This weekend, I went to the auction of 49 Kepos Street – the last house I lived in before this one. At the time, moving into Kepos Street was a dream come true. It was like living on Sesame Street – the location was perfect, the house was cosy (if not a little damp and mould ridden) and better yet, my sister, Rachael, her partner, Marlon and their then-toddler-son lived just a few doors up.
We were exactly where we wanted to be until one day, the landlord put our rent up 20% which priced us out of the street. Incentives to buy were good at the time with mortgage repayments being equivalent to rents a little further out and so we made the leap and bought this house which I’m now trying to hang onto. Given everything that went down in this house though, I think of Kepos St as the last place Matthew and I were completely happy. Even then, for things to be the way they are now, it can only mean that they couldn’t have been as happy as I must have imagined them to be then. But that thought is just too sad and only leads me back down a long, dark road to nowhere. Instead, I’ll do my best to be grateful that, as I experienced them, they were very happy times.
What I find interesting in terms of my onward journey though is that Kepos St went on the market just as I started doing my homework in ernest for keeping this house. I found out it was for sale when another of my sisters, Bec, called to say she drove past and saw the sign. What’s odd about that is that it’s a cul de sac and she had no particular reason to be driving by it.
Coincidence and curiosity led me to look it up and call the Real Estate Agent. It was going for sale by auction and the ‘ballpark’ starting price was practically the same as the banks recent valuation of my own house. Of course, the starting point of an auction is always unrealistically low to get more bidders in and conversely, the bank has valued high on my house to enable me to maximise my borrowing capacity. Still, that the figures were the same was far too coincidental for me to not find it meaningful. I acknowledge that things only have the meaning we ascribe to them and that I could’ve just as easily written this off as coincidence but that’s not how I’m rolling these days.
So what could it mean? I knew straight off the bat that I wasn’t being offered a choice between houses. It’ll be one thing if I manage to hang onto this house by tinkering with an existing mortgage. It would be another thing entirely to sell up and buy something new – that’s just not an option for me right now or perhaps ever. Of course, if it was, obviously I’d choose… this house! Huh! There it was – the meaning I was looking for! As I started that thought, I never expected it to end that way. I felt for sure, if given a choice, I would pick Kepos St and yet the answer came clearly and confidently. Even when I questioned it as though I had misthought, there it was – my resolve that this is the house I want.
It’s a funny thing to catch yourself by surprise by simply affording a contemplative moment to eavesdrop on your own inner conversation. And that’s how I roll these days! None the less, I couldn’t resist going to have a sticky-beak during one of the open house sessions. My former Kepos St cohort, Rach, came to hold my hand. It was weird walking back in there, like trespassing on my own past. It looked so different inside, all freshly painted and dressed for sale but it was still the same place and each room was filled with a torrent of different memories and emotions. What made me saddest of all though was that I wasn’t able to share this trip down memory lane with Matthew, it should be possible and I’ll never understand why it isn’t. It’s only left to me to accept it.
That was over a week ago. On Saturday, I returned by myself for the auction. I had another poke around just because I could. I heard one of the very many people traipsing through say “I can’t believe I used to sleep on that floor!” and it made me smile to know I wasn’t the only Mrs Mangels* in the house. I also smiled to think that just as I had had my happy days here, so too had other people and in just a few moments, someone else’s story with 49 Kepos St was about to begin.
Bidding started at $700,000 and went up, up, up and up finally closing at $885,000. I hope for the buyers sake that the previous owner had done more than scrape back and paint over the damp damage… I suspect not.
And so onward with my mission to hang onto this house with an renewed certainty and commitment. My biggest challenge remains finding work to fit around my nephews hours at a rate of pay that will satisfy the bank. I did have a near-employment experience last week for which I owe a debt of gratitude to Amy. Thank you Amy! Although the opportunity passed me by as quickly as it arose, it definitely clarified for me firstly what I’m aiming for in terms of pay/hour and secondly, the fact that I’d really rather perform public service either through government, education system or a not for profit organisation. Still, beggars can’t be choosers so please bear me in mind if you hear of any such opportunities before the next auction I attend is of my own home!
*an iconic character from Australian soap opera, Neighbours whose name is synonymous with being interfering and nosy!