In 2005, Dave and I decided to build a new house. We had a difficult time deciding what kind of house we wanted to build and spent approximately eighteen months walking through a million spec houses only to find that each one lacked something on our wish list. Just when I thought we’d never find what we were looking for, we found a house plan that we loved and a great lot we thought would be perfect to build it on.
But we still couldn’t pull the trigger. Even though the housing market was strong, we had never built before and had the same concerns most people have when deciding to build: What if we can’t sell our old house? What if we have to put all our crap in storage and move to an apartment if our current house sells before our new one is ready? And a small part of us wondered if we should move at all. We had lived in our house for eight years and were quite attached to it. We ultimately decided to quit over analyzing and stuck a For Sale By Owner sign in the front yard.
We sold the house four days later. The buyers, Jennifer and Brandon, liked the house as much as we did so we finalized the purchase agreement and worked out the details. We were ecstatic. Because we sold the house ourselves, we saved thousands of dollars and were able to make a twenty percent down payment on the new house. And even more importantly, Jennifer had a townhouse to sell and didn’t mind waiting approximately five months until our new house was built to take possession of our old house since it would give her plenty of time to find a buyer for her property. We were grateful that Jennifer and Brandon didn’t mind waiting. The thought of moving twice, once into an apartment and again when our new home was finished was a scenario we desperately wanted to avoid. Thanks to Jennifer and Brandon, we did (Hi Jennifer!). Meanwhile, Jennifer put her townhouse on the market and everything worked out pretty much the way we had planned.
Shortly before we all closed on our properties, Jennifer called me and mentioned how much she appreciated dealing with me and Dave. I think we were both pleasantly surprised that we were all able to remain cordial and accommodating throughout a process that could just have easily been filled with tension and conflict, especially as there was no realtor to buffer our negotiations. Unfortunately, the buyer of Jennifer’s townhouse wasn’t as accommodating and she and Jennifer weren’t seeing eye to eye on a couple things. Jennifer had installed custom hardware in her kitchen and wanted to take her cupboard and drawer knobs and handles with her and the new buyer was not happy about it. Communication between them went a bit downhill from there.
Everything worked out in the end and we all closed on our new properties. Jennifer and I still talk or e-mail occasionally and the offspring always insist on driving by our old house if we’re in the neighborhood.
A little over two and a half years after we moved into our new house, my twin sister Trish found herself having a rough time and was in dire need of jettisoning everything in her life that wasn’t bringing her happiness, namely her douchebag fiance whose sole ambition in life was to grow hydroponic pot in the spare bedroom of her townhouse. She was also an out of work mortgage loan officer in a industry that had just imploded so the time was right for her to make a few changes. With the encouragement of her family, Trish made the decision to move back to the Des Moines ‘burbs. She put her townhouse on the market and my dad and stepmom, and Dave and I, started looking at townhouses for sale here. When we found one we thought she’d like, we’d go look at it and then send her pictures and details about the property. Dad and Debby finally found the perfect townhouse in a suburb about thirty minutes away from where Dave and I live. Even though I love my sister, we fight like a couple of nine year olds so being separated by a thirty minute drive is not a bad thing.
Once her townhouse sold, Trish loaded her furniture, her 8th grade sweater collection, and a whole bunch of shit I would have purged from my home a decade ago into a moving van and watched it drive away. She got into her car with her CD’s, her cat, and a Texas drawl as genuine as Madonna’s British accent and followed the moving van back to Iowa.
A couple of days before Trish arrived, my dad asked me if I wanted to see her new place. He already had the keys and wanted to go over and make sure the heat was on and take care of a few things Trish had asked him to do. When I arrived, I gave myself a tour. The first thing I noticed was that the living room wall was painted chocolate brown and the paint looked like it had been rag rolled on. That’s weird, I thought to myself, when Jennifer bought our old house we had had a conversation one day about paint colors and Jennifer mentioned that she and her mom had rag rolled a deep chocolate brown onto her living room wall. Then I noticed that the fireplace had some additional stone work that someone (my dad maybe?), had mentioned was not present in any other units in the townhouse complex. Hm, Jennifer mentioned she and her mom had done some stone work on her fireplace.
Then I looked into the kitchen. Every single cupboard and drawer was missing its hardware.
“Dad, you are not going to believe this,” I said. “But I think this is the townhouse that Jennifer used to live in before she bought our house. The buyer she sold it to must be moving already.”
“Are you sure?” my dad asked.
“I’m pretty sure. I’ll look it up on the assessor’s site when I get home.” When I plugged the address into the assessor’s site later, it confirmed that Jennifer had been one of the previous owners.
This may not seem that weird to you but this townhouse complex is large and it’s in another city. It’s located about fifteen or twenty minutes from my old house and, as I’ve already mentioned, about thirty minutes from where I live now. I called Jennifer and said, “You are not going to believe who is moving into your old place.” She thought it was freaky just like I did.
Anyshizzles, I’m getting to the part about the fridge, I swear.
One of the things Trish mentioned she wanted to change about her townhouse was its appliances. Everything was white and she eventually wanted to switch to stainless steel. I told her we’d buy her old fridge because Dave and I wanted an extra one to put in the basement. We entertain a lot and every time we do, I wish we had more room for all the platters of food and extra beer and pop we buy.
When Dave and I bought new furniture this summer, we gave Trish our old couch and over stuffed chair and, in exchange, she told us we could have the fridge for free as soon as she bought the new one. Her new stainless steel fridge was delivered last week so Dave rented a truck and drove over to her house to pick up the old one.
This is the second fridge Trish has offered us but only the first one we’ve accepted. I’ve already blogged about it here but if you don’t feel like clicking over to that post, I’ll give you the quick scoop. In 2004 I flew down to visit Trish in Austin after she’d kicked the hydroponic pot growing douchebag out (he was like a loser boomerang though and kept coming back for the next four years). While I was there I cleaned her entire place and spent hours scouring and disinfecting her fridge. I was horrified to find a dead fly in it. In her post-breakup fog I don’t think Trish noticed or cared.
Several months later, Trish’s beloved cat died. Since it would be a few days before she could bury it, she put it in her fucking freezer dudes. Then, shortly before she moved back to Iowa, she asked me if I wanted her fridge because it wasn’t included in the sale of her townhouse.
My answer: Oh, hell no. I declined her offer in a nicer way than that of course. Probably. Okay, actually I think my answer was something like “no fucking way do I want that fridge.” The nice thing about Trish is that she was okay with my answer and decided it was my loss.
Trish may not be the tidiest girl on the planet (and her housekeeping leaves a lot to be desired), but she rarely has a mean word to say about anyone and seldom holds any kind of grudge. And lest you think I don’t love my twin sister, I do. Seriously. But, as I’ve mentioned before, she truly is the Oscar to my Felix.
Trish came over the other day. I told her that Dave had started cleaning out her fridge and that he said it was kinda gross. I told her I hadn’t even started cleaning it “the Tracey way” yet. “Guess what I found in it when I was taking everything out?” Trish said.
“I’m afraid to,” I answered.
“Another dead fly,” Trish said cheerfully.
“You do know most people store food they are planning on eating in their refrigerators, right?” I asked.
“And just to clarify, you haven’t put any dead pets in it, right?”
“Not this time,” Trish said.
I bought a big box of Arm and Hammer baking soda to put in the fridge after I make sure it is no longer a level five bio-hazard.
When I talked to Jennifer a couple months ago, I mentioned her old fridge would be moving to our house soon. “Be good to the old girl,” she said. “We will,” I replied.
Just as soon as I clean her up.