldn't afford the repairs we understood and decided that the only thing we could do was move, find a house that we could hope to stay in longer than 6-12 months, that was safe and affordable for us. £750 is more than we can afford, we are given £612 a month, having to find that extra £138 every month, from benefits, for a house that has made me physically ill and the rest of us just plain miserable is just unacceptable to me. You aren't able to work with us on that and so we feel we have no choice but to leave.
So, we have found a house, perfect for us, back in the town and in our price range, parking and outside play space for the boys. We are moving on January 28th, we are happy to be able to do this and look forward to being able to settle and get our family back into a routine and contented again.
I understand that legally, you are entitled to keep £750 of our deposit, I accept that, whilst the idea that you WILL withold that money disappoints me and for a while made me furious and indignant, I now feel that to allow myself to continue to feel such anger and resentment does nothing but harm me and cause feelings of contention that I can well live without.
So, I leave the ball in your court, I do trust that you will take into consideration what is right, as well as legal. I am saddened that what used to be a mutually helpful and friendly aquaintance seems to have fallen to unhappy levels of 'what I am entitled to,' incredibly unhealthy and certainly unhappy for all of us. You can decide what steps to take next.
When we leave, I will mail a key to you and leave the rest in the house, we will leave the house relatively clean and tidy ( though don't bank on a gleaming cooker again, that stove is beyond cleaning.....even so, it is 300 times better than when we moved here! ) Although the tenacy agreement says we should leave the house in the state in which we found it, allowing for wear and tear, in all conscience I couldn't do that to another human being. ( sometimes sticking rigidly to a signed agreement isn't always called for and is, in fact a beneficial thing)
I cried every day for 5 weeks over having to move into this house, I would never expect anyone else to feel that badly.
I will contact you when we are settled in our new home, until then, after the 28th if you can contact me via mum's address that I sent you before we went away ( nice new house that makes her happy).
I hope you manage to sell / rent your houses soon, I do understand how worrying the situation must be for you. If you decide to re-rent this one I suggest you really get it repaired and made safe before any new tenants move in, it would be foolhardy to expect anyone else to be understanding under such circumstances.
So, unless we speak before then we will be out of stinking misery house on the 28th January, Yours sincerely . Helen.

I do know that it should say faithfully but I don't have faith in her and I am being incredibly sincere, so there. Also I replaced address and names with flippant comments, the original letter is more formal ( although, how I would love to write 'stinking misery house')
2 weeks, that's all until we leave this house for pastures new ( again) I feel calm and happy about it and because I just couldn't in my heart, accept that we would have to stay here, there is little packing to do because it's all still packed!
I am either numb to all this stress and suposition OR I have learned that we need just enough worry to get us moving, get the thingsthat need to be done, accomplished and no more. Worrying and wringing ofhands gets us nowhere, I can either worry until my skin falls off, or I can get on with things and sleep well ( oh glorious Nytol, my new and faithful friend) I can suppose and wonder and fret or I can Not. Think. At. All. Lovely, not thinking. I recommend it to everyone.
Do what you can, shut the door on it and see what happens. All that wisdom and only 45. I wish I could tell you some of the stuff that has led me to such blase acceptance ( and in fairness I have told most of it but some of it? Gosh darn it all, can't write it here......but ha! How liberal and laid back I am these days)
So, new week, with my littlest boy staying at school all day tomorrow .8.40am until 3.30pm.Long day for a little chap who still sucks his thumb, pees himself when very busy ( oh, never mind, it don't matter) and who falls asleep if he sits still any time after 1pm. He really IS still such a baby to me. I keep thinking about what needs to be done and saying, to myself, " Ha! I shall do that on monday /tuesday/wednesday/ thursday / friday when the boys are at school" H and I are giddy with the idea of what we can achieve, but also ( don't tell anyone) there has been a lot of talk like " when I was at the job center last week" and " When I went to such and such a place and asked about teaching in this country"
and then ( from me) " Where? Sorry? Who? When...did you? Pardon?" That sort of talk. Yes. Me too. Bloody hell. ( oh dear, was definitely going to work on my swearing and language etc but then, well bloody hell!)
So, all kinds of things going on. Indeed.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you trying to tell me in a nice way youare tired of hearing me grumble about my money troubles? (You know I'm just kidding.) I wish I had the money to send you although that's double in dollars isn't it? Ouch!

12:55 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

I think the letter is great, Helen. You are much kinder than I would be. And I don't mind the money-whining. Everybody does it!

1:13 am  
Blogger DivaIsNotABadWord said...

I would simply burn that letter after I printed it up... Not worth sending it out to her (IMO of course.)I re-read your letter once again and I still stand by my words. Yes, she is asking for it and Helen,either burn or delete the letter. She is in trouble and it's her own doing. Never you mind the stinky horrible goodness knows what lurks behind the walls stuff and walk away from it all, head held high.

Enough energy has been wasted upon her and what she does not do. FOCUS on your new home and the joys you will come across and that my dear is my advice although perhaps unsolicited to you and yours.

I wish you enough,
Genny_1( yes, from BZONE)

3:42 am  
Blogger LosingSanity said...

I think the letter explains the things you have gone through and points out exactly what you have sacrificed along the way. I say it's good. You need to give notice of your intent to move (it's the right thing to do) and in the process, you are letting her know that you are aware of the legalities of everything and that she can run you over. You also shows sympathy towards her situation and hopefully she will read it and realize what an ogre she has been. And who knows. Maybe she will decide to give you at least half of your deposit back for all the trouble you have gone through. (wouldn't hold my breath..but hey!)

4:33 am  
Blogger noname said...

I love the letter as written but probably wouldn't send it myself. It definately strikes a point but legally, it's considered emotional and that could work against you if she chose to take it up.

When I write letters like that, I trash them afterward. Just feels good to write it out.

Strangely wonderful and sad feeling when the baby goes off to school, isn't it?


5:29 pm  
Blogger TN said...

I think you are doing good for evil....and isn't that what we are supposed to do? Send it!!!!

7:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Clara's reasoning. Send it already.

7:36 pm  

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