Keys to the Kingdom
Our solicitor finally handed us the house keys on July 8th, a full year after our quest began. The mortgage advisor called to congratulate us, but we were decidedly unthankful and taciturn, given the rigours that his bank had put us through – an unnecessary structural survey, a hold-back of €10,000, excessive scrutiny and onerous contractual demands. And not once did they offer us a glass of water or a cup of coffee, even though most of those appointments lasted well over an hour. First world problems? Perhaps, but as Einstein famously once said, “It’s all relative”.
We marked the night with two bottles of prosecco and a pot of my world-famous pumpkin chilli.
We immediately got to work on all of the jobs listed on the builder’s costing. Usually, if the bank requests a structural survey, as ours did, the engineer you hire will provide a costing of the required renovations to go along with the survey. Ours didn’t, but thankfully, a friend of the family did us a freebie, so we had a better sense of what we were doing from day one.
We both agreed that I would handle the major home décor ideas and that the mister would help with the implementation of most of those ideas. This suited him perfectly, as he was more than happy to turn his creative eye toward the garden, which had become noticeably overgrown and formless. Finding paint colours that complemented the natural flow of the house was difficult…. in Opposite Land. Seriously, I’ve been dreaming of owning a home since childhood. I’ve been furnishing and decorating my fantasy house since forever, so I felt like I was ready for this.
We began by undoing the sins of the past. The previous owner tried his darnedest to cheap-fix some of the house’s bigger problems, but in doing so, left a legacy of shite so foul and unyielding that it still follows us to this day.
Ripping up his substandard skirting and removing the warped doors was very satisfying. Removing the wallpaper however was a doozy. We had a steamer, which made the job itself relatively easy, but stripping the walls revealed a few superficial cracks here and there. One quick call to a family friend, and the plastering was sorted.
Within a month, we had brought the house up to code. With our canvas blank and a few grand in the war chest, we were ready to turn this old and love-starved house into our home.
But that story is for next week.