Tuesday, May 29, 2012


We bought them sight unseen.

My clearest memory of the show house was my husband walking from room to carpeted room bouncing gently on the balls of his feet.
'They're there,' he grinned. 'They're there and they're going to be beautiful.'

Once again, he was right. He has a good hunch for things.

We moved in a week before our wedding, and while I faffed with flowers and last minute arrangements, he channeled any pre-wedding jitters into tearing up the carpets, working late into the night before our big day.

the only - bad - before picture we have of this room when we first saw it
The next evening he carried me over the threshold, to a house filled with siblings and friends, flowers and joy and ... great big exposed tracts of glue-stained, dusty, hairy ... floor.
Extra-width Oregon Pine floor boards, gasping in the light they'd not seen for well over 30 years.

And so the work began. Carpet glue is a bitch. Ancient beetle-damage is a bitch. Sanding is a back-breaking bitch. But we did it.

And my god they are beautiful.

It's sobering to think we'll probably never live with such beautiful floors again. There are lots of wonderful flooring options out there for sure, and we're excited about experimenting with some of them (if/when/hold thumbs we move), but I don't think anything will ever come close to the warmth (to the touch and the eye), character, sound, feel, smell of original Oregon floors.
And I don't think we'll ever imbue so much love into flooring again. I'd have scoffed if anyone had ever told me I could love a floor, but I do you know. From the bottom of my feet.

This blog is about to get house-heavy. As we contemplate moving on, and look back at all we've done here, all this house has meant to us, I'm going to get sentimental. Brace yourselves.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

scrubbing up

As I've said to countless estate agents over the last few weeks, I'm not even apologising for this room:

I've shown you our 'study' before, guess you didn't think it could get any worse right? It has ...

There's a part of me that can't believe I'm sharing this on the interwebs, but let me assure you the rest of our house doesn't (often) look like this.
This room houses the overflow of busy lives, of hobbies and projects and inquisitive minds and discarded toys and too well-loved books now in need of repair, of too much tech and not enough time. It is home to bikes and parts of bikes and memories and hurriedly unpacked bags, unpaid bills, financial records, wrapping paper stashes and ribbons I can't throw away. In this room, if you had unlimited time to scrounge, you'd find fine wine and gadgets, power tools, a broken stool, photos, wheel hubs, motorboats, a fridge, a laminator, light bulbs of all description and ... so much more.
As I said before, this room is the reason we need to move, the irrefutable proof that we need more space.

But regardless of my attempts to justify this shit-pit, the undeniable fact is we couldn't let any strangers in here. Not real strangers that is.
And so ... they said it couldn't be done, they said it would take us a life time, they said we might not make it out alive.
But we did.

We packed and we cleaned and we chucked and we re-categorised and we did it. We did it and now the space echoes and sparkles. And we're bored.

There's lots of talk of a clean slate encouraging a creative mind but I'm not feeling it. With our minds and our lives in their current state of flux, I could do with a bit of stuff - chaotic, disorganised, familiar stuff to distract and comfort me.
Living in this sanitised show-house is all a bit weird.

I think it may be time for a new hobby ...

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

oh my god I hope he's right

Twelve years ago, lazing around with the weekend papers, husband turned to me and said; 'I think I've found our cat.'
We'd just recently moved into our own place, our first place with no housemates, and getting a cat seemed the next logical step.

The ad read: 1 year old black cat. Female. Half Siamese. R50.

This was the information he was basing his statement on, he couldn't explain it, but he was convinced he was right.
And he was. She was, is, and will always be, the perfect cat for us.

3 weeks ago, lazing around with the internets ('cos that's the way the world now works), husband turned to me and said; 'I think I've found our house.'
I sat up and took heed.

It's in a part of town we'd never before considered, it wouldn't make his commute to work any easier, it doesn't put us in the catchment area for any great schools, it would place us a distance away from some of our favourite people ... but it has a garden and a view and the promise of a lifestyle we just can't resist.

We emailed the agent and heard back the next day that an offer had already been placed, it was basically off the market.
We went there the following Sunday, looked at another couple of houses in the area on show. Then, just to rub salt in the wound, we drove past The One. As we got out of the car a fish eagle called in the sky above.
We sighed and drove home.

A week later, a call from the agent. You know where this is going right? The potential buyers were having marital problems, they might be pulling out.

We went away for 6 days, spent some of that time wondering about The One. Wondering whether it was thinking about us too.

Back home to discover the original offer had fallen through, but an English couple were 'very interested' in the house. Naturally they'd be paying pounds, cash. We couldn't compete.
We sighed.

Then, they decided not to place an offer. The house, The One, the one with the fish eagles and the lake and the garden and the double garage workroom and the staggeringly high mortgage, was officially back on the market.

Guess I don't need to tell you how we went to see it. How we laughed in horror and delight at how much it reminded us of our current place when we first bought it. How we thrilled at the potential and despaired at the kitchen. How we met, giggling, in the bathroom as the agent was taking us around and grinned at each other, husband whispering 'It's crap but I love it.'
How we stood in silence in front of the lake at the bottom of the lawn and listened to the water birds and in our minds, pushed off our canoe and paddled off into the estuary.

We placed an offer. It's been accepted. We have to sell our current house first so we're not there quite yet. But we're closer than we ever thought we'd be.

There's a 13 year old black cat purring on my lap. I think she'll like it there.