Home sweat home

31 Dec
Happy home :)

Happy home 🙂

As I write this, it has been exactly 7 days since moving into my very first Grown-up place. No more parents or flat mates – just me, my man, our cat and our big-person responsibilities.

Moving in together is one of those things that sound crazy exciting but turns out to be crazy frustrating (and a hell of a lot of work) instead. Hence – 7 tips for 7 days for any of you considering shacking up:

1.     There’s no such thing as drama-free delivery

Delivery people just don’t care.

Don’t expect your address to be jotted down correctly. I know I have a Pretoria accent, but Millway road, Victory Park and Milly street, Victoria Park do NOT sound the same.

Following the umpteenth phone call and eureka moment of getting the place right, don’t bother being at home when your furniture is supposed to arrive. Instead, wait around aimlessly and then get a call from your front gate when you’re halfway to the South Coast.

When the furniture finally does arrive, know that there will be some problem. Granted, my sample is small, but I am yet to hear of someone who had a drama-free delivery.

Tip: Get a friggin bakkie and do it yourself.

2.     Earplugs may be a good investment

If a cat is joining you, be aware that the mandatory seven-days-indoors rule comes with A LOT of tantrums.

In our case, Mufasa was so vocally unimpressed about being kept indoors that we got him some tranquilizers. Nothing hectic – herbal crap that didn’t work anyway – but the fact that we were driven to find an emergency vet at midnight on Christmas may give you some indication of how desperate we were.

Tip: Earplugs. Or, in our case, a half-broken heater fan that drowned out the cattrum with an annoying ggggrrrrrr-whoosh -ketak-ketak-ketak noise somehow soothing to Andrew. 

3.     Prepare to catch Joneses fever

As a woman, there’s some sort of competitive nesting instinct that kicks in and goes on overdrive. All logic seems to go on mute and you start living in a fantasy of Coricraft this and Le Creuset that. Screw saving for that trip to Spain – you’d rather have a couch called “Afrique” and some bright orange cookware.

This instinct is especially pronounced when you start seeing friends’ homes that seem pretty much like they belong on Top Billing Junior. Designer homeware is the new it status symbol and it’s hard not to be caught up in the nonsense of it all.

Tip: Remember that your home is supposed to be nothing more and nothing less than your happy place. Designer whatevers don’t really play a role in that.

Bonus Tip (thanks, Dad): Never become indebted for the sake of status symbols. The flash wears off in one week flat, but the liability lingers on and on.

4.     Don’t forget the garden

Being completely unashamed of my obsession with my Mufasa, we set out to find a place that would suit him rather than us. This meant finding a (budget!) JHB garden big and wild enough for a critter used to having a whole farm as his kingdom.

We found such a place – and I dare say my little darling seems happy with what he’s explored so far – but are unfortunately taking over from tenants who clearly didn’t give a flying one. Mufasa may not mind the weeds, but I do. And let me tell you – spending whole days pulling out toddler-tall invader plants and forgetting your sunscreen leaves a NASTY burn. The discovery that nothing else will grow as the weed forest was covering building rubble from who-knows-when is even worse.

Tip: Pots, pots, pots – if the lease agreement stipulates that you “maintain” the garden in the same (yuck!) state that you found it, improve the look with something you can take with you.

Bonus Tip (thanks, Andrew): You’re a tenant. Rubble removal is expensive. Landscaping is expensive. Covering up the gross blue little wall thing at the edge of what used to be Weed Forest and is now Rubble Hill is expensive. Save the money for when you own a place and make that place amazing instead.

5.  Know he’s not always a gentleman (and love him anyway)

Unless you can laugh at this shirt in front of your boyfriend, you're not ready to move in

Unless you can laugh at this shirt in front of your boyfriend, you’re not ready to move in

Don’t move in unless you have already reached a level of comfort that my cousin Caroline classifies as “gross.”

Tip: Unless you have squeezed his zit, felt his fart and still found him the sexiest in the world, you’re not ready.

6. You’re allowed to get annoyed

Andrew has to deal with a disruptive insomniac who insists that he adopts her cat as his first born child. I must get used to sharing my house with an Xbox and a lot of complaints about “that cat” – a most annoying reference not only because Mufasa is perfect, but because he is not referred to as “our child”.

Furthermore, priorities clash BIG TIME. Where your guy wants to spend money on an extra bedroom TV, you’d prefer a nice painting.

Tip: Fighting is okay. Only way to suss out that difficult necessity that is Compromise.

Bonus Tip (learn from my mistake): Don’t arrive at home with 4 original paintings when you said you were only going out to get a small printed canvas from Mister Price. In my defense – the paintings were not that expensive considering that I got to support a local artist* and got stuff that go perfectly  with my theme.

7. Take a step back and be grateful

Two years ago, I never would have dared to imagine that I could be this blessed – all grown up, sharing a home with a man who loves me.

Tip (or personal reminder): Don’t take your relationship for granted – remember how you wanted to be loved, and now are loved 🙂.

***

*The artist I’m so chuffed with can be found on the grassy corner opposite St Mary’s in Waverley. He sells his art in the sunshine, and I noticed him over a year ago.

His work is mostly quintessential South African scenery – we have some lovely JHB skylines and a large canvas depicting a typical winelands town.

Prices range from R150 to R800 (which is friggin cheap, dear Andrew!), depending on the size of the canvas.

I didn’t catch his name, but noticed a cell number at the back of my winelands – if anyone is interested in contacting him, his number is 078 751 6814.

 

Our winelands painting

Our winelands painting

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