Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Dexter Street Saga Vol. 2

So once again I was caught up in another waiting game. Back in 2003 I went to boot camp for the Army in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma and I learned a phrase there that turned out to be applicable to many aspects of adult life: "Hurry up and wait". That phrase had become the very definition of the entire home-buying experience for me.

I had done everything that I could, and now it was up to HUD to decide on what bid they were going to accept. After a few days of calling my realtor, hoping for some good news and getting no news at all, I forced myself to basically forget the whole thing was even happening so that my everyday activities would no longer be affected. I mean, I was seen many times a day at work just standing in one place, staring at the floor, completely lost in my thoughts and despair. This had to end. Of course, once I had actually pretty much come to grips with the fact that I probably didn't get it, and should be moving on, I get the call that my bid was accepted.

I was thrilled, to say the least. I was a signature away from owning my very own home! And then there it was again. "Hurry up and wait!" HUD demanded various documents be submitted within certain timeframes that, in my opinion and those that were privy to the experience I was having, were ludicrous. "We need (insert document or form here) in our hands in 24 hours....12 hours ago". And that's only a slight exaggeration.

But everything eventually came together, as it usually does. All the documents were prepared, the money was in-hand, and a closing date had been set. I went out and got my utilities scheduled for hook-up, and prepared a homeowner's insurance policy. I was beyond excited, and very anxious. This was, after all, the second biggest thing I had ever done in my entire life. It was finally closing day.

The night before was, of course, sleepless. But I didn't care, and I felt anything but tired. I gathered my things and hit the road for the law office responsible for closing the deal. It was a beautiful summer day. The breeze was blowing, the sun was shining bright, and I was on top of the world. As I was literally pulling into the parking lot, my cell phone rang. I thought it was my parents, because they were in town and supposed to be meeting me for the big occasion, but the call was from someone not in my contact list. Usually I don't answer calls like that, but a very strange, heavy feeling washed over me when I saw that number on my caller ID, and I answered it.

It was my real estate agent's husband, who is also an agent with the same firm, but I had been dealing with just her through this whole thing, and I knew right then that something was wrong, and it felt like my brain shattered like glass inside my skull. He informed me that she would not be present at the closing because she was having chest pains and had been admitted into the hospital. Now, I'm not a monster, and my first reaction was one of genuine concern for her well-being, if only for a split-second. They were sending her supervisor in her place, so everything was still moving forward, and it was only going to be a slight delay. But again I was reminded of the phrase that had been haunting me through the whole thing.

Before I go any further, I should report that the agent was fine, and released from the hospital shortly thereafter. I don't know the specifics, and quite frankly don't care past the point that she is alive and apparently well. So maybe I am a little bit of a monster. Skrew you.

Everyone is now present, so I signed the final documents, handed over the check, and they in turn handed me the keys to my new home, which practically burned in my hand, and the energy in the room was almost popping, like I was in a box of static electricity wearing a wool jumpsuit. We left the law firm behind, my parents heading straight to the house, while I had to go finalize my homeowners insurance. It took a bit longer than I expected, and when I was done I called my mom to let them know I was on my way.

By now it's just after 12 o'clock noon. I had gone to the Dothan City Utilities office 3 days prior to schedule my utilities to be turned on before noon if at all possible on the closing date. Of course they couldn't guarantee anything, but they predicted that it should be turned on by then. Well that wasn't the case, and I was faced again with another setback, but this time it was two at once. Not only had the utilities not been turned on, but the keys that the agent gave me DIDN'T WORK IN ANY OF THE LOCKS!

We called a locksmith to come and replace all the locks. He showed up fairly quickly, did his job and was on his way. I had already called an electrician to come and give me an estimate on rewiring the place because it still ran on an old-school fuse box and needed to be upgraded to breakers. He was at his mother's house which just happened to be in the same neighborhood, and he showed up a couple hours later than he had said he would, but I wasn't nearly as frustrated about that as I was the fact that it was now approaching 3 o'clock in the afternoon and my electricity and water had still not been turned on. So I called the utilities department and what I found out didn't surprise me in the least. Not with the way things seemed to be going.
The work order was made the day I went into the office to schedule the hook-up. An inspection was required before the electricity could be turned on, and apparently the city outsourced that to another company in the area. For some reason that work order never made it to the inspection company so the inspection was never actually scheduled, which meant my utilities were also not scheduled to be turned on. The situation was taken care of and I had my utilities before nightfall.

The electrician’s crew was a little short of work and were available to start pretty much immediately, so come Monday my house was getting an electrical overhaul. I still had some time left in the nasty old trailer, so it wasn’t a problem. They ended up taking about three days longer than they anticipated, but by this time I’m so accustomed to miscalculations, miscommunications, and delays in general that I’m not really affected by this. The job was done, and done very well, with the exception of a small issue that took a phone call and one guy to fix up. No big deal. All in all, I was very satisfied with the job the electricians did, and would not hesitate to call them for another project of my own, or to recommend them to anyone else. Top notch. Thanks, guys.

Which brings me to my next adventure. The most recent chapter in the Dexter Street Saga is a long one. It started over a month ago, and is actually still happening. If how things have gone so far are any indication of how things will continue to go, it will probably be another month before I can even post it. Let’s just say it involves a bathroom remodel project, myself, my dad, my grandfather, and (cue the “Psycho” shower scene soundtrack) a CONTRACTOR. Feel free to scream. I know I’d sure like to.

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