Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm getting there !

Well, I finalized the movers yesterday, gave them a deposit and set the move date. They will finish up the packing I chose not to do (mirrors, glass covered art, etc) and will load the truck on Dec 15th to move me on Dec 16th. now THAT felt real. Dealing with the movers.

They left after having been the third company yesterday to give me a walk-through estimate. I said goodbye at the door, sat down and started to cry. I do that lately -- just sit down and blubber a bit. I think it is just the release of stress, as there are no big sadness-laden feelings with it at all. Just relief. OK the mover is set -- BWAHHhhhhhh. On to the next hurdle.

There are a lot of hurdles. Next was getting my self-insured self insured in Massachusetts, which is complicated as far as transfers go, but doable. Then arranging to pick up unauctioned goods in Boston. Then calling my landlady to arrange details of my departure. She has been such a sweet soul. Then the usual bout of "new address" cards...then getting things like phone, cable, utilities turned off in one place and turned on in another.

I am surrounded by lists.

To Do Lists . To Buy Lists. Get at Home Depot Lists.

I have to go back and forth a bit to make sure work is progressing as it should in Massachusetts and that the workers have no need for more supplies. I'm bringing a second carload with me to save on moving costs. Every dime counts.

Meanwhile, I still have consultation projects. It's nice to have even a trickle of money coming in. Gratitude abounds!

So that is what is occupying my particular mood these days -- that and the urge for a nap.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A New Life Begins to Show Itself

I have given copies of my house keys to the two people (both of whom I know quite well) working on my house and to my best friend in town. I will be in and out during the next month, dividing my time between keeping things rolling in the new place, and packing up the old place.

At one point I was in the living room and when I walked into the kitchen, my friend was standing at the door, just there to see how I was doing. An old neighbor of my parents' stopped in. My cousin came over for coffee. These are the elements of everyday life for most people, and they never happen for the deep urban dweller. The "drop overs", between grocery shopping and fixing dinner -- the "stop-bys" for a cup of friendly coffee.

I love these rural civilities, and immediately became awash in memories of my mother, wiping her hands on her apron (or her dungarees as she called her jeans) on her way to the door to let in Avie, the neighbor, for his spontaneous and welcomed mooch of conversation and coffee. That was back in the day when people were part of the flow of each other's lives. ..when getting together did not have to be a production event complete with Martha Stewart place settings.

There were times when folks stopped by because they just made too many brownies, so here -- have some. Or because the garden had yielded way too many tomatoes, so here -- have some. Or the phone rang because someone was on their way to the store and would have to drive by your place, so did you need anything? Or you wanted company, so hey -- want to help me pick out paint?

Maybe this kind of life sounds familiar to those of you in less urban settings than I. I have lived either in Manhattan or within stone's throw of it for 25 years. Moving to semi-rural, college town-ish, educated, blue-collar, democrat-voting, family farming western Massachusetts is like dipping back in time for me. I love it.

I cannot begin to say how odd it feels to own a home. I can say that I sat in my kitchen, made myself a cup of coffee, sat down, looked out the back window into the yard to see black squirrels gamboling about the huge pine trees and thought -- "What a pretty yard this is."

I paused and started to cry as I thought -- "and it is mine."

Life. Amazing stuff.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It is official at last. I am a home owner.

I just got a call from my attorney. The funds have arrived. Tomorrow the deed will be registered. Tomorrow I drive to Massachusetts and walk through the door of my very own home. My first very-own-home ever. It has taken a year to find it and stumble through the financial disaster of the US banking industry. But stumble successfully I have; and I now have a home. At the crack of dawn tomorrow I will go to my car (which is loaded with stuff), drive to Massachusetts, pick up the key and go home.

Thank you so much -- all of you out here -- who have endured this year-long adventure with me. Your support has been so very extraordinary. I'd hug you all if I could.

I'm going to overlap renting here and mortgaging there for a month while work gets done on the new house. It's easier to have the whole interior painted, carpets ripped up etc if there is no one living there. And paint I must - every room in the house -- and I mean every yellow. Bright yellow, pale yellow, mustard yellow -- some shade of yellow.

The sellers have been wonderful. Three children are selling the home on behalf of their father who is in a nursing home. They could not have been more cooperative. The house is immaculate. There is not a crumb in a drawer. The garage floor looks like it is brand new. They left enough random pieces of furniture (after asking me what I needed) so that the transition from here to there would be easy --a table and chairs, bed, lamps, love seats. As I have never owned a home they left the snowblower, wheelbarrow, ladder, garden tools, lawn mover, patio furniture. They could not have been cleaner, kinder or more understanding.

Thanks again to all who hung in here with me and read all my ceaselessly nattering posts about the process.

I'll be there for Christmas. My oh my -- what an Advent it has been and is becoming.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Still no closing

So I drove to Massachusetts - about 150 miles down the road my attorney called to say that the closing may be later in the day, but that it would happen, so "keep on driving'. I did.

The closing didn't happen.

