Those Awkward Gumtree Moments…

We’re on the move again. As bonafide empty-nesters, we’re going for a proper “downsize” this time into a grown-up, executive apartment with posh fittings, a dishwasher that works, and voluminous sheer curtains that we hope will keep the outside world at bay.

Collection of pieces of furniture.

The latest move means, of course, that I’ve had to rekindle my love-hate relationship with Gumtree to get rid of more of our shit – an experience I return to with mixed feelings.

While I like the premise of the online marketplace, (and so far, I’ve had a pretty good track record with it), I am always surprised by what people sell and buy on the site, ie. Kurt’s “chef set”, as well as the sheer audacity of buyers who persist in negotiating on items that are obviously already bargains.

But I like that the process is simple – even for me, a technophobe. And for most people, the prospect of a bargain or getting something for nothing is invigorating, hence it’s impossible not to get a little bit excited as you upload the prized images of your loot and its enticing copy. And there is a real sense of power as you watch your virtual pack of buyers fight over your item – YES! THIS IS MY STAINED MATTRESS! – somewhat akin to what those unsavory sellers on “Antiques Roadshow” must feel in those few precious minutes before the valuer tells them that the old, fugly plate they inherited from Grandma is worth zilch.

But there are, inevitably, trust issues that you need to be careful about: the buyers that turn up and still try to negotiate, in spite of the price you agreed – safe in the knowledge that you’ve already visualized your gorgeous new sofa in your lounge and will accept just about anything to get the old one out of the way; or the Photoshopped photos that conceal chips on furniture or that large scratch across the top.

I imagine that selling on Gumtree provides a thrill similar to the sense of gratification you get from gambling or the chase in a new relationship. Unless your item doesn’t sell, there’s little to lose from the sport other than your pride, (from the public confirmation of your obviously terrible taste) and the cost and inconvenience of getting your rejected piece taken to the dump.

But even in the event of a sale, there are compromises to be made, such as the loss of your privacy and comfort zone when the buyer turns up to collect their goods – particularly when you are of a socially anxious disposition.

This time – somewhat surprisingly – our most popular item was an IKEA chest of drawers. But in my haste to get rid of it quickly, I under-sold it to the first buyer that contacted me, and so – after the old man and I chipped it, lugging it (like two old people) down the stairs – any hope of a decent profit went out the window. Egg on my face, I called our buyer to inform him, and after re-negotiations that mirrored a car purchase, eventually, we agreed on a price. Suffice it to say, however, I was pretty deflated by the time we got around to discussing the pick-up instructions.

‘Make sure you bring a big enough car,’ I warned him, unable to mask the bitterness in my tone from being robbed in broad daylight and the impending invasion of my privacy for so little financial reward.

‘I’ll take it apart,’ he said.

‘It’s from IKEA,’ I reminded him, ‘and instructions weren’t included in the price,’ I added, under my breath.

‘It will be fine,’ he said, while I reached for the Valium.

He turned up at 6.30pm on a Saturday night (!) with the enviably large toolbox of a “man who can”, leaving the old man drooling behind the curtains of our front window as we watched him take the chest apart on the front lawn. I can’t describe the level of discomfort as the two of us – socially anxious adults – watched this stranger, (who also expected to converse intermittently), hack away at our sold IKEA chest. I assume that he expected to put it back together again.

You may also be able to imagine our relief as his tiny Sedan swung out of our drive.

Our earnings almost paid for two drinks at our local. However, I’m certain that this, our latest experience of the potential perils of Gumtree, will not deter us in the future. We finished the day with extra dollars in our wallet, and the high from that close-to-profitable sale was all the recompense we needed for a slipped disc and the PTSD from tough negotiations and a stranger with a hammer in our home.

Confessions Of The Worst Housewife

It’s been a hellish week at work so I’ve tried that strategy I used to use on the kids when they were toddlers, of ‘ignore them and they might just go away’, but the overflowing laundry basket is particularly persistent at drawing attention to itself and refuses to play ball – which makes me THE WORST HOUSEWIFE EVER.Confessions Of The Worst Housewife

What is it about laundry and that whole reproduction thing it does, particularly during manic work weeks and over-night?

I swear that I got to the half-way mark of the teen basket yesterday and then some asshole in the house decided that it was suddenly okay to change their fucking bedlinen.

