Chapter 8: Light at the End?
When the property buyers missed a payment they'd owed me, I delivered some strong words to my attorney, who dutifully translated them into polite, professional but stern legalese. He prevailed, and as a bonus he secured the right to terminate the contract if the closing did not take place when the final extension expired. If it came to that, it wouldn't be the best outcome, but at least it would free me from the shackles of a contract that's almost literally killing me.
But for every bit of good news I receive, some bad news is sure to follow. I now have (temporary) electric service. Hooray. However, it appears if I ever get the chance to finish my house, I'll no longer be able to do all the work myself: my knee, which almost a decade ago had been predicted by a specialist to give out right about now, is in fact giving out. I'm beginning to regret building a multi-level home; indeed, I'm beginning to regret attempting to build a home, period. That little light at the end of the tunnel just might be yet another oncoming train...
As if to add insult to injury, New Jersey has been enjoying one of the most startlingly mild summers I can recall. Days barely reach 80 (some hover around 76), while some nights dip down into the 50s. It's painful to see such gorgeous weather go to waste while I sit on my sorry butt and wait for something that may never arrive. It made me angry—to the point that I dragged my broken body outside to do something constructive.
My knee wouldn't allow me to get up on a ladder, but I could push a broom and move stuff around. So I straightened up the garage and put my car inside, just as any normal, civilized human who has a garage would do—the satisfaction of seeing it in there made up for some of my pain. I also swept up all of the dead leaves and cleared away some of the cobwebs from the rest of my sadly neglected little house. It was the first time I'd spent any significant amount of time there in months.
After I'd expended what little energy I had, I donned my finest rose-colored glasses and set my mind to task: assuming the best possible outcome with the property closing, what will I need to do next? I drafted a detailed checklist...
Once the list was complete, it looked awfully long—I suddenly felt as though I've hardly gotten anything done! It was also quite evident that a number of these were big-ticket items made bigger thanks to my blown knee, since quite a bit work would now have to be done by contractors, although the bright side is that things might get done much more quickly. I was also encouraged by the amount of stuff I should still be able to do. And there are some things I insist on doing, such as the cabinetry, trim and other woodworking. Ah, the sweet smell of sawdust...