Coffee Talk Life Writing

Never Panic-Buy A House

29th August 2018
photo of writing space in front of window

I moved to the country about three years ago. I was working through post-natal anxiety and maybe mistakenly thought that the fresh air would rattle my brain back to whatever normal is. (Normal is relative and over-rated)

We first moved in with my family. My father wanted to be like The Waltons. But The Waltons is TV. Old TV.  (And I love my Dad, but I’ve learned that I also love reliable internet connections and family time that doesn’t involve being dragged backwards down hills in my chair.)

We were four generations in one house, hoping to build a bigger house.

My husband and I shared a room with our daughter and this worked. Until all three of us got the same flu, and two of us ended up fighting like we’d never fought before (or since, I’m thinking.)

Two weeks later, we started looking for a place of our own, and a month later we signed the papers.

We panic-bought a house. This house.

Why you should never panic-buy a house

As soon as I came into this place, I felt like it was ours.

I imagined my kid playing in her room, and sharing it at some point.

I would share the home office with my husband and actually write as much as I used to.

Maybe I’d do some coffee shop writing. I’d blog about home renovation and converting the loft.

This would be the house where our new friends would hang out and our old friends would visit.

We’d go back to the city once a month, and that would be enough.

But really, I write in the kitchen on a table crowded with books and paints and comics. My daughter has more friends than I do, and most of the the friends I have cannot travel two, or six, or eight hours to sleep on our living room couch.

Coffeeshops are inaccessible or closed, or both.

The house is falling apart. We’ve put new piping behind the stove and bought a new dishwasher and washing machine. We’ve blown fuses. And the lights have popped, too.

When we bought this house, my mother, calling from 4,000 miles away said, ‘You don’t own a house, a house owns you.’

Our very particular mother-daughter relationship is usually best conducted over the phone. However. That time, I have to say, You were right, Ma.

And so, we are probably, maybe, definitely moving back to the city. Not to step back, but to move on.

In related news, I’m always Googling writing tips and the one that keeps coming back is Learn to close the door.  

In fact, I was recently included in a list of productivity tips. Yes, me. I laughed, too.  At about number three I said …find a door and close it.

Well.  I’m a hypocrite. Or something. Because I write in the kitchen.  Where there is no door.

The kid goes off to school and the husband comes back and changes a lightbulb. Yes, really.  In the kitchen.

‘Do you have to do that now?’


‘I’m working.’

‘Take a break.’

I hear every noise. Every squeak and rustle. The refrigerator is running.

My husband leaves the kitchen as loudly as humanly possible.  Today, there was a fart.

‘Must you fart in my office?  Do I fart in your office?’

He opens the window and goes down the hall. To his office. But not before he sets a coffee beside my laptop.

Maybe this kitchen writing isn’t so bad.

But still, never panic-buy a house.  

And our next one, when we find it, will have a writing room for me.

photo of writing space in front of window

This is not my actual set up, but a writer can dream. Photo by Norbert Levajsics on Unsplash

A version of this piece originally appeared on Medium, but has been expanded on today.

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  • Reply thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany 29th August 2018 at 11:57 am

    I write in the living room. It’s full of dog farts, all the time and the occasional Dirk farts too. I get it.

    • Reply Lorna 29th August 2018 at 12:48 pm

      Thank you! And so, I published this and Neil goes, ‘you don’t like me, do you?’ And I’m like ‘Dude, if I din’t like you, I wouldn’t write about you or do a bunch of other things. We’re good.’

  • Reply Ritu 29th August 2018 at 1:26 pm

    I write in My bedroom, my dining room, the living room… wherever I get space. I’d love a writing space that was all mine surrounded my my books and stationery!!! We can dream…

    • Reply Lorna 29th August 2018 at 1:35 pm

      Right there with you. For real.

      • Reply Ritu 29th August 2018 at 1:37 pm


  • Reply Mel 29th August 2018 at 1:43 pm

    This really made me smile and remember. I’m an ex-country dweller – born and raised there in fact but a marriage break-up sent me scuttling to London and I would never, ever go back to the quiet country life – far too inconvenient! I’ve got a room where I can write these days but way back then my husband converted the old larder for me. No matter how many layers of paint we applied we could never get rid of the smell of old vegetables – cabbage in particular, and I’ve only got to smell a slightly shrivelling one these days and my mind goes back to my stinky writing cubby hole!

  • Reply rachaelstray 29th August 2018 at 2:03 pm

    I write in the living room or in bed. Our wifi is awful – we hope to get fibre which would make it soo much faster. I’d love a writing space.

  • Reply Christy Davis 29th August 2018 at 2:10 pm

    I love your posts. You have a way of making one feel like we’re right there with you. I didn’t panic buy a house, but I inherited one (along with the payment). It needs work, not exactly my dream home-but we make it work…for now. ?

  • Reply Lutheranliar 29th August 2018 at 3:29 pm

    What is it with husbands and farting? I’m constantly chastising The Dude for doing this. I ask him “if we were on a date, would you do that? Well, then. Pretend we’re on a date.”

