field of pink daisies

Yes, the hall is totally going to have to be dug up

I’m a little bit of a neat-freak.

Don’t get me wrong: my house is by no means perfect – in fact, a lot of the time, I feel like the opposite is true. But I’m one of those people who just can’t relax or focus in a mess. If there’s laundry to be done, I can’t put it off. If the floor needs sweeping, I can’t sit and watch TV until its done. (Unfortunately for me, we have laminate floors, which look nice, but which show up every single speck of dust or tiny mark. There have been times when I’ve been in the middle of a Netflix marathon, and have had to press pause while I get up and sweep the floor. No, it’s not much fun…)

I remember a few months ago, I posted a photo of my desk on Instagram, to which someone commented, “Yeah, but what does it look like the rest of the time?” I had no idea how to answer, because actually, that IS how it looks the rest of the time. I just can’t concentrate if my desk is untidy: it makes me feel claustrophobic and disorganized, so while I’ll hold my hand up to artfully arranging the items that are already on it for the occasional Instagram photo, I rarely have to tidy it especially for a photo.

I also clean when I’m worried. I clean when I’m stressed. I sometimes clean when I’m happy, because having a clean, organised environment is certain to make me even happier. When our new couch was delivered on Tuesday, I cleaned the entire house… even although the couch would only be going into one room.

All of which is to say that the imminent digging-up-of our hall has me just a little bit freaked.

You all knew the floor would definitely be getting ripped up, didn’t you? Because I certainly did. As soon as I knew there was a “best case scenario” and a “worst case scenario”, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind which of those two scenarios would come to pass. There never is, is there?

As it happens, what we’re facing is the Not-Quite-the-Worst-Case-Scenario. Only the hall will be ripped up (WE HOPE): it looks like the blockage is only under it, and not under the kitchen or bathroom, so those floors will remain intact (WE HOPE), as will the wall. Whew! As scenarios go, it definitely could be worse: if ANY of my floors have to come up, the hall is the one I’d have picked, because it’s laminate, and can (WE HOPE) be taken up and then replaced without too much trouble. The other two rooms, as I mentioned, have tile floors which have been installed right onto concrete, so the only way to remove them would be by destroying them, basically. (And I mean, yeah, there was a tiny part of me which secretly hoped the insurance would pay for the kitchen floor to be replaced, because I hate that floor, but I’m definitely not disappointed to NOT be going through the disruption (AND MESS) that would have caused.)

There WILL, however, be disruption, though, and that’s what’s freaking me out. This whole thing is going to be messy, basically. Really, REALLY messy. And I just don’t deal with that well. Seriously, while the whole “OMG, overflowing sink!” scenario was unfolding that day, my anxiety levels were through the roof : not just because I could tell this was going to be expensive to fix, but because MESS was exploding all around me, and I couldn’t do anything to fix it, on account of I was stuck in the bathroom, clutching a pickle jar. As soon as the workmen come into the house, and walk across the floor, I’m going to have to fight the impulse to immediately sweep up after them, even although I know things are about to get WAY messier than that.

But still: “It could be worse” is our mantra for the week. And yes, it totally could. Some people don’t even HAVE a hall to be destroyed, after all! Some other people, meanwhile, DO have a hall, but also have an insurance company who, 11 days after the sink exploded and the drains were announced to be “like, totally screwed!” STILL haven’t bothered to review the copious amounts of information they’ve been sent, and make a decision on whether or not they’ll pay for the repairs.

Oh no, wait: that’s us again. Damn.

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books by Amber Eve
  • I’m the same. I’m a clean freak. My blog is called Clean,Bake,Run because that’s pretty much the priority order of my life #sadbuttrue!


    October 2, 2014
  • Sorry to hear about the floor Amber, I totally get where you’re coming from as I’m just like you and can’t stand mess. I’ve been known to pause the TV and get up to rearrange/tidy something half way through a show so can sympathise! Hopefully it won’t be too bad for you.

    October 2, 2014
  • Total nightmare, I can sympathise with you about the mess. I don’t mind my mess and do clean it up, but when we had our kitchen extended two years ago, it was so difficult to live with, even though we went on holiday a week after the builder started, so I was delighted to leave him to it. The dust, the dust and more dust was a nightmare for months after the kitchen was finished. We had a tap on the wall for water, a kettle but no electric points and no storage. Our kitchen was packed up in boxes (didn’t mind eating out so much though lol) but the micro-waved ready meals were not so great.

    Equally when our bathroom waste pipe broke in that winter freeze a couple of years ago. Had to dig up the floor then, and I will never know how the workman could stomach the smell as he repaired it. Thank you Phil

    Hope your domestic crisis is repaired soon xxx

    October 2, 2014
  • Nicola Rippon


    My sympathies. I still remember the day we got ‘the men’ in to put down some lovely quarry tiles on our previously-linoed kitchen floor only to discover that whoever built the house 95 years earlier had never bothered to lay a floor in the first place. The lino was pretty much sitting on a layer of older liner and soil … which meant having to dig up the whole floor down about three feet, lay concrete (using a large tube which had to pass from the front door and through the entire length of the hall before being poured in the large hole, allowing that to dry for a week before laying the tiles. Not fun at all. We already had our entire kitchen (units, cupboards and all) in a bright red shipping container on the front garden and now we had to wait, and wait. Fortunately, they did allow us to put back the units three days after the concrete had been laid (and to put some cheap IKEA rugs down to stop the dust flying up all over the place – it almost worked) but we had to wait for ages before we could get our floor in. For the first three days, however we had what amounted to one room containing all our furniture, the fridge, cooker, groceries, pots and pans etc, and another with a what amounted to a studio with a two-seater settee & a hard chair, a small foldaway table and the telly. Here we spent our evenings watching tv and nibbling on microwave dinners. My advice? Don’t do what we did and accidentally place all your alcohol behind a seven-foot-high barricade of dining furniture, baking equipment and cookery books – you’ll need it!

    October 2, 2014
    • Liz in Paris


      Nicola – this sounds almost as much of a nightmare as Amber’s but I laughed out loud at the last sentence!

      October 2, 2014
  • Aunt fiona


    We are going through the same and like you the mess is no joke. I am a neat freak, so when the band come over to practise I say ” oh sorry about the mess”. Really like a bunch of guys even notice lol. I so hope the insurance pay, that’s why we pay these b######s a lot of money. Can’t stand insurance companies. There is always that grey area that they have covered and a blind man wouldn’t be able to read. Hope it all works out. Love xxxx

    October 2, 2014
  • Fran


    Sorry to hear about that, Amber, when I had piping trouble in my flat last year it was a major stress source. Luckily, at least the insurance will be paying?

    And I completely understand about wanting everything clean. My boyfriend makes fun of the fact that, every time I have to sit down and write a paper, I first tidy up the entire room and workspace, or I just can’t get to work…

    October 5, 2014
  • Dana


    Hello, Amber, 🙂
    I know, this post about such a horrible thing happened in your house is not a good one to say thank you, but I just finished reading this one and wanted to say thank you immediately: English is my second language, but I’m totally in love with it, and trying to learn something new every day. Your blog is one of my all time favourite places to do it, as I truly enjoy your style of writing and your personal style is my inspiration as well 🙂

    October 10, 2014