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Isa's Story

June 15th, 2018

Operation: Roxy New Home

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

This will be a long, long post – forgive me. But remember, y’all asked for it! I keep trying to shorten it and it just gets longer.

As we all have known for some time, Roxy needed a new home and sooner rather than later.

I put the house on the market March 9, a ton of showings and got a full price offer seven days later. Closing was set for April 30. So far so good. I started packing.

I’d been looking at properties since December, everything in the county in my budget. As much as I would have liked to move into some sort of already-built building, such a creature simply did not exist. Maybe with another $500,000. HA! So I decided to move into a travel trailer (a la Wyatt Ray) on a piece of land and build something later, when the dust had settled. After accepting the offer on the house, I figured I’d maybe better make a decision on our new digs sooner rather than later. Picked a place in Cerrillos (twenty-odd miles south of Santa Fe): 9.5 acres, septic, electric, telephone and water all in place. The down side: a ton of junk on the property, including a mobile home that had seen better days, and a “driveway” in rough shape. Rough enough that it wasn’t going to be possible to remove the mobile home until the road was repaired. Couldn’t repair the road until I owned the place and no bank would loan me money with the mobile home on the property. Anyone else see a problem?

And that was just the beginning of the problem(s). The primary issue was that the seller did not have title to the property. One would think, having been on the market for approximately three years, that someone might have looked into the status of the title but evidently not. A compromise could have been worked out giving me a place to live while the title issue was sorted. We suggested any number of variable scenarios all within the ballpark of rational and fair. However, every proposal was met with a quasi-hysterical response from the seller and/or her broker, followed 24 hours later by a rational one. This went on for several weeks. In one email the seller’s broker said it had gotten too complicated and she was out of the deal. The seller and I could sort it out ourselves. One day, I received a forwarded email from the seller’s broker that said, among other things, I could “limp along” with the hole in the septic tank until the title issue was resolved.

That was the last straw for me. I was pondering my options and went into the ladies room to continue pondering. All the best pondering is done in the ladies room. And there on the floor was a penny! My Angel Isa sent me a penny to let me know that it was all going to be okay and that it was okay to run (screaming) away from this particular piece of land. So I terminated the purchase agreement (final) on April 25th. Closing on the house remained set for the 30th.

“Regroup” may be an understatement. Went through the listings all over again, everything in the county remotely in my budget that had water in some form or another. That didn’t yield much, but a couple new possibilities. My agent spoke with the brokers on those properties and realistically it came down to one viable property east of Santa Fe: 1.7999 acres with a well drilled already, but no electricity or septic. Also a better option as it’s in a much a better hood than the previous property, therefore a better investment, and a much, much shorter commute. Went to see it (gorgeous!) and put an offer in on April 24 and set a May 8 close date on the assumption the seller would carry the note as had been offered in the listing.

Movers came April 27 and moved the bulk of my stuff into a storage unit currently stuffed to the gills. Included in that move was Roxy’s chair.

My Chair!

That was bad enough but she still had the couch. Then, on the 28th, ReStore came and took away the couch. This left her with nothing more than her dog bed (holes patched with duct tape). Talk about side eye, hers was at a Meg-a-Star level.

As scheduled, we closed on the house on the 30th.

Late that night we got a counter offer on the property – purchase price was agreed on but the seller was not willing to carry the note. That meant I had to find a mortgage, inevitably with an institution that would require at least 30 days to process the loan. And I’d already lost a week waiting for this guy to tell me he wasn’t willing to carry the note. Arguh!

For better or worse, I rented back the house for a week and we had to be out on May 6. At least somewhat worse, because as my friends were helping me move and “someone” was locked in the backyard, “someone” mangled the screen door – viciously, vindictively, and with malice aforethought. No time for repairs – I left the new owner $30 and the few parts that were salvageable.

May 6 rolls around and we are, essentially and technically, homeless. I had purchased a 25’ travel trailer off Craigslist, older and perhaps less than ideal (in hindsight). Moved said trailer into a campground not far from the property. For reasons obvious to the studio audience, Roxy could not be left alone in the trailer all day while I was at work. Even when I was there, we had a bit of an issue as the neighbors were six feet away and frequently had dogs of their own. I was sure we were going to get kicked out of the campground but she wasn’t even the most obnoxious dog there! She has spent every work day since May 6 at doggy daycare. The good news is she’s gained a lot of confidence, has started playing with the other dogs and is generally enjoying herself. And is very, very tired at night, hooray! Her separation anxiety is even a teeny tiny bit improved.

