I have insomnia. I woke up at three with one word in my mind; methlab. The vision is of a pine forest. There are old pickup trucks surrounding a broken down garage. The smell of chemicals cooking permeates the air. Dogs, chained up in the heat without water, bark non stop. A naked woman with a beautiful figure gyrates in front of my husband. Where is this hell, you ask? Why, in my dream, its next door to our new house!
We sold our house!!! Yeah!!!! I hope making the announcement here isn’t premature because we have not yet closed the deal. When the money lays in your hand, you know it is over. I am confident that the deal will prevail. We have to have some faith that it will happen. We are expected to be out of here in less than two months. That means packing all of this stuff. Thank God we got that POD back in May. It also means we have to find a place to live.
Initially, we were going to place our things in storage and take our time looking. We bought the RV and planned on visiting my family in Michigan and then going to CA to stay with Andy during the winter. We are still going to do that, I think. The reality is that it is expensive to stay in an RV! I had no idea. Most campgrounds around here charge between $30 and $40 a night. If you staying someplace for a month, it runs between $800 and $900. You have your gas to buy, of course. I think our RV gets about 10 miles to the gallon. And that is considered pretty good gas mileage. Then you have your storage. The POD is $200 a month. When the rest of the stuff gets packed up, the bill goes up to a whopping $1200 a month, which includes the charges to store our three cars and tractor. Oh lord.
You never know what to think when you read the news, or listen to the TV newscast about what is happening to the housing market. We made about half what we thought we would make on our house and that is what is fair in this market. If it improves, and we wait, we will have to spend more to replace our house. Today, and that could change at any second, we are in the mode to buy a house now, before any circumstances change, and they are changing constantly!
So we are looking. We actually began this process last fall, when Jen and I flew to Michigan to visit with my family. We took one day and drove to Saugatuck, the place of my childhood summers, and looked at houses with my friend, Kristi. Jim and I thought about having a place to go for the summer. Since we were in our fantasy stage, the reality of selling our house loomed ugly and foreboding. I didn’t see how we could ever, ever, get it in shape to sell, especially with the present tenants; four dogs. But this process of leaving here had begun, without our consent.
So we began doing some repairs. The dialogue would go something like this.
Me: I think this shower door looks bad. Let’s get someone in here to give us an estimate.
Jim: The shower door doesn’t look bad.
Me: It looks like hell.
Jim: As long as it doesn’t cost too much.
The shower door guy came and this is no exaggeration, he laughed.
Shower door guy: you need a whole new shower stall. This fiberglass is crumbling.
Result. Shower door-$150.
Repeat this twice, as the bathtub in the second bathroom was of the same genre of fiberglass.
The same thing happened with the septic.
Pump out guy: This will never pass inspection.
New Septic field: $9600
This process continued for six months. All we did was spend money. But it was worth it because the house is sold to a lovely couple and it will be in good shape for them to enjoy. I never, ever thought it would sell that fast, if at all!
But lets get back to my nightmarish scenario. How do you avoid moving next door to the neighbors from hell? Our neighborhood here in NJ is pretty great. We all live far enough from each other to have privacy. You don’t have to say hello or wave unless you are feeling really generous. But if you go on vacation, we will watch each others homes from a distance. This isn’t always true; the people across the street must have gone to Florida last winter without telling anyone and at one point, we considered calling the police in case they were in there, dead. Jim refused ultimately, saying that their family would show up eventually if they were missed. I didn’t think that was very neighborly.
A friend of mine is living a hell right now because of what is happening next door to her home. She has to see neglected horses every time she looks across her field. She has gone through all the channels available to try to rescue them, putting herself in danger because of it, and nothing continues to be done. It is heart wrenching.
Many years ago, Jim and I spent a lot of time moving around when he worked for Associated Press. I could write a book about the characters we met. The first move was to Philadelphia. We stayed in a series of short term rentals while waiting for our house to close. The first place was in a ritzy sort of area. One day in the laundry room, I started talking to a woman who turned out to be the people who lived below us. She was a lovely woman and so friendly.
That night, about two AM, a drunken brawl that would initiate a call to the local police ensued. It was so loud and scary that the kids woke up and crawled into bed with us. It was the people below us.
When we first moved to CA in 1969, we had neighbors who would have the loudest, yodeling sex every single night at about three AM. Jim worked on the flight line and got home at midnight. He would have a snack, and then we would get out the chess board, and sit and wait. There was no point in going to bed until she was finished. Good lord! I didn’t like it when others were having more fun than me!
But except for those minor things, we have been blessed with wonderful neighbors throughout the years. Now, I hope not just because of me, we have rocked the boat. We are stepping out into the unknown. Jim is supposed to fly out next week to look at some houses. I can’t manage the airport yet; I over did the work thing around here and am having a little trouble with my leg. Nothing awful, just enough to be annoying and have to rest. That’s another thing. What was I thinking when I thought I could sell a house after having a hip replacement? I must have been crazy.
Writing this is so therapeutic. Now that I have voiced my neighbor from hell concerns, I will be able to go back to bed and hopefully, sleep for a few hours. The chimney guy is coming today to inspect. I hope we don’t need a new chimney.