2015 was, among other things, the year of the house hunt for me. I had been diligently saving my hard earned lawyer pennies and looking for the perfect house to buy. I had very specific requirements, for example, I wanted an old house which had:
- wooden floor boards throughout;
- high ceilings, preferably with some decorative detail;
- at least two decent sized bedrooms with another room for a study;
- a kitchen sink under a window (who likes to stare at a wall when they’re washing the dishes?);
- good bones that could be spruced up, without any real structural renovations required; and
- the right price tag, within 8km of the city.
I really wanted to buy in Wembley, but after months of searching and finding nothing in my price range, I gave up. In fact, after about six months of endless scrolling through realestate.com I gave up altogether. Then one day, after a scrolling hiatus of a few months, I was eating lunch at my desk at work when I jumped online just to have a look and see what was around. Encouraged by an ultrasound of my (then) suspect lump which (allegedly) revealed I only had a cyst, I thought it was the right time to see what was out there.
Much to my surprise, there was a perfect little house, in Wembley. BUT, the price was definitely not right. About $80,000 more than what I was looking to spend. Still, buoyed by the fact that the house had failed to sell at auction, something told me that I needed to see this house. It was OFI the next evening. I had a mediation the day of the OFI and around 4.30pm I was getting a bit antsy. I told the partner that I really needed the mediation to wrap up because I had to go and see a house that evening. He was most confused, largely because I never left work early but also because although I had been talking about buying a house for many months, I had never attended a home open during the week.
But, attend I did. I loved it. It needed some serious TLC and a whole new kitchen and bathroom, but that wouldn’t stop me. I flew to Melbourne the next morning for an awards evening for work and on my return on Sunday, I made an offer. I made that offer in November 2015. The settlement of the house occurred in late January 2016. And then I was diagnosed. All my plans to renovate and move into said little house flew out the window. The house got a bit of a facelift and then was to be rented. Luckily, it rented easily and I am grateful that I have good tenants who love living in my house.
Here’s the thing. I was supposed to live there. As much as I love my Mum and my sister, it was time to move out. Well, here we are 16 months after diagnosis. I’m still living at home and my little house is still rented.
So many things, including my income, have changed since I bought the house, but I still want to renovate and live there. I made the decision that if my tenants were taking a holiday any time this year, I’d tackle the bathroom as a first small step toward realising that goal. Planning the renovation required me, however, to go back to the house and measure the (little) bathroom and (even littler) powder room. Well, cue the anxiety. The thought of living there or renovating can sometimes overwhelm me. I can’t even explain it. But the house represents so much of what was lost in the midst of treatment and recovery and it also scares me a little to do anything with it, given the timing of events last year. I don’t like to think of the what-if’s, but sometimes its inevitable that they creep into my thoughts.
But, there’s a little quote that always sticks in my mind, ‘forward is forward no matter the speed’. So today, I’m going tile shopping. The bathroom reno is happening in September. Time to start moving forward.