Not too long after settling into the campground, I sent an email to my agent outlining one or two timing issues that had come to my attention. I was leaving on vacation on the 26th – the trailer absolutely had to be out of the campground before then. I couldn’t/can’t move the trailer with my little car so have to find assistance – always complicated and inevitably the other party has their own timing issues. The loan wasn’t set to close until June 8 and what the hell was I going to do with the trailer. I (pretended) to be calm and asked if maybe we could revisit getting a pre-close occupancy agreement so I could get the trailer out of the campground and onto the property.

She suggested we ask the Bank Guy if he would write an email saying the loan would be approved, no problem, and then she thought it would be okay to approach the seller about an occupancy agreement. Bank Guy responded and suggested an entirely different scenario – the bank would give me an unsecured loan (for far less than the original mortgage) and I would have to come up with the cash for the balance of the purchase price. Then, later when all is calm(er), we could close on the mortgage, refinancing the unsecured loan.

With that financing scenario, I was able to close on the property on May 16. As of today, we still haven’t closed on the mortgage proper and I may have to rattle a few cages. But the difference between 12% and 6% interest is enough to get my attention and start hollering. Bank finally sent me a copy of the May 17 appraisal today. First movement I’ve seen from them since I signed the unsecured loan documents a month ago.

My friend that had towed the trailer to the campground opted out of moving it onto the property. I can’t say that I blame him – steep driveway, super tight turn around. Many, many ways for it to go horribly wrong. I got lucky and found a hauling company – Trailer Guy thought it could be done for a relatively reasonable fee but he couldn’t get to this part of town until the 22nd. I was able to stay longer at the campground (still pre-Memorial Day weekend) so that part worked out remarkably well.

As is to be expected, the 22nd saw the first storm we’d had in 54 days. Trailer Guy (and his son) and I scampered around getting the trailer unhooked and packed up while eyeing massive black clouds. I shoved Wallee into the carrier and loaded her, the plants and other potentially breakable stuff into the car.

I don’t know how, I almost didn’t think it was possible, but Trailer Guy backed that trailer all the way up the steep drive and into position. When all done, I noticed a tire track less than two inches from the edge of the road, he cut it that close. He said afterward it took every ounce of skill he had to get it done. An awe-inspiring and impressive maneuver. Miraculously the rain held off.

After that, Wallee and I went back into town pick Roxy up at daycare. As we hit city limits, it was clear the sky had recently opened and attempted to drown the city but, as is normal here, the storm had moved on. (“If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes.”) In what I consider the first “lucky event” of the afternoon, I was able to pick up a prescription at my doctor’s office before they closed at five. Before you judge me for considering that lucky, remember these sorts of things are relative. Grabbed Roxy and we headed home.

In the second “lucky event” of the day, I opted for taking the frontage road rather than the freeway. It started raining and traffic was a little slow but overall tolerable. As we gained a little elevation, there were three to four inches of snow/hail on the ground. I looked over at the freeway and three lanes of traffic were completely stopped. I said many, many prayers of gratitude for not being there. A little further on, I could see the fire trucks and ambulances. The hail had caused an unknown number of cars to go sliding all over creating mass havoc.

We got to the top of the hill, all hail and/or signs of rain are gone, and the clouds are breaking up. There is a HUGE rainbow! Which arguably could be said to end at our new home, these things being subject to interpretation. And we all know who sent that rainbow. (Thank you, my angel!)

We got to the property and halfway up the drive there’s a deer in the middle of the road. Roxy didn’t quite know what to think or do – started to bark and stopped, looked at me, looked at the deer. Barked. Snuffled at me and barked again. She had no clue what it was or what should be done about it but some action was undoubtedly called for. And why on earth was I not doing something?

That was our magical homecoming, all three of us in the car together. I’m clinging to it as a good omen.

Home Sweet Home

Somehow I got packed on Friday and left for Virginia/North Carolina bright and early that Saturday. I’ll leave others to elaborate on the trip, and mostly my pictures suck, but I had a great time. Vacation was badly needed and probably saved those last three brain cells.

Got home late Saturday. Got up Sunday morning to find the refrigerator had stopped working at some point mid-week (frozen raw dog food stored for an unknown time at 60-70 degrees = very unpleasant). I elected to ignore that issue for the moment and went and picked up Roxy and Wallee from their various accommodations. In case anyone is worried that Roxy has changed her destructive ways, while I was inside picking up Wallee, Roxy was waiting in the car and attempted to pull herself through the partially open window, breaking the side mirror and putting impressive claw marks into the housing of the mirror. I was not pleased – $70 for the new mirror.

