I received a third email from E last week pressuring me to sell the house. This one was even shorter than the others:
Haven’t had a reply re getting the house on the market. It’s been 6 weeks since I raised it and 2 weeks since my last message and with no response my options are limited.
Can you let me know your intentions by the weekend please?
Because E might read it, I can’t talk about my intentions re selling the house here (although, given that he had zero interest in my thoughts and feelings when he was with me, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll trouble himself with reading this), but I do have a few thoughts about his email that I can share. Firstly, I didn’t miss the vague threat in the words ‘with no response my options are limited’. Secondly, I was amused by the fact he suggests I’m ‘not responding’. As you may recall, a little while ago he was very quick to point out that he wasn’t ignoring my emails, he was ‘not responding’ to them. It’s a fine definitional line, but an important one, I am very much ignoring his emails (in fact I’ve now blocked them for the time being, I don’t want to dread checking my emails every time I look at my phone). Thirdly, I can’t help but wonder what he is actually expecting me to do?
In the past, when E and I have sold a house, he has just carried on as normal (go to work, shag girlfriend, come home), whilst I’ve cleaned the house from top to bottom, called and liaised with Estate Agents, kept the house immaculate for viewings, sorted the finances, dealt with solicitors, booked removal companies and sorted out the packing of our lives into boxes. E has merely signed stuff and occasionally phoned the mortgage company. I’m not sure what he expects to happen this time? Does he think nothing has changed? Presumably he thinks selling a house is just a matter of him saying ‘I’d like to sell’ and then the ‘House Sale Fairies’ take care of everything for him? The tone of his email suggests that he thinks it’s perfectly reasonable for me to still do everything at/in the house (admittedly he did offer to call an estate agent, but I think this was more in the nature of a vague threat, than a genuine offer). I think he just expects the house sale he’s pushing for to be just like all the others – where our immaculately presented house is offered to the market and snapped up by potential buyers.
Anyway, this morning I was pondering on the sheer amount I do in the house every day. The daily stuff includes cleaning the living room every morning because that’s where our current crop of foster kittens live, clearing the kids’ bedrooms of washing, cups of half-drunk tea and plates of food in various stages of decay, washing and drying our clothes, emptying the bins (always overflowing), and cleaning out and feeding the pets. Weekly stuff includes changing the beds, ironing, cleaning and hoovering. There’s also the gardening, cooking, shopping and the round the clock snack provision required by a house full of teens and a pre-teen. I also try and keep on top of the repairs that need doing and things like pruning the trees and keeping paintwork clean. However, in the light of E’s expectation that I’d keep doing all of this, plus keep the house immaculate and do all the stuff needed to sell a house, I began to wonder what would happen if E got his way re selling and I decided to not do the stuff I usually do.
Picture the scene:
Estate Agent (slipping on muddy puddle caused broken gutter and tripping over the pile of shoes in the porch): *rings doorbell*
EA (when doorbell doesn’t work): *knocks on door*
J (opening door. cheerful): “Hello! You must be The Estate Agent? (spots the mud on her shoes) Ooh – did you slip? The kids are always doing that. Sorry about the smell, the cat sprayed on the doormat last night. He’s always doing that”
EA: “Ah you have cats I love cats! Do you know who owns the one down the road? It ran out in front of me. Dented my car…”
J: “Do you mean the huge fluffy tortoiseshell, bad attitude, evil stare, road shakes when she walks? Yep, that’s ours, she hates us, only comes in when she wants feeding or if it’s cold.”
J: “So, shall we start in the living room? Make sure you close the door behind you, I’ve got foster cats with ringworm in here, and they need to be kept isolated from the other pets”
J and EA enter living room. A noxious smell overwhelms them.
EA (eyes watering, hand held politely over nose): “is that….?”
J: “Poo? Yep, and over there too. I foster cats for the RSPCA, its ok, the poo is mostly in the litter trays… Watch that damp patch over there though… No, no! Careful where you tread… Oh, too late. Sorry. Its ok, hopefully it will wipe off. Those shoes aren’t valuable are they?”
Whilst EA takes the room’s measurements the foster kittens try to climb her legs.
J (helpfully): “Sorry about that. Are your legs ok? They look a bit scratched. Actually best put some anti-bac on your legs and hands when we’re done here, just in case, it might sting, but ringworm is really contagious you know….”
EA and J leave the living room and head to the dining room
EA: “The curtain pole?”
J: “Ah, yes, it’s been at that angle for a couple of years now. The curtains still work though”
EA (pointing at the scruffy looking cage on the dining room table): “What’s in there?
