Monday, August 20, 2012

Different strokes for different folks

You know that  when we moved to our little temporary house 10 weeks ago, we got a couple of surprises such as the local methadone clinic a few doors up, and the fact that the back half of the house actually wasn't for our use but was for the "lodger".  As we'd already signed on the dotted line and were sitting drinking tea with the owners at the time, The Husband and I could only raise our eyebrows - "did you know about that?", he whispered to me as we left.  I didn't and as we were mid-very-stressful move, and had only days to vacate our house, we had no choice but to accept it.
"She's hardly ever home", they said, "she looks after the garden, it's basically hers", they also said, so images of my boys kicking a ball around the pleasant backyard disappeared in a puff.

Still, she seemed nice enough, she's a her mid 40's with a boyfriend who rescued us the first night we moved in while the husband was wining and dining, and my fellas were standing in the pitch black with their cooling KFC, and the thread I was hanging onto was at breaking point while I tried to find the house keys (couldn't) and he turned up with a spare.

And a little bit like the methadone clinic, which I'm ever so slightly fascinated by, I have enjoyed "observing" the way our lodger lives her life.  And how hugely different it is from my own.
And if you think the next lot of observations are a result from perving or stalking her, you're wrong, it's just I am ALWAYS at the clothesline and can see into her life while I'm hanging or taking down the gazillion loads of washing I do daily.
And lets start with that.  One load.  On a Saturday. Including sheets.  The shared washing machine seems to go 24/7 thanks to our half of the house, and even though we share the clothes line, I know I can hog it safely until Saturday.  When she does her one load.
She comes in late from work and then seems to go to her bedroom and maybe just reads in bed.  Or has her dinner in bed.
She is silent.  I know this for a fact because we're anything but.  The other morning while my first born and I were having a debate about the merit of Minecraft being played on a school morning, and the debate was quite...hmmm, heated, I heard her clip clopping past our half of the house.  Meaning she would have heard every ranty word from the mother in the house.
She is handy.  Our little shared fusebox can only handle 2 lights and the TV being on before it blows leaving both houses in darkness while her and I hold our iPhones up to the fusebox to see what's gone wrong.  On one instance, the Husband tried joining us, but as he'd just got home from drinks and was only in his undies, I suggested that her and I could sort it.
She makes no mess.  On rubbish day, I'm sitting on the wheelie bin, trying to squish in that last rubbish bag before I give up and put it in someone else's, her contribution has been a small rubbish bag.  We are rubbish bin hogs as well as clothes line hogs.
She has a social life.  I know this because some tickets to an orchestra recital had slipped from her one rubbish bag one day.  Our social life revolves around takeout on a Friday night and maybe a glass of wine in front of the fire.  I need no other clothes in my wardrobe apart from trackies and slippers.

Sometimes I wonder if she looks at my life with the same kind of fascination as I do hers.  Maybe you always want a teeny smidge of what you haven't got, or just for a night or two.

Maybe she looks at my kids and thinks thank god! wouldn't that be nice?  Because it is.
What would you want if you could have it in your daily life?  Dinner in bed? An uninterrupted night of reality TV?  Calm and silence?


  1. It can be so fascinating seeing a life so different to yours and wondering what that would be like! I would like a full night's sleep - 8 hours without a single toddler interruption! That would be a little luxury right now :) x

  2. I am having horrendous life envy at the moment. I feel stretched and tired and like I have the crap half of the stick juggling coughs and uniforms and homework while I work from home (work is used loosely...its small grabs of half an hour here and there). I look wistfully at other people who shop alone, who eat alone, who read alone and I want what they have for a just a bit of each week. Im not going to balance it by saying I love my kids because I do. I just want to breathe out every now and again.

    People watching is the best past time known to (wo)man.

  3. I sometimes look at my single friends' lives with envy - their ability to do what they want, when they want barring work of course. I would choose not to cook in the evenings but instead go to yoga classes and walk the dog or maybe a book club. But for the moment my life has no room for indulgences like this and, apart from the odd moment of frustration, I wouldn't have it any other way.