We are having a new kitchen fitted at the moment (eeeek!) which is massively exciting, hugely terrifying, scarily expensive and a bit crap all at the same time. It’s crap because it has displaced me, so I have had to seek refuge at my parents’ house in Burnley. Ebony and I have been here since Monday, and there is no end in sight. Ok, there is an end, it’s Tuesday, but I have terrible eyesight. I have to wear glasses just to type this. And anyway, Tuesday is ages away (I’m writing this on Saturday, which I’m sure you’ll agree, is quite far from Tuesday). Here are 10 rubbish things I have noticed about staying at my parents’ house:
1. I can’t see what’s happening in my kitchen
This is so annoying. I saw it moments after my old, hideous, kitchen was smashed to bits and thrown out the backdoor, but I have not seen it since. I have been relying on Laurie’s descriptions for information. His extensive vocabulary for describing himself range from ‘tired’ all the way to ‘not too tired’, so you can imagine how much harder it becomes when he is trying to describe a kitchen. I have had some photographs, all of which are excitingly empty and filled with step ladders, but I’m terrified that something will be done wrong and I’m not there to see it.
2. This house is full of terrifying noises
Perhaps it’s to do with the number of horror films I watched her in my youth, or maybe it is because of the dark and gloomy corners, but this house is really terrifying. The noises, in particular, are creepy. Floorboards creak, windows rattle and the boiler sometimes bellows into life without warning. On our first afternoon, I was lying in bed with Ebony when I heard a phone ringing. Not the phone ringing, that would be fine, I’d just go and answer it. This was the ringing tone a mobile phone makes when you place an outgoing call, and it sounded like it was coming from under the bed.
3. Ebony has access to all of my childhood toys
Firstly, I cannot tell you how many hours I have lost to the art of balancing chairs on top of each other to reach discarded board games and intriguing looking boxes in the back of very high cupboards. I love discovering old toys, but Ebony is here and she’s not being at all careful with anything. She has so far lost two dice (I think she gave these to the cat), misplaced every single envelope content from The Jolly Postman, broken my playmobil bus and scattered the contents of Usbourne Ludo around the house.
4. The Toaster
There are no words to describe my parents’ toaster. Well, ok, there is a word, it’s old. It must be older than I am. It only cooks two slices at once, two slices! And they don’t even fit in properly, they get wedged down the side. It’s like a prototype of a toaster, one that was probably rejected after it caused the mental collapse of over fifty perfect of all testers, but for some reason my parents are still completely and utterly committed to its place in the family.
5. Everything is on a timer...
… which I didn’t realise until the light in the room I was sitting in went off. By itself. At night time. Leaving me surrounded by darkness, just before the creepy security light turned on just outside the window, forcing me to conclude that this was some kind of premeditated attack by a very sophisticated and electronically-minded burglar or psychopath.
6. They Have Bathroom Scales
I can no longer trick myself into thinking I probably weigh around x amount, because I stood on the scales and now know that I weigh much, much more than that. And I can’t pretend they’re broken (my usual trick), because Ebony also stood on them so I know they are correct. And, I can’t stop thinking about it, because Ebony liked standing on them so much that she keeps making me stand on them again, and again, and again.
7. We have no daytime friends
It’s so boring being stuck in my hometown where my only remaining friends all work during the week. We’ve been stuck walking from park to park, desperately trying to find something fun to do. The other day we found some graffiti about ‘stumpy dick’ which was quite amusing, but only because I haven't spoken to another adult in about a week. On top of having no daytime friends, Laurie isn’t around in the evenings because he’s been staying at home to look after our rabbit and check on the kitchen, so I don’t even have anyone to drink wine and moan about the long days of isolation with.
8. Everything is out of date
Ok, not everything, but most of the food I have set my mind of has actually been out of date. When we first arrived I spotted some milkshakes that I set my heart on, only to discover they were four years out of date. Then later, I stumbled across some tinned beans that I thought we could have for dinner, only to discover at dinnertime that they were three years out of date, and had gone very, very weird. The next afternoon I discovered that the chocolate spread I’d found was also out of date, but I ate it anyway, because it was only going to go on a slice of bread that would be half burnt and half completely untouched by heat thanks to the toaster.
9. They left me no wine
My parents’ house usually boasts a well-stocked wine rack, but now there are just some very dusty looking bottles on display which look as though they could be old and I don’t want to accidentally drink their fancy wine. It’s almost as though they’ve made a point of not leaving any wine for me to drink. Well, ok, I drank a bit of the wine. And all of their beer, and I am now working my way through the liquor cabinet.
10. They’re not hereSurely the best thing about a trip to the homeland is that parents, aka my free childcare, are there ready and waiting to entertain Ebony so that I can look through old photos, drink their wine and make fun of their toaster. I could be exploring the best of Burnley’s nightlife while my free childcare take over night duty, getting lots of work done whilst they take her to stumpy dick’s park, and eating home cooked food that I didn’t have to cook myself. But instead I’m sat here eating partially cooked toast while Ebony runs wild around their home.