been too long a rolling stone

This is me right now:

I’m even doing that award little dance. Only in a less hot way. I feel so weird about this song, by the way.  The first time I heard it was I like … holy fuck, Patrick, what are you doing?  From The Bachelor to this?  This song about twu wuv and redemption. But it’s perfect, so perfect, sweet and – as ever – completely queer. We’ve come a long way, Patrick and Wolf and me. He’s another one of my John Grants, expressing things I need expressed.

So, yeah, I think I’ve actually bought a house. Something I’ve been trying to do for about a year now, and succeeded in doing almost by accident. There long saga of The House On Poet Road is somewhere in the depths of this ill-kept blog but basically there was a house I liked, then there wasn’t, then I was a broken man. We kept looking in a half-arsed kind of way between then and now until it felt like we were standing still on the motorway of flying-past houses, none of which we were able to flag down.

To be fair, this bit of the south east has a completely nutters housing market. It’s the sort of place where the money you would spend on a two bedroom hovel would buy you, basically, a mansion north of Birmingham. And it’s not going to get better any time soon. But, hey, you make your choices right? Also buying a house is weird because it’s so unspeakably expensive that there’s no point compromising on anything. You don’t want to lay down scary proportions of a million quid on something you’re so-so about. And we had a bunch of immovables on top of that like not being fucked with DIY.

By August I’d basically given up everything: pride, hope, joy, you name it. If we liked a house, I was offering asking price, oral sex and the souls of any of my unlikely children, and we were still being turned down. Because that’s how completely insane the house market it is. We were being outbid on asking price. Anyway, we found this place, and the owner was having to move North to take care of her ailing mother (a sad story but beneficial to us … and how bad do I feel about that?) So I banged my money on the table (metaphorically, I’m not wandering about with hundreds of thousand stuffed in an old sock) and … yeah … we were outbid. So I went a bit higher. And we were outbid. And I went a bit higher … and yeah … I gave up.

Cue: H and I in Edinburgh, in the cafe in the Gilded Balloon, bitching about a terrible play about arse-fucking we’d just seen. Don’t ask. Okay, you can ask. It was called The Surrender, based on a book of the same name, and we’d gone because we’d had nothing else to do at one o’clock in the afternoon. It was supposed to be subversive I generally find things that are supposed to be subversive deeply banal. So, yeah, it’s about a woman who likes to get fucked up in the arse. Um, yes? And? Some people enjoy that.  And what’s really weird it’s just about getting fucked up the arse by this one dude. She claimed it took a special, mystical kind of man to be able to do that. To quote H, as we were leaving: “No, it doesn’t. Just ask, love, and we’ll give it a go.”

Oh yes, so there we were, post-arse-fucking, and my phone rang. Unknown number. And it was the estate agent, telling me the other people had dropped out, and did I still want to the buy house.

“Hell to the yes,” quoth I.

And put in my offer at asking.  Aaaaand so we acquired a house. Or, at least, we’ve done everything we need to do to have a house except, y’know, complete.  And it’s scary as all hell because it has required me to hand over literally all the money I have in the world, acquire life insurance so that if I die, H isn’t, y’know, completely fucked, sign a lot of paperwork and let the flat so we didn’t end up having to pay rent and mortgage.

I have so many terrors right now I can barely count them. There’s the whole “if this falls through we’re kind of actually really homeless” problem. There’s the “um, this house is slightly more expensive than I originally budgeted so we can’t afford any furniture” issue.  But, like, really. How much do you really need a fridge. Or a sofa. Or tables. There’s a mild, utterly baseless paranoia that I might just randomly die. Although, if you ask me, life insurance is just an invitation for your partner to murder you and make it look like an accident.

