Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stressed-Out City

Not my best day so far - it started with feeling sick with apprehension when I got up, but not with any particular reason. I soon learned though, when my Solicitor rang me to say that the person I'm buying from had apparently received  "an independent cash offer" from person unknown and that if I can't exchange by this Friday they may sell to this "person". Then I really felt sick! So the rest of today has been filled with phone calls. panic and a feeling of  stressed out helplessness. I must say that this vendor behaved similarly when I first offered on the house, threatening to sell to someone else if I didn't stump up an extra 10 thousand. At that time, I agreed because that actually brought the house price up to the asking price, and I felt it was really worth the money. This time, however, I'm not feeling so generous - and not that any extra money has been mentioned anyway. It has just totally wobbled me after such a long time and when we are so close to Exchange. I think we have avoided disaster, and everyone has actually spoken to everyone else today, which has hopefully sorted it out. Fingers crossed.
   I've been totally submerged in negotiations with builders, plumbers, electricians and removers over the last couple of weeks, and of course it's all going to cost more than I had hoped originally - how could I be so naive as to imagine that total refurbishment could be cheap, or even reasonable? No wonder the builders, plumbers, electricians etc are all so charming, helpful and amenable - they're all earning a bloody fortune! Not that I'm complaining, I've got to the stage where I just want to get on with it, at (almost) any price.
   Family news: the children had a visit from their Father who, as you may remember, has been living in New Zealand for the past nearly 20 years. He is now married to wifie number 4, 25 years his junior, and has prostate cancer. I guess he came over to see the new babies, since it's unlikely  that either Son or Daughter would be able to make the journey there (or afford it). And maybe he senses that his time is limited - I don't know, and as I wasn't planning to see him I couldn't ask.  Anyway I think the visit was pretty much as expected - he brought presents for everyone and still managed to rub a few people up the wrong way; that is a particular talent of his which doesn't seem to have faded with time.
   I'm going up to London tomorrow to help Son and his partner with the baby for a couple of days.
Lovely - I'm going on the train and coming back with them in the car on Saturday. I had forgotten it's the Bank Holiday, so just hope the traffic won't be too bad... I hope that when I catch up with you again there will have been proper progress in my property saga.
   Have a lovely weekend, I'm looking forward to some sunshine.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A New Leaf

Nobody would know it's May here - it's cold as Christmas and really miserable. I'm soldiering on with my plans, writing notes and specifications and measuring, drawing out room sizes and trying to fit things in generally. It's not going to be easy, but as I go along I'm actually getting used to the idea
of downsizing. It's amazing how difficult this is as a concept because I suppose we spend most of our lives making a home, which usually means acquiring the stuff we need and like. It's a kind of emotional padding which we get comfortable with, and which we look forward to seeing and feeling every day. It's all part of our precious family structure and in my  case it was doubly precious because my two children and I were a wonderfully close family. It was always us against the world, and when I look around at the chairs and books, the rugs and pictures and all the paraphernalia of family life which accompanied us through that journey, it tugs at my heart to think that much of it will be going. I can only hope that it will go somewhere where it may be appreciated in the same way. Silly me, I know it's only stuff, but it's our stuff, our family.
   Of course it's also to do with acknowledging the fact that I'm getting older and I'm not the centre of their world any more. Fine, that's life and it's ok - I'm probably making too much of it, My nest has been empty for a while now, and I need to get on with my new life.
   Turning over  a new leaf means I will be taking time out, once my new house is done and dusted, and travelling. I'll be heading for some sun, and fun, and first will be joining my lovely BBF in Majorca, where she is renting an apartment in Palma. Actually she phoned me this evening, just when I was feeling rather sorry for myself and overwhelmed by it all. And just talking to her and laughing a bit made everything seem better.
   For some reason, it reminded me of a film I saw many years ago, called "A New Leaf" with Walter Matthau and Elaine May. He's looking for a new wife and she is a scatty, plain woman who keeps dropping things and putting her foot in it. She's a social disaster and not at all what everyone expects him to be attracted to, but as he looks at her across the room, and sees all  her imperfections, he mutters "She's perfect". It's a great comic moment. Funny the things you remember!