Oh — hello there. I didn’t see you because you are not an estate agent or a mouse. For the past two weeks those two things have consumed me, and for the most part still do. I remember complaining about finding a flat when we first moved to London, but using a relocation agent is nothing compared to flat hunting yourself. I sift through the enormous amounts of ads on Prime Location, Zoopla and Right Move, then contact one of London’s seemingly over 1,000 estate agent companies (none of whom seem to represent more than one property you’re interested in, so you have to call them all) and have the same conversation with every agent:
Me: Hello, I am interested in ____ property. Is it still available?
Agent: No, unfortunately it was let two months ago even though we just put the ad up today. Why don’t you tell me what you’re looking for and we can find something else that works.
Me: ::Tells agent budget, move date and space requirements::
Agent: Brilliant, I know just the property! ::Sends me something either 400 square feet less than what we’re looking for or £300 over our weekly budget.
I then facepalm and repeat the process ad infinitum.
Selecting a flat is a big deal — since I work from home, I spend a lot of time there. But after so many viewings, phone calls and emails, I start getting desperate and defeated. And then it hit me — flat hunting is just like dating. You build up your perfect flat in your mind — perfect neighborhood, steps from the tube yet quiet, big living room, lots of storage, modern kitchen, secure parking — and as you describe this perfect flat to an estate agent and tell them your budget, you can almost hear them saying, “Oh, honey…”
We put a deposit down on a flat, but can’t shake that cold feet feeling — what if something better comes along in the month we have until move out? Of course, like dating, this feeling is accompanied by “But what if nothing better comes along and we gave up a flat by the tube with underground parking for under our budget?”
And then there’s the mouse. I haven’t named him, but I find myself affectionately referring to him as “my furry friend” and “little guy.” I announce myself before entering the kitchen with an “Are you in here, little guy?” We have a complex relationship, this furry little guy and I, and I could see the porter thinking “Oh, honey,” as I explained my “I don’t want to kill him, but I don’t want him here anymore” situation. At the moment I have a live capture trap and two snap traps out, but ideally I want him to get scared and/or hungry and move to someone else’s flat. I don’t want to dispose of his dead body or have to release him live in the park. I don’t want to deal with him at all. So I’ve been in denial for the past two weeks, except at night when I have panic attacks and decide I want him gone. I hate him not because I’m afraid he’s going to hurt me — I know, I know, he’s more afraid of me than I am of him — but because he’s stolen three main joys from my life: sleeping, cooking and eating. I can’t sleep because I picture him scampering around my kitchen or the trap catching him but not killing him, and I frantically do google searches for how to humanely kill a mouse stuck in a spring trap. I’m afraid to cook because I know he’s somewhere behind the cabinets, and it’s hard to cook and eat when all the contents of my cabinets are spread out on my counters. (As far as I know, he only runs around behind the scenes and can’t get up on the counter. But if he could, oh the feast he would have!) I pray when the trap does go off, Stephen will be here to do the dirty work, or else I’ll have to call the porter and hope that mouse mercy killing is in his job description. But for now, I wait, hoping that the little guy goes in search of expired granola bars and couscous in someone else’s flat, but anticipating that dreaded “SNAP!”
So that’s why I haven’t posted in a while.
Here’s a panda gif to end this depressing post on an upbeat note: