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28 July 2014 @ 12:02 am
Not the best weekend …  
It started on Friday: what felt like the entirety of a cold descending upon me in 30 minutes. I bargained with my body: 'Body,' I said, 'this is moving weekend. You need to be in tip-top form! None of this near-death for you!'

'I don't feel at all well,' my body replied.

The magnificent editorial assistant of fandom excellence (who is going to be in Florida in a few months – all tips re Harry Potter tourism will be gratefully received) dragged me out of the building to look at Harry Potter pyjamas. In a febrile fit, I managed not to buy a Hogwarts sleeping shirt (old gym gear will keep me in cold weather sleepwear for at least the next three years!), but I did buy the first two series of Once Upon a Time, and I am not ashamed! At the end of my wander round the shops and a spot of lunch, I had perked so considerably that I began to hope I had dodged the lurgy.

I had not dodged the lurgy.

Saturday saw me wake without a voice. We had to take the train up to the mountains to borrow a car from my magnificent boss, I sat and shivered and read Caitlin Moran's new novel (startling amounts of masturbation, on the whole funny, convincing and very Decent Human) on the train up and then peered anxiously through walls of rain on the drive back down.

Happily we got back to a sunnier city than the one we had left, and picked up the keys without incident.

And drove the first carload of bags and boxes to the new house.

And were horrified.

There was one thing wrong with this house when we inspected it: one of its rooms had been remade into a sound studio, with thick insulation on the walls. We had an agreement that this would be fixed before we moved in.

It's now worse. The landlord's own condition report lists the state of the walls as 'stained, scuffed, mouldy …'

The good news is that NSW law is very clear and that a mouldy premises is a clear violation of the tenancy agreement on the part of the landlord. There is ample precendent for this situation, all of which agrees that the tenants can walk away if the problem isn't fixed. So I have written to the agents and sent photos, expressing disappointment and dissatisfaction and asking that the situation be remedied and the room re-walled (it's just painted plasterboard, so this is not a huge expense). I'll also compromise and take a rent reduction and agreement that we can remedy the situation ourselves. Otherwise, we're back to bloody house hunting! ARGH!

Hoping for the best, we took some more boxes over today. At one point, I noticed that Mr B had left both the front door and the gate of our current house open. I shut the door and ran through the house conducting a quick cat census. Two girl cats. No boy kitten cat. I looked in the cat run. I looked through the house again. Mr B came back in and I whispered to him that Rusketus was revisting his Houdini impersonations. He told me that there was no way the cat could have got past him and went to find him.

Five minutes later, he accepted that there was indeed a way, and that Ruus had found it. He then abandoned me to take another carload over to the new house. I did a few laps of the front lane, talking to several pedestrians and a cyclist. This was made more difficult by me not having a voice.  A man walked by with two big dogs: I consoled myself with the fact they looked like nice big dogs … I peered into my neighbours' yards, no neighbours and no kitten. I checked the Thai takeaway on the corner, where cats have been known to beg for chicken. I squinted at the road and the railway: no still grey-and-tan forms.

Accepting he was lost, I went over to the vet to report him missing. We do have a good system here, and microchipped cats are often returned. The vet nurse was reassuring and talked me through the report steps, then suggested I walk the whole block and doorknock as many people as possible so the word would spread and more sets of eyes would be looking. This was my plan, but as I walked back to start, I saw a jaunty little creature padding his way up through the nature strip that borders the railway, very pleased with himself.

'Ruus!' I whispered. 'Come here and have a cuddle!' There followed a few minutes of muppetry, which ended in him being caught. I decided to shut the gate as I brought him in, he took advantage of my one-armed hold to fling himself upside-down and sink his rear claws into my face.

I can apparently whisper 'You fiendish little fucker!' really loudly. The nice lad walking past was very sympathetic.

