Friday night and I was missing her, so I sent my daughter a BBM to tell her so. I asked what she was doing and she replied “Watching a movie with Dad and xxx.” A viper slithered across my heart. She has a knickname for this new woman already? While my kettle boiled for a soothing cup of tea I reflected and came to the conclusion that having a pet name for she-who-will-become-the-stepmother can only mean that my child is fond of her and this must mean that the woman can’t be a demon. I must be grateful for that. I guess.
“Step Mom, you entered our family at my father’s side with wisdom and patience. Though of your flesh I was not conceived, you cared and filled an empty need.” – Author unknown.

Empty need … oh bugger off; you can never  take my place as her mother!

I’m trying to create a refuge her for my girl, in case things get hairy over there. We went together to choose her wall colour and curtains. Unfortunately, she drew the short end of the stick – the view from her room was obscured by curtains when I viewed that flat prior to purchasing it and I didn’t see this appalling vista:

the ugly room challenge 2_edited

the ugly room challenge 1_edited

It was a great challenge to transform the ugliest room in the place into a tranquil space. My clever girl chose silver brocade for the windows – she’s a chip off the old block, it seems: if you’re given an ugly lily just gild it!

silver brocade_edited

This is just  a corner of the room; it’s three times the size. Her dad still needs to bring over her armchair and desk for another corner and she needs to bring over her posters and personal knicknacks to make it truly her own.

chelseas room corner

Many ugly lilies have come to the front as I go about redecorating the apartment. The previous owner has shown himself to be a cad and bounder of the first order. New flaws reveal themselves daily and money drains out as I get people in to fix things; a litany of dodgy plumbing leaks not being the least alarming. I am told that I have legal recourse for things like this:

spare bathroom tap_edited

Your scoundrel also did such charming things like removing every lightbulb from every ceiling fitting in the flat and replacing the gas bottle for my stove hob with an empty one.

I’m striving to be stoic and roll with the punches and to match calamity with serenity. I’ve come close to conceding defeat a couple of times, but at such times I’ve found chocolate to have the necessary palliative properties…


75 Comments Add yours

  1. Rachelle says:

    You are such a strong woman there is neither viper not step person who can sink this ship!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yep, we just have to keep sailing on 🙂

  2. Steffi says:

    Your post really touched me,Cindy! And I agree with Rachelle´s comment!
    I like the room with the purple wall colour and the decoration.Great work. I have add your blog in my blog list ;-).

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Steffi 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. MissChris says:

    Step??? What? Already??? Sorry, just having a little rant! Her room is beautiful and you my friend have guts I wish I could have!! I also know that In situations such as this we do put on a braver face than our hearts feel but in the end, you will triumph and get that which you deserve most – absolute happiness xxxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      The step-thing is already about three years old, Chrissie, I’ve had a long time to make peace with it. Big girl pants and all that jazz … xxx

      1. MissChris says:

        I won’t swear on your blog but you can only imagine my thoughts!

      2. theonlycin says:

        Water under bridges, Chrissie, spilt milk … ensovoorts 🙂

  4. slpmartin says:

    You appear have purchased you new home from a really horrid person..but you continue to make wonderful progress….before long you will have removed every trace of the former owner…and that will be good.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Nearly there, Charlie, nearly there 🙂

  5. suzicate says:

    Ahhh, chocolate certainly helps in times like these. You’re doing an amazing job from turning drab rooms into works of art and making it a home.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Suzicate, every day gets a little better 🙂

  6. Mika says:

    Oh dear one , I know that feeling of the viper . Let it pass. You are her Mother , in every way , Always will be. No one can take your place. Let it be and time will tell. The room has transformed into something serene, beautiful and peaceful. Never mind the view outside. That is not your fault. You have successfully transformed a hell hole into a little bohemian home. I love it . I love the style that you decorate with . As I have said before , you put me to shame. Love you amica mia . God Bless always xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Love and God’s blessings to you too, my sweet friend xxx

  7. Hotly Spiced says:

    We once bought a house where all light bulbs were remove prior to our arrival as well. You can never imagine people being so mean and stingy. We moved in late in the day and after the shops were closed. We couldn’t unpack because we couldn’t see what we were doing. It must be so hard for you with the new woman in your daughter’s life but at least your daughter isn’t miserable about it – that would be heartbreaking for you. I think you’ve done wonders at transforming your daughter’s bedrooms – she certainly has your artistic flair. She will be very comfortable in the beautiful space you have both created. I wish you well with all those plumbing issues and I certainly hope you can have some settlement with the previous owner – his ‘workmanship’ looks completely dodgy xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’ve given up with trying to get the seller to co-operate. I just want it all over and done with and to move on. Karma will get him in the end, I have no doubt. I no longer want his negative energy in my space, HS.

