Well, more than a week has passed since my last cliff-hanging post, and I’m sure you’re all desperate to know what happened. Except, (because I have been so rubbish at updating the blog over the last few months) I don’t think there is a You All reading it anymore. Never mind. Maybe if I
build write it, They Will Come.
Anyway… the long day of waiting passed slowly and inexorably without so much as the merest hint of a telephone beep to disturb it, and as the minute hand tocked irrevocably past the Closing Time for Derby Estate Agents, I remembered that the last time we had tried to speak to this particular agent on a Wednesday she wasn’t there because “Wednesday is her day off”. Doh! Wish I’d remembered that sooner.
Thursday morning rolled around, and we had both got Bored With Waiting, and I was finding myself eversoslightly Bored With the Whole Thing – as tends to happen whenever I fail to achieve instant gratification of my desires. Simon went out to do some farmery stuff, and I faffed around with a bit of housework, and my mind slipped uncommonly smoothly into the comfortable Armchair of Acceptance, and the expectation that we would not, after all, be buying this house.
So when the phone rang mid-morning, and the agent bestowed upon me her apologies for not getting back to us sooner, and the ‘bad news’ that the Vendors could not be persuaded to budge from their afore-stated bottom line, I was not at all surprised, and surprisingly un-disappointed. I reiterated our reasons why we would be unwilling to increase our offer, expressed sadness that we were unable to reach an agreement that had appeared tantalizingly close, thanked her for her call, and said I would talk to my husband, and get back to her if we had any new thoughts on the matter. I finished the sweeping, made the bed, hung the washing up to dry, and wondered at the bewildering disappearance of yesterday’s impatient sense of urgency and excitement.
In Due Course, and not a moment sooner, I wandered outside with the hounds to find Simon in the fields, busy with the noisy and noisome task of vacuuming up heavy heaps of wet-and-sticky llama poo. I stood a moment, and observed him with affection (and just a little amazement at his lack of peripheral vision, and obliviousness to my proximity), thinking how happy he seemed, when completely engrossed in some farmery task or other. I considered the complexity and compromise involved in a relationship between two people who want different things, and I considered how Very Lucky Indeed I was that Simon could even be considering Giving Up the Life He Loves to be with me and my whims, in dull old Derby.
The appearance of my wellington’d feet within his llama-poo-filled line of sight startled Simon into awareness. It is always funny to see him jump, when I have already been standing next to him for five minutes. He shut off the engine, took off his ear-protectors, and tilted his head to one side in a gesture of enquiry – a gesture which always reminds me of a delightful-but-unknowing small child called Ruth, that I once assessed in my previous existence as a school psychologist. I reported the gist of my phone conversation with the agent, and he nodded, knowingly. He was also unsurprised.
“We could offer to meet them half way,” I suggested. “I mean – in the whole scheme of things, another two and a half grand doesn’t seem like much – it depends if we want the house, I guess.”
Simon stretched his aching back, shrugged his aching shoulders and humphed. “Let me finish this – then I’ll come in for a cup of tea and we can talk about it.”
It’s funny what a difference a day makes. A bit of distance. A bit of perspective. Maybe we didn’t want the house that much after all. I wondered idly if the Universe had something else in store for us. Or whether this was just a test – to help us see what we really wanted. Suppose we offered to split the difference and they still rejected it. What then? Would we call it a day and walk away empty handed? Or would we give in, and cough up to their final bottom line. Once we offer a bit more, the gap is even smaller, and the drawing of a line at that point would seem even more arbitrary. No! We have to not think about the money. First of all, we have to decide what we want. But deciding what you want (what you really, really want) is somehow not as easy as it sounds. (Although – for the record – let me clarify that I really, really, really DON’T wanna zigazig ha!)
Now – here’s The Thing. (There’s always a Thing). Although I know pretty-much for certain-sure that what I want is to be living close to my children, and looking after my grandchildren whenever the need/opportunity arises, the specifics about what that might actually look like are pretty vague. This is very unlike what I felt when we were thinking about moving from Roquetaillade to find our Dream Home in the country. That was (I think) a shared dream, and it was pretty easy to come up with an agreed description of what our Dream Home might look like. So as soon as we found a place that ticked most of the boxes, (and made our hearts flutter), we knew it.
But it’s hard to tick boxes when you can’t even decide what the boxes should be, and to arrive at a shared list of boxes when the two of you have different priorities is no mean feat. So it should have been obvious from the start that this process was going to take a bit of – well – processing, before we could arrive at a mutually agreeable decision to which we were both willing to commit. So, we drank tea and we talked. We walked the dogs and we talked. We fed the llamas and we talked. We had some lunch and we talked. Then we thought for a bit and didn’t talk. And the next time we talked, it seemed we had somehow arrived at a decision. And eventually, when we could put it off no longer, Simon rang the agent to say we would increase our offer to meet the vendors half way.
And then we sort of waited again, only with a much less heavy weight of waitingness, even though we still didn’t know what we would do if this offer was also rejected. I suspect that’s because we both knew that it wouldn’t be. Which it wasn’t.
Within an hour or so, the agent rang back with, “… some Good News for a change.” And by the close of play on Thursday we had agreed to buy a house. Just Like That.