4/04/2011

A Moving Story

One of the things that became really clear to my sister and me when my mom got cancer almost 2 years ago now is that even though they live reasonably close, it's not really all that close if there should happen to be an emergency, or when you need to be up there every day to help with surgical recovery, etc. Inevitably what happened is doctor appointments necessitated the person going up to help to sit in the worst of the traffic (and honestly, it's not like there's every good traffic around here, it's just a degree of how terrible it is). And so, slowly, we started scouting out the real estate down here in my neighborhood and my sister's (or the best one in between) with the thought that if we could find "the house", then maybe mom and dad would consider moving closer.

We looked at several houses off and on, with nothing really being perfect. Mom swung between "I'm never moving. I will die in this house." to "Let's go, I'll move in tomorrow." Though most of the time she was in the (very reasonable) state of "If we find something that's better than what I have now and meets all these criteria, then I will move. But I'm not moving to something that's not at least as good as where I am now. Because moving sucks."

And moving does suck, no one can argue with that.

In January (I think it was January -- maybe it was early February, either way...earlier this year), my sister and I tracked down four houses for sale that we thought might fit the bill. I drove by two of them and was able to eliminate them without even going inside (one of mom's big "must haves" is privacy, which you don't get in most newer neighborhoods since the theory seems to be "raze it all then build houses and, if you must, plant one tree per house"). The other two we arranged to go walk through, just me and my sister, to see if it was worth having mom come down to take a look. The first one was, essentially, the same house my mom has now. It was...fine. But they had made some renovations that left us scratching our heads and we were pretty quickly able to wipe it off the list.

The second one....well, we walked in, looked at two rooms, and called mom and dad to tell them they needed to buy it right now, sight unseen. It was perfect. There was an open house scheduled for the next day, so mom and dad were going to just come down for that, but given the price and the location and the house, we pushed and they came down later that night instead. In the intervening time, my sister and I realized that we would find out exactly how well we knew what mom wanted when they got there, because either she was going to love it as much as we did or we just had no clue whatsoever about her wants. Thankfully, we are not crazy - mom loved it and after a brief consultation with dad (he came too, but he was very much in the "whatever you want to do, dear" camp), they decided to make an offer.

The next day, we found out that the current owners had already accepted an offer on the house prior to mom and dad's, but that they would take mom and dad's on as a backup offer (because the first was contingent and mom and dad's was not). Several days after that, we found that mom and dad's offer was now primary, the other putative buyers being unable (and in one condition, unwilling) to meet the terms the seller wanted. And so the typical house buying process went on, with the hiccups you expect, and, last week, mom and dad closed on their new house. It's five minutes (if you actually do the 25 mph my sister's neighborhood asks you to do) from my sister, and probably just around 15-20 from us (depending on lights and traffic - but that's on back roads, not I95).

Now mom and dad are debating the various merits of hiring someone to come and move them in one fell swoop vs. trickling into the new house one or two van-fuls at a time with child labor. The doodle is looking forward to having mimi and papa that much closer (plus they have a backyard that will actually support play equipment, which ours, given it's odd shape and ski hill-like slope, does not. And they've said we could build one for him). I'm looking forward to mom being able to live on the main floor - the best part of this house is the laundry and master are all on the main floor - so mom will only have to do stairs if she decides she wants to, and given the after effects of chemo on her joints, I don't see that happening all that often.

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