Since March 1, 2011, I have been in a state of limbo. I was a married-bachelor-father. On Monday, I’d load a duffle bag into the car, drive to Michigan, and spend the work week living with friends. When I left work on Friday, I’d drive back to my home in Indiana, unload a week’s worth of dirty clothes, and spend the weekend with my family. The following Monday, I’d do it all over again.
We had pipe dreams that our house would have sold before my start-date in Michigan of March 1. Sadly, this didn’t happen, leaving it necessary to spend months with this lifestyle. I spend 5 days a week away from my almost three year old son and my newborn daughter, while Sarah spends 5 days trying to raise these same two children as a married-but-single mother. Oh, and she also had to keep the house SPOTLESS for any house showings.
After numerous heartbreaks, we were all reaching the end of our ropes. Sarah was stressed to the point of nearly breaking, Tyler was beginning to act out, I began falling into a state of depression, and Audrey… well, she’s just happy to exist, so she seemed just fine.
Then we finally got the offer we were waiting for.
We spent the next six weeks dealing with more hurdles and heartbreaks. The prospective buyers had to have their hands held during every step of the process, and required numerous phone calls before they’d take care of the next step. Meanwhile, we’d put an offer on a house in Michigan, and were steamrolling towards closing… contingent on the sale of our house, which was not going well at all.
“I’m not built to be a single dad, Sarah,” I told her during a phone call. “I just don’t think I can continue this lifestyle much longer.”
And then things would start moving again. And then they’d stall again. Move and stall, move and stall. It was like a teenager learning to drive a stick shift. With lots of crying.
Finally, we had a scheduled closing date for both houses. We quickly put together the logistics. We’d pack everything, load it into the moving truck, sign the papers to sell our current house, drive all of our worldly belongings to Michigan, sign to purchase a house, and move in. We were nervous during every second leading to the sell of our house. We didn’t dare speak too excitedly of the fact that things were finally happening. We just cautiously moved ahead. We packed, we organized, we cleaned, and we kept our fingers crossed. We loaded up the moving truck until the only things remaining in the house was a blow-up mattress for us, a mattress for my step-dad, and a couple random items needed to eat breakfast the next morning.
Closing day arrived! We got things around, packed up some last minute stuff and drove to the closing. Anxious and slightly excited, we parked and walked into the office… and the buyers didn’t show up.
THE BUYERS DID NOT SHOW UP!
“Listen,” I said to the closing officer, “we must have a very specific piece of paper signed today, or we can’t buy a house this evening.”
The agent went on to explain that the wife got “called in to work.” There’s a lot of things I don’t know, but I’m fairly certain an employer would understand that you couldn’t come in right away if YOU. ARE. BUYING. A. HOUSE! Where are your priorities at when you make the decision to email the office mere moments before closing and say “oh, by the way, I won’t be there TO. BUY. A. HOUSE! this morning because my boss called and asked me to come in. I said yes even though I’m supposed to be BUYING. A. HOUSE!”
“Is the husband coming? Is their Realtor coming?”
The answer was no. There aren’t words in my vocabulary to explain the feelings I was having at the time. “Devastated” comes to mind. I explained again the fact that we quite literally had all of our belongings on a truck and were scheduled to buy a house in just a matter of hours in Michigan. The closing officer, bless her soul, was determined to help. She explained that we would sign all our papers and that she would then drive to the buyer’s employer to get her to sign the papers. With no other option, we signed the papers and went back to the house, deflated. At a time we should have been celebrating, we were in yet another state of limbo. We contemplated all the nasty things we wanted to do to the house, to punish the buyers for being such royal pains in the butt. The best idea was to leave an upper decker for them. There were two problems with this plan however. One, we weren’t even sure they were going to sign the papers, which would have meant that we just did something very nasty to a house we were stuck with. Two, deep down, below the cynicism and sarcasm, we’re both good people. But that didn’t mean that we all didn’t laugh maniacally when Audrey spit-up all over the living room floor!
My phone rang about twenty minutes later. “Hi Joe, this is Jen.” Jen was the closing officer.
“Please tell me good news, Jen.”
“The papers are signed. I’m faxing over the information now. You’re homeless.”
I mouthed the word to Sarah “signed” as Jen continued singing sweet, sweet music into my ear about us no longer owning a house in Indiana. And finally, we could hug each other for overcoming such a huge mountain of an obstacle.
And I now get to come home to my family after work every single day. Life is good.