FUCKING INCONSIDERATE, in my opinion. NO-ONE puts dirty bedlinen in the basket without permission in my house.

Adding bedlinen to a pile that is already out of control is like adding fat to a fire and my laundry basket already has some evil fertilising night fairy with an agenda and doesn’t need any allies. Which is why you have to get permission to change your bedlinen in our house; and permission only gets given if there’s enough wine in the house to ease the pain, it’s sunny outside or I can increase my medication.

The worst offender is Kurt, who is ODD and needs to change his clothes at least four times after school, thinks it’s a far better idea to put clean-ish bath towels towels in the laundry basket than re-hanging them (FUCK! SHIT! BOLLOCKS!) and has an irritating habit of dropping CoCo Pop milk down every clean shirt he puts on – although the odds are increased because he eats cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The worst part *deep breath* is sifting through the dry laundry, (and yes I AM AWARE that I’m beginning to sound psychotically housewife technical/anal/vacuous here) – its been a long week. You see, I can manage to get the laundry into the machine on autopilot and then into the dryer with the aid of wine, but once it’s dry I just don’t want to be anywhere near it. Because that involves brain-dead hours of sifting, sorting, matching and putting away and actually, I DO have a brain and there are frankly far more worthwhile things to do with my life, like going on Pinterest and watching The Bachelor.

onfessions Of The Worst HousewifeWhich is why I’ve been forced to resort to foul play this evening. I’ve pulled out ‘key’ dirty clothes from the basket, done the sniff test, carefully re-folded them, got the dog to sit on them for a while for warmth and added them to the ‘clean’ pile. Of course I live in fear of being found out if Kurt finds that giveaway drop of CoCo Pop milk down the front, but if that risk saves my sanity, it’s worth it. 

Father, forgive me for I have sinned. I am THE WORST HOUSEWIFE.



Home Is Where The Heart Is…

Cup of Coffee with Spices
Cup of Coffee with Spices (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a good holiday… if you discount the cabin fever, the ludicrous amount of snow that made snowploughing quite awkward at times and the combination of early mornings and alcohol. Note to self for the umpteenth time: Baileys and wine DO NOT MIX.


But it was still good to get home.


Home is where the Princess was waiting for us, loving us unconditionally…

Home Is Where The Heart Is...
The Princess was waiting for…food.


Home is where I can be certain that my favourite wine is chilling in the fridge and that there’s more hidden in the storage if I need it….


Home has MY bed that is molded exactly to my body – not too hard, not too soft and with crisp white linen (if it’s a good month)…..


Home Is Where The Heart Is...
Mixing the past with the present…

Home contains my history and those little nostalgic momentos from the past that keep seeping into my present and give me comfort…


Home is where my family of cushions live (and reproduce); that I fluff and re-coordinate daily to sate my creative juices especially when I am lacking in writing inspiration….


Home is where my own special brands of snacking naughtiness are concealed from the teenagers…


Home has his n’ hers sinks in MY bathroom so that his spit-out never touches mine and I’m not grossed out by his razor hair washed up on the sides of the bowl first thing in the morning…


Home is where Kurt’s den of iniquity is positioned not TOO close, yet not TOO far from my radar…


Chinese porcelain plates from 17th and 18th ce...
Chinese porcelain plates from 17th and 18th century in Elbląg city museum, Poland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Home is where NC’s mess is positioned not TOO close, yet not TOO far that I can’t see it out of the eyes at the back of my head…


Home is where I can scream at the kids like a fucking fishwife, yet no-one really knows what a truly bad mother I can be when all my buttons are pushed at the same time…


Home is where my favorite coffee shop knows exactly how I like my coffee and it’s within easy breaking-down distance…

English: Glass of White Wine shot with a bottl...
English: Glass of White Wine shot with a bottle of white wine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Home is where my family photos remind me that the Dysfunctionals can have great times too…


Home is where those fugly Chinese plates I inherited from my mum remind me of my mum, even though their inherent fugliness irritates my sense of style.


Home is where I can remind myself that once I was, (unintentionally), a size 8 by looking at my wedding photo. I’ve done ‘skinny’ and now I deserve to be me…


Home is where my work station houses many of my imaginary, old and new friends in the bowels of my computer, who make me laugh and feel like I belong when I need them to…


Home gives me a sense of belonging and security and sometimes the reason to never have to leave the house.