So that’s the back story.

There is a well on the property and, as it turns out a well pump ($12K I didn’t have to spend – woo hoo!). However, the gizmo that allows me to hook the trailer up and get actual running water inside remains MIA. The well guys are scheduled to come Monday (18th) to install the thingy and clean out the holding tank (currently green and icky). In the meantime, I have a couple of one-gallon jugs that I fill at the office and schlep home. The last shower I had was in North Carolina – how to win friends and influence people.

Also on the “missing utility” list is electricity (necessary to run the well pump for starts, not to mention other niceties like refrigerator, lighting and the ability to charge one’s cell phone). In the interim, I purchased a stupidly expensive gasoline-powered generator to run the well pump. As a bonus, the noise of the generator stresses both Roxy and Wallee out completely (okay, me too but at least I understand the trade-offs). If you ask them, the world is certainly ending.

I am in talks with the local electric company and they are supposed to have an estimate to me by the end of this week. All bets are that I will faint dead away at the sight of said estimate. Assuming the money can be found, I should have electricity four to five weeks after giving them a deposit. Stay tuned.

The vacation frig debacle was due to an empty propane tank – easily resolved. But evidently, and this was news to me, RV refrigerators running on propane do not work when it gets hot outside. This seems a massive design flaw but no one asked me. So I have been “functioning” out of an ice chest for the past week and a half. As of yesterday, the frig is working again (temp dropped below 85). But for how long? How much food can I throw away in the “Is the Frig Working Today” game?

I built an enclosure last weekend for Roxy, hoping to end the constant daycare bill and dragging her all over town. Damn near killed myself in the heat. I left her there for a couple of hours on an experimental, first time basis. Came home to find she had climbed/jumped the fence and was laying contentedly in the shade of the trailer. I am really happy and proud of her: she didn’t wander off (or if she did, she came back) and nothing bad (appears to have) happened. Somehow it didn’t occur to me that maybe if it was too hot for me to work in the space, it might be too hot for her to stay there. So now I get to rebuild it this weekend in a different and shadier location.

Now a month into RV living and I’m finally starting to figure it out and get settled. Formerly living in 1,400 sq. feet and moving to roughly 200 sq. feet takes some adjustment. There are a couple of sub optimum quirks in the trailer design that I continue to question but will eventually conquer. Or they’ll conquer me – probably even money on that. Wallee has been content to become a full-time inside cat – surprised the heck out of me. At dusk, she sometimes thinks maybe she’d like to go out but I think she’s not really convinced.

I think Roxy likes the trailer and the land. Many, many interesting smells!

So there’s the update – I think you can see why it’s taken me so long to post. I’ve been a bit busy.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Love to all

Teri, Wallee, the Roxinator and Angel Isa

 



10 Comments »

  1. holy cow Teri…. you’ve had quite the magnitude of experiences in the last few months! wow. So glad things seem (?) to be working out? Roxy and Wallee are adorable..
    w

      mysweetted — June 15, 2018 @ 11:20 pm   Reply

  2. Wow o wow. I know you told us the story but reading it makes it even more amazing how you have survived. I am glad a few things are working themselves out.

    Roxy adjusting is a big big thing. Keep us informed on how things are going,

    hugs xoxox
    Michelle & Angel Sassy

      Michelle — June 16, 2018 @ 12:33 am   Reply

  3. EXHAUSTED!! I’M ABSOLUTELY EXHAUSTED AND OVERWHELMED READING THIS HEARTSTOPPING, BREATHTAKING UPDATE!!!😃

    Like Michelle, I had heard part of this directly from you. To read this update though, really does leave me bresthless! !

    Talk about the real life adventure of a Pioneer Warrior Women….you are it!! You are made up of guts and grit!! The emotional and physical stamina you have shown during all this outstanding 😃

    TERI, YOU NEVER GAVE UP!! YOU STAYED SOLUTION ORIENTED WHEN NO ONE ELSE AROUND YOU DID!

    I hope you’ve had a moment to sit outside in your little slice of Paradise and reflect on EVERYTHING you have accomplished by sheer will!! SHEER WILL!!! It has to be exhilarating to reflect on what you’ve accomplished!
    No water, no electricity, no refrigeration, basically none of the “comforts/necessities ” we wll take for granted!!

