An Embarrassment of Riches


Yesterday was one of those days that just seemed to be a crossroads of a sort – so many things coming together at once and reminding me that there may actually be some Order – and a good one at that – in this universe of ours.

For months now, K and D, our oldest daughter and her hubby, have been trying to buy a house. They’d been approved for a mortgage and have the downpayment and had a contract on a house – a house in the same neighborhood as D and D, our second oldest daughter and her husband and our two grandangels. Problem was, it was a “short sale.” A lot of those things are happening today in this economy. In reality, they’re a lot better than the slew of foreclosures that started a good deal of our country’s economic woes (and I won’t get into the greed that caused those). The deal is, the person whose home has gone “upside down” in value, i.e., the property is valued at less than its encumbrances (mortgages, deeds of trust, etc.) can be sold for less than the payoff value of the outstanding mortgage. This requires approval of the lender and in many cases, FHA and private morgage insureres. These folks have no sense of urgency, which is somewhat disturbing, unless they’re hoping for some jackrabbit rise in value in the near future. In any event before I go too far afield, these short sales generally take a long time, sometimes the better part of a year. K and D did not have the better part of a year. Their lease is up; they are expecting a baby at ANY moment now, to name a couple of the issues they are facing. And that’s not even looking at the problems the sellers were facing – the break up of a relationship, a child who is impacted by that, and losing their home. On the other hand, thankfully, they will not have a foreclosure on their credit, and they will not have the shortfall debt following them when they do get out from under this mortgage.
K and D, therefore, did have a sense of urgency, so they were also looking at other homes not terribly far from D and D and their nieces, because they want to be there for each other. Then the call came: the paperwork from the bank had arrived and the way was clear to settle on this house.
What I am taking a long time to tell you, dear 3.5 readers, is that our two oldest kids are now homeowners – and they live just down the street from each other! That may not seem like a big deal to some, but it is to me for a number of reasons. When I was little, and my folks finally moved back to NY for my dad to start up his business and ultimately work in radio in “the city,” we were surrounded by family. My mother’s cousins and friends from college, and even grammar school/high school were around, our grandparents on both sides lived only 20 minutes away and we were never at a loss for a place to go, a person to “hang out” with (although they didn’t use that phrase then).
When John and I got married, we lived in Virginia for a while, then back to the New York area for a couple of years, then to Merlin. We’ve lived in Merlin since 1980- almost 30 years – with no family in the area. At first we visited frequently, driving up and down the “Joysey turnpike,” but as time went on, our family got bigger, and we got busier and poorer, the visits became more and more infrequent. Every time a new baby joined our family, my mother-in-law, bless her heart, would come down and stay with us for a few days and we loved to have her. But she had a disabled daughter of her own at home and other worries and it was hard being a further burden on her. My brothers were all over the country, the closest one being in NJ, hours away. John’s sibs were mostly in the NY metro area or in CA.
I guess we created our own crowd with our six kids. We have never owned a house. It’s a long story as to why, but suffice it to say that our family has had its share of financial hardships and there are some things it’s unlikely we will totally recover from. It’s always been a matter of renting from whichever kind soul didn’t mind a bunch of kids. Of course, now that we only have two living with us, it’s a bit easier, LOL:) Lest you think this was some sort of “Walton’s” experience, let me disabuse you of that notion. We have had our share of arguing, harshness, heartache and downright stupidity. I was far too tough on the kids at times, yelling and screaming and spanking. When the older ones were old enough to babysit, we leaned on them too much as sitters so that we could work our crazy hours – John with two jobs and me as a new lawyer working 10-12 hours a day. John and I fought constantly – or if I am to be truly accurate – didn’t really talk at all. But you learn and you get better and you keep on trying. And yes, we lived beyond our means because we didn’t want our kids growing up in an area that would encourage drugs (HAH!! Little did I know how many hard drugs were around that thankfully they declined!).
I suppose this hardship relative to the perceived easy lives their friends had caused our kids to actually want to work. They learned early that a job brought money, stuff, a bit of independence, skills and self-respect. Who knew? And the rides back and forth to work were opportunities to spend time with each one alone. Kids will say things to you in a car that they wouldn’t dare bring up face to face!
So please believe me, that when I say our kids turned out well in spite of us, I really mean it!

