Thursday, April 24, 2008

Home Sweet Home

It’s been nearly a month since we’ve lived in our new house. Todd and I were very concerned about how the dogs would handle the move—would they pee all over the house because the house smelled like other dogs? Thankfully only Griffen peed in the house once, and Nemo hasn’t at all. Once our furniture arrived our dogs happily curled up on the familiar smelling beds and couches, and they seemed to be more comfortable with being in a different house. Though I look at them and I wonder what they really think about this situation. Do they wonder when they are going to go home?

When we were outside at the old house, we’d begun using the command “Go home” to tell the dogs to go back into the house. I remember the Saturday morning after the closing my eyes meeting Todd’s the first time I said “Go home” to the dogs. We smiled at each other, because it was the first time we’d called this house "home."

I, on the other hand, am taking a bit longer to feel at home here. We bought this house from a man who was reluctant to sell the house. It’s not like we stormed up the driveway one day and knocked on the door and said “Sell us your house or else.” The house was on the market for a good six months before we’d ever seen it. We figured that because the house had been on the market for so long that he’d be willing to sell it.

No, that was not the case. We entered into an agreement with the guy three times before we managed to make it stick. It took a total of seven months to get the deal to work out after numerous tantrums by the seller. Our friends and family thought we were crazy to keep dealing with this guy, because it is a buyer’s market in Rhode Island (and just about everywhere else in the US) and that if he didn’t thank his lucky stars for having such a willing buyer, then we should walk.

But we fell in love with the house. We looked at others and didn’t find another house in the 7,000 some odd houses that are on the market in this state. After the seller threw the February tantrum (he threw so many in this process that I’ve begun to classify them by month) I said to Todd, “I am so over this guy. If you want to keep fighting it’s up to you. I am done with trying to buy this house.” He kept working at it, and I didn’t want to hear about the drama involved anymore because all it did was make me mad.

Finally the seller, whom at this point I’d begun calling Doofus McAssholeton, cried “Uncle” and we managed to set a closing date—which he ended up delaying by two weeks after we’d signed the agreement because he apparently had forgotten to pack his things and wouldn’t be ready to move out on time.

We finally arrived at the closing, and the extreme drama continued right up until the moment he signed the papers. After he signed his share, he stood up from the table preparing to leave.

“Aren’t you forgetting something?” the attorney asked him.

“What?” Doofus asked.

“The keys. You have to give them the keys,” she said sternly as she looked up from the mountain of paperwork that Todd and I would have to sign once he left.

An offended look passed over Doofus’s face, “They won’t need the keys. I’ve never locked the place and I’ve never had a problem. Besides, you guys are just going to change the locks, right?”

Every mouth at the table hung open. The attorney finally spoke up, “You need to give them the keys. The transaction is not complete until you give them the keys.”

He stood there seemingly confused at the concept of having to turn over the keys to the house he just sold. He relented, reached into this pocket, and then muttered something about how we should enjoy his house then stormed out of the room.

That night we slept in the house for the first time, before we’d had the chance to change the locks. Every single noise woke us from the sleep that seemed to be just a few inches out of our reach. The baseboard heater in the living room made a noise that sounded just like footsteps coming up the hardwood stairs from the basement. Every single noise made me paranoid that Doofus McAssholeton, the reluctant seller with who knows how many copies of the keys, was coming into the house to make trouble for us.

The next day Todd headed out to Lowe’s to get new locks and new garage door opener remotes, because Doofus had neglected to give them to us. This was also the day that I turned in from Beej the Fearless to Beej the batshit-crazy-paranoid. Every time Todd left the house, I’d instantly fled into a nervous panic. I was alone in the house, the phone wasn’t hooked up yet, and I don’t have a cell phone. Normally I would love to be alone in my vacant new house—wandering from room to room, daydreaming about the possibilities that paint and furniture would make real. No, I paced the floors in between cleaning the mess that Doofus had left behind. What on earth would I do if Doofus showed up? I couldn’t call Todd, or the police. Every time a car drove by the house my heart would begin to race until Todd returned home. Finally the phone was hooked up, Todd had changed the locks and reprogrammed the garage door openers so that they would work with our new remotes and I felt somewhat safer.

During that week a car with Massachusetts plates parked at the end of the driveway. It sat there for a good half hour, as I started nervously out the window at it and bit my fingernails down to nothing. I finally summoned some courage, stuffed the cordless phone into my pocket and walked down the driveway to get the mail from the box. I kept my eyes on the man in the car as I walked, and only took them off of him long enough to peer into the mailbox. He was sitting in the car talking on the phone—you know, actually using his cell phone responsibly and not using it while driving. I let out the breath I’d been holding as I walked back to the house, trying not to laugh at myself for being so paranoid.

We’ve since unpacked most of our things, bought furniture and slept here for 28 nights. Each morning I would shed a few paranoia molecules until I had none left. I’ve learned the house noises, and find them comforting instead of scary. After a seven month struggle I look around me and think “I am so happy we are here!”

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Blogger Unknown said...

I'm glad that you are adjusting to the new house. It always takes a while to adapt to the new noises in a house.

I hope Doofus continues to stay away and that you live happily in your new house.

April 24, 2008 at 7:06 PM  
Blogger Gypsy said...

Welcome home! :)

April 25, 2008 at 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, the adjustment period varies - and your circumstances would DEFINITELY argue for a long adjustment period.

Glad you're finally "home" again!

April 25, 2008 at 1:19 PM  

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