Mrs Astronomer has been on the first tranche of IVF hormones for a few days now, and it shows (click here for a short explanation of what it all entails). She’s getting hot and cold flushes, difficulty sleeping, tingling lips, aching breasts – in short, she’s having the mini menopause as her ovaries go haywire twenty years early. And I’m caught in the middle, trying to keep my head down.

Sodding marvellous.

We’ve been busy, preparing to put the house on the market. This has mostly, in so far as I can work out, involved my wife rooting through every single thing that I own and loudly asking what on earth it is and why the heck do I still have it. Furthermore, my in-laws – Let’s call them the Welsh Family – have been marvellous in shifting one or two items of surplus furniture in order to make our tiny shoebox house seem a little roomier. Considering it’s nearly three hours from where they live, you couldn’t ask for more, especially when I say “surplus furniture”, what I mean is small things like couple of chairs. And the table that goes with them. Also maybe a desk, and an entire wardrobe… Suddenly, we have room to swing a cat, providing that the cat was patient and didn’t mind the occasional knock around the head. I had my Mother in Law, Mrs Welsh, my wife’s sister, Miss Welsh and her fiancé Mr Rugby stay around for the weekend; consequently, I had to run away to the Follytown library for a few hours to get any studying done whilst the house was torn to bits in my absence, feeling rather ashamed to do so and thus dodge helping, but I did have a deadline looming.

When I got back the house I’d been living in for four years was being taken to bits, and… well, I’m not usually one for introspection, but I felt sad. I bought the house when I was dating another woman entirely (Let’s call her Miss C, and leave it at that); she didn’t choose it, but I did take her preferences into account. At the time, Mrs Astronomer wasn’t on the horizon, so this was somewhere I’d planned to live in with someone else entirely. Not that we were at that stage in our relationship at that point in time, but I was planning for the future. Life has a funny way of intervening sometimes, and it wasn’t to be; I was down, broken hearted, but it all worked out because I ended up marrying my wonderful wife instead. As half our furniture disappeared out of the door it was suddenly a lot more reminiscent of the house I originally moved in to, with a few of the old emotions from old times coming back. If you’d asked me then if I expected to be married to my old university girlfriend, undergoing IVF, out of the Air Force and studying astrophysics I’d have thought you were mad.

My house, however, was not somewhere for quiet introspection, so that soon got stopped. My inlaws – They’re lovely, but loud, and it all takes place in Welsh. My brother in Law (Mr Welsh Jr) and his girlfriend came round on Sunday morning to help move everything; they have space at their place to look after spare furniture whilst we’re having photos taken and folks are shown round. Folks are expecting to see a place occupied by functioning human adults, and by God we will lie through our teeth in order to give them that false impression. One day, folks are going to come into our house and marvel at our clean floors and worktops and the clever use of space, never suspecting the truth – that all the mess is hidden under a bulging rug.

Such as the estate agent who randomly showed up whilst we were in the middle of moving things.

I emailed to cancel her appointment, I swear to god. But suddenly – with the in-laws busying themselves in the living room – a tall, blonde estate agent with enormous high heels and cheekbones so sharp they could cut you casually breezed into our house. Mrs Astronomer was giving me a look which said You had better show me that cancellation email in your outbox or so help me there will be blood; meanwhile our unexpected visitor swept through the house – “Oh! Exposed brickwork! Ceiling beams! Oh, I must have this house! Selling it, letting it, I’ll do either!” whilst we grinned, nodded and pretended that this was our plan all along. Suddenly, as quickly as she arrived, the blonde whirlwind (“Call me Jo!”) was gone. There was a long silence. Eventually, my wife proffered her opinion on her first in-depth dealing with an estate agent.

“Well!”

Whilst all this has been going on, Mrs Astronomer has been experiencing the first symptoms of her mini-menopause (at the ripe old age of 31). She has all the fun symptoms and it’s only going to get worse from here.  On the plus side, it is worth it just to hear my quiet, introverted librarian wife check her watch twice a day and loudly declare:

“Six forty five. Time to sniff drugs!”

Things I never thought I’d hear.

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