The Perfect Storm

In case anyone has been wondering when I would reach my limit: Tuesday, October 30. 3:13pm. That’s when my brain oozed out my ears and I turned into that pink slime that runs under New York City in “Ghostbusters 2.”

Obviously, the house buying is a big part of it. Turns out, so are Jack and Sandy – two characters from dueling rock stars’ songs that have ravaged my heart in equal parts.

Wow. That was some nauseatingly dramatic prose, right there.

We basically know the Jack story. I mean it’s devolved since last I wrote about it, but who cares. (That’s a period because I don’t have the emotional energy required for a question mark.) He’s not really in my life anymore. The problem is that he’s still in my head, so it’s Groundhog Day all the time. It’s what my friend Angie and I call a “baseline crisis.” Always there, low level, but easy to access via any other life drama. Anything else that comes up brings him with it.

Sandy proved to be so crushing to the Jersey Shore that I ache with every photo and video I see. We don’t yet know how my parents’ house down there is; it’s on one of the barrier islands down south, and no one can get out there right now. The great majority of the coverage has been from areas north of Atlantic City. I don’t know how to describe the feeling of seeing all these images. The one place in the world that has consistently brought me peace since my childhood has been destroyed.

Those who don’t have a personal connection to the Jersey Shore tend to make jokes, but in 24 hours, people’s entire lives and lifelong memories got washed away. Every business there is a small business. They’re all mom & pops. Tourist season will take a big hit and the entire state’s economy will suffer.  Not to mention the people whose life dream has been carried out to sea. I’ve been told that every storm is bad for every region it hits, and that’s true. But this one is personal, and it goes beyond devastating.

Fortunately, all my friends and family up and down the seaboard are fine, including those in Jersey and New York (though some friends have lost cars, and others haven’t seen their kid since Saturday because they’ve been working and the kid’s been home in Hoboken with the nanny, cut off from the world and now apparently set to be evacuated by the National Guard. They didn’t ignore an evacuation warning, to be clear. Shit just got real in ways they didn’t expect).

Rewind: While I was worrying about the then-looming storm and what it would unleash on the coast, my city and my workplace, I’d spent the weekend unable to get a hold of Hottie McHousehunter. I kinda needed to know what might happen to what, in retrospect, was the adorable idea of closing on the house Tuesday. I finally reached him Monday afternoon. I was at work. HMcH told me he was at home, thinking about how apparently the only thing people do in hurricanes is drink milk and use the bathroom, based on grocery store shelf data. (As opposed to my preferred method of storm preparation: wine, books and non-perishable tasty food… and what I really do instead: pack a bag and go to work.) When Hottie confirmed that closing was on hold until the house can be checked out again, and that the earliest that would happen is Thursday, that was it. There was nothing else that could be done. I had to switch my brain off homebuyer mode.

Except for constantly wondering if there was a sewage backup in the basement. Or water. Or a roof leak. Or a window leak. Or fish in the toilet. I mean don’t get me wrong – I was glad I didn’t sign on Friday and own the place when the entire ocean decided to migrate westward and bring a seaboard-sized wind tunnel with it, while I had to be at work just wondering if all these things were happening on my dime.

But anyone who’s bought a house knows the stress, and the constant “the underwriter needs this,” “the underwriter needs that,” “the seller says this,” “the inspector says that,” “the underwriter wants to see this again.” I was hoping all of that would be over as of Tuesday. As I mentioned in a previous post, my very carefully constructed schedule of painting and moving with no time off has collapsed. The light at the end of the tunnel suddenly went out and I sort of started rocking back and forth and muttering nonsensically.

When I got back into work Tuesday afternoon after being there til 2am, I discovered that someone had jacked up my computer and forwarded calls from some random phone to mine. Could I unforward them? Nope. And all of a sudden every little thing had me irked. Soon I felt that everyone needed to just be quiet until I told them they were allowed to speak again. But it wasn’t until someone teased me that I’m not actually from the Jersey Shore and therefore can’t “own” the disaster there that I realized I was a woman on the edge. I actually cried. And then I sat there going, “Why am I crying?”

Call forwarding. That was my undoing.

I got home Tuesday night around 11pm, poured a very large glass of wine and laid down on my couch. (Tricky drinking. I did it. I win.) I zoned out to “Sex and the City” reruns and tried to let everything that had been adding up in my head go away. I slept for 11 hours.