To top things off, last night, laryngitis morphed into ghastly plague, so I have spent the whole day packing, shaking, writing cross but reasonable letters and berating myself for not spending less over the last 10 years as I could easily have bought a house with what I have spent on travel, books and quality moisturiser alone. Well, at least a third of a decent house in Sydney, but a whole house in Tasmania or parts of the mountains!
Jocelyn Lavingroolover on July 27th, 2014 02:05 pm (UTC)
I feel a bit guilty for the fact that I greatly enjoyed reading this post, given that you feel so ill! Hope you feel better soon and things get sorted out!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 27th, 2014 02:29 pm (UTC)
The ONLY positive things I can take away from this weekend are amusing you, and the nice young lad who got to see me wrestle the RuusKitten. And the fact my boss is lovely and I was able to have a nice walk around her garden … once I feel better, I feel sure it will all improve in retrospect :-)
ecosopherecosopher on July 27th, 2014 02:10 pm (UTC)
But then you'd be living in your own place with dry skin and boring memories! That would never do.

Oh, dear. I'm so sorry to hear about ALL THE WOE! I tend to get laryngitis when I least need it. I think it is my body telling me that I need to stop. Stupid bodies. Or perhaps we are the stupid ones, clinging so hopelessly to Cartesian dualism...

Anyhoo. I certainly hope the wall gets resolved very quickly and you're moved in with all the cats safely contained, and you can rest, rest, rest.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 27th, 2014 02:38 pm (UTC)
There's always Sorbolene and books!

Laryngitis is just the pits. Mr B doesn't look to see what I am miming when he asks me questions, so I have to throw notes at him and then he gets cross. And walking around calling for a kitten without a voice is not fun!

Your advice is wholly excellent. And I meant to comment on your recent post but packed instead. I was going to say, 'Meh to marriage! Mr B and I have 19 years under our belt and have outlasted the marriages of all the people we know who said "But it is just not the same."' (We have a few friends who have been married longer than we've been together, they all have realistic views of marriage and are of the 'Surely it's all about what makes you happy?' school.)
ecosopherecosopher on August 1st, 2014 06:03 am (UTC)
Oh, but they're not nearly as much fun.

Sorry it took me a while to get back to this, but I wanted to thank you for your thoughts about marriage. Those who argue that it's not the same are pretty much the ones who annoy me most :D

I hope you're settling in well and that the landlord is going to sort things quick smart and you don't have to waste time with any court nonsense. Bah.
Loyaulte Me Lie: tell shocolateshocolate on July 27th, 2014 02:23 pm (UTC)
Oh that's a ridiculous weekend!

I hope the house sorts itself out, mould is foul.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 27th, 2014 02:42 pm (UTC)
I'm not moving in if there's no resolution to it. I am cheering about the one part of NSW tenancy legislation that is actually stringent on the rights of renters ;-)

Rusketus is still very pleased with himself. The little fucker.
illereynillereyn on July 27th, 2014 02:55 pm (UTC)
Hope you feel better soon! Glad you found your kitten!

Is it terrible that I find this post (and indeed all of your posts) funny and uplifting? Having to move while sick and mouldy walls are the pits, but you have such a positive attitude and storytelling ability that reading about your troubles makes me feel better, more equipped to go out and deal with the problems in my own life. So thank you for sharing!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 27th, 2014 03:10 pm (UTC)
Resilience is my core value! Resilience, comedy, and an uncanny ability to choose the naughtiest kitten in any pound!

And I learned very young that since life is going to contain sucky parts anyway, you may as well laugh at them: it irritates people who don't have your best interests at heart and shows a rational disdain for the vagaries of fate. I think I picked that up from Shakespeare. Or Kenny Everett. Possibly both …
auburnesha on July 27th, 2014 05:16 pm (UTC)
Why are you not writing novels for me to buy and read??? Your writing is so good! That said, ouch! What a weekend! Hope everything gets sorted out with the house!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 28th, 2014 12:39 am (UTC)
I am! Sadly, I am astonishingly slow. Will let you know when it is actually done and published ;-)

