Sunday, June 26, 2011

Closing Day

I knew this day was coming. On January 1, I made it a goal to own a mobile home by August 1. Little did I know how nervous I would be the morning of the big day.

I have not thrown up since March 1997. I remember it, too. Out of curiosity, I had eaten a can of fruit cocktail in heavy syrup. I do not like fruit cocktail in heavy syrup, but for some reason I bought a can. It was like the time Mary Richards bought asparagus even though she hated asparagus. She hoped to someday like it, and she wanted a change. That was the episode when she moved out of that fabulous studio apartment. Ironically, when she moved, she said after everyone left her new place, “I … hate it.”

Why am I telling you this? I don’t know. Oh yeah. The morning of the closing, I thought I was going to throw up for the first time since 1997, and I hadn’t even eaten fruit cocktail in heavy syrup. I don’t know why I was nervous. After all, I had spoken to the salesman every day for the prior week. I had all my ducks in a row. I think I was staring all those years of debt in the face and making myself sick.

What if I, like Mary, hated it? I can’t just break the lease. I will own the goddamn place. I could always pick it up and move it. I could always change my mind. No, I told myself I was going to do this, and do this I was.

I had a few moments to kill, so I decided to go to the car wash. My phone rang, and it was the sales office. They wanted to know if I had this form and that form. Of course I did, but when I saw his number on the caller ID, I panicked, and I thought I would throw up all over my corduroy blue, AMC Spirit upholstery. On the bright side, that would be an excuse to finally get the interior done on that car.

I arrived at the sales office fifteen minutes early, and I was told they had to redo one form because it was off by $32.46. Then, I sat in the room and waited.

Now, here is more advice or wisdom or shared experience if you will for those considering the manufactured plunge. Although no lawyers are involved and there are no exorbitant settlement fees (I only had to pay $45 for a settlement fee), you still have to initial this and sign that and have your license and passport photocopied (I guess to make sure you aren’t using your home for a terrorist cell). This process takes one hour and three checks - settlement fee, down payment, and appraisal fee (which they took out of my deposit, but they wanted a separate check for the appraisal anyway to keep it kosher).

I did learn something. Because of the bad economy, all home sales – manufactured, modular, condo, mcmansion, what have you – are down, so I got a sweet deal. My home appraised for 38% more than what I was paying. Built-in equity, they tell me. As a lifelong apartment dweller, I have no idea what that means, but I was told it is a good thing.

Remember when I said this was like buying a car, renting an apartment and moving into a co-op at the same time? For one hour after the settlement, I sat with the park manager who went over the rules, which I had already read quite thoroughly, line by line. Two violations, you get a warning. Three, and you are asked to pack up your house and leave. I love rules!

Try that in your gated community or condo! "Excuse me, you need to take your home and leave, NOW!"

I think if all residents could do this, the world would be a happier place. Do you know how hard it is to evict people from an apartment? We tried to do that in one of my former residences (I won’t tell you which, but you can probably guess because the experience was neither pleasant nor …), and it was disastrous. We even had the cooperation of those living in the buildings on either side, yet they are still living there today.

I, again, initialed and signed, and initialed and signed the park rules and park lease.

Then they handed me the keys.

Did I cry? Did I smile from ear to ear? All I could think was, “I have to buy my own trash cans, a weed eater, rake, garden hose …”

When I was back in my car, I did call my brother and make a sound we have made since we were little kids that indicates extreme happiness – a sound rarely made. My father used to call it the pig noise and would threaten to beat us every time he heard us doing it. I won’t share the sound because it has been known to cause cats to commit suicide.

After closing, I had to go to the Post Office to pick up my mailbox key because that is yet another thing that is handled separately. Jessup has the most quaint post office in the country – just two guys and a small counter, and oh so friendly!

Then, I went to the nearest grocery store. Again, everyone was oh so friendly. "Welcome to Jessup. You are going to love it here. Did you move here to be closer to the women's prison and visit your sister?" I don't have a sister. 

After living in the city and then in a “luxury apartment,” I forgot how friendly people can actually be. I think I am going to ... like it.

Esmeralda, we are not going to be living in Rockville anymore!

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1 comment:

  1. You are my hero! I have always thought it would be cool to have a mobile home. In fact, I found this blog by googling 'gay mobile home parks". And I have rescued beagle, too!