This is actually a picture of the house from Google Streetview. Probably for the best that I show it this way, because the lawn will never look that nice again, once I'm in charge of it.
As of 5:00 yesterday Court and I are officially homeowners. The actual process of closing was pretty much what people had told me it would be - lots of giant checks handed out and signing several hundred documents while our attorney explained all the ways we would be beaten, tortured, and maimed if we didn’t keep up with the mortgage payments.
It wasn’t that long ago that just about anyone with a pulse and a body temperature above about 72 degrees could get a mortgage. Those days are gone but our attorney still took great pains to explain things to us as if we were two random people who’d stumbled off the street into a house closing.
“And if you fall behind on payments,” the attorney said, gesturing at a sheet of mortgage obligations, “the bank can take you to court and say, ‘I don’t think these guys are going to catch up on payments. We want the balance of what’s due.’ Then they repossess the house and auction it to get their money back. That’s called foreclosure.” He said it as if we’d never heard the word before.
It was the first time I’ve ever been on the receiving end of any legal counsel, and even as he put everything in layman’s terms my eyes started to glaze over as he kept pulling documents off a stack that seemed impossibly high. Court signed them, I signed them, and yet more appeared as if by magic.
“Now,” the attorney said, “I’m not going to push this on you, but I highly recommend you purchase the FHA Tibia Fibula Impact and Pulverization Protection Coverage.”
I blinked. “What’s that?”
“It’s an insurance policy that prevents the bank from breaking your legs in the event of foreclosure. They are still allowed to have the biggest member of their staff punch you in the face as hard as possible, but I still would say this is a great deal.”
Court and I looked at one another.
“Does it cover kneecaps too?”
The attorney pulled another document off the stack. “That’s an additional policy, the FHA Patella Fracture and Extraction Protection Coverage.”
I pursed my lips. “Yeah, we should probably get those.”
When all was said and done there were handshakes all around and we stumbled into the afternoon sunlight still in a haze at what we’d done.
“Did we just buy a house?” I asked.
“Our checking account says we did.”
I went over to our new home in Schenectady to make sure the electric company had turned the power on as I’d asked and after confirming that, I walked through the empty rooms, trying to wrap my head around the fact that this was now my house. I went to each bedroom, looked out the windows, and then left. I opened the closets, considered them for a moment, and then closed them again, all in a sort of dumbstruck stupor. It’s a very nice house, but the fact that we now own it and will be living there shortly still escaped my comprehension.
Court and I know the previous owner well and we’ve been over to the house many times, but it was always full of her stuff. Now that it’s largely empty it was easier for me to envision my few possessions in all the room.
My coffee machine will go there. Maybe the TV will look nice over here. This room...I’m gonna fill it with skeeball and pinball machines. I’ll put rope lights everywhere. The hallway is short...but I still think we could fit a Slip N’ Slide in there.
Okay, maybe my visions for the house don’t correspond exactly with my wife’s, but I’m sure we’ll work out the differences in due course. It still doesn’t feel real, this house is ours now.