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JWR 2.36 - MOVE

 

You know how a lot of times when you do something seemingly important or big and then you have to relay that information or story to numerous people numerous times, that thing becomes less and less important sounding to you?  Iím in that boat, or house.

 

So, yeah, I bought a house.

 

I mean, Iíve been here for about six weeks now.  I guess it doesnít seem like such a big deal.  The preamble was the bitch of it.

 

Actually looking for a house was a pain in the ass.  The house Iím in right now is the first one I saw.  My parents spotted it one day and told me about it.  I called up the old people that were selling it and set up an appointment.  To steal an Adam Sandler quote: ďIt blew my fucking mind.Ē

 

The first floor was very nice.  You know, nothing spectacular, but very neat.  Kitchen, living room, full bathroom, three bedrooms.  Itís a forty year old house, but itís in very good shape.  Some ugly wallpaper in the kitchen and bathroom, not to mention carpet in both those rooms, but nothing a strapping young man like me couldnít change if I so desired.

 

Then the old guy showed me the basement.  Which is finished.  First thing that draws your sight is the pool table that sits in front of the stairs begging to be played, like so many ladies.  Then the colorful metallic tapestry that are beer cans covering the three walls surrounding the pool table.  This guy and his son had been very serious beer can collectors.  The old man told me that since he was getting up there in years, he told his son to come get them because he didnít want them anymore.  The son never came to fetch them, so I inherited them by default.

 

Thereís a second full bathroom in the basement, as well.  Well, when I came out of the bathroom I turned left and thereís this circular fireplace in the center of the floor a bit deeper in the basement.  Itís one of those groovy fireplaces that youíve probably never seen before because they must look tacky in someoneís living room, but in my basement, it simply fits.  (Because itís so tacky.)  And beyond the fireplace there is the rest of the finished basement that goes past a corner, forming an ďLĒ shape.  There were two tables and wood chairs and two bar stools and two barrel chairs and the pool table and a coffee table that the guy was leaving behind, as well.

 

Well, my first visit was pretty quick, but I was very impressed.  And under the advise of home buyers, I looked at a few more houses over the next couple weeks.  Actually, that first weekend my roommate and I drove around in the rain and I made him get out and grab fliers for the houses we drove by that were in a similar price range.  Perhaps it was the dreary weather, but I was unimpressed by each house we glanced at.

 

The next weekend my mom and I went out and went inside a few houses.  All of which were nice houses.  Comparable to this one in size and style, but none had the same feel (that bad ass basement feel, I guess).  I was very convinced that I wanted this house.

 

I called and set up a second appointment to see it again.  This couple had a second home in the Dells.  This is where they have retired to.  The guy was an assembly line worker at the Chrysler Engine Plant in K-Town.  They had bought the vacation house in the Dells a couple years ago and had been furnishing it bit by bit, so by the time they were ready to move, they had no need for the appliances and quite a bit of furniture.  The house came with the refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer, an old timey microwave and the basement furniture.  Plus, I bought a couch, recliner, kitchen table and chairs, entertainment center, TV, and an extra twin bed at a very generous price.  Oh yes, a bread box too.

 

On my second visit, the guy built a fire before I arrived and I made the old son of a bitch an offer.  He accepted the verbal one and told me to have it written up by a title office/lawyer guy.

 

This is where the fun left.  I donít know how many of you have spent any time speaking with lawyers or bankers at any length (oh yes, all this time I was also applying for a mortgage loan for a house I had yet to make an offer on so I had only a vague idea on how much I would be needing), but thereís just something about the way they interact with you.  Perhaps it is because of their constant exposure to money that makes them act like you do not really matter.  Or maybe it is because Iím twenty-three and they werenít sure I was serious about buying a house.

 

To make a long and boring story short and slightly less boring, I had a marathon session at the bank and another at the title office where I signed and signed and signed my name.  You know how when you do something so repeatedly in a short period of time, you begin to lose focus and skip steps or screw up?  Well, it got to the point where I was signing my name in ways that I had never done before.  I also, for some strange reason forgot to sign whole letters, and once I began signing my last name first.  The pressure was getting to me.  I sat there with people in three piece suits and stylish business dresses and I had on my regular jeans and solid colored shirt.  I felt as if I was signing my life away.  A thirty year mortgage is longer than I have been alive and is quite strange for someone who considered moving out of state just a short time ago.

 

All the bullshit aside, itís done.  But why?  Because I could, apparently.  Three days after my roommate and I moved in, he did a load of laundry and the drainage pipe that ran from the house to the street backed up and water seeped back into the basement.  Roto-Rooter man came and took a hundred fifty of my dollars.  Welcome to your new home.  Flashes of The Money Pit starring Mr. Tom Hanks flashed in my head.

 

The apartment life got to be annoying.  Every time someone in the building slammed a door, it shook the entire structure.  Soundproof walls became not so much anymore.  It didnít feel like a place to relax either.  And I could just taste the bile rising in my throat because winter was coming and I knew from the previous winter how truly shitty their plowing policy was.  I have no problem shoveling.  But you know, that was kind of the point of living in an apartment complex, they do the lawn work and shoveling.  I just hate waiting for people unless they have breasts, then Iíll wait long time.  So, I can take care of the snow and my roommate, hell, heís Canadian, they eat snow for Chrissakes.

 

Someone at work said he heard that I was moving and told me to remember the three ďRĒs: Rocation, Rocation, Rocation.  Gotta live in a good part of town.  Have good neighbors.  You know what they were getting at: get some white neighbors.  Chris Rock was right, white people like their black people the way they like their food: just a dash of pepper.  Even the guy who sold me the house lowered his voice when he told me when he first moved in here thirty years ago he was concerned about blacks moving in, but it never happened.  Lowered his voice like that made him seem okay to me, less of a racist.  Canít teach an old guy not to be a bigot, just hope it dies with him.

 

To be truthful, I didnít want any neighbors: rich, poor, high, low, black, white or candy stripe.  I live on a cul-de-sac block with five houses.  I have met three of my neighbors (the most recent two days ago) and have waved at the fourth.  So you can see how neighborly I am.  I mean, the days of having neighbors who are automatically friends are over.  My neighbor to the left, or right depending on how you face, Marty, is an overtly friendly guy.   Very cool, a retired cop who now restores furniture.  His wife was hot back in the day, I can tell.  About a week after I moved in, I heard he spoke to my roommate so I decided to go over and introduce myself.  They invited me in and I guess I was there for about an hour just talking and getting to know each other.

 

The problem with me is that I really donít have anything in common with these neighbors.  Iím a twenty-three year old adult juvenile who works a job heís just learning and comes home to watch wrestling and Fight Club and eat cheese balls and drink beer and listen to music and play pool with no wife or kids whereas everyone around here, as near as I can tell, is either devoted to their jobs or has a family.  Do you blame me for sitting here and writing all this?

 

Having said that, let me also say that they are good people who are considerate and welcoming.  But I miss having the Peters' as neighbors.

 

Yeah, so I bought a house.  I feel the need to point out that I feel a bit guilty for doing that.  I have relatives who deserve things like this more than me.  I have a cousin with two kids who lives in a small duplex.  I have poor white trash relatives, too.  Well, Iím not too keen on them, so forget that point.  But my cousin deserves this house more than I.  No, Iím not giving it up, Iím just saying....

 

Nate, I should have listened to you, I sometimes think.  Then I see the cock lamp and the rubber hand with the middle finger perpetually up (the only casualty of the move) and I can see this place as home.  The crack helps, too.

 

John

 

Copyright © 2001 John Lemut