It's not about the house.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Tramp's Story, Part XIV: The End

I mean it! Let’s get this over with, shall we? I should say it is continued from three posts ago, as if you didn't know. And about a dozen before that...

Maria explained the “preliminary HUD document” that she had in hand was a short summary of the terms of the agreement. In other words: my schmeschminance application was approved!

“So... we’re done, then?”


“Well, not exactly.”


“I’d like to go over the numbers here, make sure everything is what you were expecting.”

This sounded positive. Very Helpful and Informative. Not at all like the three-card monty game that SchmounschmtrySchmide put me through the last time. Until she actually started reading numbers off to me, and I realized there was nothing much I “was expecting.” Her numbers sounded like one of my grandmother’s recipes: a dollop of this, a smidgen of that, a soupçon of something else – except with Grammy’s recipes, I actually knew what all those these, thats and something elses were.

I played along gamely for a while, but finally – having run out of variations on “Um... okay?” and “Er... I guess?” – decided to hang up the charade and interrupt.

“Does it say 4.375%?”


“Fixed for thirty years?”


“And my total monthly payment will be $1249?”

“Well, $1250, actually, because—”


I think I genuinely startled her a little. By which I mean to say I heard her gasp. I gave her a minute to collect herself, and then launched my next Well-Informed Inquiry.

“So... we’re done, then?”


“Well, not exactly.”


You see? You see how disciplined I’m being? Because isn’t this story just aching to let off right here and be picked up at this point tomorrow? Or the next day? If you were me, wouldn’t you think one full page of single-spaced 12-point type is more than enough to have got done in one day -- especially in one day when your mom's in the ICU on a ventilator -- even if it is just a lot of one-word paragraphs? And wouldn’t you decide to eat a slice of apple pie for breakfast and go back to sleep? But no. Because I love you, readers, and because you have officially now been tortured with this story for longer than it took me to live through, I will let that pie-slice fortify my wit, and soldier on...

“The next step is to sign the papers. Can I tell the notary when and where would be convenient?”

“You mean – what do you mean ‘when and where’? ”

Poor Maria. By now must have thought I was retarded. How could she not?

“I mean what day and time would you like to meet the notary, and in what location?”

Well, yes. Der. I know what “when” and “where” mean. But what are my choices? Where’s the office? Is there more than one? What are their hours?

“No. They’ll come to you. Anywhere. Anytime.”


“Well, within reason. Evenings are okay but not, you know, midnight.”

“And they’ll come to my house?”


“Well, all right then. Today’s Friday, so let’s say at my house, after I get home from work on Monday.”

I was assuming that they didn't work the weekend. Turns out I was wrong about that, but it's neither where nor when.

“Fine," Maria said. "Can you give me the address?”

I don’t know if this was a test or what, but what I said was:

“The – um – haven’t we just – shouldn’t you already – I mean – well...”

So totally retarded. But Maria understood where I was driving.

“Is this the property in question? 3 Morrell?”

Yes. Exactly. Der.

“And what time do you get home from work on Monday?”

“Well, I’m usually home by 4:00, but let’s say 5:00 just to be absolutely sure.”

“All right then. At your house, at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 25th. I’ll call you the next day to see how it went, and we’ll get this thing closed by the end of the month!”


Or would we?

Again. You see? If you were me, wouldn’t you so much rather drop it here and pick it up again tomorrow? Scurry off to somehow miraculously save my mother's life and leave everybody wondering how I could possibly screw the schmeschminance up at this point? But I won’t. I can do it all. Crazy Ladies, sick Moms, this blog and The Project (which is really, really finished, by the way). So I will tell you.


I sat bolt upright in the middle of the night.

Hadn’t Henry told me – weeks ago – that I could have Johnny’s name put on the deed? Wasn't Maria supposed to ask me about that? Or was I supposed to have brought it up to her? Or was it just miraculously done already? And speaking of things that Henry told me all those years and years ago...

“Hello, Maria?” I was leaving her a voice mail in the middle of the night. “I’m wondering if it’s too late to have my husband’s name put on the deed. And also, Henry told me that when we were done the process I would get to skip a payment, but he also told me to keep making my payments as usual till then, so I already paid November – weeks ago. If we close by the end of October, am I screwed?”

I probably shouldn’t have said “screwed.” But Johnny and I had already done the math and realized that one mortgage-free month was almost the equivalent of free heat for the winter – if you count the old, newly-raised mortgage amount. And if we had a very, very mild winter. And we had gotten used to that idea.

But no. We were screwed.

Maria called back to say it was not too late to put his name on the deed, but as far as the skipped payment goes...

“It’s all right,” I said. “It’s not a deal-breaker. Just would have been very nice for us, is all.”

It only occurs to me now that all I had to do was ask her to put off the closing for a week. We’d close in November instead, and I would skip December. But oh well. Plus, in my plentiful life experience, more lag time only means more possible screw-things-up time. So if I don’t get free heat after all, well, it’s not like I was counting on it before this whole thing began.

The notary called me on Sunday night.

“Is it possible,” she said, “for you to meet me at 4:00 instead of 5:00? I’ve got another closing I’ve got to do that night in Brockton.”

I said I would, but that the only reason I’d said 5:00 in the first place was so I wouldn’t have to worry if there was a backup on the train. I told her I’d probably be here at 4:00, but if by any chance I wasn’t then she would have to just sit tight and I would be here soon.

“Great,” she said. “And also: make sure you have a photocopy of two forms of ID. Your driver’s license and one other.”

“A passport, I assume, will be okay?” I asked her.

“Oh,” she said. “You don’t have a driver’s license?”

Well, yes. I do. But you said “your license and one other,” see, so I was clarifying? Because I’m not too terribly keen on giving away copies of my credit cards?

“Oh. Sure. I guess a passport will probably be okay.”

You guess? Probably? You sure you don’t want to look that up or something before we get any further in? Because, I mean, this little blue booklet with the haggy-looking picture (seriously: yeesh) is valid for identification purposes at any government-sanctioned occasion in any country in the world, but I would understand if a Notary Public must insist on a copy of my Mastercard. I just need to know ahead of time. In fact, should I just go ahead and copy my AmEx and Visa, too?


This was just the first of several ways the Notary would prove to be a slightly flighty pain in my patoot.

Okay. I’m sorry. I am done. For today, I mean. I tried. I really did. But I’m at the bottom of page four (in Word) now, and I just can’t bring myself to go on anymore. So it’s going to have to be continued one last time, after all. Looks like it is going to be a fifteen-part series... And I lied.

Su me.

[That was not a typo, and I'm leaving it. Please send any spare mojo for her, would you all?]


Sashimi said... I had to go look up "mojo" on, but if there's any latent mojo in's going Su's way.

Robert said...

Thinking of you and your mother. Hoping for the best.

oldgreymare said...

Another great start to my day. Blessings to you and yours.


Ladyscot said...

I am sending all my available mojo Su's way!

Cake said...

Sending good wishes for your mom! Many, many good wishes!!!

jen said...

I like you and i think yer pretty.
You know im praying. Im a prayer. Oh, look! I just said one just now - and I didnt even move my mouth.

jen said...

I meant like im a Pray Er. As in I pray. Not that Im an actual prayer. though i might be for halloween next year...