Last week I traveled to Wisconsin to visit my siblings and to attend WisRWA’s 2013 Write Touch Conference. I also, unexpectedly, bought a house.
It’s been a long eighteen months since my loss. During that time, I’ve kept busy with my day job and various house projects. But despite living in the East for close to 25 years, at heart I’m still a Midwesterner; most of my family still lives there. Last year I decided that when I retired in 2014, I would move closer to home. A logical decision, one that felt right in spite of the added drama so many nearby kinfolk might bring into my life.
On the Internet I began to follow the southern Wisconsin housing market. On trips, I began dragging siblings with me to see houses. Most recently, I made offers on two separate houses, both non-productive. On this particular trip, however, nothing seemed to fit. Last Wednesday, after two afternoons of seeing an assortment of selected listings, I parted with my realtor and headed back to my brother’s. “We’ll find something next visit,” I thought. “There’s time.”
Minutes later, my realtor called about a new listing she’d just seen on their in-house board.
When I drove up the quiet, tree-lined street to meet her in front of the brick Cape Cod, its traditional charm greeted me. Mid-tour through the empty house, I called my local sibs, pleading with them to meet me at the house despite the busy dinner hour. During their tour, each of them privately pulled me aside. Although they may rarely agree on much, each said the same thing. “If you don’t buy it, I will.”
An hour later, back in the realty office over take-out pizza and store-bought peanut butter cookies, my realtor guided me through my offer to buy. My husband and I, during our 38 years together, bought four houses. And, as mentioned above, over the past few months I’d written up two other offers. This still felt strange, alone. At the form’s bottom, there are two spaces for the buyer to sign – generally husband and wife. I signed the top line, noting the other line with a degree of sadness. Thoughts raced through my mind. It’s serious business, committing to buy a house, alone. It’s serious business, committing oneself to an 850-mile move into retirement, alone.
Of course, I’m not alone. Everywhere loved ones reach out in support. My friends. My realtor. My family. My sons. And always, my husband. During the very long 22-hour wait for the seller to respond to my offer, I felt his warm presence. I believe he would love this house. (Well, maybe not some of the wallpaper, but that can be replaced.)
Right now I’m in mid-process. Inspections completed with closing scheduled for summer. With luck, all will move smoothly. It’s a friendly house with good bones. With some repairs and a few minor changes to make it my own, it will comfortably meet my needs when I retire and in years to come. It’s a bright, airy house that, next year, I’ll make into my home.
I’m moving forward.
By the way, the WisRWA Write Touch Conference was great. I heard dynamic speakers, enjoyed wonderful visits with old friends, and savored the joy of forming new friendships. At times, though, I had a tough time focusing on conference business. In my mind I kept walking through the rooms of my new house. I stripped wallpaper, arranged furniture, entertained family and friends, read, and created new stories in that glorious sun room. I’m glad my roommate and other writer friends were understanding, and that our Keynote Speaker, Michael Hauge, offered a DVD. ♥