I should have written this on Tuesday. It's the quietest day in the office, perfect for navel-gazing about what it's like to be a wannabe first-home buyer in Auckland's crazy, crazy (yes, it's worth saying twice) property market.
I didn't write this on Tuesday. I couldn't. I'd come off a three-day househunting bender. I didn't want to look at the word house, let alone write it.
Buying a house — in which I include apartments, units and stand-alone homes — in Auckland is not for the faint-hearted.
For me, all of three weeks in, it has already been one helluva ride. Lord help me, and those who have to/choose to listen to me if I'm on this ride too long.
Everyone says it's hard buying your first home. But has it ever been this hard? I don't know. It certainly ain't easy.
I started my hunt for a one-bedroom unit three Sundays ago. Three days later the auction of an Avondale unit, albeit renovated, for $125,000 over CV signalled I should look lower.
On to apartments. A good one appeared immediately and it had an asking price. An asking price, in Auctionland?!
I am but a newborn in the househunting fun fair but I reckon that asking price was a tender process in all but name. The sale was also quicker than Ben Johnson on steroids. The ad was posted on TradeMe on Thursday, a single open home took place on Saturday and the deadline for making an offer in the multiple offer process was Tuesday.
I work Saturdays and the agent said the tenants would allow no further viewings or any interior photographs to be taken so would you believe the first offer I ever made on a property was sight unseen? I can hardly believe it myself.
It wasn't a fun couple of days.
I was researching the market, juggling the bank, lawyer and agent as the sale and purchase agreement flicked back and forth like a yo-yo as conditions were added.
And I had work. Sorry to my bosses for being distracted.
The lawyer asked if the agent was pressuring me and I honestly didn't know the answer — was it the agent or was it Auckland's rampant property market?
Another offer was accepted, one with only the Lim report as a condition.
I have no family in Auckland but they have been a big help over the phone, and friends and colleagues here have been great, too.
The Propertytoolbox website is invaluable, although some advice, such as arranging a second viewing before making an offer, sounds quaint in my limited experience.
A colleague predicted I would be "f***ing ropeable" at the news leaked sales figures indicated the number of people with Chinese names buying houses in Auckland is out of whack with the number who were born or live here.
Maybe it's because I've had only one disappointment, or it's because I don't have time to invest emotion into something I feel utterly powerless to change.
Or maybe (and I think this may be it) I'm afraid to slide into bitterness.
Bitterness kills hope and hope is a precious commodity when you want something that is not easy to get.
Hope gets you to open home after open home on your day off. It fuels the chutzpah you need to ask endless dumb questions.
And it keeps you on task as you read mindnumbingly boring (except the juicy bits about residents' petty arguments) body corporate minutes when you'd rather be watching cat videos on YouTube.
I'm lucky I still have hope. I know good people who work hard and have given up on home ownership.
What a profound feeling of alienation that must be, watching our "rock star economy" march on without them.
I don't have the answer. But I hope someone does, and if they have the power to help, they do.
• Cherie Howie is a Herald on Sunday reporter trying to buy her first home.