Monday, August 10, 2015

Adrift, Anxiously Agonizing

It’s been a difficult weekend. Nothing quite like getting disturbing news on a Friday afternoon, right before the close of business so you get to sweat and agonize for an entire weekend, and Monday morning as well before anyone can get through mandatory meetings to sift email and answer questions.

This has been ugly. One thing after another. Hurdle after hurdle, and those hurdles have teeth. And it can still end if the seller says, “fuck this. We’re outta here.” I wouldn’t blame them in the least and I hold no animosity toward them if they do pull out.

All things considered, I’ve held it together pretty well, but I can pretty much guarantee you the first person to say, “If it was meant to be, it will be. Maybe this just wasn’t meant for you,” or, “god has something better in mind for you,” is going to find breathing difficult and my hands will probably cramp waiting for them to stop struggling.

Seriously, that platitude of “if it was meant to be, it will be” is a one-way ticket to a special place in hell, a place forgotten by gods and demons alike, where only the denizens of shattered dreams and “just out of reach” and “snatched from the palm of your hand,” dwell.

One does not go looking for a house, sees a listing with the required number of bedrooms and bathrooms and says, “Yeah, this will work. We’ll take it.” One (generally) shops around, looks through houses and mentally puts themselves into these places, fitting their lives in the surroundings, seeing if it will fit. They check out how the sunlight comes through windows, how the floor plan flows, if it’s a quiet location, or surrounded with noise. They put themselves in these places and when they find one that fits, they are suddenly bonded. They’ve found their home and they know they want to be there.

Then the paperwork starts and the lender begins to ask for obscure items that may or may not be easily accessible. Misfiled taxes have proven to be my Achilles heel and a single form now stands between me and the house where I wanted to bring my parents to live out their lives in comfort and safety.

The paperwork snafu is going to be our undoing, and it has hit us pretty hard. Getting the news late Friday meant we had a whole weekend to drown in the questions of “what do we do now?” and “can we even fix this?” It feels much like watching the rope being pulled up just as your lifeboat gets close to the rescue ship. Adrift with no oars or motor. One thing I hate is feeling directionless and with no answers coming from those who don’t work weekends (lenders) I had no way to stabilize my emotions and things got bleak. Very bleak. At least now I recognize that feeling I’ve been having for years is anxiety. I never realized it until this weekend. Putting a name to it gives me a little bit of control. I still feel horrible, but I know I’m not dying, I just feel like I am. Being without direction makes me very anxious.

It took me two and a half days to come up with another plan, but I did it. I stood up and threw a fucking rock at the Universe and told it to get the hell off my lawn. Moving here has been pushed back. Fine. I’ll get my house ready for market first. As soon as it sells, I’m outta there, heading to my parents’ place in Oregon. We’ll get their place cleared out and on the market, although they already have a potential buyer for their place, so it may not take too long.

Once their place sells, we find a spot on the coast and cash out the deal, cutting the lenders off at the pockets. Fuck them. Fuck them all. They’ve been digging through my shorts long enough and I’m done. The sellers are done. We’re throwing our rocks and chasing the paperwork out of the yard. My anxiety keeps shifting to anger and the rocks keep getting bigger. The one I’ve been held under is next.

I can’t wait to throw it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Home Sweet Homes

Who said buying a house was simple? Anyone? Anyone at all? No? I thought not, and I can assure you, those words, in that order, will NEVER pass through my lips. EVER!

A simple miscommunication started this whole thing off on the wrong foot. Well, that and the fact that my stupid tablet wouldn’t allow me to transfer much-needed documents to the bank’s website for uploading to the loan gods. So, everything had to go via email, and for the most part, email is pretty damn quick, unless the recipient is busy with other things (imagine, someone busy doing things that AREN’T my loan application) then email can be slower than hell.

But, the miscommunication was odd. I had mentioned the phrase “closing date” several times in various emails during the process, yet it wasn’t until we were 10 days away from said “closing date” and I asked (at the firm behest of my realtor) how things were going because we were getting close.

It was at that point the lender said, “What? You signed a contract? You have a closing date? I need that paperwork now!”

Oh, that was fun.

Toss in the old, “we don’t lend unless you’re going to live there full time” bit, so I had to explain that my parents would be living there full time and paying part of the mortgage. THEN I was told it would be better if they were included in the whole deal, so we had to pretty much start over with their stuff, and since they don’t have a computer, it got even more complicated. I won’t tell you what happened when I mentioned the shop. Gawd…

Sprinkle in the suspected early stages of dementia for my mom, a trip to the hospital for my father, and a host of other memorable disasters, and that pretty much sums up my summer so far.

And, as of today’s date, we STILL haven’t closed. Have I mentioned I signed the original contract in May, and our closing date was supposed to be July 1st? It’s August and we’re “going to be cutting it close” to the extended closing date of August 10th. “Cutting it close” were the exact words the loan processor used.

No shit. I'm not sure, but that just might mean we have the loan. Of course, nothing is certain until we sign the papers, and that hasn't even been arranged yet, so who knows? It could all fall to pieces at the very last second. I love having that hanging over my head.

