The Move Diary Days 3 – 5
A quick recap of Moving stories from Friday to Sunday.
I got the decorator’s quote. It was much cheaper than any of us were expecting. He starts on Tuesday and reckons it will take him a full two weeks. That means all the plans go back a bit and it will now be Monday 3rd October before we move in. He’s got quite a job on his hands before he even lifts up a paintbrush. There’s quite a lot of plastering to do and the walls and ceilings need a good clean before he can start. (I can’t believe I’ve just typed that sentence. How can a property deemed fit for immediate habitation by the Council need so much basic work like plastering?).
We were let down on Friday by the deep cleaner. He changed the time of the appointment twice. I was at work, so gave him my sister’s phone number to call when he arrived. I saw my last client and then found four missed calls from the cleaner, claiming to have been and waited an hour. It was a clear lie. He wanted me to rebook for Saturday morning but I told him to sling his hook. A few people had said it was a waste of money anyway as the decorator was prepared to clean down before he started and we’ll have to do the floors again before the carpets are laid.
Steven has been so agitated since he came to see the house on Thursday. I think the move became very real for him in that moment. We had a three hour meltdown on Thursday night. On Friday, a neighbour called the police as he was making so much noise. And yesterday, was a horrible, draining meltdown from midday until about 5pm. Thank you BBC schedulers for putting on Toy Story 2 at 5.30. He needs constant reassurance that we are definitely moving there (“Yes Steve. Moving to the new Cowley house in four more Mondays”). Then he remembers something that is important to him and we have half an hour reassuring him that we won’t leave The Proclaimers’s CDs behind (Don’t worry yourself Steve. Letter From America is going in the box for the new Cowley house). Three more weeks of 24/7 conversations like that!
Tomorrow is full on. Off to Uxbridge early to get the extra keys cut and then a houseful of visitors throughout the day. The council’s gasman is finally coming to uncap the gas supply. Seven whole days after picking up the keys! And why didn’t they tell me the supply had been capped last Monday? That would have been far too helpful. But just imagine if we’d moved in last Monday – seven days without any hot water. In the afternoon, we’ve got someone arriving to measure up for the carpets. Oh, and the new higher fence will be installed – the housing officer finally gave her permission for that to be erected but stressed it was down to me to fund. Nothing like reasonable adjustments in Hillingdon.
And late afternoon, I’ve pressurised the social worker to pop round. I’m not sure why I asked. I think I want someone official to bear witness to how bad the place is. I want to watch her face as she goes from room to room. I want her to step up and really be Steven’s advocate.
Yesterday, I got a letter from the Housing benefit department about my request for the rent on both properties to be covered until we move in. I’d written them a long letter on Tuesday but that was apparently not good enough. They want further explanation of why we can’t move in straightaway and need this extra time. I didn’t know what else to say. I wrote another letter and attached all the photos, asking whether there was a single member of the HB team prepared to live in such squalor. The appeals officer is the chap who had to represent Hillingdon at the Tribunal for our appeal back in 2013. He got his arse whooped that day and I’m just hoping he doesn’t want to go through the same experience again and does the right thing. But there I go again. I shouldn’t have to rely on hope – there are regulations that should make this straightforward.
To end on a positive note, the donation page that Steven’s friend set up is doing well. I am incredibly moved by people’s acts of kindness. The money raised will pay for the carpets and curtains, the gardeners, the new fence and possibly the removal men.
Thank you so much.