Fifteen years ago this month, I started the process of becoming a homeowner by signing the purchase agreement on my house. I had been living about 2.5 miles to the west in Ferndale in a rental flat, which was nice I guess, but the landlord was kind of a flake and after seven years I was restless. The funny thing is, during the summer I was debating moving to another apartment, maybe in a nice-looking building a half-mile or less north. But then, I had also been debating dumping everything and moving into my 1990 Ford Ranger pick-up truck for a while. I wasn’t terribly happy with my status quo, really. It’s salient to note that during the summer I started taking an antidepressant for the first time. That probably had as much to do with my transition from chuck-it-all to house purchase as anything, I suppose.
I had helped my friend Rosemary move into the house in Warren in June of 1995, and I visited with her a few times in the next couple of years. (Yes, I actually saw the black and silver and pink wallpaper in the bathroom, which was the very first thing she changed with the decor.) In the summer of 1997, she contracted a cancer and was undergoing some treatments, mostly of a homeopathic nature if I remember right. In September she made the decision to relocate to Indiana to be near her mother and other family. “Hm, that means you have a house to get rid of,” I observed. “Are you looking for a house?” she asked. And suddenly, I was. Within two weeks her ex-husband, acting kind of as a broker but not officially so, drew up the purchase agreement. The price was about the same as a house in Ferndale that I had been curious about, but which had gone off the market too quickly.
To celebrate this embarkation on the path of financial responsility and servitude to a bank and a building, I promptly went to the Renaissance faire and bought a nifty pair of boots. Then back in the real world, I went through the whole appraisal and mortgage process, and signed the final papers in late October. At the very end of the month, I drove with Rosemary (and her big comfy recliner, in the back of my Ranger) to her new life in Bridgeton, Indiana. This was my first real exposure to Indiana, actually, not counting quickly skirting metro Chicago on the way out west. By mid-November, I was all moved into Rosemary’s house, thanks in large part to help from bonezman.
This increasingly close to epic post was prompted by my remark in my previous entry about inheriting things from Rosemary. She had an estate sale to get rid of as much as would go. (The people running the sale told her she should go somewhere for the day. People expect estate sales to be held after someone dies, see, and might get squicked if they actually met the host.) But not all of it went, and I said “Sure, leave it here” because I wasn’t sure what I might need, and anyway I’m a patsy. Some of the stuff was practical, like the washer and dryer, a microwave cart, and the display cabinets in the corners of my kitchen. Others were, um, not so practical, like the Garfield in fishing waders. I can’t get rid of most of this stuff because it feels as if it belongs to the house, somehow. Likewise, I’ve been reluctant to change much of the decor because her decorating taste wasn’t very frilly and I liked it enough to keep it for a while, at least.
And now it’s been fifteen years… wowza. The house should buy me a nice bottle of wine so we can celebrate, maybe.