Take Me Down To Cardboard City….

What am I doing here? I haven’t got time for this? People will often say “I have a million things to do” and currently, in my case, that seems literally correct.

The good news is that we did move house on Friday. How I have longed to type those words and have that horror behind us. For more months than I wish to count I have dreaded the day of moving. In fact, way, way back when we were deciding whether to extend or move, I was seriously contemplating months and months of building work just to avoid the experience of packing up and moving to a new place.

Seems silly? Well, you weren’t in my shoes on Friday when those fears were realised. It was not a pleasant day.

I’m not going to go into the multiple horrors in detail. To help my PTSD I need to move on and concentrate on the new beginnings and all that but I will give you some edited highlights.

I don’t know if I told you but we actually had two solicitors, one for the sale and one for the purchase. This was because our first one was relatively newly qualified and when she realised the complexity of our purchase, (due to it being old and with some rights of way issues) she passed that file over to a more experienced colleague. Throughout, that more experienced colleague has been a bit shit.

This held true right to the end. After a fairly easy morning, with the removal men making relatively short work of all the items I had stressed about moving for six months, we got the call before lunch that our sale had completed. We were now homeless for a bit and our selling solicitor had passed everything onto our buying solicitor to do her stuff.

So we actually sat down for a bit, had some lunch and waited for the next call to say we could go and get the keys. As the clock rolled around to 12pm, I was bored with waiting and I set off for the estate agents where the keys would be. This was a good half an hour away so I thought it better to be poised outside for when things happened.

So I arrived and waited. This went on for some time. I called my estate agents, and the seller’s and neither had heard anything. I was trying not to bother my solicitor as they would clearly be busy on a Friday throwing money around for everyone moving house. Ten minutes later and I could wait no longer.

Amazingly I got through and she genuinely seemed surprised to hear from me. I asked for an update. She told me she had sent the money “a while ago” but had not received confirmation from the seller’s solicitor that they had arrived. I explained that my household contents were in a van, I was outside an estate agents in Accrington and our buyer was en-route to my ex-house. These should not be things that need to be explained to a conveyancing solicitor.

“Perhaps you could give them a call?” I suggested, cheerily.

She did and two minutes later I was out of the car, sprinting (Dad jogging) to the estate agents. We had the keys. It was going on for 3pm but we had them.

Sigh.

The rest of the day could have gone better. Our removal men buggered us about by diverting off to another job as we had waited so long for the keys, and that meant we were still emptying our old house late into the afternoon with its new occupants smiling politely and telling me it wasn’t a problem that our fridge and several other items were sat in their new house as they were trying to move in.

Anyway, by about 6.30pm, we waved off the removal van and stared at our new house full of cardboard boxes. A take away happened and then an early night as I was broken both physically and mentally.

Things looked better the next morning. The house didn’t of course as we hadn’t unpacked anything but I took the dogs out on our field (ooohh, get me) and just took a minute to realise we were in, it was done and the worst was over.

I could go on, but honesty I have so much to do. Every room you walk into has a thousand tasks that need sorting, mainly in the shape of a box, so I will leave you to your Sundays.

I need to thank my Mum and Dad for looking after the dogs for the day when we moved. I don’t know what we would have done without their help on the day. The same goes for Rebecca, Tom and Emily’s boyfriend Mikey who have all helped in numerous ways and we are incredibly grateful.

In my immediate future are around 412 tip runs to rid the house of the cardboard mountain we have acquired, and today I am going to try and sort out my office/man cave as I have a desk, chair and other stuff coming early next week.

Overall though, right now it feels like we’ve gone away somewhere nice for the weekend, and it hasn’t quite sunk in that we live here yet, but I suppose that’s a good sign that we’ve done the right thing, despite all the tasks and teething troubles we are currently facing. That’s all natural I suppose when you start to learn to live in a new place after 8 years in another.

More news and photos probably next week when we are a bit more settled.

Till the next time…..

A State Agents

In an effort to keep my blood pressure and stress levels nice and high, just as the major drama, activity and worry about changing our holiday settled down a bit, I have very cleverly replaced it with aorta threatening levels of stress by trying to find somewhere to live.

The last week has been a blur of swiping right or left on Rightmove and wandering around stranger’s houses mixed with large dollops of disappointment and frustration. With our “sale” having been in the bag for a little while now, the pressure to find somewhere to go is increasing.

We did find a house last week that we liked. As with everything we view, as soon as something decent goes on the market, the vendors have 73 viewings on day one and around 72 offers to consider. After making our first offer on something on Friday morning, we were sad to learn that we had not been successful. Silly us for only offering the asking price!

Even in the short few hours between viewing and hearing we hadn’t got it, emotional investment and attachment had happened. Plans had been made, which in Louise’s case always includes where the Christmas tree would go. It’s difficult to move on but move on we must and we have viewed two further properties that are contenders. We have upped our game in terms of aggression and speed with both, recognising the current market is no place for timidity or sloth.

What has completely bamboozled me is that in a market that is so competitive and fast-moving most estate agents take Sunday off. So for 50% of the time that most folks can search, view and make offers on houses, their offices are shut. I cannot tell you how completely frustrating this is. I know folks need time off but surely you need to operate in the hours that your customers do, like Louise does who has been driving around dressing, injecting and de-soiling folks she looks after all weekend.

In fact, the market is so competitive that second viewings are an alien concept. As Louise has been working all weekend, one of the houses we have now offered on was one she hasn’t even set foot in. Rebecca and I had a look at it yesterday and we were empowered to decide whether or not it would be suitable. That’s like picking your fiance’s wedding dress, but only if she then had to wear that dress every single day for the next decade.

So as Saturdays go, I have had less stressful ones. The fact that we now have to kick our heels for all of Sunday without an update or opportunity to find out where we are up to is not ideal. Regular readers will recognise that I do not deal well with uncertainty, wishy-washy responses and not being in control of my own destiny.

The two current contenders offer very different pros and cons and we would both be happy with either, but with lessons learned we are continuing to search for others whilst proactively harassing, chasing and cajoling estate agents to be competent, but right now I’d settle for them being open.

As often tends to happen in our world, several things converge to make things interesting. Rebecca and Tom are also in the market for their first house after renting for some time. They were also out house hunting yesterday so helping and advising them was also very much a thing. I wouldn’t have it any other way and as first time buyers I hope and expect them to be sorted before we are.

It will not surprise you to know that there wasn’t a lot of holiday thinking done last week. There was some, clearly, as it is who I am, but it is back burnered to some extent as other matters are more pressing. As I don’t have a clue what will happen, it seems silly to spend too much time worrying about it, but if you think that’s what will actually happen then clearly you don’t know me at all.

So it’s been a bit of a week, but of course, as ever, something comes along to remind me that I’m a big girl’s blouse, living a fortunate and privileged life that I should be grateful for.

Firstly, 28,000 cast members lost their jobs this week. I follow a few on social media and it was very sad to see them reacting to the news. To their credit, they all handled it with grace and dignity and that probably goes a long way to explain why they were excellent CMs in the first place. It is a tragic day for them and for what those cuts may mean for the future of the parks and resorts. We can only hope that as things get better they may be able to return should they wish.

Then just as I was just about to post this blog my Mum phoned to tell me that my Aunty Dot died last night.

She was my Mum’s sister and well into her nineties. She had been in a care home for a couple of years and in many ways had left us then, but still, the sadness of losing someone is still there and she was an absolutely lovely lady who played a large part in my childhood.

So with our current “trials” pulled into sharp perspective I’m off to give myself a stern talking to about over-dramatising stuff to folks on the internet.

Till the next time…….