The Most Reliable Failure

It started in October. Offers and counter offers, inspections, concessions, estimates, paperwork, more paperwork, more paperwork. At the time it seemed it was all moving too slowly. So slowly that I had plenty of time to think, and rethink. Pros and cons constantly circling for landings were scrawled everywhere: sticky note, paper pads, the electronic note pad on my phone, texts and emails and voice memos from me to me. What about this? What about that?  What if, what if, what if?

More than once, I was ready to walk away. Just as many times, I was ready to run. The more I learned about the place, the less appealing it became. The more I had to say, “I sent that to you last night,” or yesterday or the day before, the less confident I became in my team. I didn’t get answers fast enough. The processing wasn’t fast enough. The details weren’t always clear. The pushing and pushing back was wearing. Slamming the door was constantly at war with the notion that playing nice would be a better idea.

Honestly, I played nice. I promised myself when this was all over I would explain everyone else’s shortcomings to them… in great detail. When it was done, after one final week of “is this or is this not going to happen,” it happened. Now, I know it’s normal to get cold feet. I wasn’t having cold feet. I was deep frozen. I was also 100% sure that I would have an easy out.

Ann Arbor is an interesting market. Housing is at 90% making it difficult for those whose lives swing with the academic schedule: schools of professorial and doctoral fish flood the spring and fall markets. The condo was offered off calendar. I tried a search about a year and a half ago, during spring flip. Bidding wars and $20K appraisal gaps eventually wore me down. After enough frog-leapt-over-mine offers, the searching stopped. I managed to find a rental in the neighborhood, and talked myself into a two-year lease, provided the carpet was replaced. I offered to pay half. The rent went up by a reasonable amount for half the carpet, then on move-in day, I realized, the landlord had only replaced half the carpet.

All summer 2014, I thought about my lack of outdoor space, and envied the porches all around me. Especially the kitty corner one, the one with a privacy fence fully in view from my couch. I spent many early morning weekend walks wandering through the commons, hoping to see for-sale signs, knowing I was locked in for another 6 months and not truly believing I would win in the next swell season, either.

I saw a sign early on a Sunday morning loop. Open House – kitty corner, with the privacy fence fully in view from my couch. I jumped on the wagon, started it in motion only to be met with no call-backs and “I’m really busy.” Obviously, I got what I thought I wanted. Until I learned what I would get, and the back-peddle plan began. Confidence in trouble comes easily to me. Probably because trouble comes easily, as well. Still coping with the frustratingly slow forward process, despite my ever-growing reluctance, I always had that back-of-the-mind comfort that comes with knowing the market and at what point the deal might fail to my advantage.

The most reliable failure would be the appraisal. The huge gaps of spring 2013 might be less in 2014, but it’s a rarity that an Ann Arbor property appraises for more than offer or asking. That would be my final line; that would be my back-away.

I often joke about unluckiness. In the realm of normal, it would be an immensely coveted situation to find, as a buyer, that appraisal has valued at more than cost. Valued at more than offered. Valued at more than asked. My stop-action rip-cord had failed, and the 30-year mortgage was mine. Without a doubt, the weirdest unlucky ever, was walking away from the closing table with equity.

Quote for the Week:

Value is as changeable as our minds

 

Enjoy the Week’s Discovery Links:

Walking Away from Home Purchase: https://www.discover.com/home-loans/blog/facts-about-walking-away-from-a-home-purchase-contract

About Equity: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/home-equity/what-home-equity-debt-is-1.aspx

Home Rate of Return Calculator: http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/home-rate-of-return/

Evolution, Part 2: Work + Welcome

Maybe angry isn’t exact; anger is a flash. This was more of a deep resentful annoyance over unaccountability and team members who chose not to participate. Had I been in charge, I would have required everyone contribute to the outcome. Admittedly, this stands as solid evidence as to why I shouldn’t ever be in charge.

There was work to be done. Retrospectively, I can attribute unintentional engagement; works in progress. Still, the split bothered me.  Eventually, even the committed became distracted by their uncommitted peers, gathering in small groups around a pool table, a punching bag, and a ping-pong table. The pool players played with others outside our group. There was a proper punching bag technique demonstration by two also outside our group. As for the teens playing ping-pong without paddles, tosses became wilder, volleys less controlled, and soon the game bore no resemblance to a game, at all.  This make-it-up-as-you-go-along ball flinging frenzy didn’t sit well with me. Despite the interpretation, this wasn’t intentional downtime.

At least not being in charge leant me some perspective. If someone lacks a volunteer heart, no amount of pushing will mold it into one. I was honestly just let down; bummed. Unfortunately that disappointment turned into high-energy annoyance when one of the players laughed loudly and shouted, “Is this what being homeless is like?”

I understand youth are youth. I also understand the weak correlation. No paddles, doing without, making the best of things, finding another way to play. I don’t understand how those words left anyone’s mouth while in the presence of more than one homeless unfortunate. I don’t understand the lack of impress; how do you not know where you are and why you are there? No one else seemed to notice or react. Without discussion or direction it is probable that ignorance and impropriety would remain ignorance and impropriety.

Loosely congealed, we wandered into the lunch line. I didn’t completely understand. Due to short shifts, I had never been fed as a Cass volunteer. I had never stood on a lunch line. I conjured up the expectation of cold sandwiches and chips. I imagined meeting and eating with other volunteers. What I imagined was segregation. I never even considered sharing the same meal in the same space with the women and children and men standing patiently between gaps in volunteers, waiting for the gift of a good, solid meal for themselves or their children. I never expected to feel as if I were unworthy of receiving. I knew I was as welcome as anyone. I also knew I had a granola bar in my pocket that would hold me.

I thought of stepping out; stepping away with a lavatory excuse. I labored with this until it was my turn to follow through. At that point, there was no way to bow-out without having to explain. Instead of creating a fuss, I accepted a plate, requesting smaller portions than were offered to those before me, skipping items. The only beverage offered was fruit punch. Allergy wise, my history with fruit punch isn’t positive, so I made do with chewing ice, and eating slowly to match the cadence of my table mates. I still didn’t eat slowly enough to avoid sitting with an empty plate, hands folded. I occasionally made what I thought might be a friendly or cute comment with not much response. Mostly, I was just awkward, caught between age groups, layers of unexpected feelings and thirst.

Really, I just wanted to work.

Quote for the Week:

Expecting to be treated differently than others better than or worse than

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Conquer Frustration: http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/conquer-frustration/

Not Everybody Should Lead: http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2013/01/23/why-youre-not-a-leader/

Statistics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homelessness_in_the_United_States