The Price of Patience

Oh My Word! What is this? A third blog post in two days? What’s going on?

Well, the fact of the matter is that we are waiting. And it’s the sort of waiting that makes it very hard to get on with anything else while you are waiting. It’s the sort of waiting that fills your mind with speculations and imaginings, wrapped up in an irritating sense of having no control, garnished with a requirement for an inhuman amount of calm patience. Do I exaggerate? Almost certainly – but as you all know, I am totally CRAP AT WAITING.

So, since I can’t seem to do anything constructive with my time while we wait, (Simon is very constructively reading a book – I am soooo impressed with his ability to focus), I thought I might as well write about it. A waiting shared is a waiting halved.

What we are waiting for, with varying degrees of impatience, is for an Estate Agent (ah – our favourite kind of human) to ring to tell us whether the vendors of the house in Derby that we want to buy will, in the end, accept our ‘best and final offer’. I fear we may have watched too many TV programmes about buying houses. But then, who hasn’t?

The house in question is one I viewed during my recent trip to Derby, and it was a bit of a ‘wild card’, in the sense that, at its advertised price, it was way outside of our budget, and it wasn’t in an area we had really considered, and – to be honest – it didn’t have a whole lot of what is known in the business as ‘kerb appeal’. But it does have a lovely big garden backing on to open countryside and a gate from it on to a traffic-free and very green public footpath, for easy early morning/late night dog walks. And it has lots of internal square footage – especially upstairs – and hence feels rampant with potential different ways to live in it.

Well, the long and the short of it is that our first low offer was rejected outright. And we left it for a bit, and considered our financial situation, and what we wanted for our respective futures. And we hatched one year plans, and five year plans and ten year plans in various shapes and colours. And we studied Rightmove assiduously, and thought some more about what we thought we wanted, and what we actually wanted, and what was available, and what compromises we would each be willing to make. And then Simon went back to the agent after a couple of weeks with a higher offer, which was also rejected – except the agent hinted that if we could maybe go up another five thousand, then maybe she could persuade the vendors that it was a Good Offer that they should accept.

So we thought some more, and talked some more, and counted some more, and Simon said ok – we’d go the extra mile. And a couple more phone calls later, the agent was going to talk to the vendor again today after he had had a chance to talk to his wife about whether they could drop the last five thousand from their ‘absolute bottom line’ to secure the otherwise long-time elusive sale of their house.

Which brings us to now. We are only five thousand pounds away from an agreement. But we set our highest price, and they set their lowest price, and – so far at least – never the twain shall meet. It’s a funny thing. In the whole scheme of things it would seem obvious that we could easily meet somewhere in the middle – only another two-and-a-half thousand’s worth of compromise each. But someone has to be the first to suggest it. And the Thing about Lines is that you have to draw them somewhere. Apparently.

I have to admit, I have never been a big fan of Lines. Lines, boundaries, fences, rules, constraints, limitations. Nope – I really do not care for any of them. Which of course is why dogs and children take relentless advantage of me, and why I am invariably at odds with those ‘in authority’. But just because I don’t like lines doesn’t mean I can’t see the use in drawing them sometimes. Especially when the drawing is actually done by someone else. Someone more line-oriented. Someone more logical and systematic. Someone more principled and self-disciplined. Someone like Simon.

But then I get all wishy-washy, and feely-sentimental. And I remember how bad I felt about having to drop such a lot when we sold our last Derby house at the bottom of the market in 2008, and how it always tinged my feelings about the purchasers with an unhappy cloud of negativity – when I had wanted to see my family home of twenty years pass into the loving hands of people that I liked. And then I worry that if the vendors of this house do agree to drop to our final offer that they will hate us, and leave behind Bad Karma, and too few light bulbs, and greasy crumbs in the kitchen cupboards.

So I share these thoughts with My Wise Friend, who points out that five thousand will go a long way towards the new kitchen the house needs. And I share them with my son, who says that if they do drop it will be Good Karma coming round in our favour, because we let our last house go so cheaply. And I share them with Simon, who says he doesn’t want the vendors to hate us either, but he doesn’t want to pay five thousand to make them like us. And I have to acknowledge that these are all Good and Fair Points.

But I also recognize that, as I sit here in the fading light of another long, slow day, waiting for the phone to ring, I might willingly pay five thousand pounds to quite simply, once and for all, END THE WAITING.

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