Tomorrow we are having people around for dinner – Claude will be having his in Lula’s pink wendy house if she gets her way. He will be wearing a prince outfit, she a bridal veil made of her christening blanket and a Rambo hairband. Explaining to her that Claude already has a girlfriend and wants to eat at the grown up table is the least of my worries though right now. The house is so full of boxes it reminds me of the Rachel Whiteread installation at the Tate a while back and I’m not sure I can find the table in amongst them, in which case Claude will be the only one eating.
Packing up the house is quite a task. My friend is moving house and I ask her how she is managing to stay away from the Valium. She looks at me blankly and then tells me they’re getting in packers. I stare at her amazed that there is such a thing (I’ve never moved house before) and for about five seconds I can breathe again. Then I realise that packers are for when you are moving house and not when you are squeezing excess furniture into your spare garage amongst all your mother’s rotting junk and have no new house to put your belongings in.
I am on the other hand essentially trying to shove a whole house, minus bits of furniture, into one rucksack. Surprisingly, it won’t all fit. The spare room has become my dumping ground for things I may very well want to take. Like flip flops, out of date suncream, flash cards (someone’s going to have to take over where the preschool will leave off) and a pile of books so high it’s skyscrapering the wardrobe. And we’re not even leaving for another 18 weeks. When I work that ou I start to hyperventilate again and miss letters off the keyboard.
We are renting our house out. (I hope – otherwise we won’t be able to pay the mortgage when we’re away). I stare lovingly at our Philippe Starck stools for half an hour. Then at the railway sleeper coffee table. It feels like I’m renouncing middle-classness in one fell swoop. I go upstairs and kneel before my wardrobe and my shoe collection. I have to put my head between my knees. I decide I must give every piece a turn before I pack them away – a bit like I used to do with my teddies so they didn’t feel left out.
How will I be able to whittle it all down? Who can I trust to take care of my shoes? What will I do with my excessively large collection of nail polish? I look up and see the 10×10 foot canvas on the wall that John and I made by covering ourselves in paint and rolling all over it (if you look closely – those two orbs – that’s my butt) – who the hell is going to want that on their wall? Possibly the Tate. I will call and check.
Then I remember I have a cat to rehouse. You can see where my priorities lie.