OK, it started yesterday, this nonsense...
But first the background. The kitchen for tenants' use is in a room the size of a large boiler closet. I can probably touch the walls from the centre of the room. And we thought the one in the Harrow flat was small but that was probably just the size of my walk-in closet in our first apartment in Dallas. My mother and I continually bounce off each other in there, it's so annoying, so she's fine just getting on alone down there. Thankfully there is a window with an ineffective little bathroom fan above it (!)
The water in the kitchen runs hot for about 30 seconds maximum, then painfully icy for about a minute, and so the cycle goes. In my bathroom it's hot for about 15 seconds and then NEVER gets hot again, so I have perfected the 15 second facewash, and now brush my teeth in the shower at night. This is apparently the problem with any combi-boiler.
The toilet, being a loft addition, uses a pump system. For ages I didn't trust flushing paper down the toilet, and feel insulted that the landlord thought I'd also flush feminine products down too...seriously...and when I am showering the system empties about once every minute.
Yesterday, feeling better, I helped my mother do some cooking to stock the fridge for the week. We were sauteeing onions first thing, and the smoke alarm went off. I fanned it frantically with a foil pan and it stopped, started and stopped.
In the evening, though, it was a lazy oven dinner of chips and chicken wings. My mother overbrowned but didn't burn the chips, and put the wings in the oven in their store packaging (silver plastic bowl, which she thought was foil) so the alarm went off again and the plastic melted. Landlord and I came rushing up/down the stairs at the same time.
He emphasised, pointlessly, that the (open) window must be open when cooking and that the (flimsy) fan must be on too. I told him that they were on when we were simply frying onions earlier and the same thing happened. Then he (thankfully) disappeared, hopefully getting the point.
I threw the wings away because I wasn't about to poison Mum or myself with carcinogens, and popped in some frozen Thai cakes.
After dinner I was washing the dishes, water running so cold my hands hurt, then putting the dishes away I kept knocking my elbow on the saucepan handle on the counter, and the kettle on the other side, and saying bad words.
Not only that but the only thing I have seen for the past week were the walls of my erstwhile cute loft, which I had wanted to bond with, but not in this way.
Tonight my mother decided to shower in my bathroom because the Korean girl next door to her left a lot of dirt in their shower, and Mum doesn't want to clean up after her again. Did I ever tell you how many times she burnt our favourite new saucepan and has now had to pay for a replacement?
Anyway, Mum turns on the shower and the water starts filling the shower floor. I flush the toilet to see if that will activate the pump, but the toilet bowl just fills too. Just when Mum doesn't really want to use the shower downstairs, and just when I really really need to wash my hair. I fiddle around a bit, then realise that the switch near the floor outside the bathroom is switched off. I haven't looked at it in weeks, but there is a box near it, and I did vacuum the floor this morning.
So...that's my rant. Wonder if any more fun lurks around the corner for next week?
Following: a rather shameful addendum, but it's true and I am sharing it with you.
[It occurred to me yesterday with a shock that I once lived in my family's own 4-bedroom house, with more money than we could spend. I was naive enough to think that this would always exist, no matter where in the world I lived - Mum and Dad and "home" represent security, no matter how old you are. Three years in a houseshare in a million-pound house in one of London's premier neighbourhoods was a step down from that because once upon a time I didn't know what a houseshare was...but even that was nothing compared to my current frustration. This has to end!
Sweet! Vanessa just called from Houston and we talked for an hour and I have just smiled and laughed more than the last month altogether! :)