J: “Hamsters, bloody noisy, smelly, run on that wheel all night. We’ve had them 18 months, I’m guessing they’ll die soon.”
Later, in the kitchen
J: “Ignore the black marks all-round the edge of the floor – that’s where I took up the old lino and then couldn’t get the glue off. It’s quite a useful fly-trap actually – look there. Would you like a cup of tea?”
EA (faintly): “Yes please”
J fills kettle and reaches into the cupboard for teabags. As she does so the door falls off. She then opens another cupboard to get a cup and all the doors slump domino-like, against each other.
EA (sipping tea): “Is there a utility room?
J: “Yep. Just through here. Sorry about the smell. I think it’s the bins. It might be the cat food though? I know you can’t see, but the counters underneath all that washing and ironing match the kitchen ones. Also THESE cupboard doors don’t fall off…well, not always… Watch the cat bowls on the left, the flies seem to love them…”
J and EA head out of the kitchen. EA is looking slightly concerned.
J: “This is my study. Those water stains up there are from the bath in the en-suite. I quite like the marbled effect they give.”
EA: “Can I quickly use your loo?”
J: “Of course – the downstairs loo is just here. Sorry re the skid marks on the pan, Youngest Son threw the loo brush at the cat the other day and it snapped and I’m not cleaning THAT with a cloth.”
J: (waiting in kitchen, and hearing a squeak of surprise from downstairs loo): “Oh yeah – watch the loo seat, it moves a bit”
J and EA head upstairs. EA is nearly killed by a large black and white cat who heads directly for her feet.
J: “Right, let’s start with my room and en-suite. The green carpet is an acquired taste, but really soft. Sorry about the stain there – I had cats up here for a while too. Sorry about the cat litter in the bath by the way, I keep forgetting to clear that up.”
EA: “The loo seat?”
J: “Ah!” Yes! I took it off and then couldn’t get it back on again. Its fine though, just don’t make any sudden movements once you’re sat on it…..”
J moves on, whilst EA makes despairing notes.
J: “And this is Youngest Daughter’s room! Watch your step – she mostly stores her clothes on the floor. Also, ignore the disturbing art on the walls, we’ll obviously take that with us”
EA: “Oh! What’s that….?”
J: “…smell? Um. Dunno, knowing Youngest Daughter, it could be anything! Look at that pile of plates over there – I can definitely see pasta, rice, and mashed potato and gravy. Ooh, and she sometimes makes hot chocolate and leaves it up here for weeks – look at this cup – she’s growing a fascinating culture in here!”
EA (looking slightly green): “Shall we move on?”
J: “Sure. Next is Oldest Daughter’s room. She away at University at the moment, so it’s not really used. This is her favourite cat.”
EA (eyeing cat suspiciously): “Good sized room, but – that blind?”
J: “Oh. Yeah. The curtain pole fell off and we put up a blind, but it broke, so we have to sort of manually roll it up and down, it’s a bit ragged now, and covered in finger prints… and make up… Sorry about the wardrobe doors as well, the ones from here and from Youngest Daughter’s rooms are in the garage, they sort of fell off…”
EA and J move to the next room:
J (proudly): “This is Oldest Son’s room!”
EA: “Oh. My. God. What is that smell??”
J (confident): “Lynx. Its bloody rank isn’t it? Mind you, it covers the smell of his socks. Look at these – they’ve been here so long that I think the bacteria on them might be capable of mutating into sentient life.” *brandishes sock in from of EA* ”what do you think?”
EA backs out of Oldest Son’s room.
J: “Last but not least, this is Youngest Son’s room. Ah look. The cat we rescued in Singapore is asleep in here – bless her. She loves it in here. I think it’s all the unwashed pants warmed by the sunshine. Um, no, ah. don’t stroke this one, she’s a bit…. Oh, ouch. sorry… Would you like to see the garden, I’ll grab you a plaster and some dettol on the way out there”
Later. In back garden. EA’s hand is bandaged.
J: “The patio definitely looks bigger without the weeds and the debris from the rabbit hutches. Oh, and careful down the side of the house, there’s lots of stuff there for the tip. I don’t have a car you see, so I can’t take any of it away…”
J: “Watch your head on those trees, they’re a bit overgrown. Actually, the last Estate Agent that was here sustained quite a nasty eye injury… Fortunately he was crying as he left the house, which washed his eye out a bit.”
EA runs to car, locks doors and starts the engine.
J: “Um – are you ok? Come back! Don’t you want to tell me how much the house is worth?”
EA’s car disappears into the distance…