Murphy's Law

August 23, 2010

Sick, exhausted, heartbroken: those are the words that describe me today. The house hunt isn't going well. We made an offer on a charming little house on a quiet cul-de-sac just one street over from a city park. The way the sun streamed into the lush backyard was simply idyllic. But the owners refused to negotiate with us, so we had to take our money elsewhere.

A couple of days ago, we found another house: a historic home with large bedrooms and stunning wood floors. My husband fell in love, as did I. We also met the owner, who told us she was very motivated to sell and had just dropped the price by $12,000. So we made an offer. As we waited to hear from our agent, my husband insisted on celebrating with Chinese take-out. It seemed like a sure thing. Then our agent called: our offer was fair, but the owner had just revealed there was asbestos in the house that must be removed before the deal can go through. The cost and time to remove it may put our purchase out of reach. We were devastated.

What started as a fun and exciting process has turned into a demoralizing drudgery.

Now we may have to start searching for a home a third time, despite having looked at 30 houses in the past 3 weeks. The problem is that we're running out of options. And three days ago I submitted our "intent to vacate" to the apartment property manager. If our apartment sells in the next 57 days, we will have to move whether we have a house or not.

Furthermore, I've been dealing with all of this--including shopping for houses and signing contracts--while sick with a cold.

In a way, though, I'm not surprised. After everything I've experienced in the past three years, I've come to accept that nothing is ever simple. I'm actually shocked when any process goes smoothly. I'm convinced there will always be a snag, or a hidden concession, or a major hangup down the line. Every time we have moved, I've been sick. Every time we go on vacation to visit family, there's tension. Every time I think I have myself sorted out, another issue pops up. I'm 27 going on 80 at this point. I could use more effective ways of dealing with stress.

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