We kept looking. Mr. Waffle suggested that we might want to escape the “crime and grime” of our current location. I regret to say that by March 2012 we had not moved. Woe.
In April 2012 we put in a bid on a property in Rathmines on the opposite side of the city. The auctioneer sneered at our offer. “Make it higher,” she said. “No,” said Mr. Waffle considering the bulge in the front of the property warily [only needs to be strapped she said cheerfully]. “We’re the only bidders,” said Mr. Waffle, “we’re not going to bid against ourselves.” “You wouldn’t be bidding against yourselves,” she said airily, “you would be bidding against the vendors’ expectations.” We walked away.
At the end of April we saw a lovely house. This would be the one. It was in good nick. The children came with us. They liked it. We sent them off to sit in the car while we made an offer to the estate agent. When we came back to the car only two of our three children were in it. In the driving rain, Daniel had gone in the opposite direction to his siblings and was lost in the streets of identical redbrick houses. We ran around shouting for him. It took quite a while to find him and I don’t think he has ever been happier to see us. As well as having trudged gloomily for quite a distance in the rain, he had put his wellingtons on the wrong feet. I carried him back to the car overcome with triumph and relief.
The next day at work, I discover, to my chagrin, that a colleague has viewed the house and she too is thinking of putting in a bid. “I didn’t even know you were looking,” she said. “How could you not?” said another colleagues sardonically, “Anne’s house hunt has its own page on facebook.” We are outbid but, fortunately, not by my colleague because otherwise I might never have been able to speak to her again. In any event our surveyor’s report identified the attic bedroom as a fire hazard. I might mention that this entire process has been part of our attempt to ensure that Irish surveyors survive the bust.
In May we see a nice place with a big garden on a busy main road. I wonder is it a bit rough [you will appreciate the irony of this when you read the next paragraph]. My sardonic colleague asks wisely, “Is it near a chipper?” It is near a chipper. We go to see it anyway. Twice. When making the first appointment, I say to the secretary in the estate agent’s “I recognise that agent’s name I think we saw something with her before; is she pregnant by any chance?” “Oh no, her baby will be 1 in July.” We have officially been looking forever. This house is big and in reasonable order. And not too dear for us. I am filled with hope. Again, oh for heaven’s sake.
Meanwhile, the council has seen fit to park a container across the road from our house just outside the abandoned terrace. In next to no time it becomes party central and not in a good way. When I come home at 6.30 in the evening and find a number of drunken people using the container as an outdoor toilet, I get very annoyed and ring the council and the body responsible for re-developing the site and complain to their voicemails. As the party goes on into the night, I have ample opportunity to enjoy it. Mr. Waffle is away for work and the Princess in her upstairs front room overlooking the party is scared and so am I. I ring the guards and they send a squad car to disperse the cider drinking revellers. I enlist the help of the council workmen to get the wretched container moved and it does move. But I am all the more determined to move house.
In June, I go back to see my birthday house. I tell Mr. Waffle either we buy this house or the big one on the main road but we are going to get one of them.
Denouement to follow.