In spite of all that we don’t have, I feel very wealthy. When our now-adult kids want to go out and do something fun, they actually call each other! When one has his or her back to the wall, they help each other out. Oh yes, they argue. Better that than sulking non-communication for 20 years!
So yesterday… The day started out with John coming home from work. I rolled out of bed with a headache I could not afford. Thankfully, after a shower and a cup of coffee, the headache was mostly gone. Our younger grandangel was staying with us in the morning and her mom was sleeping in the spare room, to get a few uninterrupted hours in after her overnight shift at 911. John graciously offered to stay up later to watch R while I attended K and D’s settlement on their house.
I drove to Westminster and got there a little early. There was a little delay with the walk-through which got us started a little later, so while I was waiting, I finished the blue Hempathy scarf a/k/a Faux Cable blue scarf also seen here. It’s not a very long scarf, but I think it will be fine with work clothes and it has a lovely drape after blocking. The pattern is so easy to memorize – a perfect project to take along to meetings and to occupy you during down/waiting times!
The settlement was fine – anticlimactic actually. At the end, we heard from D, who had waken up and was heading home, giving “Pop” his much-needed sleep, and making her available to get the oldest grandangel off the bus. Lunch was on me! We arranged to meet at the “new house” and head out from there to the local Friendly’s restaurant. The house is lovely, the yard is beautiful. The inside will need some work on the floors and some painting and perhaps a look at the electrical system (looked like someone tore out a bunch of wires from the fuse box!). Aargh!
Soon, I saw M walking from her house to K and D’s house – her mommy driving the van with her sister in it, watching as she did so. And suddenly it came in a flash.
You folks who have never had kids may not have gone through this, but it was like I could see the two of them as little ones, then as pre=teens, then teenagers, then moving out together. Then the two of them as they are today. And, as I looked at the back yard of K and D’s new place, I had a vision of their soon-to-be-born son coming home from kindergarten, high school, college, his cousins M and R teasing him about his new girlfriend. Their parents enjoying a barbecue on the back deck, and laughing about the way things were when they were growing up as their kids roll their eyes at the 19th telling of the tales of how Uncle so-and-so got arrested while Mom was on duty and isn’t it too bad Gram and Pop weren’t alive to see him win that Academy Award? Or the way that the autism cure had changed M’s life?
So not only did I look into the past, but had a distinctly sharp ascent into the future. I’m filling in the blanks with words, but the feeling was so intensely strong that words really do escape me. The feeling passed, and I saw M exploring the back yard. We all went to lunch and had a great time. S, anxious to get started ripping up rugs, wanted to go back to the house. K unable to be around the almost toxic atmosphere that would produce, opted to go with D, M and R to Pet Smart (seeing the animals and getting something for her fish was a reward to M for a terrific week in school – see a good day for everybody!) and to Target to get Mommy a new purse.
Gram headed home to make arrangements to meet up with friends at a St. John’s Homecoming night.
And lest one forget, while all this was going on, our son officially became the first in our family to cross the Atlantic as he boarded his flight to Dublin, Ireland for a three-week tour of Of Mice and Men. He will be with laptop and camera, but sans cellphone. Hopefully, he’ll get some means of forwarding pictures to us and news of how he’s doing! Does anyone know what/how much WiFi is available in that neck of the universe?
By the time this Gram got home, I was really really tired. The week was starting to catch up on me. I begged off from meeting friends for dinner (and you know how much I love my friends!). I did go to that Homecoming thingie, but left after about an hour. When I’m done, I’m done and there’s no amount of anything that will change it. So home I went. What greeted me at the door was the wonderful smell of pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread baking – of course, it was S! J arrived home from the gym with her friend V in tow. John, after getting a decent sleep, was off to work.
ah life:) Sometimes it’s so good, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, but even if the worst happens, I will have the wonderful memory of yesterday!
God be with you ’til we meet again!
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Author: fuguestateknits

Wife of one, mother of six, gram of five (so far) and lawyer for many young persons, I love to sing, read, knit and walk. My politics are somewhat left of Marx and I want to hear what you think, too!

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