HMcH called on my way to work and said the bank wanted to close today. No can do. So then it was going to be Thursday. And now Friday.

By the time I actually own this house, I’m just going to lie down on the floor and whimper.

And then have Hottie McHousehunter over to warm it.

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13 thoughts on “The Perfect Storm

  1. The pictures are devastating, I can only imagine how horrible that is when the area is actually part of cherished memories. The best thing is that your parents are okay. I’m thinking of you. Hang tough.

    • I’m very glad that everyone I know heeded the warnings and got the hell out of the way. Well, almost everyone, but the people I know who stayed are okay. My parents are checking out their house today – first day anyone’s been allowed back on the island. Thank you.

  2. Seriously? I hadn’t heard that!! In my North Carolina coastal experience, nor’easters were often more damaging that hurricanes. Nobody needs that right now. Sending good juju your way. But the new house is ok? And as for the Jack thing….sigh…I know what you’re talking about. That will get better too. Buying a house actually was a big, big step for me in getting over my last relationship.

    • Yeah. Sandy wound up being a hurricane/nor’easter hybrid and now it looks like there’s another one coming (minus the hurricane). The upper east coast just can’t catch a break. The new house is okay so far – hopefully the nor’easter doesn’t back up sewage from floodwaters after so much rain.

  3. Oh my heck. We are so on the same page; running near identical time lines. The hurricane hijacked me a wee bit, too, as a lot of money magically got “lost” and then no one was looking because of the hurricane. My carpet, fortunately, has been ordered before all the other hurricane orders go in, and at this point {knock on wood} my timeline is intact.

    I was able to check on our house, too, although I wasn’t nearly as worried since I’m just over 2 miles away right now and we just got the edge of the storm. I don’t have a basement to worry about, but things looked pretty well intact.

    I actually wrote on this topic this morning.

    I confess to getting a bit snarky with my loan processor over this last bit. And the bit before that. And the part before that. They basically accused me making up and shitting out money.

    I think those underwriters should be strung up, honestly. They are the ones who enforced (unethically, imo) all those high-risk mortgages that crashed and burned and are now making it hell for us legitimate folks with required funds and good credit ratings. I don’t think they nearly got penalized enough personally, but really, everything runs downhill, which is why they are totally unreasonable now.

    I am very glad you waited, too. This way, things can get inspected and fixed if you need them to be before you move in, or at least not coming out of your pocket for repair.

    I think today is the first day I’m not in ‘fighter’ mode for about the last two weeks.

    I am reminding myself to breathe. I’s going to be ok, however it works out. {{{hugs}}}

    • Yes, it’s true that the loan officers allowed things to happen that shouldn’t have happened. I don’t object to their due diligence now; I can verify that I’m a deserving loan recipient. I only object to the trickling pace of their requests. Give me a list of everything you need, and i’ll give you what you need. Stop emailing me every day saying, “Now we need this.” Come on. Get it together. To you this is nothing. To me it’s my single biggest move in my life. But you’re right. Everything will get done, and be fine, eventually.

      And then there will be a blizzard.
      :-) Hugs back!

      • *Exactly.* Don’t change what you say you need after I HAVE ALREADY GIVEN YOU WHAT YOU REQUESTED! I mean, really? This is what I kept running into. I’d give them what they requested and then get told, “Ok, we really need this other information now, too.”

        At some point, it’s like- “THERE’S NOTHING MORE TO GIVE YOU BESIDES BLOOD AND MY CHILDREN!” :lol:

        When they started requesting information from the old job that has no bearing not only on this job but also on current pay, I just rolled my eyes and sent them everything for the last 3 months. And gave copies of not only W2s, but also tax returns for the last 3 years. In addition to everything else they requested. {Except, oh joy, my mortgage processor just let me know that the one piece that we requested by fax yesterday get sent to him actually didn’t, so gee, looks like my closing date isn’t firm again. *sigh*}

        I figure, they just really not be familiar with federal law and retirement accounts, but also with people who change jobs, move, and have great credit.

        It’s tempting to just roll over and give up, until you remember that the finish line is in sight, even if it keeps moving. Eventually, it will end. It has to. :D

  4. I’m so sorry things are going crappy. Everything evens out in the end, of course, but that doesn’t make the now any easier to deal with. I hope your parent’s house has minimal damage, your new house has no damage, and Hottie McHouseHunter is super warm. Hot even.

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