The house itself, by the way, is lovely. Full of light. With fireplaces. Also, the surveys assure me, connected to a public sewer and very probably not situated on contaminated ground. I honestly have no idea what surveys are meant to actually tell you. I mean, as far as I can work out, it’s basically so you know you’re not living in the bad bit of Sim City, where the player hasn’t figured out how to connect you to the electricity and water grid yet, but it’s all couched in this opaque legal language so who the fuck knows? The place is late Victorian which means it has … character.  The character of a histrionic and vulnerable person. I’m pretty sure we’re going to end up nurturing this thing through the winter, and hoping the roof doesn’t fall off, but dammit. Light and fireplaces. Priorities, right?

I was very much in love with The House on Poet Road. I am not in love with the new place, even though it is better in every conceivable way. Which makes me basically Lynton from A Civil Contract. But I think it’s mainly because I’m too scared for love right now. I still can’t quite believe this thing is happening.

Also the whole business is an exercise being a fake grown up. We had to go the solicitor’s office yesterday to sign the papers. For some reason, we were both having a “sorry, so fucks available” day which meant we rocked up at this quite posh building to do this quite important thing, involving a ridiculous amount of money, looking like we couldn’t be trusted to open a can of beans on our own.

The thing that makes me feel like the biggest failure as a grown up is my inability to manage my washing. Like, what is with this? H has the same problem but doesn’t care. I care. I care deeply. I feel if I was a proper mature human, I’d be able to look at my clothes, assess none of them will be clean in a couple of days time, and do something about it. As opposed to look at my clothes, discover none of them are clean and embark on increasingly convoluted adventures to what-to-wear rather than, y’know, do some washing. H generally identifies wearable clothing by … picking it off on the floor and smelling it. I don’t do this, thank God. I move worn clothes into the laundry bag. But it’s like the laundry bag is a black hole out of my conscious and subconscious mind. Because once clothes are in there, they do not exist. They are dead to me. Opening it is this incredible voyage of discovery: oh yes, I own socks, and shirts, amazing. Like a couple of weeks ago, I actually went to Tescos in a tux because I literally had nothing else to wear.

But the worst of it is our laundry-aversion-grown-up-failure-ness has synched up so in perfect harmony we’ll recognise the existence of the possibility of washing clothes, and simultaneously attempt to wash all our clothes at once. Which leads to a lot of nakedness and arguing, and a house that smells of damp socks for days after.

So we’re both at the end of our non-laundry cycle which meant we both looked terrible. H was wearing this pair of jeans so old that the seams had started fray all the way up the inside of the legs. All the way up. Holy God. And a T-shirt stolen from me which said “OMGWTFLOL” in big pink letters. As for me, we were talking explosion in a quirk factory. All the silly shit from when I was a student and is still lying in the bottom of my wardrobe. When were in the waiting room, other clients – most of whom were in suits – were actually edging away from us.

And these were the people who bought an actual house. Such as human grownups own.

I feel like someone from the Bureau of No Seriously What The Fuck is going to turn up at any moment, and revoke my licence.

absurdity, angst

15 Responses to been too long a rolling stone

  1. Congrats on all of your paperwork. I am sure you and H will enjoy the house. I don’t have any laundry tips for you because I forgot to transfer my stuff to the dryer last night…so this morning was slightly delayed. I personally think laundry is the bane of my existence because it never ends. I am sure you two brightened up the day for those Suits *giggles*

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Thank you – though I think it should be commiserations on the paperwork 😉 That stuff is nightmarish.

      Oh, god, H is hopelessly about laundry transfer. Sometimes I’ll open the door and there’ll be this king-rat-esque ball of socks in there, that have been sitting there in a gently stagnating pool of soapy water for about two weeks. And then there is yelling and woe 😉

  2. willaful says:

    I wish I could leap on a plane and go do your laundry. Because it’s my core competency, and you deserve worshipful groupies to take care of you while you commute with your muse. 😉 Less creepily, I also wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall while you were signing the papers.

    House hunting was *exactly* like that when we were doing it, so I feel your pain. And not settling for something so-so was exactly the right thing to do, no matter what our realtor thought.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      How on earth do you develop laundry competency? I think that would be the winning outcome here. But I guess if I wasn’t able to learn the basics in the last ten years, I might be doomed. Clearly I need to make my gay porn fortune and then I can employ people to do my laundry, while I sit in a corner, sobbing with class-traitor shame.

