Saturday, June 14, 2008

Re-Enchanted

I decided yesterday (and had to explain this to Ron) that life wouldn't be what it is if we didn't have stories to tell about the things we do. And the more there is to the story... the more rewarding it is to share. At least, that is how I am going to think about it.

Get a cup of coffee... this is going to take a while.

I can't even tell how many blog posts I have done so far about this whole buying a house and moving thing. Be prepared because here comes another one. But it all adds to the tale we will always have to tell about how we found, fought for, lost, recaptured, stressed about, hated, then loved again this house on Maple Drive. I have already told you the found, fought for, lost, recaptured, and stressed about parts. Now you need to hear the hated then loved again part.

Thursday morning we went to the new house for our final walk through. We were earlier then everyone else. So we wandered around the yard. I should really have started by telling you just how excited I was about this walk through. We hadn't been in the house since April. I couldn't wait to get back in and be reminded why I fought so had for it those months ago. I was giddy about being there again. Just so so so excited! My heart absolutely broke as I we started to walk around the house.

First, we came up the front walk to the small screened porch off the kitchen. Along the sidewalk, in the one week the house was empty, something else moved in. There was a large, I am talkin' 2 foot wide, 1 foot (or more) deep, HOLE that burrowed and hollowed out under the sidewalk!! Turns out it is a ground hog. We venture out into our beautiful new one acre back yard... and there are 3 very large, very old maple trees (imaging that, maple trees on Maple Dr). DEAD!! One is completely gone, the largest and oldest in the center of the yard is about 75% gone, and then a smaller one that shades the large deck has about 20% dead. WHAT THE HECK?!?! Why are all the trees dead?!? We saw the trees first, then turned our heads to look at the deck... underneath it was cram packed with junk. An old plastic kiddie sandbox/pool, pvc pipes, tarps, and wood, lots of wood. The wood I didn't mind so much as the house has a beautiful wood burning stove, but the garbage turned my stomach. We head out to the old shed in the back corner of the property next. We knew the shed was in rough shape, but the bones were solid, it just needed the siding replaced on it. Yeah, that is what we thought until we walked up to it, opened the door and the doors fell off the hinges. Not to mention, we had to wade though 10inches of grass to get there. The lawn... not mowed this year.

Somewhat needless to say, we were dumb founded/furious/frustrated/confused about what to think and what to do. And, we hadn't even been inside yet.

The impact of what we were to find on the inside left us thinking that we should say screw it to the possibility of $30,000 in litigation fess, we are backing out before we buy a lemon not even worth what we paid!! The door opened and we were nailed with the stench of wet dog and mold. Two smells I assure you were no where to be found on our first three visits to the house. In the kitchen, every door and every drawer were open, which I think made "Carrie" a little upset. That and the thick grime that coated the counter tops. Into the dinning room and the baseboards had about an inch of dust and grime. In Jacob's new room, the door was off the hinges, walls were mangled, it looked like someone spilled soda on one wall and didn't clean it and on the floor it was so black you could hardly tell if the hardwoods were salvageable. Andrew's room has a chair rail that we noticed this time seemed to be falling off. In the boy's bathroom, there were holes in tiles where fixtures had once been. I am guessing the former owners' thought they might need those in there new place. Venture up my favorite twisted staircase to the second floor, then open the door to our neat nook of a storage closet to find a FOOTBALL SIZED HOLE IN THE WALL! If those things weren't enough, there were screws (not nails, screws) left in every wall. (Lindsey can vouch for this, I am not exaggerating... she saw the repair work!) Many of those screws had nickle size holes around them. In the main living room, holes in the carpet in every corner. In the entry way, tiles broken in the threshold of the closet. Basement had about 2 dozen paint cans and more junk.

I could keep going but I think this is enough to give you a picture of what had Ron in the basement squatting on the floor ready to throw up saying "I don't want this, I don't want this, what are we going to do?"

The response from the agent of the sellers... "you buy the things you didn't see". Excuse me? What did she just say?

We went home, called our lawyer and were presented with three options... back out (and pay upwards of $25-$20K for lawyers fees, damages and litigation), go through with the closing and relist the property for sale with little hope that it would sell for what we paid for it, or go through with the closing and keep waiting for our Coppersmith Trl house to sell. Ron was so so so very tempted to say to hell with the money I am not buying this house, let them try to sue me. Our lawyer ended up getting in touch with the attorney of the sellers. They were insisting that there were never fixtures in that bathroom, the tiles were always broken, the hole in the closet was there, the holes in the carpets were there... they can't stop a ground hog from moving in and the trees were alive last summer.

