Our House

Our House 3

We’re in the process of trying to sell our house (pictured above) and it’s not an easy task. Two more lots of people came to see it this afternoon and found it unsuitable in different ways. For the first woman, living alone with her daughter, there wasn’t enough security. The joint driveway is a worry for her, and for many others it seems. We’ve found it actually adds to our security since the neighbours who live behind are a middle-aged, retired couple who are home a lot and who can keep an eye on things when we’re away. But, as the first woman pointed out, the main gate is low enough for anyone to jump over if they’re set on it. And this would keep her awake at nights.

Lots of people like the house but want more space, either in the house or in the garden. They don’t like sharing a driveway and feel less secure knowing that they don’t have complete control over their own security. The neighbours might forget to close the gate for example. And what if they (the neighbours) decided to sell and did so to an obnoxious family? I’ve seen more than one family stop looking right there.

We’ve already found a slightly larger house down the road that we like. It has an extra bedroom, a solar-heated pool and a large playroom for Leah. We’ve both said that we could happily stay here if we can’t sell but in the meantime we have to put up with the discomfort of scrutiny, the inevitable criticism of our lovely house, some more show-days and a long wait.

Otherwise, things are relatively upbeat this week. It’s the first day of my school holidays and I’m really relieved this term is over. We’ve all been battling colds and flu’s and other ailments (the little one for example seems to be backed up until Christmas). And the weeks of rain haven’t helped. But every now and then we get a gloriously sunny day and we forget all about the gloomy skies and the attendant anxieties.

AntidoteReading-wise, I’ve got a few books on the go. I’m still reading and enjoying The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht. I’ve also renewed my Audible subscription and bought a detective thriller for L (The Bat by Jo Nesbo) and a psychology book for myself. Oliver Burkeman writes on psychology for the Guardian and I’ve enjoyed his columns in the past. With The Antidote he tackles the cult of positive thinking and shows how negative thinking (or just balanced thinking) can be a lot better for us. It’s too early to say whether I’m going to like the majority of what he has to say. But I’ve enjoyed the balance between the drier academic discussions and the more personal anecdotes such as his ‘Circle Line tube experiment’ and the background to Albert Ellis. Basically, he’s against positive thinking and for all the right reasons. But so far he hasn’t engaged with Positive Psychology itself but rather with the cult of positive thinking of people such as Norman Vincent Peale as well as going into a detailed discussion of Stoicists old and new. I liked the ideal of “negative visualisation” as a kind of innoculation against getting too upset about things. Applying this technique to our house situation, I do feel a bit calmer but also resigned about it. I’m wise enough to know that things are seldom as bad as I fear they are. The estate agent says to give it time (and it’s only been one and a half weeks so far with one show day, which coincided with a long weekend). I’ll let you know how things pan out.

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7 Responses to Our House

  1. People worry about the strangest things when buying a house, don’t they? Your home looks very charming. And Lord knows, I’m all for negative visualization…the more the better, really. 😉

    • Pete says:

      Thanks David. I think we’re getting used to the reactions now. And a lot of people have said they like the house so I think we’ll get to a sale eventually.

  2. litlove says:

    Oh buying and selling houses is a drag, and a stressful one at that. I recall the hard work involved in keeping the house tidy all the time with a little one (he was 18 months at that point) and having to show people round who had odd, fixed ideas. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you – I, too, think your house looks gorgeous. Also very intrigued by The Antidote, which I’m also interested in. In my experience, the only emotion that lasts forever is the one that gets repressed – and positive thinking tends to repress negative emotions that then put mental and physical health at risk. David’s comment made me laugh – and I completely agree with it!

    • Pete says:

      Thanks Litlove. 🙂 That’s pretty much our experience as well. Trying to keep a house clean with a 2-year old rampaging about isn’t easy. And we realised it’s going to take longer than a couple of show days. As for the Burkeman, I think you’ll like it. When I’ve got a chance I will try and post a review.

  3. Oh, your house is just lovely. Too bad you can’t relocate it to the U.S. for sale – we are having a terrible housing shortage (esp. here in Pittsburgh). It would get snapped up in a heartbeat. Alas, instead all I can offer is good luck!

    • Pete says:

      Hi Courtney. It’s very reassuring to hear that. We started getting a bit despondent at the lack of progress. But the estate agent is positive about it and she still has a month of sole mandate so maybe she can pull it off.

  4. doctordi says:

    Oh, man. I feel for you guys, Pete. When we were renting out our place over summer on Airbnb, as a holiday let, we had to get it spotless and remove all evidence of ourselves every time we had a booking (at which point we decamped to the in-laws’ house – a whole other stress!). In between bookings, we’d get a brief reprieve in our own home, and all I can remember about it is the exploding suitcase the instant we walked back in the door. Our home is infinitely lovelier when we’re not in it – our little guy can demolish a clean room in under a minute. I am NOT missing those cleaning and evacuation sessions. Your home looks lovely – people are so, so funny, I imagine you’ll have some hilarious moments in this process of selling and buying. Good luck!

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