The first thing I did in my house was cup my hands under a running faucet and slurp two mouthfuls of cold water.

In a day that felt like a week, I had gotten up early and met with HMcH and the seller at the house to go over what the seller did and did not want to do after Sandy rained her rain into my… not yet my… house. He would do almost everything I wanted, the seller. He had, already. He and… I don’t know, someone… had gotten up on the roof, found the source of the leak in the flashing around the old chimney erected five generations before I had set foot inside the door. The whole chimney had been re-tarred (suddenly, in my mind, the quick image of Dick VanDyke, sooty and techincolored, cheerful and singing above London). The wall was not ripped out like I wanted out of an abundance of caution. The seller (also the builder) had a perfectly reasonable explanation for why not, and I understood his point.

I debated the virtue of better-than-good-enough versus the ideal of perfection. Weighed it against the value of the deal.

Without question, he added a 12-month builder’s warranty. Top-to-bottom, everything including structural, roof, plumbing, systems and all problems short of fire, violence and volcanic eruption.

(To be clear: volcanic eruption was really listed in the things not covered by the warranty. And no. There are no volcanoes here.)

At 10:00am, HMcH told me that if we closed at 3pm, we would avoid the need to extend the mortgage contract.

Sitting in my car, I knew that the only reason to hold off was my own fear. Fear of the rain. So I called my dad, because all girls need their dads, even at 35. And I called my friend Mickey, who rehabs houses and has been an invaluable resource. Both of them heard the details of the meeting. Both gave the deal the green light.

I went to the chiropractor.

I called HMcH.

“Let’s go,” I said.

Then I went to the therapist. Coincidentally, but not unnecessarily.

To the bank after that, to re-draw the cashier’s check for $200 less than two days before, a difference in pro-rating with fees and closing costs. It got cheaper for me to buy a house. At the teller’s window, I got a text from Joey. “At bank, drawing ridiculously large check,” I replied. “On way to close on house. Will talk to you later,” I said.

The phone beeped “Yay!!”

After, somehow, fewer signatures than I expected, fewer initials and far less tedium and tension… after a lifetime of thinking, years of saving… after months of looking and months of anxiety… after weeks of packing and days of worrying… I bought a house.

My first house.

It’s not a lot. But it’s brickfront and soffit, marble stoop and hardwood floor, granite counters and glowing light.

And it’s mine.

Just mine.

With all the pride, and all the fears, and all the hope, and all the potential.

Packed full with my life, even though there’s not a single thing in it yet.

My house.

And may peace be upon it.


14 thoughts on “Building

  1. No place that you live will ever be as much a sanctuary as a house you own. No landlords, no condo boards, no dysfunctional neighbours screaming at each other just four inches beyond the apartment wall. It is truly a wonderful feeling to cross that threshold each day knowing it is yours. Congratulations 🙂

  2. Congratulations! Isn’t it crazy how minor the paperwork seems after such a long road to arriving at the table? May your home be blessed with the laughter of friends, the stories of strangers, and a chilled bottle of bubbles in your fridge at all times.

    • Thank you for those blessings – I hope every word comes true. And yes, it is crazy! I had the paperwork all built up in my head like my hand would cramp up. Everyone kept saying, “just sign, don’t read, just sign.” And yeah, it’s a lot of words, but signing wasn’t hard. Neil Gaiman said on the radio last night that he once signed 4,000 books in one sitting. The house was nothing! Especially compared to the heart attack I’ve had daily for the last two months.

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