Their lawyer happens to be a very good friend of our family (also the Webster Town Judge). He graduated high school with my Mom and had a crush on her sister (or so the story goes). My Mom even used to clean is law office back in the day when she cleaned houses while we were in school. I went there a time or two to help her while preggers with Jacob trying to induce contractions!! LOL. When Ron and I contemplated not being married in a church, he was going to do our ceremony!! So, we go way back with their lawyer. When everything happened back in April, my Mom kept saying "do you want me to give David a call (the lawyer) and tell him that it is you?" I told her repeatedly "NO" because I felt that I didn't want to pull strings, he needed to represent his clients the best way he knows how. I can't ask him to put is integrity aside and possibly wreck our family friendship. A few weeks later though, my Mom did run into him on the street and she scolded him and threatened not to make him anymore apple pies, lol. All light hearted at the time since everything had worked out for the best at that point. But now, he knew who the people on the other side of the table are. When we called with our laundry list of concerns he personally took care of everything!! He himself went and cleaned the garbage out from under the deck, he had the lawn mowed (and weed whacked), and he offered to pay for the damage to the walls. How can you say "we are backing out" when a friend of your family takes out of his own pocket the money to fix your concerns?

So, yesterday we went through with the closing. Ron didn't say a single word through the hour of paper signing. He was sick with concern and worry. Saying he was having panic attacks about the subject is putting mildly. After we closed and were given the keys, I sent Ron home to worry about Lauren and school... I went to the house to tackle the mess. If we were going to relist it for sale, it would need work. I pulled in the driveway and walked to the door... the ground hog hole was filled in, the lawn was mowed and it had just rained but the sun was starting to shine and the gardens (though needing weeding) were bright with yellow butter cups. I went inside, took a deep breath and sighed... I was totally re-enchanted. It was the house I fought for. The sun poured into the rooms... there was no smell... yes we needed to wash floors, and yes there were screws to remove with holes to fill... but this was it... this was what I fought for and I was in love again. I smiled a huge grin, walked through the rooms of our new home, ran my hands along the walls, imagined what would fill its nooks and crannies... it just felt so right.

I spent a few hours there yesterday afternoon and my Mom & Dad came to help. Dad took out all the screws (in every room) and spackled every hole. I'll go back tonight or tomorrow, sponge the holes and give them another coat. Mom washed most of the floors (much to Carrie's disappointment). I worked on the kitchen cabinets and the counters (grim gone, YEAH!). Every room will need to be painted, something I thought I would have months/years to do, but will now do over the next few weeks. I convinced Ron to come back to the house last night, to try to get him to feel what I felt being in there. It was hard for him, but he is coming around. We are dropping the price on Coppersmith Trail (again) and giving it a few more weeks. If it still doesn't sell, we will list Maple Drive for sale and try to recover what we can of our loses. At least if we sell that and stay here another 18 months, we will earn the last $10,000 of our grant. That would make up for our lost closing costs.

So, as I said to Ron last night as we walked through the freshly mowed new back yard... it didn't go smoothly at all, and there are lots of uncertain things still ahead... but someday when we are sitting on our deck with friends and they ask us how we found our house... dang will we have one heck of a story to tell!! Life would be boring if all we had to say was our house was handed to us on a silver platter.

7 comments:

ellen said...

Oh, man, my stomach churned through 3/4 of your story. I had very vivid images of what you saw; your descriptions were exact. At the same time, my heart was heavy.
I'm so glad you attacked the place and spruced it up enough to see your "dream" again.

deehebard said...

Oh Kerry...
I can't imagine what a day it was for you. I checked your blog a few times yesterday hoping to see a wonderful message about a special day.
I guess that roller coaster ride is still not over, but I hope that it ends on a positive note for you and your family...it sounds like you are on your way.

Jo said...

Oh my! What a nightmare! And I thought our house was in a disgusting state when we moved in. I so wish things had gone smoothly for you, but I'm glad things are some way towards better now.

SueBeads said...

Seems like they were retaliating on you for the previous problem of the other offer...not nice people, huh? Hope all works out for you!

Lori Anderson Designs said...

I think I would have gotten into a nasty fight at closing with the past owners -- IF they even showed up, which something tells me they didn't.

The good thing about having your other house, though, is you didn't have to move into that mess.

I know your creativity is going to make it amazing!

Leslie said...

Kerry,
My goodness....I agree with Ellen, I was sick too with the images in my head. I can not image what your heart felt actually being there! Give Ron our best and my family and I will cross fingers, toes, ANYTHING to help you all have a smoother ride! Many blessings! I believe it will all end positive!

Leslie G.

Carmen said...

You are certainly one STRONG woman!!