Tuesday, 4 December 2007

"Captain Calpol" (December 2nd 2007)

Sunday, December 2, 2007
Okay so here's the good news: we made it to Goa in one piece, survived the charter flight (even managing to sit together in a row near the front despite being the last passengers to check in only 2 hours before take off), AND we pulled off the craziest, most ridiculous 48 hours of our lives which involved moving home, moving tenants out of and into our rental flat, and getting ready for our big family holiday.

Now here is the bad news: Due to the aforementioned insanity of the past 48 hours, my life partner (I'm not sure we're on quite good enough terms to call each other spouses at the moment after the level of verbal abuse which took place during the past few days) and I passed out HARD about two hours ago here in our hotel room. So hard in fact that we were unaware that Egg helped himself to the 'medicine bag' and overdosed on four sachets of 'Calpol' and now lies flat out in what can only be described as a 'kiddie coma'. You know how they have childproof caps? Well mama here thought at the airport that rip-open sachets would take up less space in the baggage and not get our clothes sticky. Of course I didn't count on the ingenuity of Egg to not only remember where they were kept, but expertly rip open the packaging, rustle up a spoon and self-administer several doses of the child medicine as we lay snoring, passed out.

As for Dumpie, we woke briefly to the vile smell of a filthy nappy awhile ago and somehow Jay in his deep, deep sleep coerced me into getting up and changing it, and it was then that I noticed the nappy cream spread all over the hotel floor, and the ton of toilet tissue scattered about the room as if a modern day art installation. More alarmingly is the ripped open mosquito coil package and missing tablet….i can't even bear to follow that thought through so am not even going to go there.

As it's India the generator sometimes goes off for hours at a time, and unfortunately it's our mini bar fridge in the room that is suffering and has expelled a huge pool of water near the bed which Dumps has already slipped on…twice. Aside from the fact that we had both boys out in the baking hot noon day sun for a little while today – returning with flushed cheeks and in danger of heatstroke, and that Dumps has figured out that he can climb up on the railing of our first floor balcony and illicit a scream on demand from his freaked-out mother as he tries to squeeze his little body through the generously placed bars….i'd say things are going swimmingly.

I feel I need to back up a bit and release some of the angst and horror from the past few weeks, but especially the last few days in particular. Moving home apparently rates up there on the stress level ABOVE death and divorce in some cases. I scoffed at this previously but now emerge shaken and horrified at the toll this move has taken on both my marriage, my peace of mind and my poor, aching body. Will I ever recover? (And please bear in mind that throughout this whole ordeal Jay and I shamelessly impinged on the personal freedom of not one, not two, but three aunties who happened to be next door and took in both children SOLIDLY – night sleeps included – such that we could get on with the task at hand. We could give them all our wordly possessions and STILL not make up for the help they gave us…modern-day saints they are – especially when you consider what a handful these two monsters are.)

Anyway, I guess the problem lay in the fact that due to the amazing central location of our (now former) two bedroom London flat, we were loathe to give it up for far too long, and what with the advent of two babies in quite quick succession (even ten years between them wouldn't be enough I have discovered), we outstayed our welcome so to speak…and then some. An unfortunate result is that we overcrowded ourselves to the point of suffocation. Given the fact that Jay and I are both musicians, I am a clothes horse, and we're both avid readers and collectors of books, we found ourselves gradually being buried alive and caged in by all of our belongings, and held hostage by our possessions. So when it came time to extricate ourselves, the 'Flat' wasn't having it and wouldn't let us go without a fight. Much to our horror we discovered that in the past five years our 'things' had hatched other things, and those other things had given birth to still other things.

Naively I had looked on a packing website which suggested that for the average two bedroom flat, 30 large boxes were sufficient. As it turns out, this is pants (or we are NOT average). In the end we used (in my estimation) upwards of 70 boxes, every bag we own, every suitcase, ever knapsack, and still we left our giant loft 3/4 full with all of our possessions we couldn't even get to! It doesn't bear thinking about.

