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Scaling It Back: Issue 3

June 21, 2013
I started the day with hopes of receiving a phone call that loan docs were ready to be signed. At 10 a.m. I reached out to my real estate agent to see if there were any updates. He was hoping I knew something he didn’t. He started making calls. I started making calls. After I ran out of people to call, I got a call from my wife. The infamous letter had arrived. It was time. I don’t think we were as frantic when driving to the hospital for the birth of our children.

We rushed to the bank to get our closing funds. Then we rushed toward the title company to sign our documents. While en route I got another call, it was my real estate agent again. We would not be able to close today, the title company didn’t have time for us. I thought he was kidding. Literally I smiled and said, “stop it.”

He was not kidding.

By this time I had pulled the car over. It was time to make the call I had been putting off for days. As I explained the situation to Debbie, my household goods coordinator, she said exactly what years of experience in the moving industry told me she’d say: “I can’t get anyone out there until after the fourth.”

I think it was the flashback to August of 2005 that prompted me to reply, with no hesitation or sarcasm, “what month?” Debbie had no way of appreciating the irony of the situation. She had no way of knowing that, eight years prior, Jen and I had a place to live but no furniture. Now, in a cruel twist of fate, we had our stuff and no place to put it. The movers were due out between eight and ten Monday morning. I was fairly confident we would close escrow by Monday, but with this new delay from the title company, there was no way to predict what time of day we would actually get the keys. My brain was scrambling.

There was 17,000 pounds of household goods coming to us. Depending on how many guys they were planning to send, that’s easily a day’s worth of work to unload. I certainly wasn’t going to pay for a moving crew to just sit around waiting, but the prospect of nearly two weeks in a hotel at my expense meant I had to ask the question: what if they start late and I pay the overtime? Debbie said she’d call me back.

No sooner had I hung up, my real estate agent was calling again. In a macro sense, time ironically was working for us. The end of the quarter was barreling down on everyone from the mortgage company to the builder, and that means a lot of pressure from the bean counters to close as many transactions as possible to bump up the quarterly numbers. My agent was calling to let me know that, while we wouldn’t close today, we could absolutely sign today, essentially a guarantee of a Monday closing. But that meant the mortgage company had to redraw the docs. I started driving to a nearby park so the kids could run around while Jen and I awaited a call that we could go sign our lives away. I had barely put my seat belt back on before the phone rang again.

It was the raspy voice of my household goods coordinator again.

“Guess what?”

Our last night in the old house.

The butterflies that had temporarily fallen asleep in my stomach suddenly woke up. I think it was the thud from the falling lump in my throat that woke them.

“I hope it’s good news,” I said nervously.

“I was able to get your delivery moved to Tuesday.”

I think she was about as excited as we were, because she said it so loudly that Jen heard the news through the phone from the seat next to me.

“I love you Debbie!” she shouted.

We were only at the park for about half an hour before the call from the title company came through. About an hour later, we handed over thousands of dollars, signed dozens of papers, and drove back to the apartment with nothing to show for it.


First night in the new house.

June 24, 2013
With no keys in hand and no furniture coming, I decided to go to work Monday. Jen drove to the house and literally stared at the ladies in the sales office, waiting for the county to record our deed. It was after noon before she finally was handed the keys, so it was a good thing we rescheduled the movers. I drove home Monday for the first time and we spent the first night in our new house just like we spent the last night in our old house. It was the perfect capstone to our relocation experience. After seven weeks, we had come full circle to sleeping on the floor in an empty house.

It all works out in the end.