Over the next 12 months my husband and I are setting up our ability to purchase the first thing we had in common with each other;
When we first began talking as friends over 10 years ago, our shared desire was to find a person, and a place, we could be with for the rest of our lives. A concept of stability, love, amd security drew us together and now all these years later we’re looking at finding That Place. A place to call home.
Lately we’ve lived in a mid-home, an apartmemt that is the perfect size for just the two of us workimg our current jobs. However our lives are going to change with the hopeful addition of one or more new family members, and soon the 2-bedroom apartment isn’t going to fit us anymore. Our home needs to contain louder, messier, unpredictable catastrophies in human form and I’ll need a small corner to collect myself admist the chaos.
So we’re looking into setting up our forever home. Thing is, buying property is a difficult process and it’s quite easy to get ripped off if you don’t know what you’re doing. So, we’re getting some professionals on side.
The first professional we’re hiring is a solicitor. Partially because, lovely as they are, my in-laws don’t respect our boundaries no matter how many times we remind them. Secondly, because quite a lot of cash is going to be changing hands my husband and I want to ensure that we get a good deal, our investment is legally protected, and that our mortgage can be repaid within a reasonable timeframe. I know; solicitors take a lot of the romance out of the concept of a forever home, but it’s a useful thing for peace of mind on all fronts.
The second professional we’ll be hiring is a civil engineer/builder who will inspect the property we intend to buy. We’ll pay them to assure that the home we’ve bought has good foundations, a solid roof, and no structural weaknesses. We also need to know if there is any water damage, cracks, or electrical faults within the walls.
With the help of our builder
and solicitor we’ll negotiate the home price to accommodate things like bathroom rennovations, outdated kitchen upgrades, and solar panel installation. The older the home the lower I expect the price to be (within reason).
Then, after the home is inspected, the money is collected and the hands are shaken with the estate agent, we’ll move in and change our mail address. Somewhere in there I’ll be finishing that pesky PhD and applying for a job…somewhere. Graduation in a gaudy robe will occur, joyous celebrations will be had, and I’ll tell anyone who cares that ‘It’s Doctor, not Mrs’.
I’ll hire a truck to move our furniture, call a professional cleaner to clear our old flat, and make some cosmetic touch-ups so our landlord can move new tenants in ASAP. I’ll sell/donate unwanted stuff we don’t need anymore, take an inventory of new stuff I’ll need in our new home, and stick photos of items I’m contemplating in relevant spaces to accustom to the concept of larger dining tables, bigger beds, and garden design. We’ll update licences, voting information, bank documents, bill arrangements, and investigate whether we need to make some cosmetic changes to baby-proof the area. Fences, screen doors, outlet covers, etc. I’ll investigate any painting needs before I fall pregnant so I can crack out the rollers and paint tins before the fumes can harm the child, and give large areas the facelift they need for our new family. We’ll host a little housewarming party with loved ones so they can get our new address and fantasize about summer barbequeues, winter game nights, and christmas street parties. I’ll set up calendars, noticeboards, and organization stations to help my husband transition homes with minimal disruption to his work. (The office will be one of the first things to be established in the home).
Then, once all the initial bills are paid, the cosmetic changes are underway, and the home is ready, hopefully family member #3 will get the memo and declare their arrival.
I’ll host a ‘grandma-shower’ for my in-laws to celebrate the arrival of a long-anticipated generation. I’ll gush over aisles of baby things as I shop for the staples; bed, car seat, diapers and onesies. Bottles and burp cloths will be stocked, a comfy rocking chair will be assembled in the room designated for the new family member, and I’ll arrange the medical professionals. I’ll knit blankets, sew bed covers and little tunics, and buy an album for those obligatory photos in the early months. I’ll hand-write letters to my unborn child for them to read when they’re my age, about important stuff lile how to do taxes and how much I love them. I’ll stock up on books to read with their father; staples like The Very Hungry Caterpillar are essentials for education and family time. I’ll wait as patiemtly as I can until the little one decides it’s time (or the doctors kick them out) and soon our little home will be ready to grow. Tiny socks, messy laundry spaces, and piles of dishes will pile up as we focus on time together. The precious few weeks of parenthood that only happens once, learning how to respond to each other’s needs. My husband and I can pull together and become the couple we always envisioned ourselves being; in tune with each other, gentle with each other, and always acting eith love. Our child’s first weeks will be a thrumming nest of cuddles, naps and soft songs hummed in the early hours of the morning. My husband and I will laugh over poo-splosions, going naked for a few hours because we have no clean clothes left, and finally calling his mother for help.
My in-laws will excitedly rush in, eager to finally lend a hand in the joy of being grandparents, and smooth everything over with fuss and energy. Grandpa will stare awkwardly at his grandchild as grandma shoves us off to bed, taking over the laundry and the dishes while we sleep. The in-laws will guard watchfully over our home until we’re needed again, and vow to return soon with food and cuddles and another pair of hands. Grandpa will bring more books, and ironed shirts; grandma will bring blankets and rice balls and a camera to capture everything. She’ll babble to her grandchild in adoring Uchinaaguchi, anticipating another fluent conversation partner after decades of wrangling English. Our child, bless their patience, will stare up at her without comprehension; understanding only that they are loved and cared for. Perhaps, soon, they’ll shout ‘OBA!’ as grandma toddles up the path to our front door, and be greeted with thrilled Japanese.
Soon after, my husband will graduate his training. I’ll return to work part time and arrange schooling. Grandma and grandpa will babysit during my working hours, getting to know the child that will carry on their memories, and I’ll finish off all the things I didn’t have time for before my child’s arrival, like the bathroom rennovation and the gardening and the new carpets. I’ll meet other parents, scope out playgrounds and new friends and keep my old friends updated. My child’s earliest memories of me will be a capable career mama with paint on my pants and dust in my hair, with stories on every shelf and a suit tucked carefully away in my closet for those city appointments. And always, always time for a quick cuddle.
Then before I know it, I’ll be sitting in my dining room one November morning, watching the butterflies descend on my garden, and realize that I’ve found my foreverhome. My honey will meander out of his office, bleary-eyed from his medical texts, and make a pot of tea as I marvel as the world we’ve built for ourselves in such a short space of time.