    Roxy’s chair!! You have to get Roxy’s chair! But I do love that picture of Wallee and Roxy sleeping together on the floor. So sweet!

    Teri, I am in awe at what you jace done and hownyou stayed the course. You knew what you wanted and you were willing to make any and all “sacrifices ” to get it! You have an inner strength very few have.

    And yes, your sweet Isa has guided you the whole way and I know that gave you so much clarity. She really validated that you were on the right path!

    Would love to see more pictures of Nature’s Paridise you’ve carved out for yourselves.

    I’m sooooo proud of you!! Soooo impressed! Your resilience ks admirable!

    Looking forward to the next victory, whatever it may be!!😂

    Lots of love!❤

    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

    PS. Any time frame on when you might like to start building…..or at least get a larger RV??😎

      benny55 — June 16, 2018 @ 6:14 am   Reply

    • Roxy’s chair is in storage, just waiting for space. I would never get rid of that chair – aside from her preference for it, it’s probably the most comfortable chair I’ve ever owned. I will take some more pictures of the property – it is lovely. My current plan is to break grounds on the house next spring – that gives me the winter to find the worker bees I need and figure out what I want, do the research I need to. We’ll stay in this trailer in the interim. Eventually I’ll get organized and closer to functional. Running water today!! hooray!!

        teri — June 18, 2018 @ 4:04 pm   Reply

  4. Oh my DOG Teri! I had no idea all this was happening, that is crazier than crazy!!!! I don’t even know where to begin, now I see why you had such a hard time narrowing the story down. It’s impossible!

    First, let me THANK YOU for reminding me why we ditched home ownership.

    Second, let me THANK YOU AGAIN for reminding me that should I ever lose my mind and decide to convince Jim that we should start looking for property, it will not be in New Mexico! I’ve heard some crazy stories about NM but wow, a real estate transaction there just seems like the ultimate in lunacy.

    Now, I am really, really happy you found a great spot. There is so much going for you there, I think I know the area you’re talking about. It’s exactly what you, Roxy and Wallee needed. Sure, you have a long road ahead but judging by their behavior, you are right where you need to be.

    P.S. If you ever have any RV questions whatsoever please don’t hesitate to email us. Believe it or not, RV refrigerators really do work in hot weather, you just have to know how to baby them.

    Lots of love and congrats on your new digs!

      jerry — June 16, 2018 @ 10:54 pm   Reply

    • To be fair, real estate in NM is not normally like this. My agent said this was all a first for her and she’s been doing this for a heck of a long time. So should you lose your mind and decide to settle down, it’s not as bad as this makes out.

      Okay, I’ll play your silly game: how do you keep RV frigs working in the heat?

      I think we may have finally found home!
      love
      T

        teri — June 18, 2018 @ 3:54 pm   Reply

  5. Wow Teri! The fact that you are still sane is amazing! This process would’ve done in most people, and you’re still standing – bravo! I hope the trip to Virginia helped reset you, even a little bit. Here’s hoping the ruff stuff is behind you!

    Paula

      dobemom — June 17, 2018 @ 12:25 am   Reply

    • Paula, what on earth makes you think I was sane in the first place? The trip did help considerably – vacations always do!

        teri — June 18, 2018 @ 3:59 pm   Reply

  6. WOW! I LOVE this. Pioneer spirit! You really have handled this amazingly, one challenge after another, and all with you’re customary humour. I love that you are moving for Roxy, and I am certain that this will pay huge dividends and make life a lot less stressful. I rented my farm cottage in Norfolk for Meg. London is just far too stimulating for a dog of her “disposition” and that stresses me out too, which stresses her out further. The (partial) move to Norfolk four years ago now, has been IMMENSELY beneficial for our relationship. That Roxy is so lucky to have such a trooper of a Mum, and wow is she beautiful! Every photo makes my heart skip a beat. Looking forward to the next instalment.
    Love to all, meg, Clare and Angel Pie ❤️

      megstamum — June 18, 2018 @ 9:22 am   Reply

    • Yeah the stress thing is a self propelling loop. and we did have some issues of just that for a while but they eased up once we got on the property. I had to leave some bits out – the post was already too long. Things are easing up now, thankfully. Next biggie will be building the house! Talk about stress!
      hugs
      T

        teri — June 18, 2018 @ 3:58 pm   Reply

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