This past Wednesday, I closed on my new house. It was a tedious, overwhelming process that it was a bit numbing. I had to sign so many papers at the title company (don’t even get me started what a racket that all is) and had to hand over a hefty cashier’s check for my down payment and closing costs that I really didn’t even have time to think, “Oh my God! I’m buying a house!” All of those thoughts, and the nerves that came with them, were in full force leading up to this rather anti-climatic moment. But they weren’t there that day as my hand glided over the 50th copy of some tax form. It wasn’t until I walked into the house an hour or so later that everything hit me all at once: this space, this far bigger space than I’ve ever lived in my entire adult life, is all mine.
Countless thoughts swirled in my brain as I stood there in the new kitchen. I looked around at the 700 more square feet I’m gaining and thought, “I can have my friends and family over and we can all sit around comfortably.” I also worried about who I would call if I accidentally locked myself out of my new house. (Don’t laugh, it’s happened twice in the past at the home I currently reside in.) A random thought (or maybe an urge) of realizing I could walk naked from end to end in this new home raced through my mind. (Not that I can’t do that now in my current townhome, but the mere idea of walking naked in this big open space made me feel far more alive and vulnerable at the same time. Is this some sort of “territory marking” ritual new homeowners do or is it just me? I don’t know. I think I’ll skip the self-analysis for now.)
Suffice it to say my life has been a whirlwind of change lately. Being the control freak that I am, I want to organize all this chaotic change and put it in neat little compartments and tuck it all away so I can get down to the business of being happy and enjoy all this newness in my life and make it normal. I’ve been wanting so much in my life lately, and I don’t do well when that newness doesn’t show up in a linear fashion like a checklist that is neatly written in chronological order. In the spring, my personal life got a boost of excitement when I met a really great guy through mutual friends. We exchanged emails regularly and went on an amazing date that lasted 7 and 1/2 hours. I was excited at the possibilities that could unfold with him and looked forward to a growing friendship, but distance (long distance as well as his emotional distance) made that all fizzle and go flat faster than a cheap can of soda. I also met someone through the kennel I take my dog to, and we exchanged texts and pleasantries, but he wound up getting back together with his ex-girlfriend and canceling our date. Online dating is now officially off of my list of ways to find a date. I’m tired of posting beautiful pictures of myself, writing a nice profile and sending out countless “winks” and emails and searching and reading the profiles. It’s becoming like a part time job with no benefits: a few dates with one guy who got mad at me because I reacted awkwardly when he tried to unexpectedly kiss me in the middle of the date while I was in mid conversation walking in to the restaurant, one guy who stood me up, and a smattering of emails with no follow ups for phone calls or dates, and one creepy stalker who I had to report to the website. A few weeks ago, a traveling sculptor at the art fair downtown hit on me while I was simply walking across the street looking for the public restrooms. I’ve been checked out so many times at the grocery store, the bank, the hardware store and once while I went into the doctor’s office for a regular checkup that I sometimes worry my ego is getting a little out of check. I have no idea where this part of my life is going, and though it sounds fun as you’re reading this, it has been stressing me out because it’s so messy and confusing, fun and aggravating all at the same time. My mind races and tries to organize and compartmentalize what is happening and I’ve been holding on to that one amazing date wondering “what if” and sadly worrying about what I did wrong to possibly make it all go away, and make all these other guys ultimately pass on by too.
The stress that came prior to buying a home caused my neck, jaw and back muscles to spasm. There was the incompetent insurance agent who sent all of her information in emails and to the wrong email address at that. The uptight loan underwriters and processors who asked for 50 million different documents and proof of funds to the point that I wondered if they could even poop without having a contract for proper excretion signed and dated first. Then there was the race to get all the forms, applications, loan approval, home inspection and bank appraisal finished one week before the closing date because the angry homeowner was trying to get out of our contract (he felt I cheated him out of money simply because he accepted my $4,000 offer under his asking price, and he claimed he had an offer for $11,000 over asking price the day after he signed our contract). I also worried about my stressed out realtor who had to deal with said homeowner’s constant badgering about the contract while he was also calling her “honey,” “sweetie,” and “darling,” and offering to give her discounted Cardinals’ tickets, rides for her and her friends on his company’s party bus, a discount on a used Corvette if she could just talk me out of wanting to buy his home. Once I got the cashier’s check processed (one day before closing), I then had to deal with my bank’s incompetence for online money transfers from checking to savings in which someone somewhere screwed up and caused me to overdraft in both my checking and savings accounts. I had to call every day and get my money back in the right order for home improvement supplies and funds for my upcoming vacation. Then, today I get a smiley faced email with exclamation points from my insurance agent asking when I’ll be moving into my new house and telling me that I need to get this current house sold before 6 months is up or they will stop their legalized extortion for more insurance money on this townhome. She ended by writing “Congratulations on your new home!” and put a big smiley face and another exclamation point after that.
All of these stresses have been enough for me to want to walk away from the unknown and settle back down into my old, comfortable life where I’m rarely noticed by guys, I don’t have to put my heart on the line and look foolish and where my money, my house, my routine stays in place and nothing ever changes. Or, everything can change but at my command and on my terms.
Add in all of my worries of wondering if I will fit in with my neighbors, if I’ll be broke because of a pricier mortgage and higher taxes, if I will ever find a guy that will not feel threatened that I bought a nice home, unjustified fears of friends and family feeling jealous of my good fortune, questions of if I deserve this good fortune and just worries in general, and I’ve become a neurotic mess. And an ungrateful one at that. Luckily, I have friends and family members that ground me and put me in my place. My mom and dad both told me how proud they are of me, and my mom reminded me that this life is racked with such difficult, real problems that it is important to seize these beautiful moments and soak in the joy. My friend Mary has been my biggest cheerleader and paint consultant. I needed her artist’s eye and advice on what colors would best replace the putrid terra cotta ceilings, electric blue room, and glitter-encrusted walls in the spare bedrooms. Every time we talk on the phone, she always reminds me that life is full of endless possibilities. My friend Jenn keeps telling me to “let it go, and let it flow.” And my friend Sarah has told me to “have no fear, bitch,” and to keep my heart open to all that is coming my way and I will know more love than I ever thought possible. My sister texts me and asks me updates on my house and even embroidered beautiful towel sets for my new kitchen. And my friend Katie, my wingman through this entire process (Read Parts 1 & 2 here: ), came over to my new house yesterday evening with her two little boys. She smiled and hugged me and said, “This is all yours! I’m so excited and happy for you! You did it!” And we laughed and watched as Charlie and Peter ran, stomped and yelled from one end of the house to the other. They ended with a grand finale of somersaults on the hideous shag carpeting in the bedrooms. All is right with my world.
(Maybe I should do somersaults in my new house, too. Don’t worry, I won’t be doing them naked. And if I do, you won’t know.)