Musing… Real Life In Real Estate

May 5, 2019
My best friend, Mark in London, and his wife are selling their house now that the kids are setting off for college. It’s that empty-nesting-downsizing thing. With the overemphasis on hurry-up-and-click-bait your life to death with techno gadgets, it was reassuring for me to tell him our own house buying story of twenty-nine years ago.

Some things never change, I reminded him.

He had explained the forever-the-same dance: someone made an offer on their place while they made an offer on the home they want. It all went belly up - because that’s life. And, if they don’t sell before the end of next month they will stay put until the beginning of next year.

“…I have a magic story, to tell you about buying the house that was meant for us. It found us. I swear this is how it really works in real life. Do you remember it? We had a lavender coloured door and the two stories were in the shape of a horseshoe. For luck, as it turned out.”

“I do remember that house.”

“Thanks for reminding me. Now, it makes it even more lovely to share the story.”

“We had just gotten married. We were determined to avoid all the dysfunction living in the nutty city would provide for the cancer. So we decided to move to Gibsons Landing. We stayed with friends on the weekend who worked on The Beachcombers - do you remember Corby and Linda? - anyway, that was our go to weekend place for house hunting.

“The very first house we looked at, was the one we really wanted. But, it wasn’t available - someone had made an offer. So our realtor who had been in the business for over 30 years and had never met two more discombobulated artists in his life — ended up showing us about forty-five houses over three months. Of course, none of them were ‘it.’ And because we thought we knew what we were doing, we went on our own to see some shockingly unfit ones. Truly demoralizing.”

Mark laughed. He knew exactly who the gruesome twosome was that I was talking about. He’s now one of only a handful of people who knew my husband, Peter, who died twenty-five years ago.
“…Here’s the scene. It’s a hot, sunny Saturday. We’re exhausted and irritated. We’ve exhumed our psyches out of a pit of despair from looking at four more ugly houses. We look out onto the water from our friends’ lovely home. We are desperate to have our own view and our own house. We plunk down on their L shaped couch.

“…Peter is at one end. I am too cranky to sit beside him. I’m clear at the other end, and say, “ Look. The realtor just told us we have thirty-two things on our list and we need to knock it down to four. So, what do we want?”

:Get this: he says, ‘I don’t know.’, like that’s an answer.!”

“I couldn’t stand it. I grabbed a pillow and threw it at him as hard as I could.. It landed on top of him with a thunk. He was so surprised he glared at me for a half a second. Then he lobbed a pillow back at me just as hard. Then, I was the surprised one.

“Gasping for air, the war was on as we continued throwing pillows at each other. Then we got closer with the pillows and had to leap on top of each other. Wrestling on the couch could only go so far. Whoever pushed who landed us both on the carpet continuing our fight until laughing so hard, we had to stop.”

Out of breath, but exuberant with relief and some kind of joy, I asked him, point blank. “OK. So, what do we want?”

Right then and there we decided on the three most important things. We wanted to be overlooking the water. We needed a house big enough for his art studio and my writing office. And plenty of room for a garden.

“Elated, we went back to our realtor and reported the list. When we got there, he was beaming.

“Now, Mark here it is: wait for it: the realtor says to us, ‘you remember that house you first looked at that you loved? It’s back on the market.”

Mark howled with the kind of joy that is the shared experience in magic stories retold.

“That’s like that old maxim, When It Is Meant To Be, It Is.”
“More like, Pillow Fights Work With The One You Love.”

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