Everybody died so we bought a house…

File this one under life milestones. At 42 and (almost) 40 respectively, we (Ted and I) have bought our first house.

I often felt like we both made some strange financial decisions to get to this age with no home of our own or assumed that everyone else just had lots of money? It shouldn’t matter how you buy a home I guess. Inheritance, hand outs or hard work, but it certainly feels strange to know that we have this specific house because we have no parents.

Whilst sharing pictures of the kids and general day to day on my Instagram, I didn’t mention our house hunt. We’ve been looking at houses for years of course, but it’s only been in this year we’ve been in a position to buy. With lockdown and various other hold ups, we found ourselves finally “ready ready” to actually buy a house, only to find we landed right in a big property boom and mega scrum for houses!

Surprisingly, we only viewed four houses in total, the fourth being the one we purchased. I’m not sure I subscribed to the “when you know, you know” school of things before this (for houses). We’ve been around the rental market enough times, where decisions need to be quick and a “this will do” attitude generally works. However, having said we would not get a house that needed a lot of work (because we are not do-ers), we walked around this (very much needs a lot of work) property feeling all the feels.

I knew pretty soon this was a probate property (that someone had died), but didn’t ask the estate agent to confirm. We left and I burst into tears in the car. It just made sense. We are able to buy because our parents died and here was a property being sold because someone had died. There were “World’s Greatest Dad” trophies and “Gorgeous Husband” cards still in the house. I knew what it was like to have someone be gone, yet still have so much of them left behind.

After a nail-biting “best and final offers” battle, we were riding so very high on being the “winners” of our home. We binged property shows, created pinterest boards, discussed nothing more than renovations and the big garden that awaited us… it felt too good to be true. Which of course it kind of was.

So many lovely friends were pleased for us in finding our big family home, saying things like “you guys deserve it” and “it’s about time” and I guess we did look back on our “bad luck” and feel relief that all the cancer, death and house selling was behind us and now we were moving forward with a genuine grown-up long-term family home. Then came the survey….

As first time buyers, we had little knowledge of how a survey is a lot like a Disability Living Allowance form or Educational Health and Care Plan (sorry, one for the SEND families!). Basically instead of it being a lovely report about the potential of a house, it’s a damning report about all that’s wrong with the place. We sat on a Friday night reading an 80 page document that made it sound like our future home might fall down around our heads or suck up all our money trying to stay up. Eek. Suddenly we had that feeling again – of course this was going wrong, things always go wrong for us. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but it was hard not to feel like this was doomed based on experience.

Anyway, after every single person we mentioned the survey to agreed they too had hideous surveys for house they purchased, we picked ourselves up and moved forward.

There is a certain sadness that we now have a big family home, perfect for entertaining with the fact that, the reason we can afford to buy it is because that family is no longer here. However here we are, moving into a big old people house (it was with the previous family for 58 years!), with a lot of work ahead of us… but also… hopefully a lot great times to be had here


Sentimental nonsense

I have a tendency to hoard stuff, often through sentimental attachments. I love to reminisce, I love to cling to the past and I revel in a bit of reliving moments, even sad ones.

We are moving and clearing out mountains of “stuff”. There is so much crap in our flat and I recognise that most of it is here because I can’t let go. Letters from 20 years ago, magazines from my youth, stuffed toys, old books, plastic nonsense, even ancient make up… None of it is easy to just throw away, but it needs to be done and I am getting better at culling all the crap-o-la.

A strange thing about moving is the emotional attachment I have to this (rented) flat and the neighbourhood. This is where Audrey was conceived (sorry, too much info?), where she grew in my belly and where she came first after her little 3 week stint in hospital. Her first trip outside in the buggy was to St Ann’s Well Gardens (a park, less than 5 minutes away) and it’s also where she had her 1st birthday party. When we move, we’ll have a different local park. A different shop I’ll nip to, to get something for dinner or Audrey’s endless supply of bananas. A different bus stop to take us to her various appointments at the hospital or children’s centre. And what’s even stranger, all these silly things I’m clinging to… But Audrey won’t remember any of it! This will be a place we say we used to live, but it won’t mean anything to Audrey.

I realise that it won’t be long before we have forged new memories in our new house and new local park. The staff at a different Co-op will coo over her and wave hello back, I’ll wave at a different coffee shop owner that I’ll pass several times a week… But it’s going to take a while to get to that point.

What’s weirder is that this move is likely to be where Audrey will start school (eek!). Yes it’s a couple of years off, but we plan to bed in and save save save (ultimately to buy one day), so for now, this home will be the home and will dictate Audrey’s school friends. When she was first born, I dreaded school for her… But now… I’m so excited. 

Yes, I know things won’t always be peachy, but I have this vision of her early days and the vision is; she rules the school. High fiving all her buds… getting them in on dance routines in the playground… books books books! I’m pumped about Audrey showing a whole new bunch of kids how cool a kid with DS can be.

And so we move on (well in a few weeks anyway) and I’m praying for that “Indian summer” that grants us some sun in September, so we can enjoy our new garden!

As always, I’ll end with some pictures of the beauty… One below with Great Grandma (the inspiration for her middle name; Emily), who turned 96 recently.