Thursday, April 13, 2023


            Our housing search continues. It can’t be easy for a realtor to deal with people like us.


            We found a condo we like in Gainesville. The location was great – in Haile Village, with its shops and restaurants, and near our daughter. We made an offer, it was accepted, and we wired them the well-named “earnest money” – all within 36 hours. Done deal? Nope. When we looked at each other the afternoon after we wired the money, we realized that we had made a mistake. The condo was a bit bland for us (a realtor friend up here called it “vanilla manila”), and the long drive, twice a year until we sell the Bark House, is problematic. We cancelled, to the disappointment of the realtor. Our earnest money returned.


            The next day we found a condo just outside of Ann Arbor. Great location adjoining the Botanical Gardens and near family and friends, all the rooms we want, and well maintained. It was way above our budget, especially with HOA fees and taxes, but we did some creative arithmetic and made an offer. Pia, our realtor and friend, said that we’d have to go beyond our full price cash offer, with an escalation clause saying how high we would go to outbid other offers. We didn’t like the whole “bidding war” scenario, but we agreed to go as high as $22,000 above our offer. Two days later we learned we were only the 6th best offer they received, so we were back to square one.


            While we were waiting to see if we “won” the bidding war, we went back and forth about how disappointed we would be if we did not get the place. It was great, but it did not have the kind of “character” we were looking for – details that did not look like a generic condo – the kinds of things you are more likely to find in old houses: hardwood floors instead of plain carpeting, something interesting in the ceilings and windows, etc., though Kim assured me we could “funk it up.”  She advised me that our lives are about to change, no matter how the bidding war turned out, and we would be happy either way. She was right.


            While waiting for Pia to call we also took advantage of the nice Good Friday weather to do some yardwork. Kim tended to one of her gardens in the woods, and we mulched a bunch of leaves that had piled up against a neighbor’s fence on our property line so our flowers there would have a fighting chance. We picked up sticks and other rubble to burn in our fire pit. I raked up leaves that had accumulated on our beach, thanks to landscaping that a neighbor is doing, and hauled five bags of wet leaves to spread in our woods across the street. It felt good to get the work done, and it felt good that we were able to get the work done. Most of my aches and pains had faded away when I started working. Kim somehow managed to work her way through hers. We did more yardwork on Sunday and over the next few days, and now our bodies are telling us to seek an easier living situation.


            We were, in a sense, “reborn” this Easter weekend, this, despite the fact that we did not get the new home, and neither of us was aware of Easter until our computers reminded us. Our yard was starting to be reborn, and we emerged from semi-hibernation on our couches. We can do this work, here, in our Bark House, if we ever learn to pace ourselves, and we have the energy to move if the right property comes our way. Rebirth is daily, even hourly.


            Speaking of which, we were checking out listings on the computer in our second-cup-of-coffee routine, and we found a great 1917 house for sale in Gainesville. Called the realtor on Saturday. Had a Face-time tour that afternoon. Loved it and were again reborn – as Floridians, or at least as snowbirds. Made an offer. Then studied the pictures in the listing and the video our realtor made for us, reconsidered, and withdrew the offer. There were no closets. Apparently, people did not wear clothes in 1927. Being reborn sometimes involves labor pains.


            We are again reborn as people with a life-script still to write. It can’t be easy for a realtor to deal with people like us.




  1. I love these stringers, my favorite string beans on the bush