  • Reply johnrieber 29th August 2018 at 4:44 pm

    My wife and I bought a house – and have renovated the kitchen, dining room, bathroom downstairs, bathroom upstairs, the other bathroom upstairs, added a bathroom upstairs, added another bedroom, re-did the outdoor patio, added another outdoor patio, added a screening room, added an enclosed garage, added a walk-in closet…yes, as you realized, we bought a house that didn’t need anything! Great writing on your part as always!

  • Reply Rebecca Moon Ruark 29th August 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I feel ya! Hope you all find the perfect place when it’s time!

    • Reply Lorna 30th August 2018 at 10:11 am

      Thank you, dude. And thanks for your email, I needed cheering up.

  • Reply Jeremy@ThirstyDaddy 29th August 2018 at 5:42 pm

    being able to fart whenever you feel the need is one of the biggest perks to being married – for both parties. I used to have my own private little office connected to a sweet man cave above the garage. Now its a seven year old’s bedroom and the man cave is full of junk. Life.

    • Reply Lorna 29th August 2018 at 5:44 pm


  • Reply Michelle - 29th August 2018 at 7:30 pm

    I actually do write in an office on a 2 person desk (aka long skinny table) while sitting next to my husband who is usually gaming. But, sometimes I write sitting on the couch while binge-watching something on Netflix. My dog usually prefers this set-up b/c sh can cuddle 😉

  • Reply loristory 29th August 2018 at 8:03 pm

    My spouse recently let out a really noisy fart (think trombone played by a fish) while we were walking down a deserted street. When I exclaimed in horror, his response was, “What?! Nobody’s around.” While I understand the human need to fart, this just convinced me that we aren’t on the same page anymore.

  • Reply josypheen 29th August 2018 at 9:43 pm

    I am impressed that you managed to panic buy a house, I mean it took us soooo long to sort everything out with solicitors. I think by the time the transaction is finished, you’ll be over the panic!

    Have you found a possible new home yet? Where are you thinking of moving to?

    • Reply Lorna 29th August 2018 at 9:46 pm

      Back to Edinburgh.

      • Reply josypheen 29th August 2018 at 9:58 pm

        Oooh you’ll have to have a big room for all the new books then. 😀

        New books will be sooo easy to reach!

  • Reply broadsideblog 30th August 2018 at 2:22 am

    Then I will come to visit! Much as Skye sounded gorgeous…

    • Reply Lorna 30th August 2018 at 10:06 am

      It is. I just need more going on. So looking forward to your visit. You and Isla in the same room would be an actual trip.

      • Reply broadsideblog 30th August 2018 at 12:12 pm

        Nothing definite for now — am back in debt thanks to the American way of life (i.e. $$$$$$ health insurance costs.) I bet!

        • Reply Lorna 30th August 2018 at 1:07 pm

          You are welcome anytime. Just get well soon!

  • Reply Gloria 30th August 2018 at 10:51 am

    We’re in our new home just over a year. I have my own writing room now and I love it. I call it the Seomra Sona….which is the Irish for Happy Room. No farts allowed!! ? But there are certain times when I sit somewhere else in the house to write. Depends what I’m writing.

  • Reply You Can Always Start Now 30th August 2018 at 10:57 am

    I’m lucky enough to have a bedroom large enough to have a desk (or kitchen table I grew up with). But I also write on my lap on the sofa. Write where you are and when you can is my motto

  • Reply Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 6th September 2018 at 3:36 pm

    I write in the kitchen – currently surrounded by two highchairs (baby twins) and a tray of kinetic sand with plastic dinosaurs wedged in it (three year old), whilst my husband is sat in his nice office down the hall. Just as well I only do this blogging malarkey for a bit of fun in my two hours of child free time a week!

    • Reply Lorna 6th September 2018 at 3:40 pm

      Kindred sprits, somehow. Except there’s only Isla so far, ha. Thank you, Helen. I was just reading your blog!

  • Reply Jenny | Midwife and Life 7th September 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Our house is a bit of a money pit too! You’ll get there one day x

    • Reply Lorna 7th September 2018 at 4:33 pm

      Doing up this one to sell eventually. Kinda like double-time.

  • Reply EdinburghCook 29th October 2018 at 6:32 am

    I like the house owns you, as someone who owns a very old house this is going to stick with me! I also dream of a desk like that……but it’s not real, that’s my excuse!

  • Reply Flossie 6th November 2018 at 10:21 pm

    I wish I couldn’t relate so much. Our current house has a lovely office for me, with doors, that is easily accessible (when I’m able-bodied, anyway). But right now it is a dumping-ground for stuff evacuated from the basement after our flood last spring. And after all my injuries in recent years where I could not access my office, and was left to both recuperate/watch the kids AND write all at once, the place I’m still doing most of my writing is the living room, on our desperately-needs-replacing loveseat. *sigh*

  • Reply CarolCooks2 31st January 2019 at 11:51 am

    My hubby said he used to leave my house and then fart all the way to his house…Now he just farts ..What is it with men ? My writing space is my sleeping space I have a really large room and no men who fart are allowed..he has his own bedroom..
    That comes with age and the need to write at all hours..

  • Reply Susanne Swanson 31st January 2019 at 1:21 pm

    I’m lucky to have an office that I only have to share with my cats. It works!

  • Reply Rhonda 31st January 2019 at 9:33 pm

    I love the line about normal being relative and over-rated. It’s so true!

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