Archive for August, 2009

Closing Time

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Mood: relieved | Drinking: yes

640_2004

Finally, at long last, our former home is good and sold. To someone new. Which means that Boy and I are no longer homeowners.

We put our home of 5 years, a 1911 Edwardian condo just two blocks from Golden Gate Park, on the market at the beginning of June. We had a buyer on the hook within two weeks. But escrow, in the day and age of cautious banks, takes forever. So we officially closed just this past Friday.

Boy and I moved all our stuff (and the LeeLoo) into short term housing while we look for a new home, probably somewhere near the beach, on the west side of San Francisco. It’s the first time since 1999 that I’ve lived in an honest-to-goodness apartment complex. Kind of a weird feeling.

But we’re hoping that we won’t be here for long. We have a feeling that our next happy home is out there somewhere, and we’ll find it very soon. Fingers (and all other available body parts) crossed.

I feel like I’ve had two elephants sitting on my head for about three months now. One elephant down, one to go…

Looking at that picture up there freaks me out a little. That was us back in July of 2004, sitting on the steps of our just-purchased first home. Looking all young and bright eyed, with a lot less grey in our muzzles. And now it belongs to someone new. Weird. But wonderful.

Once all this real estate drama is over, I’m hoping to get back on the stick will all my various projects. Shel and I have already gotten a good start on editing the Homogeneous cinépoem. And writing group carries on, so I have some new words in the works.

So it’s not all quiet on the western front. There are some faint rustlings. Stay tuned.

-Lo, who misses her garage already.

Things That Go Bump

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Mood: doomed | Drinking: chemicals

night_terror

Night Terrors

The things that come for us now in the dark
do not wear the faces of our childhood monsters.

There is no boogeyman or closet troll
lying in wait when the lights go out,
but still we curl beneath covers,
reduced to small sniveling things
too scared to open our eyes.

In the dark we discover the fragility of our happiness.
We realize disappointment is not an “if” but a “when”.
We discover that betrayal is unavoidable.

We suffer premonitions of catastrophe.
Panic of dying alone. Within every shadow
lurk specters of bankruptcy, layoffs and loss.

The rituals once used to banish the ogre under the bed
gave us some small sense of control, so we adapt,
develop defensive OCD tendencies,
flicking the light switch ON-OFF-ON-ON-OFF
before turning down the sheets.

When daylight finally appears, it does little to assuage us.
The pretense of normalcy comes more naturally
once we’ve been groomed and caffeinated, yes,
but the newspapers these days print our nightmares as headlines.

Late for work, we run back into the house from the garage
three separate times
to make sure the stove’s really off.
As if caution will prevent
the inevitable electrical fire
already smoldering inside the walls.

When we come home later to fire trucks,
we feel almost relieved.

We always knew disaster was only a matter of time.

*****

-Lo, who is only afraid of the dark after watching scary movies when Boy is away.

Behind Door #1

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Mood: sneezy | Drinking: for medicinal purposes only

door

It begins with the door. Always.

This is the rule I’ve learned over 11 weeks and 82 houses. The door is where it all begins.

Because you can never tell by standing on the street, you can never know just by staring at the facade. Anything could be behind that door. Anything is behind that door.

And once you push it open and step inside, that’s where the fun (and sometimes the horror) begins. That’s when you really begin to know what you’re dealing with. That’s when you’re finally able to see if you fit, if this house is one that you could turn into your home.

Sometimes you walk through the door, say “Oh, hell no!” and turn around and walk right back out. Sometimes you walk in, fall in love, and then realize you can’t afford something this amazing, not yet. And sometimes you push open that door and stay for awhile, thinking, “Hmmmm, yeah. Okay. I can see how this would work.”

Of course, just because you like what’s behind the door doesn’t mean you can actually have it.

Boy and I have been house-hunting for a good long time now. We know what we’re looking for. We know what we’re up against. And we feel like finally, after 82 houses, we’re getting close. (I’m hoping that’s not just the desperation talking.)

As I’ve explained in previous posts, San Francisco is not your average real estate market. Unless you have a gazillion zeros after the number on your bank statement, you can’t just walk right and in find something you like and say, “I’ll take it!”. You have to fight it out, battling through bidding wars between 12, 14, or 25 other sweaty buyers.

Everybody’s out there scrambling for their piece of the American pie right now, and they’re getting a bit vicious about it.

That’s why we’ve put ourselves on a two week break. On this sunny Sunday afternoon, for the first time in months, I’m sitting on my couch with the sleeping Loondog next to me, windows wide open, clicking away on my laptop instead of queuing up for yet another frantic afternoon of open houses.

We’re only a few weeks away from closing on our own house with our lovely buyer, so we decided to take a step back and settle down and let the contingencies fall off before we jump back into the fray. Isn’t that when big things start to happen, anyway–when you decide to let them go? That’s what my mom says.

In spite of the self-imposed ban from the MLS listings, I seem to be unable to get houses off the brain. So I sit here and ruminate about doorways, about how you often step through them without knowing.

Did I know, when I walked into the hallway of our current home, that it was the one? No. Just as I didn’t know when I met Boy for the first time that he was the one. But then, I’m not a big believer in “the one”. I prefer the school of thought of multiple possibilities.

I don’t believe that there’s one right house out there for us, or one right partner, or one right destiny. There are so many doors we could walk through, and so many choices that lead us to those doors. Combine a few factors in just a couple of new configurations and you’ve got a whole different universe of potential.

I do believe in fate. I do believe that some things are meant to be. But it’s not a storybook or a rom com. It doesn’t usually (or ever) happen the way you think it should.

So I’m trying not to read into the fact that our realtor called us yesterday a.m. at an obscenely early hour for a Saturday and got us out of bed and across town to see a tiny orange house that could (or could not) be the one.

I’m trying not to get all portentous about the fact that the series of events that led to her phone call were out of the ordinary, to say the least.

I’m trying not to get my hopes up that maybe all the right stars are aligning this time and after 7 (yes, seven) missed chances, the 8th time might be the charm.

Or, you know, not.

But I would like to point out that this particular door I’m standing in front of now features a very handsome lion door knocker. And if we get this house, I’m totally naming him Aslan.

-Lo, who’s afraid that her cold medicine might be showing in all this rambling.