Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hey gang, I'm a mortgagor!

This is the first moment I've had where I could fire up the ol' laptop without feeling guilty because I should be doing something else. So here's how it all went down:

Friday: Up at the crack of dawn. Examining, pitching, packing things until about nine, when I figured I should probably get myself ready. J. arrived at ten and took me to my soon-to-be townhouse. She said when she brought the electrician over there Wednesday the sellers still hadn't packed, and Mrs. Seller said she was taking the day off of work the next day to do it. As we pull in, we see a U-Haul parked out front. They're still moving things out and cleaning. Turns out the sellers left the day before, they're returning home to Turkey (I thought so! I'd said as much to J. at one point), and have given/sold the contents of their house to some other Turkish folks still living here. Friends of theirs, I think. We look around, everything is fine. One of the two men clearing out hands me the keys to the front door and to the mailbox. J. drives me off to the bank for settlement.

At settlement is the nice lady from the bank who got me the PHFA and county loans, the realtor for the sellers, a representative from a settlement agency, my realtor, and me (of course). The woman from the bank hands me a sheaf of papers. These are all my copies of the documents I'm about to sign. And away we go. She hands me a paper, explains what it means, I sign it. She takes that one away, hands me another one, explains it, I sign it. And so on until she runs out of papers. Then she switches chairs with the settlement agent and we start again. We go through the statement that says what I owe. I hand over a cashier's check for that. She hands me two checks: one from the county and one from the bank. I endorse them and hand them back to her, stopping to remark that quite a lot of money just passed through my hands. After the last piece of paper is signed and notarized, she folds her hands over the whole sheaf of them, smiles, and says,

"Congratulations, you are now in debt."

"Oh, I've been here before."

"Well, welcome back!"

We all shake hands, and J. drives me off to the Wal-Mart so that I can make copies of the keys. She gives me a hug and a present, a binder with all sorts of tags and labels in it, all set up and ready to be filled-- a sort of home documents organizer.

I call first my Mom and then my sister to let 'em know I'm now a homeowner. After I get keys made, have a celebratory lunch in the Eat 'n' Park, and buy a bottle of sparkling white wine for later on that night (Asti Spumante), I head on back to my apartment for more packing. At about three I call a taxi, and drag myself, a suitcase, a duffel bag, and a canvas shopping bag full of stuff over to my townhouse. From there I do laundry, and while I'm waiting for it to finish I sit on the steps and stare at my living room through the bars of the banister. I did take a few pictures, and just as soon as I figure out what I did with my memory card-to-USB converter, I'll post them to Flick'r. Mom and Dad had said they'd be here by 7, Ditter and Stretch thought they'd be here by 8. At 7, Mom calls to say that they're just leaving now--there was a terrific thunderstorm that they didn't feel comfortable driving in, and it just let up.

When Ditter and Stretch show up, I show them around the place. We take a look at my little front garden patch. There's an almost dead rosebush that she thinks she can show me how to bring back. There's also a huge hollyhock by the front door that Stretch thought was a weed. There's also all sorts of weeds and unidentified vegetation in there, and a small tree in need of pruning. I have no idea how to do that.

Ditter takes me shopping for all sorts of stuff I need and didn't think about--also, we're going to swing by the apartment and pick up the cat. While we're in the store (we were there a very long time. It was 10:30 when we hit the check-out line) Mom calls to say they hit fog so they had to go around "the long way," and they'll be another 45 minutes or so. After picking up the cat (and my sleeping bag, and a couple other things) we head on back to the house to find that my brother-in-law has weeded the patch, fixed a window screen that needed attention, and done a couple more minor fixes. He joked that if I'd already bought the paint, he'd have started one of the rooms already.

I let the cat out of her carrier and watch her slink around the place, investigating everything. She stays close to the wall--it must feel safer that way. We just get dinner started (at 11 at night!) when my parents pull in.

Upon crossing the threshold, Mom and Dad give me a golden dollar coin, two loaves of bread, and bottles of soda--some sort of tradition called a "first-footer," though it's usually a New Year's Day tradition. A dark-haired man is supposed to enter your house and give you money, drink, and bread.

Dinner is ready-made pizza bought in a grocery store and baked in 12 minutes and a glass of Asti Spumante to toast the new house. We finally go to bed around 12:30.

Saturday: I take my painting crew out for breakfast, then we buy paint and all sorts of other stuff: a flashlight, new doorknobs and deadbolts, all kinds of things I can't remember now. The previous evening, Ditter had whipped out a steno pad and a pen and wrote down everything I said in passing that sounded like something I needed. It reminded me of when she got married and I was her maid of honor--I had done something similar. Then we take it all home and paint. And paint, and paint, and paint. Then, just for grins, we paint a little. The tangerine dream master bedroom is hit with a coat of primer, and while that dries we paint the future guest bedroom "Violet Devotion" (lilac). Then some of us paint the master bedroom "Summer Ivy" (medium dark green), while others start to tape the living room. And by the way, it's humid and stinkin' hot, so we're all doing this and dripping with sweat. The new place has no air conditioning. The cat spends most of the day lying in the bathtub. Poor kitty is very hot. Her coat is too heavy for this heat.

Sunday: Ditter has an open house to run back in Lancaster, so she and Stretch leave around 8. Mom, Dad, and I paint the living room "Honey"--it's supposed to be a gold color but is a little more yellow on the wall than it was on the card or on the sample daub the mixer put on the lids when he was done. Maybe it's because it's going on top of a pale mint green, no primer in between. Doesn't really matter. I like this color too. Then we go back upstairs and do touch-ups of the lilac room and the green room. My parents leave around three.

Most of the rest of the week has been spent either clearing out and packing up the old place, waiting for one technician or another at the new place (cable guy yesterday, electrician today), or touching up the paint. I keep finding spots that need more paint. The green room is especially tricky. We were having trouble seeing what we were doing--there was a glare from outside that interfered with how well we could see the walls. I've had to wait until the sun goes down, turn on the overhead light, and dab, dab, dab away at the walls. I was doing that last night until 11. Did something similar today with the lilac room. I dragged a lamp in there 'cause there's a bit that anyone painting would have trouble with--to paint, you have to stand between the wall and the window, effectively obscuring your only source of light. There's no overhead light in there. I should go check it now that it's getting dark out and I'm not getting interference from the sun. Haven't even gotten to the living room yet. Need to do the same paint-at-night routine in there as well.

Couple of little irritants: the guys who bought/were given "everything" were extremely literal. They took every single curtain rod, and I think they took the toilet paper dispenser in the bathroom. Also, I found that I have only one working light bulb in each light fixture. If there are sockets for more than one, they're filled with burnt-out bulbs. Nice, huh? I don't care that much about the bulbs, I'm changing them all over to those fluorescent ones that use less energy. But the curtain rod thing irritates. Those are fixtures, they were supposed to stay. So when I painted my bedroom last night I got to do it in full view of anyone who happened to glance out the window. Everyone knows the master bedroom of #10 is green.

Ah well. Back to work, now that it's dark. Time to show folks what color the living room is.


Just Me said...

Welcome to your new home. I'm very happy for you.

And, yes, those turkeys (pun intended) should've left the window treatments.

Today's word verification: IMMAUHTH

Can be stretched (with a little imagination) to "im ma houth" or "in my house."

Anonymous said...

Yes, welcome and well done, V.

But for two small matters (the Atlantic Ocean, and being bald), I'd happily be the dark-haired man bringing the first-foot stuff.

Anna said...

Well done, you made it. All good wishes in your new home. It sounds as though life will be colourful anyway.