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Hello, did you think I was dead?
I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve been so hideously busy I haven’t had the time nor the mental clarity to sit down and write anything until now. The house move was hugely stressful; I’d sooner organise a decade’s worth of Red Cross crisis relief drops than go through that again. The packing was one thing – we had three weeks to box the entire contents of our house, and we had a LOT of stuff. We also had a garage full to bursting with lawnmowers, strimmers, ladders, wood, picnic hampers (?), deckchairs, pots, compost, nuts and bolts, car cleaning products, anti-freeze, you name it, it was in there. We also had more tubes of ‘No More Nails’ than you could shake a stick at, because Gautier would say ‘we need some ‘No More Nails’, monkey’ and I would then say, ‘But we didn’t, look, there are three in this cupboard!’ It looked like a branch of Home Depot, only less tidy.
We had to sell as much as we could, and give away what we couldn’t sell. When you have only a couple of weeks to list things on ebay and gumtree, do a garage sale, a car boot sale, charity shop drop-offs (we did about 39478 of those) and even give things away at the last minute (an entire kitchen’s worth of food was split between two friends, a neighbour and my parents), well, your stress levels just go barmy. We held two vintage sales at the house (my God, I really like old plates) and made a bit of money out of that, but turning the entire living room into a shop when you’re trying to sell the house isn’t the best idea.
When you consider that we were shipping our possessions to France, but not going with them on the day, then it’s even more barmy. There was no throwing things in the car at the last minute, or following instructions such as ‘keep a box for your teabags, mugs and a kettle so you can have a cup of tea when you arrive at your new house’. Er, no, because we sold the kettle, gave away the teabags, had packed the mugs and weren’t going to a new house! Try doing all that in three months and you’ll have a nervous breakdown, never mind in three weeks, and with ankylosing spondylitis to boot. It was utterly butterly RIDICULOUS.
On moving day itself, we were up at 6.00am and still shoving things into boxes as the removal men arrived (and subsequently traipsed mud all over the office carpet which had just been cleaned. Thanks for that). We spent two hours after they’d gone just cleaning, with Gautier mopping the wooden floors whilst the solicitor insisted we hurry up with the keys for the buyer. We didn’t even have time to say goodbye to the house; we just drove straight up the motorway with the car fit to bursting (Pantouf was pressed up against the back windscreen, he wasn’t too happy) and arrived at my parents’ place an hour later with a celebratory McDonald’s for our lunch. Honestly, we eat that crap about once a year and that day we really needed the empty carbs.
You might be wondering how my pain was throughout all this. Well, weirdly it was non-existent for an entire fortnight. I’ve not had a pain-free stretch like that in a decade. I know why I was OK, though – adrenalin, pure and simple. I literally didn’t stop packing, selling, organising, sorting out, throwing out, giving away – this is on top of dealing with the actual house sale itself – for a month. In the build-up to that we were doing those little jobs in the house we had never got around to doing so that it would sell quickly. We didn’t go out, we didn’t do anything, we just did all that. I knew I would crash and burn, but it came a good while after; three days into being at my parents’ house was when it hit, and boy did it hit HARD. I felt like I’d been trampled by a horse.
To be fair, I was expecting it, though. My body had been through so much and once all that was behind us, it just kind of went ‘Ah, right, let’s bring out all that stored-up pain, BOOM!’ and that was it. Cue the liquid morphine, dihydrocodeine and uh, wine. During those first five days at my mum’s Gautier and I just slept and slept and slept. We were absolutely exhausted.
When Gautier flew to his mum’s place in France at Easter I continued to sleep; our possessions arrived in France a few days later and Gautier then spent the entire weekend putting boxes into order and unpacking Pantouf’s brothers. There I was at my parents’ house, there he was at his; to say it was deflating is an understatement. I couldn’t go with him as I was also about to start a new drug treatment, to complicate matters even further, so being out of the country wasn’t an option. That’s right, after 10 years on Enbrel (one of the anti-TNF biologics), I was moving on to Humira, its ‘sister’ drug.
I had been building up to this for a year.
I was dreading changing treatments.
The timing couldn’t have been worse.
I’ll let you know how it went in my next blog… and I promise you won’t have to wait another four months to find out!