Sunday, August 3, 2014

So, Anyway...


Apologies, mes chers, that things have been a little quiet here of late.  We've been on the go.

And the thing is, we haven't even gone yet.  But we have the keys!

Buying a home in these United States is an extremely curious experience.  You lay out whatever cash you have, and a series of professionals - some of whom you will never meet - spend several weeks finding ways to spend it.  They come up with all sorts of inventive fees and charges, which altogether are known enigmatically as "closing," and just when you think it will never end, they decide they've had enough and summon you.  You go to a small almost unnervingly featureless office in a strip mall, where you sign approximately as many papers as were required to dissolve the Holy Roman Empire.  Something on the order of half of them are described by the pleasant gentleman in a suit whose role is never fully explained to you (and never will be as long as you live) as being "confirmations that you understood the form you just signed," which since that was a fantasy at best, means that one is probably is not only out all one's liquid assets, but guilty of some civil, real-estate-related form of perjury on top of it all.

By contrast, the last time we bought an apartment (not, mind you, something we do with startling regularity), Mr. Muscato went to an office in Cairo with a backpack full of cash, handed it over, and signed a grand total of one piece of paper.  That, taken to a ministry and stamped (everything in Egypt has to have a stamp), was it.  Given the country's almost fetishistic obsession with bureaucracy, it makes the contrast with our experience last week all the greater.

At length, however, our long nightmare of initialing and signing was over, and our cheery broker Fiona handed over the keys.  I hear that some such occasions in these parts are accompanied by Champagne toasts and even gift baskets.  If that's in fact he case, as the saying goes, we wuz robbed, although I did pocket a couple of extra Hershey's kisses from the bowl near the door on our way out.  Whatever the case, and despite the lack of any special formalities, like it or not, we are, again, homeowners.

And now the real madness begins.

I've taken to dropping by the new place with the dogs, just so they know what's in store.  I've also taken to staring into the closets and cupboards, wishing desperately I'd actually followed upon last fall's resolution to be brave, go through it all, and throw things away.  In a week or so we'll spend something like three days in total chaos, with decreasing doses of chaos for the next several weeks.

In the meantime, I'll try to check in now and then, but we'll see.  Those cupboards won't be stared into on their own, after all...


14 comments:

  1. Come to New York next time you buy. The process is MUCH woolier in New York. Everyone has lawyers! (But at least that gives you a shot at understanding what you sign.)

    Best of luck on the new abode. May you have many happy years there with your two legged and four legged family members.

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  2. Ooops. How did I forget this?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYcqToQzzGY

    Movin' on up...

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  3. You have my deepest sympathies in advance, dear. Moving is chaotic and disruptive to all of us (and as you know we did it all again just recently). I am still shuffling stuff around, trying to work out a) what exactly is in that box; and b) where to put it? Good luck! Jx

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  4. Fiona didn't at least send flowers? What a CUNT.

    I was really disappointed in our broker in Baltimore. The only effort he put into anything (his assistant was with us when we found the house and drew up the contract) was during the closing, and even then he screwed up BIG time. I can't recommend him. And he wasn't even cute!

    My favorite document is the one requiring you to return to the closing space and resign any document that they forgot to make you sign.

    So did you get an apartment, a rowhouse, a town house, a semi detached or a house house?

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  5. Congratulations and commiserations! A toast to our host:
    We wish for you walls for the wind
    And a roof for the rain And tea beside the fire
    Laughter to cheer you And those you love near you
    And all that your heart might desire!

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  6. Congrats darling. With any luck, the movers all lose several boxes and you won't have to throw anything away.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, sure - with my luck they'd ditch the Pym and Benson books and leave me with Great Aunt Edna's goddam silver lustre luncheon set...

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    2. Such uncharacteristic vehemence over a luncheon set...thereon hangs a tale.

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    3. I love that silver lustre luncheon set.

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    4. Your watercress was never up to snuff, but I do have fond memories of the cucumber sandwiches and your "special tea" poured from the silver lustre.

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    5. Oh, Julie, therein lies a multigenerational family saga. And as for "special tea," Bill, well, that was in fact a speciality of the aunts who figure so prominently in the tale...

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  7. Congratulations! I wish I'd brought my dogs to check out my current place when I'd bought it. My poor Border Collie took one look at the house and tried to flee. he lived there in mortal fear his entire existence.

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  8. That photo - is that from that cheap non-equity bus and truck of Les Misérables that you toured with in the early 90's for the Weisslers? It sure looks like the barricade from Les Miniature (as they called it). I always thought your Fantine was very underrated. I totally believed you as a fallen woman. Well...after all...

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    Replies
    1. Typecasting at its laziest, indeed...

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