We’ve only been in this house for a few days and already I feel at home here. The house feels familiar, comfortable, right. I guess that means we bought the right house.

At the same time I feel like I’m on vacation. I’ve never lived in a house before, and I associate houses (and especially gardens) with the long summers of my childhood, at my grandmother’s summer house. The noises in the neighbourhood – dogs barking, children playing, chainsaws roaring – also remind me of those times. I have this vague feeling that soon it will be autumn and I will have to go back to the city and back to school.

The comfortable feeling is partly because I am taking the move from a two-room apartment to a 4-room house in small steps, easing myself into this new place. We’re only occupying the ground floor now – the stairs to the first floor are blocked off because we don’t want Ingrid climbing them before we get a banister in place. And while I love the feeling of a garden around the house, I have been enjoying it from a slight distance: from the kitchen window or the veranda. Actually walking or sitting in the garden feels weird. It doesn’t feel like mine yet.

It took a bit longer for Ingrid to be comfortable with the move. She didn’t like the move itself at all: strange place, strange people, strange doings, and nobody was paying much attention to her. The disruption led to a few days of clinginess and a few nights of broken sleep. But I think she’s also more or less settled in here now. She calls the house “home” already, and comfortably finds her way around, even early in the morning when she wakes up and comes searching for me in the bathroom and the kitchen.

Tomorrow we are finally moving into our lovely new house. All is packed and ready. We’ll be spending tomorrow lugging boxes and furniture (again), and then live in a mess of boxes for a week or several (again).

I am really not looking forward to another move, but I am very much looking forward to moving into a permanent home. While it was very convenient to have a landing place for these 3 months, and to not have to unpack all our stuff, it felt like living in limbo. Most things remained packed away, including much of our furniture, almost all our kitchen equipment, all our books, etc etc. Everything was temporary. “It’s only for one more month, it’s not worth digging through everything to find X. We’ll manage without.” Or “Let’s just buy a new one.” It didn’t feel like a home, and frankly it was also just too cramped for the three of us. I felt a constant low-level tension because of this, and it will be very good to be rid of this feeling.

We were slightly over-optimistic in our estimate of the speed of getting a new internet connection (= too late ordering one) so there will be a gap during which we will have no internet at home. If we find an open WiFi connection, we may get online anyway; otherwise I’ll have to make do with what I get at work. So posting may be light for the next 10 days or so.

Here it is: the House.

The house is from 1906. It is yellow and clad in wood panelling and has a gambrel roof.

It has a leafy garden, a veranda at the rear and a small patio at the front.

Remember the house we saw last Sunday? We’ve gone ahead and bought it. Well, it’s not all quite final yet, but we have generally agreed to buy it. Yippee!

The agreement was signed on Friday. Tomorrow we’re having a surveyor inspect it. As long as the survey doesn’t uncover any major surprises, we’ll be transferring the down payment on Monday, then spending a few weeks organising a loan and other paperworks, and moving in by July 1st. All very exciting.

I’m not looking forward to moving again, but I am looking forward to moving into our new house, if you see what I mean.

PS: Whenever I hear the word “homeowner” I hear the voice of Dr. Zoidberg… Look at me! I’m Dr. Zoidberg, homeowner!

House 14. Stjärnfallsvägen. Excellent location, close to the station, in a quiet street in a nice area. Quite a large garden in good shape. Decent-sized house with high ceilings. Ugly, cheap-looking extension built in the 1970s. A roof that was described as “nearing the end of its life”. But the extension can be redone, and the roof replaced. We like it.

House 15. Skogsbacken. The viewing for this one is really next week, but the house was already empty, so we got a sneak preview. Big garden, totally empty: it looked like it had been an overgrown jungle that had just been cut down completely, leaving nothing. Lots of potential but lots of work, too. Newly renovated house in great shape. But the house felt small: low ceilings, small kitchen, small bathroom, small hallway. Not too bad but not very inspiring either.

No, we haven’t stopped looking for a house. There just hasn’t been anything to look at.

Two weeks were lost to Valborg. All real estate agents sensibly assumed that, since the 1st of May fell on a Thursday, most people would take Friday off and be out of town for the entire 4-day weekend. Therefore no point in having viewings that Sunday. And of course if people are away, they’re unlikely to be bidding on a house, so there were no viewings the weekend before Valborg, either.

