When we first bought our house, all those, let me think now, wow, almost five years ago, we had a truly manic time. A close friend of mine is in the process of putting the finishing touches to the new-build she and her family have had assembled for themselves. They move in less than three weeks. And whenever I speak to her it takes me back in time to the stress we went through moving. We didn’t build our own house. But the house that we now possess a little of (the bank owns still, of course, the majority of our bricks and mortar), although newly built, waited incomplete. Ready for prospective buyers to stamp their mark on.
I remember looking at different houses and at this one. We viewed, I think, eight in total. This house shone out above all the rest. We thought we had no chance of affording it, but, as you’ve gathered, we won in the end. The battles comprised various negotiations back and forth with the builder, financial advisor’s and a whole forest of paperwork to dredge through. Which eventually ended in us acquiring our very first mortgage, after six weeks of consideration by the banks head office, that is. In turn, we, suffered six weeks of nail-biting, stomach churning, patience fraying reflection.
The work began. We required: a kitchen, lights, flooring, insulation, tiling, plastering, internal doors, and paint. We didn’t know we had to put a base on the walls and ‘the next day’ we returned to find most of the paint – on the floor! The little road to our house had to be built. The garden landscaped. We’ve even managed to erect a car port and a shed. Of course, we only achieved the basics before we moved in. Most of the house came into being in the first two years of habitation. Not the month or so that we had to prepare before departing from our old flat.
Five years on we’ve still to complete the terrace and various other little bits.
Through the whole process we’ve learned new skills. We’ve spent nightmare-inducing amounts of money. We’ve argued with neighbours. We’ve caused ourselves injury. And we’ve arrived at the decision that when the time comes to redecorate, we’ll save and hire a tradesman.
The children have, naturally, tried their best to destroy as much of what we’ve accomplished as possible. The once white-painted rooms, have shades of grey/brown/black. Butter fingers, mud and sun lotion have been added to the blood, sweat and tears we invested. For extra effect, Aden at one point took a green felt pen and drew decorative hearts all around the house. Not only on the furniture, but also the stairs and the walls. The girls swung from their bunk beds via the pretty net curtain ripping the rail down and leaving holes in the walls. They’ve adorned the walls with posters, but on harsh removal, re-textured their once smooth plaster. The carefully laid carpet has been torn. The kitchen cupboard door has been pulled off. The bathroom sinks are badly scratched (I suspect, through the washing of stones).
But luckily for me I live with Mr Fix-It.
Whatever life, well, the children throw at us, he’s there with his tool kit, repairing chairs and wardrobes, walls and door handles, ovens and computers.
I listen nowadays to the strained tones of my friend. She’s concerned about the money they’re spending, the workmanship, time. The perfect new house she and her husband have saved for, dreamed of, is almost ready.
They have three children.
I guess, the perfection will not last long.
To cheer her, I could tell her that the green heart I see underneath the stairs as I travel through the house daily no longer annoys me. Sometimes it even makes me laugh.