I found my husband in front of the computer the other morning, slightly hysterical like Michael J Fox in that episode of “Family Ties” when his character Alex P Keaton took diet pills to stay awake all night. And don’t tell me you don’t remember that episode. It’s a capital C Classic.
He had been woken shortly after 3AM by the unmistakeable thud of a small body hitting the floor. Sure enough, Mr Justice had fallen out of bed but then had immediately leapt up and started running around the house. Which just confirms my theory that my children are a little bit like the SAS – armed and ready to run riot 24/7. By the time my husband had rounded up Mr Justice and put him back to bed, he himself was wide awake.
So when I got up a few hours later, I found him caffeinated up to his eyeballs and staring at the computer screen. The minute he saw me, he bombarded me with information about land values, negative gearing and the amortisation of fixed rate mortgages during a period of stagflation (not to be confused with ‘stag fellation’, which we both thought was an amusing pun until we googled it. Trust me: Don’t. Do. It.).
The long and the short of it is that he had been house-hunting online. It is a little-known fact that we have been trying to find an investment property in the country. Little-known, perhaps, because just writing that made me feel a little unclean, like I’ve become some fat-cat real estate mogul, feeding off the fat of the land, suppressing the masses, yada yada yada.
But listen, it’s all for a good cause. No, really. My mother is about to be made homeless and we’ve been trying to find a win-win situation for one and all where a) my mother has a roof over her head; b) we have somewhere nice in the country to visit on the weekends; and c) we make a sound risk-adjusted investment in our futures with a positive net-present-value of assets and… (*yawn*)… I think I actually fell asleep as I typed that last point.
So on this particular morning, my husband drove the Love Bus in the heat to the town of [Littleton] to meet a real estate agent who was somewhat refreshingly dressed in shorts and driving a car that didn’t cost more than the house he was showing. And before the day had ended, with a little more caffeine in his system than is perhaps medically advisable and no further sleep under his belt, my husband had bought my mother a house.
Now, you might think that I should be a bit little concerned about the circumstances of his purchase (my mother certainly might be if she reads this post) but you see I trust my husband 100% when it comes to these things. He understands The Criteria.
When it came to buying a fridge, we both became obsessed (obsessed!) with the “twist’n’serve” ice functionality. We wouldn’t even consider any fridge that didn’t have it. Of course we’ve ended up “twisting’n’serving” only about once every two months, and friends we’ve shown it too have been disappointingly non-plussed, but that’s not the point, people!
With house-buying, it seems to have been All About The Kitchen. With our house, affectionately known as The House That Ate Paris, the kitchen is very much its heart. It doesn’t matter how we rearrange furniture for parties, everyone usually ends up sitting or standing around that little kitchen of ours. Which often results in me trying to prepare food and drink in 100-clowns-inside-a-mini-type circumstances. Not to say any of my friends are clowns, I should add. At least not professional clowns.
Anyway, it turns out this house has a charming little 50s kitchen, plus “some other stuff” – the details of which my husband was a little vague. Which is a bit concerning considering his father bought their family home without realising it had a pool. True story. At least it was a pool he later discovered in his new back yard and not, say, a uranium mine or a Today Tonight news team.
And so we’re about to become the kind of people to own Investment Property. And, to be honest, this is something that doesn’t match my loose and not-particularly-well-researched socialist views about how Land should be For the People and how there should only be Owner/Occupiers and Council Accommodation and Cool Student Houses Where Everyone’s Drunk (which, I believe, is where I picked up this socialist ethic in the first place).
“Now that we have a Real Estate portfolio,” I asked my husband. “Does that mean we have to buy one of these special books with plastic sleeves so we can show it everyone?”
“Sure,” he replied. “And we can pull it out at dinner parties and say stuff like ‘Ah, yes, and this one here is my collateralised debt obligation security…'”
Uh, okay. It frightens me sometimes that my husband even knows those kind of words.
In a fit of insecurity, I wrote to MM asking him if he and his good lady wife KC still liked us now that we’d become Landed Gentry. And his reply? A telling silence.
I think I understand how Rupert Murdoch must feel, purveying his empire all alone in his ivory tower. Still, even if nobody wants to be our friends any more now that we’ve officially Sold Out by Buying Up, we’ve got a new kitchen to go and sit (or stand around) in from time to time. Now if only we can manage to persuade my mum to buy a fridge with twist’n’serve….