Home. That is all.


What is ‘home’ to you?

8 Reasons Why I Deserve A Cleaner

Dear Husband,

Remember that time when you decided to join the local golf club, and out of some atypical dose of marital courtesy (more commonly recognised as guilt) you decided to discuss your decision with me, just prior to signing half our joint annual income away in exhorbitant membership fees, on another laughable sports fad?

But I didn’t laugh, (out loud) because I respected your decision to join as it was obviously important to you, and being the understanding wife-let that I am, I realise the importance to you of being able to let off steam by snapping your golf shafts and swearing loudly from green to green on your way around your ‘up-its-own-arse’ golf club.

So I am now approaching you in the same mature way to ‘discuss’ my chances  the idea of US hiring a cleaner, a topic that has reared its ugly head been tabled several times already in our marriage, but which now needs re-airing.

The following are my pleas reasons and justification:

  1. I do sense that I am perceived as a bit of a ‘wagger’ with my three day ‘official’ working week, even though in my defence I would argue that my real number of work days is closer to six. You see, when I spend my ‘days off’ (as well as most of my evenings and a good part of my weekends), in the act of writing, (ie. creating what I hope will one day turn into a profitable business), I am not actually brunching, exfoliating, chit-chatting or swanning around the shops. I have A DISTINCT GOAL IN MIND. Which unfortunately doesn’t leave a lot of time for me to clean, hence, I need a cleaner.
  2. In addition to my six day work week, my half of our (theoretically) ‘shared’ domestic schedule seems to incorporate full supervision of the teenagers. And although you have helpfully pointed out that ‘they can look after themselves now’; they don’t. They don’t eat if I don’t cook for them, neither can identify the location of the laundry, their rooms are turning into a cockroach breeding ground and one of them needs full time supervision just to eliminate the very high risk of him ending up in prison. Another reason why I need a cleaner.
  3. I organise all the family holidays as well as your boy-bonding breaks, the school administration and its ongoing issues (with aforementioned jailbait), the house renovations and endless repairs (that you are unable to do). Which is why I really need a cleaner.
  4. And then there’s the cleaning itself. I won’t stifle you with the detail of what this involves (I can already see your eyes glazing over) but what I will say is that your work shirts are a bitch to iron, the bed-linen does get changed and no, I really don’t enjoy cleaning urine splash from bathroom floors. The interminable washing cycle is a management project in itself to which I could sacrifice half my week if it let me. We have a son who changes his clothes three times a day (in spite of only showering once a week), who fervently believes that putting clothes away means putting them in the wash basket. I can spend two hours a week simply matching socks. I NEED A CLEANER.
  5. I admit that the house is superficially clean, but it is innately filthy and sometimes when even I resort to pushing something under the sofa (rather than putting it away), I am appalled. If your mother witnessed the Dust Mountains accumulating on our skirting boards, she might even be tempted to move in. Which is why we both need a cleaner.
  6. Furthermore, as all canine duties have now been successfully allocated to me (because I am obviously just too damn good at my job), I am also fully accountable for the dog not croaking it from a paralysis tick bite as well as getting a good walk each day. So a cleaner would really help your dog.
  7. Have you considered that some of my nagging might abate if the house was ever clean? The state of the house really does affect my general outlook on life, a bit like sports results do you. Please get me a f*cking cleaner.
  8. I would have more time to focus on you  if I had a cleaner, I would have more time to entertain the ADHDer at the weekend, which would mean that you could spend even more ‘quality’ family time languishing on the sofa watching golf (while everyone works around you). C.L.E.A.N.E.R  N.O.W!

I realise that a cleaner is a luxury ticket item and we only splash out on luxuries when they affect you personally, and I have taken on board your suggestion of cancelling our sponsored African child as a cost-cutting exercise, but the kids were a bit upset by that and we’re not really on the poverty line yet.

I truly believe that this decision could ultimately work more in your favour than mine.

Imagine not having to search the house frantically for an ironed shirt at 6am on a Monday morning or opening a fridge that doesn’t waft last year’s Jungle Curry.

In fact the more I think about it, the more I think that this is one of the best ideas you’ve come up with in a long time.

Your loving wife.

Cleaning courtesy of Flowrwolf at