While the idea of getting out of our old flat has been on our mind for months, we only really acted on it last month. We started looking at new flats in the area in March, and we found our match toward the end of said month.
We ended up having to give a short notice leave to our landlady, because the owner of the new flat wanted us to start paying rent by April 15.
Why we decided to move out is a no brainer if you are familiar with the issues our old flat had. The most disturbing being that the ceiling in our living room was compromised due to the faulty AC of our upstair neighbour leaking in our walls and ceiling. Last year, it could have killed me when a big chunk of the ceiling came crashing down 2 minutes after I left the spot.
Despite promises from the flat's power of attorney that our landlady would address the issue on her next visit to India, nothing got done. A game of "let's pretend nothing happened" started. The contractor used the same substandard materials to patch up the ceiling, didn't even finish repainting the flat as promised. Then we got a massive termite infestation the society management ignored (we ended paying out of our own pocket to deal with it) and by then we pretty much decided renewing the lease was going to be out of question.
What accelerated our plans last month is that the wet spots in the ceiling came back! Despite the fact the contractor swore he used waterproofing cement. We knew it would only be a matter of time before enough water built up in the cement layers and made the ceiling crash down again. Along with that scary situation, a bathroom leak, again from upstairs developed in Ishita's room, soaking a wall wet and corroded an electrical plug. And if it weren't enough, the balcony had AC leak water drips all over.
We were in a situation where the flat felt unsafe and nobody really cared enough about it. And since any scenario involving a body bag was unacceptable to us, it was time to say goodbye.
I spent the past near 3 weeks preparing for that move, packing boxes, throwing or giving stuff away. We got the key to the new place on Good Friday, but only moved in small boxes and the kitchen stuff that weekend. The new flat needed to be cleaned properly, by yours truly. And the packers and movers weren't allowed on weekends in the new society.
On Monday, our old flat through one last nasty curve at us with a great big fat mystery :
Our sofa, which 4.5 years ago moved in just fine into the flat, despite going through an even narrower hallway on the other side of that doorframe, refused to get out.
We tried every positions, every angles, every manoeuvres, every pivots, rotations and tilts, in vain! for some reason, the sofa fattened over the years and was one inch too tall to pass through the doorframe.
4 packers and movers, 2 sofa makers and of course DH and I attempted to get it out in one piece. It was like our old flat was telling us "So you refuse to go down with me? I'll hold your beloved sofa hostage then!"
In the end we talked with the sofa makers to have one of the armrest piece cut off to get it out the door, and then have the whole sofa re-upholstered before moving it inside our new home.
Which is something we were thinking of doing down the line anyway, this Sofa has gone throug 6.5 years of toddler/kid and pets abuse. The leather was worn out, the fake leather used on the back and sides was shredded under the care of my cat and the whole thing was a bit of an eyesore.
We chose a very tight weaved and glossy velvet in blue to go on it, as it was by far the most "Mittens-proof" option and we should get it delivered by this weekend or early next week.
Meanwhile I was left to dealt with this :
And as it has been the case with every single moves we did over the year, unpacking and figuring out what goes were dragged on days.
This time around, my Fitbit was there to tell me how many steps I logged just packing and unpacking. No less than 15-6k steps a day people!
We also did make the decision to not have a maid in the new flat for several reasons, and this alone created a lot of drama with our old maid.
A maid that had worked for us since 2011, and was at first a hard working lady ended up extorting us pay hikes after pay hikes due to years of service. I would have been fine with it, if the quality level of her job didn't drop so drastically.
In the past 2-3 years I ended up cleaning or re-cleaning a lot of things, dealt with her sudden need for more leaves and holidays than DH gets himself at work and her pushing our time slot around each time she took a new client.
So much so, that in the end we were paying her 6k a month to clean and cook, and she would somehow find the time to cook and clean a whole 3BHK in less than 45 minutes!
In the new flat we are fortunate to have big sliding windows everywhere and no direct sunlight hitting them, so I can keep them closed during the day without us feeling trapped in or cooked to a crisp through the glass.
This in turn is making the level of dust in the flat very manageable, even with all the boxes unpacking. I have a steam mop, a flat mop, and a dusting mop that do a great job at keeping the floor clean, and if everybody does their bit in the family, the dishes can be taken care of very easily.
I'll let you all know how the no maid thing goes (we will hire a cook soon though).
My maid was not too happy about our terminating her services with us though and she managed to make the sacking even less pleasant with her cheeky attitude.
When we announced our shift, she obviously wanted to tag along to the new place, despite the slightly longer commute. Hubby tried to dissuade her in a diplomatic way that ended up with him telling her that he would MAYBE consider her to come just for cooking but needed to make up his mind about it (we still had almost 3 weeks to go).
The next morning she came late, hoping to catch hubby awake, then attempted a big show of cleaning the fan in our bedroom while we were still all in it : me drinking my morning tea, hubby sleeping and Ishita playing games on the phone.
I told her off, as black dust-bunnies tea is really not my thing. And upon seeing that despite her working slowly hubby was not going to wake up she then asked me how many rooms the new flat would have to clean!
Pissed, I told her that it didn't matter because she was NOT coming to work for us in the new place. And that took the wind of her sails immediately. At this point remember that 24 hours earlier my husband had said he would THINK ABOUT IT and that even if he agreed that was going to be JUST for cooking. And here she was trying to negotiate her cleaning for us still!
I left it at that for that day, gave the heads up to DH about the situation and we thought it was dealt with.
The next morning, she again came late, and again put on a show of cleaning things she normally never cleans unless she is going to ask for something. And she thought she had her audience since Hubby was up early that day. But she also knew she would get nowhere as long as I was in the flat.
So, she cunningly waited until it was time for me to drop Ishita to school to pounce on DH. When I came back she was about to leave our home and she refused to meet my eyes and told DH "You tell Didi what we talked about".
Turns out that, behind my back, she unleashed a whole sob story about losing another job and asked DH to have her do the cooking and cleaning in the new place for 2 months, the time to find another job!
I was furious, because let's face it, if we had relocated to another city, she would not have been coming, she would still have to find another job, and she only went behind my back to negotiate that term because she KNOWS my husband can't be assertive with her. She also has been deciding for years that whatever I say has no weight because thanks to a patriarchal mindset she imagine that my words rank lower than those of DH.
Needless to say that the next day, I gave her the dose of the century, yelled at her for dismissing my words, going behind my back and negotiating new terms without even me hearing it from her.
I told her that my decision of her NOT coming to the new place was FINAL, and that she would still get paid the whole month of April. And if she was not happy with those terms she could just leave right now.
So here I am, in my new place, almost settled. We still need our sofa to make a comeback (for now we use the guest mattresses in the living room), and the only thing I need now is the carpenter to show up to mount a shelf on the wall and put all my paintings up. Until that is done, I'll still have books and DVDs in boxes.
Once all is set up, I'll give you all a picture home tour, and move on to the next exciting project I've been working on.