This week there was one house for sale in the area we’re interested in. It is built on such a slope that the garden would be unsuitable for anything except sledding or cheese rolling, and you’d need a safety barrier at the bottom of the slope because there’s a road there. We didn’t go to the viewing.

However some promising houses have popped up for next week so there will be more action soon again.

Well, we’re not buying the house in Skogsbacken. We participated in the bidding for a while, but the price soon passed our limit so we dropped out. The price then went up a good deal more, quite a bit higher than we had expected. We will have to think again about our approach: it may be that it is not feasible to get what we want for the price we are willing to pay.

House 10. Erik Tegels väg. Decent-sized garden, nice ground floor (high ceilings but a bit smallish), but then we came to the top floor which felt like it consisted only of nooks, crannies, corners and doors: cramped and inconvenient. No buy.

House 11. Norrgårdsvägen. “Subsidence damage and need for renovation” turned out to mean big cracks in pillars and walls, and floors slanting so much that you could feel it when walking around in the house. Estimated cost for straightening up and stabilising the foundation: SEK 500,000. No buy.

House 12. Skogsbacken. Excellent location (quiet street, 10 minutes’ walk from the station), relatively large garden, and the house itself was quite nice, too, except for the 1970s interiors (“some need for modernisation”). Not quite the light, open interior we were looking for, but it could probably get quite close if we knocked down a wall, made one window three times larger, and tore down the large dark roof over the terrace. The first house we’re actually interested in!

House 13. Solhagavägen. Reasonable in all ways, but not really exciting. We would probably have been tentatively interested if we hadn’t seen Skogsbacken. This one is in great state and needs no modernisation, but on the other hand it is twice as far from the station, and has a noticeably smaller garden. No buy.

As of today, I am an employee of Konsultbolag1 (“the consulting company”) which, despite the name, is not an IT consultancy. Instead they provide training, consulting services and software tools for requirements management and testing of IT systems. The software tools part is the one I’ll be working with.

Before we got to Sweden, I was fully prepared for several months of job hunting. There might be no relevant openings, or I might not like them, or they might not like me. In the end it took no more than two weeks. We appear to have arrived right at the top of the business cycle for the IT industry: every firm is clamoring for more staff, and employees can afford to pick and choose.

Monday two weeks ago I searched through Monster and picked out 8 ads that seemed relevant and/or interesting. I also sent my CV to the IT departments of a few large banks. On Tuesday, the day after, I got replies to a few of my letters, and more followed the day after. 10 days later I had already met 5 companies, some of them more than once.

My initial plan was to aim for the finance/IT intersection: banks, other financial institutions, firms writing financial software, perhaps even IT consultancies focusing on the finance industry. And yet I chose the one firm I met that has no links to the financial industry. They seemed like more fun than any of the others, frankly. I also feel that I don’t necessarily want to narrow my career to “IT within finance”. I would rather broaden my experience than focus it. For that same reason I am also not continuing with Winforms or Office integration, but sailing off into unknown waters: web development (with ASP.NET).

So I will be developing software that will help other people develop even more software. That feels strange in a way: kind of circular. But at the same time I am keenly aware of the importance of good dev tools (as my previous colleagues can attest!) and good tools give me warm fuzzy feelings. The world needs more good tools, there can never be enough.

House 6. Mellangårdsvägen. Removed from our list already during our pre-check (a few days before the viewing) when we saw that the house was close to a main road and a busy crossing. No buy.

House 7. Norra vägen. Nice inside, but the plot of land was small, and the whole area felt badly planned: the neighbouring houses were too many and too close. The view from the bedroom window was right onto someone else’s wall, and when we went to the back garden and I imagined myself sitting there in the sun in the summer, I also had to imagine 7 other households staring at me. No buy.

House 8. Solhemsbackarna. A terraced house, but the last one in a row, and right next to a commons. Looked good on the internet but in real life the interior felt small and the ceiling a bit low. Plus of course the area was full of dozens upon dozens of exact copies of the house. It was half the price of a detached house, but it really would have felt like a budget option, and we’re not that anxious to save money on this purchase. No buy.