And thank you, I hope so, too! The good news is that it's a very clear-cut legal position, in my favour. It's just all the palaver to enforce it … fingers crossed the landlord has just been let down by some crap workpeople and is eager to remedy the situation!
auburnesha on July 28th, 2014 02:50 am (UTC)
So looking forward to reading your novel!! :D That's awesome to hear! What genre are you writing?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 28th, 2014 01:09 pm (UTC)
There are two in active production at the moment, one a political thriller, one a classic crime. With a few jokes, and plot-saving explosions ;-)
valkyrie17valkyrie17 on August 6th, 2014 05:01 am (UTC)
Two novels? Ooh…something to look forward to. No matter what you write, you always make me laugh.
Sorry about all of your woes. Hope all comes out right in the end.
Jaeenchanted_jae on July 27th, 2014 06:27 pm (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 28th, 2014 12:39 am (UTC)
You know me so well!
monrquemonrque on July 27th, 2014 11:27 pm (UTC)
you poor dear I hope you feel better. I hope everything get straightened out for you and that you get into a place Were its Mold free.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 28th, 2014 12:40 am (UTC)
Thank you! Today is one of those 'Snot production is my super power!' days: usually that marks the turning point in any lurgy, fingers crossed!
(Deleted comment)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 28th, 2014 01:08 pm (UTC)
The very nice estate agent was waiting to hear back from the landlord at last update.

I did try the trick of pouring kibble loudly into his bowl (they all get mostly dry food), but he was out of earshot. Alas, our variety doesn't come in a box, so no handy shaker for wandering the streets. The other two cats thought this was an excellent plan, though. They gave me the purrs of 'Oh human, you have thrown out the kitten AND given us extra food! You are the BEST!'
l.m.: m:: wake up!incandescent on July 28th, 2014 03:12 pm (UTC)
Oh darling. What a saga! I'm so glad that Ruus was found safely and that you have a solid way of dealing with the shitty state of the room. I hope it's an easy fix and you don't have to do anything else!

And feel better! I'm sending all the food vibes and live. :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 29th, 2014 06:01 am (UTC)
Ruus is still so proud of himself! Monster is unimpressed that I found him and brought him back. Thank you for the vibes! Solution is being thrashed out, if only it could all be easy!
Pureblood Princessraitala on July 29th, 2014 05:33 am (UTC)
Aww, I'm sorry everything has been so hellish these last few days. I hope the mould situation is being resolved? How's it going?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 29th, 2014 05:50 am (UTC)
Agent says: 'Oh, that's awful! Not a prob, we'll get it fixed.'
Landlord says: 'It's not mould. I mean, I know I said on the inspection report that it is, but it isn't. Honest. I'll paint over it, though. But possibly next week. Or the week after.'
I say: 'How can it be mould last week and not mould this week? I'm going to to check on it tonight. Also we had hoped to stop paying double rent this weekend, but now we can't use a room we're paying for? This is not ideal.'

Waiting to hear back from them. I'm currently at the 'I really don't want to take this to the Tribunal, but if I have to, I absolutely will and will also be adding all the costs of my time' point. Happily, there are a great many rulings in identical situations that all come down on the side of the tenant.

And Still sick :-(
Pureblood Princessraitala on July 29th, 2014 06:07 am (UTC)
That all blows! Why are landlords so often such arseholes. Its good that you are in such a strong position, but the whole hassle of it is unnecessary. I hope the lurgies are at least taking a turn for the better?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 29th, 2014 06:14 am (UTC)
I think there is a rule that you can have a good landlord, or a good agent, but not both. The agent so far has been lovely …

Still feeling crap today, but definitely at the getting better not worse point. I decided to take advantage of the fact I have sick leave and spend yesterday and today at home, warming cats ;-)
Pureblood Princessraitala on July 29th, 2014 06:25 am (UTC)
Ah! The indulgence of staying home sick when you are, in fact, sick ;)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 29th, 2014 09:28 am (UTC)
I think all my staff have coped OK; I had three texts this morning seeking guidance, and it seems they provided enough info for everything to run smoothly. I might be sick more often!