4. Moving On, Part 3

Friday, 30 September 2022. Three days left. I was up at 3 AM, online, still looking. I was starting to consider the second unit I saw during that disastrous tour the week before (below left); at the very least, it was move-in ready. This, of course, assumed it hadn't sold yet; it was still listed as available, but that meant nothing. Then I received emails from two friends, both with links to the same unit: a surprisingly affordable double-wide about 20 minutes away in a nice treed community (below right). However, 1,200 square feet was way more house than I wanted. Plus, every square inch of it would need to be painted—for example, one bathroom (inset) was brilliant purple. It could take untold gallons of Kilz to fix.

The longest, most insane day of my life, at least in recent years, started at 7:30 AM, with filling out the application for residence at the Plan A park. Curiously, while it was the smallest (and, if I'm honest, the shabbiest) of any community I'd visited, it was the only one with an electronic application process—a tremendous timesaver. Paying for the application, however, was nowhere near as convenient; numerous texts and two new iPhone apps later, I finally had it paid. Then the waiting began yet again.

It's curious—and surprising—how things can play out... as I waited for word back on the application, I received a tip that Plan F, the older unit I liked out by [shudder] Toms River, was back on the market (when you show any interest in a property, you're automatically on everyone's radar). Apparently the original bidder suffered a heart attack just before closing! It appeared I might have a most acceptable backup to Plan A.

But all of the suspenseful waiting left me with time to think... Wow... Plan F was cheaper. It was in a much nicer neighborhood. Lower HOA fees. And it was fine just the way it was, with no immediate need for modifications or upgrades; indeed, it was the most "me" of any unit I'd seen. I wasn't thrilled about the location, but in this case, all of the other factors outweighed it. So, I put my guy to work on it post haste. Since I couldn't drive out to see it, he immediately went there and we did a FaceTime tour. Minutes later, I learned there was already another offer in, so I threw caution to the wind and went $15k over the asking price—still well within my means.

What did I see in this place that inspired such a bold move? Actually, this may sound kind of stupid, but... it was the bathroom: a step-in shower, not a tub, with real tile. After that, it was the kitchen: white shaker cabinets and stainless steel appliances, just how I'd have done it, plus a cool little island as a bonus. Oh, and a separate laundry room—excellent. There was nothing for me to do but move in (although I was certain I'd come up with things to do to it in due time).

Ten minutes after I made my offer, the seller accepted. There then followed such a furious flurry of activity that it was hard to keep up. Phone calls. Emails. Texts. Forms. Applications. Checks. More Forms. More Checks. We set the closing for Monday. Everything was zipping along smoothly until... the buyer of my house announced he couldn't close on Monday, as we'd agreed. Evidently his lawyer wasn't ready—even after having had ten extra days to prepare because we'd previously moved the date. Why are lawyers like kids with homework, always leaving it until the very last minute?

I really wanted to strangle that lawyer, because moving the closing from Monday to Tuesday royally screwed up everything: the mobile home seller was rightfully pissed; I had to reschedule the movers, while praying they could accommodate the change; friends who'd offered to help understandably had to bail, and so on down the line. It was a serious clusterfuck, and it was all I could do to keep my shit together. And just to pile it on, all of this was happening while the remnants of hurricane Ian was drenching New Jersey with what would be a solid week of rain.

Meanwhile, I had to give up Bobby because he was an outdoor cat, and I couldn't keep him at my new home. But the fellow who came to pick him up waited with me for five hours, and Bobby never showed. He must have known things were about to get much worse: my agent called saying the seller's agent was insisting in the strongest possible terms that we must close on Monday. Oh. Shit.

Faced with the prospect of losing the deal, I humbly asked the buyer to please help me out. Although he assured me he'd do what he could, I felt no relief. Instead of sleeping, I spent Sunday night enduring a bout of angina the likes of which I'd not known. I was certain I'd be sentenced to the same fate that befell the first buyer: heart attack, just before closing.

As Sunday slowly crept into Monday, my angina, like the rain, never let up. I sat watching the time tick by until I was able to contact the buyer. My proposal: wire enough money for me to close on the mobile home; then we could close on my house whenever it was convenient for him. Although the logistics were a bit messy and there were some risks involved, there were also advantages for us both.

To my great astonishment and immense relief, he accepted my proposal. I confirmed the mobile home closing with my agent and arranged for a ride. While I was waiting for my ride to show up, I spent the time refreshing my email looking for the wire transfer confirmation. One hour before closing, it still hadn't hit. I was beginning to panic. The angina was returning. And I found myself wishing for a heart attack.

The curse was rearing its ugly head again: at virtually every turn, I'd get screwed over by someone or something—in this case, an arcane bank process. There were countless texts between me and the buyer, and phone calls to our respective banks. "See it yet?" "Nope." Then, with literally just a few minutes to spare, the wire transfer hit, and we hit the ground running. And before I knew it, it was all over: I was the proud owner of a mobile home. And everyone went home happy.

But the surprises weren't over yet. Tuesday I received word that closing on my house, originally scheduled for Monday and moved to today, would instead take place on Thursday. So, I rescheduled the movers for Friday (one bit of luck: they had an opening). A few hours later, the closing was moved again to Friday. And right after that, to Monday. Oh, for fuck's sake! I was not going to change the move date again, not after what I'd been through. If the buyer wanted to close after Friday, we'd have to do it at my new home. As it happens... he agreed.

Originally I was going to stay in the house through the weekend, but after everything was packed, and particularly when the music stopped, the place just seemed dead to me. And so I slept in my precious home for the last time on Thursday, 6 October 2022, listening to Bobby scratching at the door, even though I saw him off the day before—boy, was that ever rough. Then, on Friday afternoon, I bid my sacred Wild Sanctuary a silent, tearful farewell.

Friends have asked if I'd like to return to see it after the new owner finishes it. No. I'd prefer not to even see photos of it. I want to remember it just the way it was while I lived there, in all of its unfinished splendor, frozen in time.

Also See...

Moving On, Part 2 < Index > Moving In

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