  8. nrhatch says:

    You’ll have to have OB come round for a sleep-over soon. Her room is lovely.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hopefully that will happen next weekend, Nancy 🙂

  9. granny1947 says:

    I have such admiration for you my friend…so many low blows and you are handling it well…am so proud of you.
    Do you have a landline yet?

    1. theonlycin says:

      Nope, my friend, and I am not going to get one; it’s just too expensive. Will phone you tomorrow xxx

  10. ZirkieZirkie says:

    The room is beautiful, Cindy!! Loads of hugs to you!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Zirkie, same to you xxx

  11. Mal says:

    Hi, Cindy, c’est moi! Oui, long time, no? Please can I borrow your magic wand to transform my room too….you’ve done a fantastic job! Well done you! xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Merci, Mal, and welcome back 🙂

  12. mbini says:

    She is clearly her mother’s daughter. I love the colours. You are amazing Cindles. Your house is a warm home. Hope you enjoy it and create joyful memories for you and daughter and cat.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Mbini, just one bathroom to do and then I can get on with making the memories 🙂 xxx

  13. souldipper says:

    A very wise man once told me it’s never the big stuff that flattens us. It’s the stupid little things like broken shoelaces. I’ve found this to be true and am now seeing it in you. Nasty by nasty, you’re almost there. Just watch the shoelaces. 😀

    Birth moms are never replaced – especially ones with the love you contain, Cin.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Amy, all the broken shoelaces are almost tackled, and we carry on; cautious of the next stumble. xxx

  14. Deborah Watson says:

    Cindy , a constant inspiration. very glad to have crossed your path. Deborah

    1. theonlycin says:

      Likewise Deborah xxx

  15. What a beautiful transformation 🙂 Your daughter is one lucky girl to have you as her Mom 🙂
    Take care Cindy 🙂

    1. tarnishedone says:

      Cindy, you are one brave cookie, I truly admire your strength regarding the stepmonster. You have made your new home beautiful and a haven for you and your daughter. Well done!!!

      1. theonlycin says:

        Thanks Michelle xxx

    2. theonlycin says:

      Thanks James, you take care too xxx

  16. Ruth says:

    Together, the two of you have turned that room into something beautiful – love that heart mirror, and the silver brocade curtains are perfect… It may be an ugly view from the windows, but there’s LOVE inside, where it counts 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      That’s true, Ruth. xxx

  17. That room is amazing! Brilliant job.

    As for everything else – you’ve risen to every challenge you’ve met. You should be proud of yourself.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m cautious, Tilly, pride goes before a fall and I am mindful of repeating my gratitude list daily 🙂

  18. bluebee says:

    Step-mother, or step-monster? Neither will replace the real thing. And you are the real thing at so many levels, Cin. You’ve got balls, Girl – be proud.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Bluebee, it seems she’s not a monster and I am glad of that 🙂

  19. A silver lining is the best way to look at everything! And chocolate cures it all xxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Indeed it does 🙂 Love you xxx

  20. Cindy, you’re such a trooper, a new partner in your ex’s life is always hard to deal with. I hope you get something back from the vendor, but in the meantime, can I just say how spectacular your daughter’s room looks? You’ve both done an absolutely amazing job with it! Hang in there darling xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m hanging as best I can, Celia, learning a few trapeze tricks as I do so *wink* 🙂

  21. colonialist says:

    Pity about the de-light-ful and dis-gas-ting previous owner and her inventive plumbing. You have performed miracles with the room, though.

  22. optie says:

    Your daughter’s room is stunning OC, I really love those silver brocade curtains – the girl has style in spades!

    1. theonlycin says:

      That she has, thank you Optie 🙂

  23. That room looks beautiful!! (Pity about the view) Some people have no shame… 😦 But once you’ve resolved the gremlins, you are free to keep it in as pristine shape as you please!