But one of the most stressful aspects of this ordeal is the houses in which we currently reside. See, the house in which my parents are living is one my grandfather built. The property holds many of my childhood memories, as well as those of my children. It is near and dear to our hearts, but there is no way we can manage the property from 400 miles away. Then my mother got a phone call from a friend who said there is someone interested in the property, if they’re interested in selling…

In a way, it’s an answer we need, and a way to move forward, but my mother is a packrat/hoarder and there is a LOT of stuff that needs to be sifted through and dealt with. I’m a little overwhelmed at the thought of it. But I will miss that place; that land of spring breaks, summer vacations, and the wonder of watching my children experience rural living for a few weeks every year. Feeding chickens, geese, turkeys, goats, tending the garden… All the things I got to do with my grandfather, they got to do with their grandmother. My father is, and always will be a city boy, but he showed them the joys of “fixing” stuff.

Then there’s my home. I’ve lived there, off and on (more on than off), for my entire life. My parents brought me to that house when I was six months old. I raised my children there from early grade school to graduation. Talk about memories.

But I must sell it and my heart aches. That house has sheltered me and kept me safe for many years. It has watched over my family and my pets since before I could remember. If someone were to dig up the back yard, they would find many skeletons of dearly beloved pets that were killed on the busy street, because back then, there were NO indoor cats, and every dog I’ve ever owned there has figured out how to get out of the back yard and many of them died tragically.

Some memories are not sweet.

As hard as it was, I finally came to the realization that I do love that house, but there is no way I can manage the upkeep by myself. The yard is large and complicated, the house is in need of repair, and I don’t have the money right now to do it. Unless I win the lottery, that money will not be in my bank account any time soon.

So in the name of moving forward in my life and letting go of the past, I’m selling my childhood home. I’m not selling the memories, just the house in which they live.

I can almost write that without crying. Almost.

I know it’s for the best, and to be honest, when the house sells, the debts to the shop will be cleared, and we can even boost the account and upgrade some fixtures, increase inventory, and expand our online sales. Be successful.

It is all good, and positive, and for the best, and, and, and… the ache in my heart for the home I love is deep and painful. What I want is for someone to buy it and love it, and fix it up and make it beautiful and love it as much as I do.

It deserves that much for all it has done for me over the years.

Monday, August 3, 2015


The other evening, we were hanging out at home doing important things like goofing off on the computers. It was just the six of us: Tam, me, and the three stooges (Freya Fish Whore, Thud the Wonder Lump, Meow, and Shrieking Chaos (the bird, not a stooge)).

It was quiet and we were all doing our own things. Tam was playing a game, I was editing my novel, and the cats were high as hell on a spilled bag of catnip. In fact, the cats were stoned to the point of seeing tracers of air molecules, and had finally settled down to watch the show.

It was quiet. It was calm…

Until a moth flew into my face, then spun around and attempted to go spelunking in my nasal passages. I forced its exit with loud noises and waving my arms.

Shrieking Chaos split the air with her special alarm and the cats went into action.

Freya Fish Whore and Thud the Wonder Lump attempted to perform the “elevate 10 feet off the floor and extended every piece of fur to the fullest” maneuver. This would have been quite spectacular, except Thud the Wonder Lump was under the rocking chair, and Freya Fish Whore had been chillin’ in the cat cave, an upside-down box we acquired from the lovely folks at Costco. The rocking chair moved a few inches, and the box was lifted to a respectable height. Meow, while not quite so acrobatic, utilized her claws effectively on Tam’s body while opening her eyes to the size of dinner plates.

Tam staunched the bleeding on her arm while we both laughed rudely at their antics.

Freya Fish Whore was the first to recover and demand answers. “ACK! What? What? You see monster? What monster? Where monster?” she asked from deep inside the box that was now full of fur. “It must be huge for you to make such a noise. Why you not run away?”

“It was a moth, and I don’t need to run because it is all gone. It flew over there.”

“Moth. Moth. Moth,” Thud muttered. I think his ears were still ringing from the bonk he acquired when he attempted 10 foot leap while under the rocking chair.

“I SEE IT!” Meow said. “I see ALL of them! Wow, they’re SO PRETTY! LOOK! PRETTY! I’m going to chase them.” Unfortunately she missed her agility roll and took a bit of a detour to the floor next to the chair. “I’m all right,” she said, her voice muffled by the bag that caught her. “Oh, hey, nap time.”

Thud the Wonder Lump slowly crept out from under the chair and began tapping the floor, looking like something out of a blond mine-detector joke. Tap, tap, tap. Creep forward, tap, tap, tap, all the while muttering, “Moth, moth, moth, ACK! Nope. Moth? Moth. Moth! ACK! Nope. Damn, my head hurts.” Every time I twitched my foot, his fur would stand on end. My foot was very twitchy for a few moments.

Freya Fish Whore gave me a dirty look, then came over and rubbed her bottom on my bare shin. “Here,” she said, giving her tail a little shake, “I saved this part especially for you. Oh, and you gonna wanna check your shoes for a week, maybe more. I might have surprise for you.”

So, I’m still not a cat person…