I think I first discovered the problem about a week before we moved when I spent a day or two 'packing up' things and I had hardly made a dent. It was a bit like the 'loaves and fishes' story in the bible, you know the one where Jesus multiplies the food and the more food the disciples pass out, the more there are for the hoards. Well, the more boxes we packed, the more stuff there was to put in those boxes!

At times I'd look around a room where the carpet was no longer visable and I'd want to sink to the floor and weep (acutally I probably did a few times looking back), especially as my pinched nerve was acting up, I'd had no sleep and saw no end to the hell and misery I was immersed in. I'd catch myself giggling manically a few times (like Chevy Chase in the 80's movie 'European Vacation' when he finds himself stuck on the roundabout by Big Ben for hours, unable to signal left and out.)

Anyway, I think you get the picture. Suffice it to say that during 'The Move' (as it shall from this day forward be known) Jay and I almost killed each other. Forget threats of 'divorce'…by the end of it we were bandying around death threats and in fact I do recall some choice insults being bandied about which don't even bear thinking about. He'd curse like hell upon finding yet another case of my mini-discs and I'd follow suit upon finding yet another guitar or piece of computer equipment he'd forgotten about. All I can say is luckily the kiddies weren't around to witness their beloved parents transformations into monsters of evil!

Of course a side effect of all this racing the clock, packing up, and stressing out, is that eventually we got careless and lost the plot. By hour 36 or so, on three hours sleep, we were chucking things out in the bin that were: a) perfectly good b) expensive c) not even worn(!) d) important

We shall no doubt shudder when the full extent of our purging hits home but at the time we just didn't care and felt it was the only thing stopping us from utter insanity and being buried alive under the weight of all of our possessions.

Ironically, what started as a carefully labelled, colour-coded sticker system (dreamed up by yours truly), encompassing bubble wrap, marker pens and carefully applied packing tape, ultimately ended up in the third circle of hell which found me filling up plastic supermarket bags willy nilly with single sweeps of the arm across shelves of expensive cosmetics as I struggled to get our last remaining possessions out of the flat while the taxi waited honking downstairs and Jay and the boys jammed tight in the people carrier whilst all the other passengers on flight AC044 were just then checking in at the airport.

The last memory I have of our old place is of three shell-shocked, exhausted aunties waving forlornly from the pavement with slight horror as they took in the multitude of bags of 'stuff' loaded up to the roof and spilling out everywhere as our taxi driver sped us off to our new home to deposit us briefly before we made our way to the airport.

We were in such a rush that I forgot the 'contingency' airplane bag I had fastidiously packed a few days before which contained all my makeup, nappies, travel blanket, toys for the boys, you name it. My most personal possessions didn't make it to India sadly, but we did. After calling a local cab company, we ended up in a beat up old car being driven by a turban clad Pakastani who almost erupted in road rage after a posh neighbour demanded her right of way on the narrow street. This fellow drove us all the way to Gatwick as we raced to make it in time, but was tipped handsomely by my over-generous life partner who to this moment is still muttering about 'boxes' under his breath and seems not a little traumatised by recent events.

I could go on and on, but my neck is in severe pain (pinched nerve from all that stress and the heavy boxes) and one child still lies comatose and I should really look into that, whilst the other is systematically destroying the contents of our luggage. Too clever for his own good he has discovered that destruction of expensive things is F-U-N fun and a sure fire way to get attention. He has embarked upon destruction as of late with the overzealousness of a fatty in a sweet shop.

So I shall leave you all with a sincere apology for not having written for the past few weeks. Perhaps now it all makes sense. And sorry to the friends I have neglected (especially the two who have just had babies and not yet received a congrats card OR a pressie…they are packed in one of 79 unlabelled, non-descript boxes!)

On a positive note we absolutely ADORE the new place (from the few minutes we got to enjoy it before racing back to deal with more packing and rental tenents), and despite the crazy venders who put us through hell in the pursuit of our 'almost dream home', almost bankrupting us in the process, we are secretly ecstatic that we managed to pull it all off. Well, almost managed…I'll get back to you on that one.

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