You see I'm wired. I feel as though I've just necked seven Redbulls and despite it being long past midnight, I can't blame my insomnia on the chubby fat toes of my youngest, who has crawled into bed with me and has taken up his usual vertical positioning.
No, I am properly revved up. For you see, after about a year and a half of trying to sell our three bedroom London flat, we have finally done it. Last week we officially declared defeat and did what we should have sensibly done months ago: lowered our asking price by a ridiculous amount and accepted a ridiculous offer even lower than that.
So that was that. I guess like that old sage Kenny Rogers says, sometimes you've got to know when to fold 'em. We finally did, and the mixture of relief/disappointment/excitement/hopefulness and finally despair (after a sobering look at the over-inflated property prices in our area revealed that realistically we should be looking for a four bedroom closet with a cheeky thatch of grass out back) was something to behold.
Needless to say, minutes after our solicitor had been instructed, I had already compiled a shortlist of half a dozen properties to view - most of which were technically in reach should we get a deal and one or two which would mean food stamps and cold baths for the next ten years. At least.
Typically, I ignored the first rule of house hunting: Do not let agents talk you into seeing properties both you and they know you can't afford.
The first house I viewed on my own, after which followed a frantic call right then and there on the sidewalk, to the husband, the agent looking on with a smirk.
"Can you leave work early?! I think I've found the one!!"
(Cue disinterested typing on laptop in an office far away and a barely audible grunt having nothing to do with the bomb I've just dropped.)
"Seriously! How soon can you come here? The agent is willing to stay late to show it to you!"
I won't bother to recount the rest of the conversation, but suffice it to say it included a variety of expletives, some marital telling off, and ultimately a refusal to comply. I was gutted...and started to feel panicky.
Not unlike a physically sub-standard fella who has inexplicably bagged the hottest supermodel on the planet and is about to go off to Dubai for six months while she resides at the Playboy Mansion, I was distinctly aware that the house I had just viewed was so 'special' that it was inevitable that some other bugger was going to nose in, discover this, and slipping his black Amex card across to the agent, break our hearts all over again (ie. a repeat of what happened to both 'Dream House No.1' and 'Dream House No.2' we had both loved and lost in the preceding year and a half).
So I did what any (non)sensible wife would do. I shut up about it and secretly booked an early morning appointment for the next day. I then coerced the husband into going (maybe I threatened to stop doing his laundry for a month or feed his three children...I don't remember), then proceeded to follow him around the viewing, totally invading his personal space and whispering excitedly all the amazing points the house had - until he stopped in one of the rooms, did a sudden about-face and told me to shut the heck up as he wanted to think/see/feel for himself.
I managed to keep quiet and backed off for as long as I could (sixty seconds tops?) before resuming my creepingly close, 'Gollum-esque' stance - the nervous rubbing of hands and excited whispers proving impossible to stifle.
All this to say, the predictable thing happened. The rest of the homes we saw paled in comparison. This was likely due to the fact that they were all pretty much in our realistic price range as opposed to a post lottery win. And the other "Would have to sell our best kid on the black market" one was temptingly huge but stuck in the Edwardian times from a design perspective, and given that even putting up a mirror in our home takes months, I knew we would always be living in a place with old-fashioned bright yellow creepy crawly wallpaper so....
...here we are. I'm still unable to sleep, despite trying to rid myself of all the anxious excitement generated by the latest (YAWN) property adventures of the severely middle-class. For you see, we have predictably/stupidly been bidding low on the magical house for the past week, and just tonight put in our final, literally can't go five pence higher, final bid.
After rejecting every single offer we've submitted, with a polite but firm 'NO', the vendors have at last decided to put us out of our misery, promised to discuss things one last time tonight, and let the agent know first thing tomorrow whether they'll give it to the salivating Ex-Pats or whether they're going to take their chances and hold out for the next Chelsea Banker to stroll past and buy it up as casually as one buys Park Place with a lucky roll of the dice.
Do you see why I can't sleep??