Surfacing for air

“I wish John Cleese were the attorney, then my life’s resemblance to an episode of Fawlty Towers would be much more palatable.”

Finally we had a closing date. November 25. We’d do the walk-through to make sure the house was clean and empty and in good condition, then we’d sign all the papers they wanted us to sign, then we’d dash off to upstate New York for Thanksgiving with Grandma. Upon our return we’d throw ourselves at box-moving and would start setting up our new house.

Unfortunately, November 25 came and went and no closing. The selling bank, Bank of America, swore they’d get us a final piece of the paperwork puzzle in time to close and didn’t. I decided it was best for us to not leave town anyway, because of course as soon as we were gone they’d send the paper in and then not closing on the house on time would be our fault. So we didn’t actually get to leave for Thanksgiving until Thanksgiving, and we had Thanksgiving dinner on Black Friday instead. It was still delicious.

When the bank opened for business again on November 30, they swore up and down they’d get the paper and we could close by the end of the day. The paperwork did indeed come by the end of the day, but so late that we couldn’t close til the first of December. If we didn’t close until December 1, the seller would need to get more money in order to cover the additional costs that fell under her responsibility, so we planned to sign on December 2.

The morning of December 2 we went to the local Bank of America branch, got the bank check for the closing, and went to meet our real estate agent at the house for the final walk-through. We were leisurely about it since we had some extra time to kill, and our lawyer called and said not to head over to the lawyer’s office for the closing until we heard from him again, because they were experiencing a slight delay. Well, okay. There was another closing scheduled right ahead of ours so maybe it’s running late… We took advantage of the delay to comb over the house and check everything, from basement to attic, to open every door and drawer in the kitchen, to poke through each closet and look out each window. And for the first time I found myself really looking, and seeing things I hadn’t seen before. Like how deep the closet in the upstairs hall is, or the deep deep deep closet in the laundry room that I honestly hadn’t noticed. We started to actually fall in love with the house since it would soon be ours…

When we got tired of chatting about inconsequential things, we decided to go over to the lawyer’s office anyway and stare at them to make them go faster. Our real estate agent called before we arrived (well, we were just getting in to the elevator) and said to not even bother coming up, we wouldn’t be closing on the house today. I decided to go up anyway so I could see the bank’s attorney for myself and see and hear what was going on.

At, as my dad said, the fourteenth hour (not the eleventh), Bank of America called their own attorney and threw an I swear, completely made-up roadblock in front of the closing. This attorney has been closing sales for the bank for a year now and she had never heard of a “closing coordinator” until two hours before our closing, when they called her and said we couldn’t go forward until one was assigned to our case, and oh by the way there’s no one AT ALL in the office for you to talk to, and definitely no so-called closing coordinators. Lots of people suddenly weren’t answering their phones, and the bank’s attorney, our attorney, and our real estate agent were all dialing so furiously I think I saw smoke wafting from their keypads. The bank’s attorney looked like she was about to have a heart attack, seriously, so I prescribed an avoidance of licorice and grapefruit until after the closing. We must have been in her office about 45 minutes or so watching her argue with person after person at Bank of America, watching her face turn an increasingly alarming shade of red. She was so apologetic and unless it was very carefully staged for our benefit, it was clear to me that this poor woman is not the villain here.

Now it’s December 3 and we haven’t heard that any progress has been made. I’ve only called and made a pest of myself once today, because I figure that the less of a pest I am, the more of a pest the people working on my behalf can be (they won’t be on the phone dealing with me, they’ll be on the phone dealing with Bank of America).

Of course, in the time since we were supposed to close the toilet has developed a leak from the first floor through to the basement whenever you flush, so that immediately becomes item #1 on our move-in to-do list. Let’s just hope it doesn’t exacerbate anymore before we can get access to it and do something silly, like crash through the floor and in to the basement altogether. Fingers crossed!

No washer and dryer but we expected that, but we do have the stainless steel fridge. And all of the window hangings, which A) fit well with the style of the house and B) are just beautiful. The amount of sunlight in this house is astounding and I can’t wait until we’re living there!

In the meantime, please send good karma our way and hope the bank’s attorney’s health lasts. Pictures will be posted as soon as we close!

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