Buying my first house, finally

“up, up, UP!”

houseIt wasn’t until May 8, 2000, that I purchased my first house. My now-wife had bought a two-family dwelling on Manning Blvd. in the early 1990s. When we got married in May 1999, I moved in with her. This was not a particularly good idea.

Even though I had gotten rid of a LOT of stuff, including a sofa I’d purchased only a couple years earlier, the first legitimate furniture I ever bought, the place was still crowded. My dresser was literally on top of hers. This was “inspired” by a fellow on an HGTV show that my wife and MIL were watching; unfortunately, I was also present. The guy said that, when you have limited space, you have to build “up, up, UP!”

I hated it. My sense of claustrophobia was high. More to the point, when I would discuss this with my bride, she’d say, “But I made room for your stuff.” And was the problem. She was making room from her stuff for my stuff.

To his credit, our former pastor had suggested early on that we needed to have a place of our own, where our stuff would reside. In the early fall, we saw a house we really liked. But my wife had returned to graduate school, and it was just too expensive for us.


Then we found another place, on Kent Street, that we thought was charming. A lot of personal touches built by the late pater familias. But a look-see by a home inspector noted a bulge in a wall caused by water damage. He estimated that it would cost about a grand to fix. We asked the owner if she could knock $1000 off the price, or alternately, get the wall repaired first. neither were viable options for her, so we walked away. (You should always be willing to walk away.)

We looked at the previous house we had liked and noticed that the price had gone down about $6000. And we bought it. My wife could not make the closing because of grad school, so she granted me the power of attorney at the closing. We had scraped every dime we had to get the certified check we needed. But as the process went on, I was told that the amount of our down payment was $1800 short, a math error by our attorney.

I was nonplussed. It wasn’t as though we had any more cash. The papers were signed nevertheless. Somehow, and I no longer remember how, my wife and I finagled the rest of the down payment the next day. About a week later, after the semester ended, we hired movers, even though we were going only six blocks away. We had our home.

The obvious: CSNY, Madness.

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