Monday, January 14, 2008

Partial victory, and a triumph of the will

We sold our house, Friday.

It was awful and acrimonious and the would-be condo tycoons tried to ruin our Christmas, but we held fast, and sure enough, on January 4--yeah, right after the holiday--they offered to give us 'one more chance.' Pynchon reminded them that they, and not us, had walked away from negotiations, in no uncertain terms, and in terms, indeed, that seemed manipulative and cruel.

A representative from the city acted as mediator.

Pynchon went to the negotiation without me; I was far to angry and scared and righteous. We did a lot of homework and prepared reams of paper backing up our position and showing Those Jackasses to be manipulative liars. I will spare you the details of what, even with a third party observer, was a petty and argumentative process.

I will tell you, though, that the offer we accepted is quite likely to buy us a home on a par with our current one, on a more desirable (ie, quieter, more kid-friendly) street in our same neighbourhood. I will tell you that it is significantly higher than the offer they made in December, and that we got a higher settlement than our neighbours who chose to put themselves out of their misery before Christmas. I will also tell you Condo Jerks were so ill-willed about it that they removed the clause from the contract that set out to pay our moving expenses. Did we get more than the house would have fetched on the 'open market'? Yes, we did. Did we get a price that reflects the value of this property as part of the package for redevelopment? Probably not.

Too frazzled to work that afternoon, I sprung Munchkin early from daycare, and met Pynchon for a celebratory? consolatory? sugary treat at Starbucks, as, dazed, we tried to figure out whether we were happy or not. The process left a very bad taste in Pynchon's mouth, and he hated to do anything to make Those Bastards happy. I never wanted to move at all, and was trying to find a way to see the sale--at any price--as a victory.

We sat. Munchkin ate an entire oat bar, and helped Tiger, Boy, and Hippo 'sip' from Mommy's latte. Pynchon swirled the straw around his Iced Grande Passion Tea, listening with eyes downcast as I tried to rationalize it. Did we do the right thing? We did the right thing. We did. Didn't we?

As we sat there, it became clearer and clearer that what mattered was that, as a family, we were going to be okay: we can now afford another house, we won't have to worry about the high speed bus line, or the student rental across the street (although we might miss the new couple we've been trying to arrange a wine-drinking evening with, and we will miss Bill and Helen); we will stay in our neighbourhood, running into Munchkin's daycare classmates at the grocery store, all my colleagues at the liquor store, the regulars at Starbucks.

We're going to be okay. Maybe even better than just okay, maybe with a similar sized house on a larger lot with an actual backyard and no need to wear earplugs to block out the whizzing, constantly whizzing, traffic.

I took this picture when we moved in. I was in love. Writing this post, and pulling together the links, I was startled to see how much of this blog centres on my house and my neighbourhood, how much my place is my life. But now? Even still? I'm starting to think, tentatively, of moving on.

31 comments:

bubandpie said...

It's good news, I think. It's closure, and that is a very good thing. (And house-hunting can be fun, except for the crazy-making parts of it.)

Cloud said...

I'm so glad to hear it worked out! To me, it sounds like a bittersweet victory, which is probably the best you could have hoped for. You get to stay in your 'hood, and you and Pynchon sound like the type of folks who will get over the nasty taste left from dealing with the jerkier aspects of a capitalist society. I read once that the key to a successful negotiation is not to let your desire to keep the other guy from getting what he wants keep you from getting what you want. It sounds like Pynchon did well on that score.

I hope you find an awesome new house!

Karen said...

I am relieved for you that they offered you enough to place you in the home you need next, the home you will love next - and that will be yours for years to come.

Omaha Mama said...

I can't wait to read what comes next! Congrats on holding out for at least the least of what you deserved. Endings are always hard, but how exciting that a new door is opening. A door that has nothing to do with putting up with condo development. Run! Run free!!!

Mad Hatter said...

It is done. Now you can plan for the future and leave the anguish of the present and the grief for the past behind. Save for the odd tear of remembrance.

alejna said...

I'm so relieved for you. I'm sure it will be a while before that bitter taste will clear out of your mouths, but at least you will be able to get a comparable house in the same neighborhood.

I look forward to hearing about the new home, when it finds you.

kittenpie said...

It sounds like a good thing. It never feels good to be pushed into something you weren't ready and planning for, but it's so good that by sticking to your guns, you got what you needed to make it a positive move. I hope you find yourselves a fantastic new home now!

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Good for you for holding fast. I can't imagine how hard it must have been!

nomotherearth said...

Yay you guys for sticking to your guns! I think it's a good thing to start over somewhere new..and now you have the money to do it.

cinnamon gurl said...

I'm so glad you got enough to move on in the way you want to. And I'm also really glad that everyone was right that they were just being assholes trying to intimidate you.

And I do love bloggy house-hunting.

Beck said...

Well, that's the best ending that this particular story could have had, I guess. I hope you find your very perfect house, a wonderful place for your family.

