Homebuying: pain comes before pride

I’m in labor. I have been for the last six weeks. I’m giving birth to a first home. It’s a natural birth, as my real estate agent has of yet not offered any drugs. Believe me, at this point, if he offered I would certainly accept them.

It started out small. My husband, Bryan, and I were having a brief discussion of how low the interest rates were.

“Interesting ... ,” he said, and left it at that. Then I noticed an e-mail on our shared account from a real estate agent.

I ignored it.

Then another came. And Bryan seemed to be lingering around the multiple sales listings for Kitsap County Web pages an awful lot.

I finally got curious. “Are we on the market for a house?” He answered in the affirmative, as if I knew. If I had to pinpoint it, I’d guess he’d made up our collective mind when we were talking about interest rates. I’d been bringing it up a few times a month, as I am a woman and the urge to own a home is in my genetic coding.

We looked at three houses. None of them rated more than a three on our Richter scale of real estate interest. And then ... No. 4. KA BOOM!! Lightning bolt.

We walked in and looked around. I felt instantly at home. I could tell Bryan did, too, because he looked at the kitchen and said with certainty, “These cupboards have to go.”

That’s my boy.

We finagled. We put in a bid. We waited. Within 48 hours, our bid was accepted. WHOO HOO!

Then came the fun part: the paperwork. Great leapin’ lizards, there was a lot of paperwork. I told Bryan I would take care of all of it so he wouldn’t be underfoot. Or, in this case, under pen.

We had things to collect: bank statements, tax forms, DNA mitochondria from three generations past, that sort of thing. It took four days of intensive phone calls and lots of digging to find everything.

In the six weeks that have passed, I have signed my name so many times I feel carpal tunnel coming on. I can just imagine having to buy a wrist slingy thing, wearing it out in public and having someone ask me how I hurt myself.

“Mortgage,” I’d reply, to which they would slowly nod their head in a manner that would tell me they, too, had been there, done that, and are currently wearing the T-shirt.

While I was slaving away over the mortgage paperwork for which I had volunteered, Bryan was celebrating the new phase of our lives with a new-found passion for home decorating magazines. They were everywhere: there were hints and tips on how to transform bathrooms, kitchens, backyards, front yards, window sills and the storage space under the kitchen sink. OK, not so much on the last one.

Some of Bryan’s plans called for a completely new kitchen: new cabinets and appliances. Then maybe we were going to salvage the cabinets and just refinish them. Every time Bryan brought up the house as a topic of conversation, I got a visual in my mind of dollar signs sprouting wings and flying away.

As of now, we are scheduled to sign all the closing paper work in the first week of January. I am thrilled and frightened.

Mostly frightened.

This is going to be a fun ride, I think. As soon as I get over my carpal tunnel, I can start to enjoy it.

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