On The Road Again, Chapter 8

The week following this disappointment was difficult. I was heartbroken, as I thought for sure this was our dream home. What went wrong? I knew that there was a reason it didn’t work out. I also knew there must be something better waiting for us. Or, at least, that’s what everyone told me. Some things just don’t work out, and you find out later that it was the best thing that could have happened. I kept telling myself not to be sad or fearful, or blame myself (or my husband) for this failure. I have learned over the years to trust my gut, and to trust my husband’s gut, too. My husband’s gut told him to walk away from this purchase. I knew both of us had to be excited about the property we buy in order for it to be right.

I allowed myself one day to wallow in sadness, disappointment, and fear. My husband was not sad, although he was sensitive to my pain. I knew my husband was right, but I still held out a tiny bit of hope that the seller would come back to us, hat in hand, and offer us the house at our price, or even lower.

So, after my day of feeling sad, I shook off the negative feelings, and got back to work! (Where do I get this ability to shake off the unpleasant and move forward? I think it comes from my mother and father, and their generation, who surely lived through difficult times during WWII. I learned from them to acknowledge the sadness, but not to wallow in it. I learned from my parents that life goes on, and if you put one foot in front of the other, eventually good things will come. Thanks, Mom and Dad!). The next day I turned my attention to catching up on projects I had put aside for the Style Club For Women (my membership group for women over fifty).

We terminated our purchase agreement on May 19th. The next day, I started searching for a place to rent for the month of July because now we would be without a home in July! There were very few rentals available, as Santa Fe fills up with tourists over the summer. I was looking for a one month rental that accepted pets, so the choices narrowed down to two rentals. One was about thirty minutes north of Santa Fe. Too far and too expensive. The only other option was a quirky, but nice, one bedroom geodesic dome near downtown Santa Fe. I started a dialog with the homeowner, who it turned out was a sculptor, and his wife, a painter. After telling him our story, he said it would be his pleasure to host us and he’d even help us look for property nearby, as he was sure we’d fall in love with the area! He gave us a good price, so we signed up for the month of July. I’ve never lived in a dome! Robert and I were looking forward to this new experience. And, at least we had the month of July locked in.

The Search For A Home Continues

On May 21st, I had an appointment with a hair stylist in town. My gray roots were really visible and I couldn’t put it off another day! It was actually a long time since I had taken time off just for myself. This was a much needed pampering break. I realized the day before that it was our 15th wedding anniversary, so we planned on going out to dinner that night. I was looking forward to a romantic date with Robert. We both needed, and deserved, a little romance and fun.

While I was at the hair salon Robert went to look at a property with our realtor, Vanessa. I told Robert he could go alone because, after all, the house was way over our budget, and I didn’t see the point of looking at it. Later that night, Robert told me about the property. He was careful with his words because he knew how I felt about the high price. He described the house as “cozy” and said the studio would work really well for his artist studio. He asked me to go see the property, but he didn’t press it. I wasn’t into it at all.

We spent our time the following week attending art openings, packing up all our belongings, again, and moving to house rental #2 for the month of June. The good news was house #2 was in the same Eldorado neighborhood, only one street over. The bad news was that Robert didn’t feel well. As a result, I did most of the moving myself. I monitored my husband’s health closely for the next couple days, and he started to feel better.

We met our artist friend, Ani, at one of the art openings that weekend. She wanted to hear all about house #2 and how we were feeling about not buying the 16-acre property. She asked if we had been looking at other properties, and Robert told her about the one he had seen the other day without me. I said I wasn’t interested in going to look at it because it was too expensive. Ani looked at me squarely, and said, “Linda, just go see it. You never know what sellers are willing to accept and who knows, you may just fall in love with it, too. Go see it. What do you have to lose?” So that night when we got home I asked Robert to make the appointment with Vanessa to go see this property. Ani convinced me that there was nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The House On Nine Mile Road

On our way to look at this property with Robert, I thought about the name of the street it was on — 9 Mile — and about growing up in the suburbs of Detroit; about Eminem’s 8 Mile song and how my dad practiced dentistry on 7 Mile. My thoughts were all over the place.

I didn’t expect to like it, but as we drove through the gate I knew this place was special…

Then we walked inside…a pool table!

This was beginning to look like a very nice house (party house!)…and you know how much I love all the artistic touches that make a home interesting. This house had all of that and more. An interior courtyard with a garden that simply needed some “tlc.” A beautiful kitchen, gorgeous tiled bathrooms, and two of the bathrooms with tiled sunken tubs.

