(wo)man plans, God laughs

Wow, second post in 10 days… What’s wrong with me??? Just kidding; I wish I could keep up this kind of blogging pace year-round. Anyway, a lot has changed since I wrote the previous post.

That house, the merits of which I spent so much debating 10 days ago? We didn’t get it. We were cautiously moving forward and had scheduled an inspection for May 10. Then, last Saturday evening, our agent called to let us know an offer was being submitted by another prospective buyer and we had to act quickly. We thought about it overnight, and by Sunday morning we had our minds made up: we were going to submit our offer too. What followed was a mad rush to get the paperwork done by noon on Sunday, which was the original deadline that was given to us, and then, after an extension from the listing agent, by noon on Monday. The offer went in at noon sharp – is this a safe place to admit we didn’t read it until after signing because there was literally not a minute to spare? – and then this morning we learned that the sellers decided to go with the other offer.

We continued to have doubts about the house up until the phone call from the agent announcing that it wasn’t going to happen, but at the same time we had started to grow emotionally attached to it. Not through convincing ourselves that it was perfect, but through beginning to imagine how we would deal with its imperfections.  We would figure out the internet situation, we told each other. Sign up for satellite internet for now, then find some way to get an access point for wireless internet installed within range of the house, maybe get the neighbors organized to make this happen. Install a second stove in the master bedroom so we don’t have to heat it with expensive electric heat, and change out the propane stove in the living room for a wood stove to save costs. We – or at least I – began to imagine moving in, settling down, making it work. Now, the search has to continue. Some day, there will be a different house. A home.

On a related note, our life in the house we’ve been renting for nearly a year and a half, ever since moving to the Methow Valley, is coming to an end. Two days after I wrote my previous post, on May 1, our landlords gave us 30 days’ notice. Turns out they got 30 days’ notice from their own landlord, who wants to start using the house he’s been renting to them. So, they have no choice but to move into this house that they’ve been renting to us. The timing is actually not that bad for us; moving in the middle of winter, when there is little tenant turnover and few rentals becoming available, would have been a lot worse. And, we’d been planning to leave for Alaska for the summer anyway, and hopefully buy a house at some point between now and next winter. Still, this development caught us by surprise, and means that we will not have a place to live after May 31. No permanent address. We’ve never been in a situation like this, unless you count the month of August 2006, when we stayed with my parents in Los Angeles during our two-stage move from New York to Seattle, and then the three or so weeks in September 2006, our first weeks in Seattle, when we house-sat for a couple of University of Washington professors and then stayed with a friend of a friend and his roommates while we looked for an apartment to rent. So I take that back, it’s not actually true that we haven’t gone through this before. We have. And we will, again, if need be.

I can’t quite remember how it felt those first few weeks in Seattle, whether it weighed on me that we didn’t have a place to live, whether there was a sense of urgency. (I do remember how frustrating it was to try to criss-cross an unfamiliar city by bus to look at apartments, and how amazed we were to learn, when responding to an ad that was maybe a day or two old, that the managers had already received dozens of applications for that vacant unit.) This time, I feel fairly confident that things will work out. In a large part, this is thanks to friends we have met here in the valley. One person has already offered to rent his house to us while he moves into an RV or a soon-to-be-converted garage on his property. There are a couple of other people we could likely stay with short-term; definitely we could at least camp on their property.  We may be able to store our stuff in a friend’s barn (if that does not work out, there are storage units for rent). Friends are helping us move, as well as restore our rental and take care of a few things that need to be fixed on the property prior to moving out. And, the right home may just come on the market this summer, ideally before we head to Alaska, so we might avoid – or at least minimize – the entire “between homes” scenario.

Meanwhile, there is sorting and packing to do (what goes into storage vs. what comes with us on our trip vs. what gets tossed or donated), floors to clean, a window pane to replace, accounts to close… It’s a busy month, and it makes me happy to be able to sneak away from all the busywork to write in this space, or to walk by the creek in the evening and admire the old apple trees coming into bloom.




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