This weekend we went to look at a house.
We’re not actually in the market for a house. We’re more in the market for thinking about maybe one day thinking about moving. So we wanted to get an idea of what you get for what money in our target area.
We found an ad in the paper for a place that we could maybe, possibly, at this undefined future date, afford and off I set with the children. The fantasy was, of course, that the place would be so unbelievable that we would immediately put our house on the market and live happily after. The reality was different. The house was a block down from one of the main roads of Johannesburg, the garden was basically a crumbling tennis court – and the heated dog house which had sounded so fascinating in the ad was completely understandable given that the whole house – while empty of furniture – smelt of dog. (To be exact, my six year old son observed, “This place smells of Claudie”. Claudie is our late, ancient, dachshund. Six Year Old thought this was a GREAT characteristic for a house.)
Anyhow, I chatted to the (ancient) estate agent about how the house wasn’t for us and he would love to help us and yes, isn’t the world in a shocking state.
And that’s when we made the beginner’s error. Down the road another house was for sale. “Let’s just look here,” sez me. “Get an idea of comparative prices.”
The kids happily agreed, although Six was already working out how his R500 savings could be stretched to buy the Smelly Dog house.
The second house was beautiful. Perfect. The house of my dreams, and yours if you have any sense. It didn’t smell of dog at all. It was also about 8 million rand OVER our entirely inflated imaginary budget.
I took the brochure, and it’s been hanging about the house. I am deep in a fantasy where I happen to stumble across something worth R8m and the house is ours. I’m worrying about our inadequate furniture. I think it might be time to throw the brochure away.
It’s a difficult balance – dreaming and aspiring and reaching on the one hand; and accepting one’s reality on the other. My reality is pretty great – I can’t complain – but if you happen to find R8m lying around and you think it might belong to me, please call. I’ll invite you to tea in my new house.