And, of course, the prerequisite artist studio and casita! Both were fully functional and ready to go! No tearing down required…

The property felt very private, and yet it was only a 10-minute drive to downtown (unlike the previous house which was a 30-minute drive). There was so much to love about this property, but again, the price was high. We told Vanessa, our realtor, that we would talk that evening and let her know what we wanted to do. As Vanessa was getting into her car, she added, “You should drive around the neighborhood and make sure you know what’s going on around here.”

So we did! We turned left and drove until the main road dead-ended about a mile from the house. All of a sudden a huge vista opened up in front of us. I was searching for my phone (I thought I might have left it back in the house, so I was preoccupied). Robert got out of the car and his jaw dropped as he surveyed the beauty. There was a sign that read “Santa Fe Land Conservancy.” As Robert stood there, a mountain biker rode up the trail and stopped at the roadside next to Robert. “How far do these trails go?”, my husband asked him. The biker looked confused and asked, “What does it matter?” Robert replied, “Just curious.” The biker said, “It’s more than enough, believe me.” If you knew anything about my husband you’d know that this response excited him, as trails are nirvana to Robert. He’s a former long-distance trail runner, and his dream is to take his dogs for daily long runs. Robert asked the guy one more question, “So, do you live around here?” And the biker looked at Robert and answered, “Yah, I do. Welcome to Eden.”

So We Talked

As soon as we arrived home, Robert and I started talking about making an offer on this property. I knew that this was the type of place where we could happily live, work, and play for a very long time. It had everything on our wish list, and so much more. And, here’s the thing about the magic of our journey: this property belonged to a couple who had recently passed away, and their son left it empty for a couple years before he was ready to sell it. So, again, here we were buying a house that was occupied by people who passed away recently. Maybe that’s not so unusual, but our realtor, Vanessa, certainly noticed the coincidence! Another coincidence was that this was the exact area that our friends from California moved to — they bought a house less than a mile away. They were bummed that we would be living 30 minutes from town with the previous house. And, the last coincidence was that the geodesic dome I found to rent in July was literally at the end of the road, bordering on the land conservancy. So, whether these are simply coincidences, or these are examples of the universe lining up our destiny, it really doesn’t matter. I notice these things, and I actually look for these coincidences in life as a sign post. All I know is we were both on the same page with this property, and we were BOTH excited to make an offer. This was good!

I wrote a letter to the seller that night which would accompany our offer. Because we were not making a full price offer, again, I wanted the seller to know our motivation and how much we loved and would cherish living in this home (apparently he grew up in this house). We met Vanessa the next day, signed the paperwork, and started praying that this was our dream home.

Bottom line, that night, while we were eating dinner, Vanessa called and said that the seller really wanted to sell us the property but it just wasn’t a high enough offer to meet his financial needs. I looked at Robert as Vanessa delivered the message, and I knew he was about to be heartbroken. I knew that we had some wiggle room to raise the offer, and that’s what we did. The seller conveyed back to us that he wanted the night to think about it and he would let us know the next day.

Did I sleep that night? Heck no! Even though I tried really hard not to get emotionally attached to this property, I knew my husband was. I wanted this for him. This was the right property for us.

The next morning, we didn’t hear any news. I tried to stay busy, but in the back of my mind I played out a possible scenario where they were showing the house one more time and waiting to see if someone made a higher offer. I didn’t voice it to Robert as I didn’t want to give that thought any energy. Instead, I asked all my angels to help the seller come to the best decision for us and for him. I talked on the phone to several friends, and just hoped for the best.

At 1pm that day, while Robert was at the grocery store, Vanessa called and said the seller had decided to sell us the house but had several contingencies. I held my breath…Vanessa said, “Number one, he is NOT going to get the carpets professionally cleaned for this price.” I let out my breath, and asked Vanessa to hold on a minute. I held the phone away from my face and shouted a giant, “WOOHOO!!!!! We got the house!!!!!!” Then, I said to Vanessa, “Please continue.” The second and third contingencies were equally small, including not fixing a minor leak around the skylight in the casita, and third, he was taking the washer and dryer with him. The contingencies sounded quaint. I loved this seller! So I thanked Vanessa, and immediately called Robert to deliver the good news — the AMAZING FREAKING NEWS!

WE GOT THE HOUSE!!!!! After all this, we had found the property of our dreams. Well, Robert found the property, and I fell in love with it, too. Our friend, Ani, in response to this news, said, “Boy, you two are really good at manifesting your dreams quickly! You’ve been here one month and you already found the house of your dreams.” I am amazed, too. This has been quite an odyssey. I’ve changed. My husband has changed. We are closer than ever before (if that is even possible). And we are both so grateful for our lives and future in Santa Fe.

Next chapter, we will do the house inspections, and all the things you need to do for a house purchase, so stay tuned…