If you happen to be reading this in something other than a browser you probably can’t see the photo to the left. Hell, it’s possible you’re reading this with the HTML removed! Anyway, it’s meant to be a photo of the keys to our new house.
We’ve moved in, two weeks ago. However it took 9 months, give or take, to get to that point. We now have a whole new set of “challenges” (“challenges” sounds more optimistic, I could have said issues or problems but I’m trying to look forward); get new kitchen, bathroom, broadband, TV provider, painting, flooring, unpacking… all at the same time as keeping our 2 year-old daughter well and entertained. She’s quite happy these days now that she’s dropped the nappies a month ago and is now sleeping in a “big-girl bed” as she describes it.
9 months ago…
We lived in Kilcock, just beyond Maynooth on the N4, and outside the *Pale* too. Lovely place, great house. Except it took an hour a bit, on a good day, to get to work. On a bad day, an hour and half. On a really bad day, two hours. That could be up to four hours that the three of us, my wife Sophie, Alice (our daughter) and I would spend in the car. When we first moved there, 2 years previous, it was a good 40 minutes with the worse being an hour. But it’s just continued to get worse, the volume on the roads has gradually increased and the road works and public transport improvements are falling ever further behind. What’s worse, we were outside the “catchment” area of any good service, such is the woe of Dublin property where the only houses we can afford aren’t even in Dublin!
So we decided to move.
This is not an easy task. Buying your first house/property is tough. Moving is a hell worse. Moving a second time, with a young child, is one of the most tiring and stressful things we’ve ever done… so far.
Of course, one big factor in this decision is that the only French primary school in Dublin is in the ultra-posh Southside Foxrock. Which is close enough to work. We couldn’t comprehend a life where Alice spent her after-school hours stuck in a car and where our brains and souls were siphoned into the M50 that never ends. So that decided we had to move near there.
We scoured, we searched, we bid, we lost, we bid again, we lost, we bid and thought about it and pulled out. We argued. We lost sleep. We talked with mortgage broker and started signing our lives away, again, to banks and insurance companies. Hours online, lost weekends to visiting houses, hours of calls and so on.
That’s only one half of the effort. We had one bid on our house fall through at the last moment. The second one stuck thankfully. We bought some cheap but new furniture, hid all our clutter, even packed away my computer so that we could have a “third bedroom”. For a while, our house, was not our house.
We eventually found somewhere in Kilcoole, just beyond Greystones in Wicklow. From the N4 to the M11. Quite a jump. Movers, delays, crèche closing, finding a new crèche…
Than 9 months later, in the middle of our holidays, two weeks before the move, our sellers say they can’t move out. It’s a long-ish story I don’t particularly want to go into, but essentially they could legally hold out. However, we couldn’t. We had to move out. So we moved in with my Mum for two weeks till we could move in. Alice loved it.
But we’re here now. The traffic goes up and down but most of the time it’s damn good. An extra hour in bed in the morning, home in time so that Alice isn’t put in bed the moment we get in. The place is in a mess, boxes to be unpacked, rooms to be done… but we’re in. A new set of keys. A change.