    1. theonlycin says:

      True Lee, and I hope that one day when I sell it, the new owners won’t have a single complaint 🙂

  24. Good old chocolate! Works everytime! I have been eating tons of peanut M&M’s lately. Far too many. I love what you did with your daughters room. Now get her a pair of binoculars and she can spy on the building across the street 🙂 Ok well maybe not. I love to people watch so I would find it interesting. I guess I wouldn’t actually use binoculars. How about one of those stick on stained glass windows in a silver pattern that has partly open places so she can still look out if need be. That would be pretty, allow privacy and light.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Very good idea, thanks for the tip, Linda xxx

  25. Not all of us “stepmothers” are horrible people Cindy, I promise and not all of us want to replace a child’s mother. I hate being a “stepmother”, so much so that I don’t acknowledge it. If ever it has to come up, I say my husband has children, I don’t, as I feel they do not warrant being my stepchildren. So very sad but true. They (the children) have shattered so many family members hearts over many years, it’s not just me being portrayed the horrible “stepmother” – granted we are in a situation where we are dealing with 2 very peculiar children. Every single day is hard, very hard! It is not an easy life and one I would honestly recommend anybody to walk away from – blended families are always so damn complicated – even more difficult for people like me who don’t have any children – the subject of my next book. Oh Cindy, forgive me – all I wanted to say is I honestly believe in the long run, as much as it hurts your heart, it will be better that your daughter likes her stepmother as opposed to hating her.
    Your daughter’s room is a beautiful haven and one where she will certainly spend many happy days and nights.
    Have a beautiful week ahead and I hope all the rest of the teething problems come to an end so you can enjoy your new home 100%.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks for your honesty, Mandy. I agree with everything you say. I myself was/am a stepmom to a ‘peculiar’ child who came into my life when she was 7 and is now 22. I, too, would advise anyone to walk away from such a situation. You have a good week too. xxx

  26. Jamie Dedes says:

    Cihin up, Cindy. I survived several stepmothers (all of them sweet, however delusional they were about the man – I think he’s on #5 now – Yikes! I guess I have to hand it to him for not giving up.) … A little affection is not a threat and no one replaces mom. Sometimes they just come and go. Often they come with their own kids attached and are sensitive to the issue. I’ve never been a step-mom myself, don’t know how I’d handle it, like to think I’d be respectful. Hang tough…

    Lot’s of ugly surprises. Good thing you’re up to the job. 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Taking it all on the chin, one thing at a time, Jamie. xxx

  27. Dee says:

    I love what you have done, beautiful. It will be cozy and full of love when the two of you are enjoying time together, ignore outside, it’s about the fellowship together, the hugs, the laughs, the sharing of moments, making new memories. You never know how strong you can be, until strong is your only option.

    1. theonlycin says:

      That’s true, Dee, thanks 🙂

  28. Cindy, this stuff is so stressful; but I sense you’re riding the waves like the best of surfers. That bedroom is an incredible transformation. I feel sure your daughter will see it as a poustinia 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Kate. And I learned a new word 🙂

  29. Sparkle says:

    Wow! OB’s bedroom so nice, love it! Always wanted white bedding my little one but we now have Dora the explorer. . . Princess Tiana. . . I know it is age appropriate though 🙂
    No words for the previous owner.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hahaha, Sparky, my cat seems to think that room is her personal playground, so we’ll have to see how long the white stays white 😉

  30. Tammy says:

    I wish I had your decorative transformation talent! Hang in there Cindy – I can only guess at how you feel and know that I would’ve reacted poorly.

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s not easy, Tammy, the temptation to weep and wail is very strong 🙂

  31. Colleen says:

    I love what you and your beautiful girl have done with the bedroom Cindy, it sure looks like a serene haven. You will always be her Mom darling….I get so angry with that dreadful seller. But you are making such wonderful progress and with Daphne back in her bay life will be a lot easier now. I love you and am so proud of you…always xxxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks my Collie, love you to the moon and back. Your (and Don’s) support means the world to me xxx

      1. Colleen says:

        And you will always have it xxxxx

  32. adeeyoyo says:

    The trials are making you stronger, Cin, and it’s coming thru in your post. Good for you, girl! You are getting where you need to be… and you’ll win in the end. ♥

  33. Tracy says:

    Oh Cindy 😦 I lost track of your blog when we moved to Ireland almost 4 years ago and didnt know that you divorced etc. Goodness, I better backtrack and catch up on all that’s gone on.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Glad you found me again, Tracy. The divorce isn’t finalised yet, although we’ve been separated for quite a long time now. xxx

  34. Don’t have Words To Appreciated you and You have Big heart and This is the real Life to move Forward and this kind of trials make the more strong the lady.Nice TheonlyCin i like your blog and Your Story.

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