I waited all day for the funds to arrive from the lender, through the Fed and into my attorney's escrow account. I signed documents. Drank coffee. Drove around. Did a final walk through.

No money.

They tell me the lender said they released it late. One blames one, the other blames the other.

Monday is a bank holiday in Massachusetts (Vet's Day).

I drove back 200 miles to NJ.

Tuesday I get to try again.

I called the contractors and held them all off AGAIN.

Maybe Tuesday I'll have a house -- oh, but the town I am buying the house in does not register home purchases on Tuesday.

I asked my attorney if he could do it at the next town over, and he said yes, he would.

All of any of this remains to be seen.

Tune in later for the ongoing saga.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Diwali!

To all who celebrate this lovely holiday, may it bring you and your family much joy!

For those who would like to learn more, has lots of info under Diwali.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The saga sags along

It's been a rough week. In addition to having my mortgage vanish due to no fault of my own, I heard from my realtor and my mortgage broker that banks and lending institutions have become increasingly skittish and are turning down well-qualified people left and right -- at alarming rates during the past few weeks. As a self-employed consultant, I wondered how a nervous bank would react to my profession. Plus I was just nervous after the last incident. Everyone kept insisting I was a "strong and stable applicant" for a mortgage, but in this crazy market, who could predict? My own realtor who has been in the biz for a long time said she couldn't predict.

So I have not been sleeping well, have been re-examining whether or not I should move, have been planning for what I might do if I could not get a loan (invade my retirement funds???) and on and on. I have been moments away from breaking out into hives. The phone rings and I leap. I dream about wandering.

I have been calling my mortgage broker and my realtor every day. I have been IMing with friends about it, talking on the phone and face to face with friends about it, trying to get my mind off it -- and packing boxes anyway. I have been praying. I have tried to be hopeful.

Meanwhile I have put contractors on hold who had been scheduled to do work ...sigh.

And I bought some boxes and packed some more. Packing became a faith statement. If my stuff was in boxes, I must be going somewhere.

I asked God if this was a message or just a fluke. Should I be learning something about this other than how to go with the flow? Or was flowing the lesson?

Leave it to me and my Olympian capacity for worry ---not only did I fret about the mortgage, but I got to worry that I was missing whatever message might be attached .

I decided to just methodically get through each day -- doping one "progress-enhancing thing" a day, as hard as that was. I wanted to keep the ship of my life pointed toward newness.

It sucked. I wish I could be rosy about it. It sucked. It sucked going through it without a life partner, too, while I am bitching about suckiness. But OK, maybe that was the lesson. That I could get through it alone -- or actually not alone -- because of my superlative support network of friends who have upheld me in this process.Maybe that was part of the message,to shut the heck up and see how lucky I really am -- ya' think? I always need to hear that part.

People are dying of hunger, being torn apart by war and disease, and I feel like a mess because I am waiting for a mortgage? How dare I! I am lucky to have this as a problem, fortunate beyond measure to have this as a problem. Mata, I said to myself, shut up and pack a box.

So that is what I was doing when my mortgage broker called this afternoon to say that we have a new lender and that we are now aiming for a Friday closing.

Amen, folks, amen.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Well, it almost worked

I was driving to Massachusetts to close on my house. When I got to the town, I called the friends where I was staying -- they said my realtor had called and wanted me to call her back -- no message. This did not sound good. I pulled the car into a parking area and called her on my cell.

I -- like 70% of all Americans -- used a mortgage broker to find me a mortgage. My broker was a respectable operation with multiple office in the state. Allegedly, one of the principals of the main office in the group (not the one I was using) did something they weren't supposed to do and the state levied a "Cease and Desist" order for all offices in the group while they investigated,with instructions that any banks dealing with this company that had approved mortgages in the pipeline should just go ahead and fulfill the mortgages. All the banks did that -- except for the bank my mortgage was going to be with --- they did not fulfill any of their mortgages and backed out of all pending deals because of the Cease and Desist.

So there I was at the 11th hour. No mortgage. I spent the next day in Massachusetts rounding up what I needed to do to get this all rolling again. It should take a week or two to get another mortgage. I went ahead and put my money in escrow for the house at my attorney's. The seller agreed to wait, as I am obviously mortgage worthy and this debacle is not my fault. My attorney said that in 30 years of being in the biz he has never seen anything like this.

Oh goodie. I am unique.

I am now just going on faith that it will work out. I don't think that everything happens for a reason -- thank God -- or I would be cranky at God right now. As it is, I am just asking Him to help me slide into my new life with less drama. I am working on staying calm. Either that or I am beyond stress -- into some kind of nether region where all is well. Either way, I am doing fine, and just putting one foot in front of the other. I went out and bought linens for the guest bedroom in the new house, and a new coffee maker for the house. It is rather a faith statement.

So this delays contractor work, throws off my schedule, nixes my move date -- oh well, Life is a Cabaret, old chum. Come to the caaaa...baaaaaaaaret.
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