Oh, The Joys said...

My granny used to say that "home" was the place you could come to and find the people you loved there. I know the three of you will make another house home. I'm so glad the community you've found there will still be part of your lives.

(And I am dying laughing at the "colleagues at the liquor store" part!)

Mimi said...

OTJ: my colleagues are all English professors! You've seen that movie, you know, EVERY SINGLE MOVIE with English professors in it? It's all true. Well, except the part about being devastatingly attractive to nubile undergrads. They think we're dorks, actually. It's why we drink :-)

Amy U. said...

Sounds like you guys made the best of a shitty situation...you must be so relieved just to have some sort of outcome on your plate. And now you get to shop for a new house! That's exciting.

Good luck!

Assertagirl

Jenifer said...

The liquor store comment made me laugh too! I think this was the best possible outcome of an unbearable situation. I love how they came crawling back and tried to make it seem like your idea. What jerks.

It is done now though, so you can think to the future and all the good a new house and home will bring. Good for you for not caving in the first time...it was meant to be I would say.

Bon said...

it is a lovely house, and it's got to be bittersweet to leave it behind, to move on.

i'm glad you got at least a decent price for it, something that will not leave a necessary scar in the way that being cheated and impoverished and rendered financially powerless probably would have. you will still carry the scar of having been bullied, and having had to settle on a choice you would not otherwise have made...and that's hard. but it sounds, given what was not yours to control, in this, like a good choice.

i wish you happiness.

Patti said...

Very happy for you - who knows what lovely place you will move into next?

My husband and I just moved this summer. The short form is we got the house we wanted - perfect for us. The long form is that we made an offer, it was rejected, and then the house went off the market, we looked at a gazillion other houses, lost bidding wars, and came close to panicking. Then the one we wanted came back on the market, and we got it for the price we originally wanted it at.

May you find a perfect-for-you house with as little stress as possible!

ewe are here said...

Oh, Mimi, I'm so happy you were able to negotiate a better exit price on your house. And I'm even happier that you'll be able to stay in the neighborhood that you love with the money you got... I hope you find something you love even more soon.

And you're right: as a family, you're absolutely going to be okay.

ewe are here said...

Oh, Mimi, I'm so happy you were able to negotiate a better exit price on your house. And I'm even happier that you'll be able to stay in the neighborhood that you love with the money you got... I hope you find something you love even more soon.

And you're right: as a family, you're absolutely going to be okay, and that's what counts.

the new girl said...

I'm glad that there's some kind of resolution, at least. The up-in-the-airness of it had to be so anxiety provoking.

I imagine that it's hard and hopefully soon, all of the bad feelings will fade and your family will be happy and playing in an awesome backyard.

Dawn said...

I'm so sorry this has been such a difficult process for you. I completely understand your attachment to your home. I love our house. It's where we found out I was pregnant the first time, though not the home where the baby was conceived. It is where both our sons were conceived; where we've built our family, shared the good and the bad and survived. Our neighborhood is where we've built a second family of friends with whom we share the common thread of raising kids, making happy marriages, trying to make meaningful connections in this world.

All that said, family is the most important thing and your family is going to be okay. You'll find a new home that you may love even more. You'll build new memories and traditions there. You'll still be in the same neighborhood and be able to maintain and strengthen the relationships you've built already and maybe build new ones that will be even more important to you. Ultimately, if you believe, you will find yourself exactly where you are meant to be.

_____________________________ said...

I remember when I moved to a quiet street I had a hard time falling asleep with out that whizzing traffic.
BUT OH! A BACKYARD?

moosh in indy. said...

Oh hi, that was me.

Walter said...

Great blog, I'm enjoying the posts, and the layout is awesome!

Keep up the good work...

-Walter

Debbie said...

I'm so, so glad this has been resolved for you and you are able to know the direction you are heading in. Best of luck in the house hunt! I'm sure you will find something truly fabulous that you will come to love as much as your current home.

I too am laughing at the liquor store comment.

something blue said...

No wonder you were in love with that house. But just think you get to fall in love with another one. I'd take those exciting butterflies and a lush backyard. Congrats!

Angela said...

Congratulations! I know it is very, very bittersweet, you loved your house and did not want to leave. My in-laws went through a similar situation, the family home where they raised their 3 boys and lived for over 30 years was bought by a construction company to build a gravel pit. I hope your new home is amazing.

slouching mom said...

i am happy, at least, that it is OVER.

and i can't wait to hear about the ins and outs of your house hunting!

Kidlicious said...

Nothing new I can say that hasn't already been said here, but I'm glad to know that you are able to close a door and open a window to new possibility!

Good luck on your new house search. It can be a stressful, but hopefully fun process!

Alpha DogMa said...

Your house is so lovely. I'm so sad that its going to be trashed. I'm glad you weren't trashed in the deal however.

Karl Marx said...

Do You Wonder?