The Midults’ guide to…

Be­ing a home­owner

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Contents -

The world is di­vided into those who wash the dishes be­fore they put them in the dish­washer and those who throw them in crusty as hell


The stairs are not just the stairs. They are an ex­haust­ing man­i­fes­ta­tion of all our fail­ure. It’s Kil­i­man­jaro base camp ev­ery time we try to leave the house – com­plete with oxy­gen de­pri­va­tion from climb­ing, climb­ing, climb­ing. For­get­ting phone, socks, doc­u­ments, headphones, Kin­dle, make-up bag, watch, meds, floss, jumper, less ouchy bra, heels, flats, CBD roll-on oil, hair­band, mind. In Ja­pan they sell dis­pos­able pa­per bracelets so, when you are about to as­cend the stairs, you can write your mis­sion on the bracelet and avoid the ‘Why am I stand­ing in my bed­room?’ cri­sis. The bun­ga­low siren song strikes up...


Ooh it’s rain­ing. Isn’t the sound of rain ro­man­tic? Not when you sit in­side, rigid with ten­sion, won­der­ing if the lat­est patch-job will hold out. And, if it does, will the rain sim­ply carve a new way into your house? If only we were so adept at find­ing new neu­ral paths. The rain knows ex­actly where it’s go­ing and why. The rain wouldn’t mind the stairs.


It’s the bit with the most de­feat­ed­look­ing cush­ions be­cause you are on the sofa more than any­one else, even though you are IN­CRED­I­BLY BUSY. Can you swap the cush­ions around and still be sure of sofa ter­ri­tory? If a vis­i­tor sits in your place then how do you not mind? And how in­sane is it to say, ‘Ummm, sorry, that’s my place’? The nice ones will always say, ‘So, which is your place?’ That’s how you know they are your peo­ple.


Em­i­lie has a bad mir­ror in her down­stairs loo. Maybe it’s the glass curvature or the fact that it sits right un­der­neath the cold heart of a spot­light, ex­pos­ing ev­ery flaw­ful bump and line and nig­gle... Or maybe it’s be­cause the small­ness of the sink means she can get re­ally, re­ally close. What­ever the rea­son, this is the one she chooses to con­sult. Be­cause she is mean to her­self. Annabel rarely looks in the mir­ror. Too stress­ful.


This is usu­ally on the bath­room door. And if you forget that it is dodgy (pos­si­bly while wrig­gling out of a jump­suit) you will def­i­nitely be stuck in the bath­room – pos­si­bly for ever. But you still don’t fix it. Is it be­cause you en­joy hear­ing peo­ple plain­tively cry­ing your name while you’re stuck in there?


Sash win­dows are so charm­ing. Un­til they start giv­ing it the full Wuther­ing Heights, com­plete with death rat­tle and Arc­tic breeze that rip­ples along the cur­tains. We’re cold, so we should in­vest in those ugly, her­met­i­cally seal­ing ones. And why are the win­dows so dirty? Why is rain so dirty? Annabel has Gary the win­dow cleaner on a rolling ap­point­ment (like she used to do with waxes/nails/hair), but Em­i­lie has never had her win­dows cleaned. She has lived in her house for eight years. In case you missed that, Em­i­lie has never had her win­dows cleaned.


Noth­ing bad hap­pens here. Sorry, noth­ing bad hap­pens in Annabel’s air­ing cup­board. Some­times she opens the doors, has a look at the folded piles, feels bet­ter and shuts the doors. Some­times Em­i­lie does this with Annabel’s air­ing cup­board. This is be­cause Em­i­lie’s air­ing cup­board isn’t an air­ing cup­board. It’s a cup­board with a large pile of ‘clean’ things on the floor. Not folded. Not sep­a­rated into dif­fer­ent sec­tions. Just a creased moun­tain of ‘clean’ things.


Every­one has a favourite burner, right? Whether it’s for a stir-fry or boil­ing an egg? Em­i­lie’s is back right, which is ob­vi­ously the best one. Annabel’s is front right, which is ob­vi­ously the best one.


The world is di­vided into those who wash the dishes be­fore they put them in the dish­washer and those who throw them in crusty as hell. You know what you are.


Em­i­lie is in an intense, co-de­pen­dent re­la­tion­ship with her wash­ing ma­chine, which will only drain two out of three washes and only works on two set­tings. And it keeps chang­ing its mind about which two. So she plays a con­stant game of wash­ing roulette with how big a load, which cy­cle, does she have time for a quick spin and drain? It’s tem­per­a­men­tal, hys­ter­i­cal (the beep­ing, the beep­ing), but Em­i­lie keeps hold­ing on. She makes jokes about it. Annabel is not amused.

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