      What I find really bewildering about house hunting is the stories *other* people have about it. It’s like it was this extraordinary triumph for everyone else: “Oh yes, it was on the market for 80 gazillion pounds, I went in there and offered 10p and a carrot, and they said yes…”

      So maybe it’s a bit like love – you smooth down the rough edges over time and forget that the first time you saw him, he was wearing a stupid T-shirt, and the first time you kissed he came at you like an elephant in a tumble dryer.

      • willaful says:

        Being a class traitor does get easier! I now barely feel a twinge when I drive around in my car with air conditioning. Though it helps that I’ve knocked the radio antenna off, broken the cup holder, and worn through the leather upholstery.

  3. Congratulations! I hope everything works out and you make a lot of lovely memories there. I’ve moved quite a bit, and I’ve never been to a closing where the paperwork was done correctly. After the first nightmare, I always reviewed everything before the signing and had them fix all of the errors. Otherwise I had to sit there while they did everything in triplicate. Meaning they fixed it at least 3 times before getting it right;-)

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Thank you 🙂 I’ve moved around quite a bit, as well, but from one rented place to another, which is way less stressful although still faffy. In my student days, I think I counted up once and I’d moved something like twice a year for the past eight years, which sounds insane when you say it aloud.

      You’ve also scared the heck out of me now because I have NO IDEA what correct paperwork versus incorrect paperwork would look like. But I could have signed away my first born child, by now, to be honest so …

  4. PeggyL says:

    Congratulations! Owning a piece of property is a BIG deal, no matter where one is.

    I do have some laundry tips for you, if you so incline to take advice from someone who has learnt to live with household chores over a *long* period of time. First, buy yourselves the best washing machine you can afford. Treat it nicely and it will serve you well for over 10 years easily. Look for a machine that can spin at least 1000 cpm; that way, you won’t have dripping clothes to hang/tumble dry (save energy on the latter as well). Also, do wash clothes one load at a time – washing multiple loads in a row will only shorten the machine’s “life”. In other words, spread them out!

    Personally, I find washing clothes less tiresome than say vacuum-cleaning (which makes my head spin everytime) or mopping the floor (simply draining). However, I’ll readily admit that ironing is my favourite, as it is almost therapeutic. Thus, I emphasize with Stephanie Plum’s mom everytime she takes out her ironing board.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Thank you 🙂

      Weirdly, I quite like ironing too! Shirts mainly. But H found it creepy as hell when I used to do his, so I … err … I stopped. I think it’s because you can think while you’re doing it, or listen to music or something, and it all feels very peaceful and, as you say, therapeutic. Also I feel like I’m nurturing him or something. But apparently he doesn’t receive “nurture” vibes, he receives “Stepford husband with a burning hot piece of metal.” ALAS.

      What’s really hilarious about the house is that it’s just on the cusp of being out of my budget so … basically … I probably can’t afford a washing machine, let alone a good one. But thank for the laundry tips – I’ll try to bump up the “maybe you should buy one of these” queue 😉

  5. Sarah Frantz says:

    Oh, congratulations. That’s awesome. 🙂

  6. Aija says:

    Oohhh, congratulations!!!! When I was a kid and my parents looked for a house it took them about a year too, and still ended up buying land and building it from zero which took another year. But it’s so worth the wait to get what you want! (I agree, light and fireplaces are verra important.)

    P.S. I think if you own a house, there’s no way they could take away your grown-up licence. ;D

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Wow, that’s hardcore. I can’t build flatpack furniture…

      I think I’m just glad to have a place that’s mine … although also terrified in case I don’t look after it properly, or don’t have a clue what to do with it.

      But still, I can stand in the light, admiring the fireplaces, right? 😉

  7. Deb says:

    2nd in a day…

    These damn posts are more entertaining than most of the books I read

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