Saturday, 21 June 2008

What next?

Back to then. After the first steps for Miso’s well-being had been taken we could start thinking about ourselves. We would rent a house in Cambridge – yes, a house, since after twenty-six years in a house I cannot imagine living in a flat. I need to feel the earth beneath my feet as soon as I open the front door; I like watching birds through the kitchen window; I want a garden. Thus a house, needn’t be as large as ours; in fact, since the kids have moved out we have lived much too spaciously, with such excesses as a library, a dining room and a winter garden, apart from having a study each. But two people do not really need 180 square meters, as long as there is enough space around, grass, trees and flowers.

We asked the children, just to be on the safe side, whether anyone of them would like to live in their childhood home, but the three oldest have families and homes of their own, and the two youngest live downtown, right in the middle of everything, like young people should. Rent out, then. We had bad experience of renting out privately when we spent two years in California, so we decided to use an agency that rents out to people coming to work in Sweden. We don’t live in a posh neighbourhood, but for a family with children our house is perfect. Then Staffan went away for a couple of days, and I took the opportunity to oil the working areas in the kitchen, which I do about once a month. Finally, after many years we had invested in a really extravagant kitchen some years ago, and I love it dearly. Suddenly, the idea of a tenant ruining my oak panels and my splendid induction stove (which needs cleaning carefully every day) was unbearable.

A horrible thought entered my mind: we must sell! We had decided to buy a house in Cambridge after the first year, which most probably meant we’d have to sell our house in a year’s time. Why wait and let a tenant ruin the house so that we’d need still more repairs before selling? I remembered the famous story about the man who felt sorry for his puppy and cut its tail a little slice at a time. No slices! If it has to be done, do it now. The thought made me sick. But it felt the only right thing to do. I knew that I would have to plant the idea carefully when Staffan came back.

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