Last weekend I moved into a swanky new place with my two housemates. There’s no mould, no mice, and no slugs, all of which we had in abundance at our previous home. We even have glass in our bathroom window, which we haven’t had since our last bathroom window fell on my housemate’s head as she used the loo eight months ago.
All in all, we’ve definitely upgraded our living situation; we now live on a tree lined street where well-dressed people walk their dogs and head to brunch, and we’re no longer sandwiched between a house of students on one side who never invited us to their parties, and a crazy family on the other who alternated between relentless karaoke and abusive fighting.
It sounds great, right? How I wish this could continue into a story about us becoming better people, but sadly this is a tale of how we have already trashed our pristine new house and brought down the tone of the neighbourhood with our mere presence (and also the flashing lights of the emergency services).
So – Saturday was moving day, and slowly but surely the chaos of stuff all over our house had turned into taped up boxes, piles of bin bags, and dismantled furniture. Our moving van arrived in the late evening, and we piled everything in as darkness and rain fell around us. Three hours later we were at our new house with almost everything safely inside, and just a sofa left to drag up the stairs before we could call it a night.
Now our new house came part furnished, and there was already a nice leather sofa in there, so what happened next was avoidable and completely unnecessary. The sofa in question belongs to one of my housemates, and she was insistent that we get it in (it’s from the 1920s, and has a great story). The delivery man had already advised us that it wouldn’t fit up our narrow staircase, but why listen to a professional? Aren’t we just as qualified to judge the dimensions of our own home? Isn’t our vintage sofa as important as the freshly painted walls of our newly refurbished house? Of course the answer to both those questions is a resounding ‘No!’, but that didn’t stop us.
And ten minutes later the sofa was wedged vertically in the stairs with the wheels in the wall, trapping my two housemates inside, and leaving me and one of their boyfriends stranded in the hallway. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story – they’re a little blurry, mainly because I was shaking with hysterical laughter the entire time.
Here’s my housemate’s boyfriend, trying valiantly to get the sofa up the stairs (at this point I had given up and was sitting on the floor ordering an Indian takeaway).
After we finally accepted that there was no way to budge it, we ripped open the back of the sofa and attempted to destroy it from within, but we were faced with the rarity of a well-made piece of furniture with irremovable wheels. Despite the enthusiastic use of both knife and drill, as well as taking out every screw we could find, the sofa remained defiantly indestructible.
Eventually we admitted defeat. I mean, what else could we do? The sofa was wheels deep in our wall, it had been an exhausting day that was creeping towards midnight, and most importantly we had a takeaway on the way that I wanted to eat in the living room whilst wrapped in a blanket (not sat in the hallway passing samosas up through the hole in the sofa).
There was nothing else to do – and so we called the fire brigade. I know, I am ashamed of us too. After a brief but embarrassing phone call with the emergency services, a fire engine arrived swiftly with its lights flashing, and four firemen and a firewoman climbed out, ready to finally put all their training to the test (hahaha).
Luckily they had a great sense of humour about it all. I asked them if they got this kind of thing all the time, hoping that we weren’t the only stupid people in the world, but my hopes were dashed when they told me that this was a first for them. Still, they took the situation as seriously as they could, and in almost no time they had popped out the wheels and wriggled the sofa up the stairs. They even took it into our living room for us, which was a kindness that we really didn’t deserve at this point. As they left my housemate declared to them that the ruination of her vintage sofa was a tragedy, and they even took that statement humorously – true heroes.
Anyway, that’s the story of how we moved into a fancy neighbourhood and decreased house values almost instantly just by being there. Well, that’s probably not true, but we have managed to lose our deposit within hours of moving in. Just look at our wall!
I feel obliged to leave this story with some useful information that we received from the firefighters themselves! If you ever find yourself trapped in your house, regardless of how ridiculous the situation is, calling the fire brigade is the right thing to do because it is a fire hazard. You’re not wasting their time, and they won’t make you feel as if you are!!!