Two weeks ago, on a Friday night at American Airlines Center, during the second half of the Dallas Mavericks-Indiana Pacers game, John and I decided to buy a house. Finally, after 6 months of lengthy discussions regarding three houses we really liked, complete with detailed lists of pros & cons and bar charts, we made a snap decision. During the third quarter, over a Bud Lite, right after I went to the bathroom, we made a selection. Immediately, I shot off a text to Paula Larson, our real estate broker – like she didn’t have anything better to do, late on a Friday night. I wanted to get the message out there into cyber space, before we changed our mind. The game was plenty dull.
The extra tricky part of this equation is the location! location! location! The house we had finally decided on is 262 miles away, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. And we actually live in Dallas which could possibly make for a long morning commute for John. It’s not a bad drive for a weekend road trip and a Saturday night football game, but I imagine it would be a tad bit tedious on a daily basis. He doesn’t much enjoy his current 30 minute morning drive to Las Colinas. From Big D, Fayetteville is a straight shot up Central Expressway, north past the Red River, through Oklahoma with no reception – cellular or otherwise – and up to God’s country. Home of the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Our plan has always been to move back home to Arkansas before we are dead. And dead is sneaking up. If we wait too long, we will soon wake up in an East Dallas assisted living facility, riding a bus to Walgreens for our prescriptions. And I don’t much like buses. We need to do this soon while we can make new friends.
Not that we have anything against Dallas. We love Dallas. It’s been a great place to live and raise our children. There are job opportunities and all the restaurants you could ever desire. But, we want season tickets to everything Razorback. I want to walk into Herman’s regularly and not think, “Oh look there’s a Razorback welcome mat at the front door. How odd!” – because it isn’t odd there. I need to see the Ozark Mountains while I’m driving to Target instead of the cotton candy man on Gaston Avenue. In our barrio, there is actually a man who walks around in the afternoons with a huge tower of cotton candy for sale. I believe it is the strangest thing I have seen in our neighborhood, and there have been many. We live nowhere near a ballpark.
We were ready. If we buy something, this would force our hand, right? We would have to list our house and sell and move. Right? Or maybe John was trying to get me the hell out of Texas, so he could truly work 24-7…? There would be no one to nag him about going to the doctor. He could snore to his heart’s content without being elbowed and told he has apnea. He could weigh each morning in peace.
After thinking and talking about this house for six months, as well as not talking about it and totaling ignoring the subject, we made a decision. Wooooo Pig Sooooie!!!! We decided to make an offer, as if we were deciding which movie to go to the next evening. Paula, our patient, charming broker no doubt now recognized she was dealing with lunatics.
The following day was Saturday morning. And here we go again. John had a mid morning flight to Atlanta. He needed to leave the house fairly early. He had to run by the cleaners because someone (me) had forgotten to pick up his shirts. He had to run by his office on the way to the airport (why? I don’t know – habit?). Oh and, of course, he still needed to pack. This trip was for several days, unlike his previous red-eye to Pittsburg – more clothes to ponder, shoes and belts to match up – just overall more challenging. AND, in the middle of this, we had to get our offer in on the house. We had to buy a house.
Apparently, after sitting on the market for months with no activity and several price reductions, we were suddenly buying THE most popular house in Fayetteville. The seller had coincidentally received a contract on our house the day before. Naturally. Then, as Paula worked up the contract, John packed and I tried to just breathe, a second offer came in on the house! Really? What were the odds? Now it was a competition. There were three offers.
Paula was a trooper – emailing, texting and calling me back and forth, along with the listing agent. John was already in route to the office. The three of us strategized over a conference call as John tried to print his boarding pass. We had a second conference call while he was in his car headed to the airport. Last night he dreamed he had missed his flight… After John was on the plane and headed to Atlanta, I signed the contract to officially throw our offer in the ring.
This is how we do things. This is how we bought our current home. Spur of the moment decision during a midnight drive by, leaving a nearby party. Just like that. We weren’t even house shopping. We didn’t look at any other homes. And John immediately left for Denver during the contract negotiations. But we did it and never looked back.
Within 30 minutes Paula called to let me know that we didn’t get the house. Someone else paid over asking price. Someone else was buying our house in Fayetteville. It was just as well, I was exhausted and needed a nap. This just wasn’t the right house for us. Maybe we will find one soon or maybe not. Maybe we won’t find one until ten minutes before Kelsey walks down the aisle (someday). But all it takes is 20 seconds of insane courage. And we have the insanity part down to a science.
John Parr, “St. Elmo’s Fire Man in Motion”
Eurythmics, “Sweet Dreams”