Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Any Syrup with that Waffle?

Click the picture -- kinda cute.
Remember, in my first awkward post, when I said stuff was going to get scary? Well, it has. Remember when I talked about being too much like my mother and I hated it? Well, I am. And I still do.
We’ve been looking at horse properties since early Spring.  Many houses. With many barns.  There are 82 houses for sale in Corrales right now, and I feel like I’ve tramped through every single one of them. Beds and baths and kitchens, oh, my! 
My mom had a stroke in May, and the house search veered off into the ditch. When she got out of the hospital and into rehab, it veered back out again.
If this summer had a soundtrack, it would be from a movie with lots and lots of car chases.  Lurch! Screech! Zoom!  Waffle!
Yes, waffle.  My mom is a waffler. While in the rehab facility, Mom learned that the stroke had left all her mental faculties intact, but it had weakened the left side of her body.  She decided she might not be able to stay by herself in her 2,400 square foot home anymore.  We agreed. It’s not enough to have all your marbles if the body that is transporting them falls and hurts itself.
We started looking for properties with guest houses or in-law quarters, where Mom could be close to us but still maintain her own private space.  I worried about money. She said not to, she had money.
I hate talking about money. I especially hate talking about other people’s money. I hate talking about my parents’ money even more. I wish they had spent it all in Las Vegas or something, but my mom hates to leave her house, so it never happened (hold this thought – it will become really important later.) 
"How much money are you willing to put in," I asked.
"$(Insert obscene amount here).00," she said.
ZOOM! A call to the realtor, and off we went.  We looked at a bunch of places, and settled on one to show my mom.  She loved it,  and we made an offer.
SCREECH!  The seller laughed at the offer.
Off we went again, in search of similar properties.  Found one. Showed it to my mom. She loved it.
"So Mom, how much money do you want to put in?"
WAFFLE! "$(Insert precisely half the obscene amount stated above).00."
OK, I thought, this is no surprise. Whatever.  We started writing up another offer.
LURCH! While I loved the grounds and the barn, the house needed lots of work, and it looked like something from the Northeast Heights. (Not that there is anything wrong with the Northeast Heights, mind, you, but they look kind of funny in Corrales.)  Plus, my mom would have to share the house with us, and she kept calling me and asking for more rooms, which my dogs would not have access to. She worried about my big dogs knocking her over or eating her terrier.  I had the feeling a call with “your dogs will have to live outside” was coming next, and that was so not going to happen.  Plus, the house was a short sale. No matter what the inspectors said, the sellers would not make any repairs. We might not be able to take possession for months, and the owners were demanding that we let them stay in the house for 60 days (!) beyond closing. A lawyer friend said he wouldn't touch the deal with a ten-foot escape clause.
I kept waking up in the middle of the night, in a sweaty WTFAYD* panic. The offer never got completed.
Guess what? Waffling is hereditary.
My husband is not only funny and adorable, he’s a really smart guy.  He asked me why we were suddenly willing to be held hostage by my mom’s money.
SCREEEEECH!  Holy  crap.  It’s one thing to want to take responsibility for the safety of one’s elderly relatives, but letting them control your whole life is a whole ‘nother can of worms that is so not going to be opened.
There is an immaculate little horse farm at the south end of the village. The house is small and quirky and shaped like a triangle. Not too many people want to live in a quirky little triangle house, so the property has been on the market forever.   I could totally see myself living there, and I’ve been drooling over it for months. Owners of said quirky house finally decide they aren’t going to get what they’ve been asking, and drop the price.  A lot. They not only drop the price, they drop it into We-Don’t-Need-Mom’s-Money price range.
Eureka!  Halleluia! Yahoo! ZOOM!
But, you ask, what about Mom?
“I’ll just stay here,” says Mom.
“I thought you said you couldn’t afford the caregiver?” I say.
 “I’ll look at Senior Living apartments,” says Mom.
I ignore the bait.  “OK. Which ones do you want to go look at?”
“What happened to my living with you?"
“The offer still stands, but my dogs are not going to live outside. There will be horses. There will eventually be a goat and maybe chickens. And don’t forget the septic tank.”
“I’ll just stay here.” 
“Fine,” I counter. “But you’ll have to agree to the caregiver at night and wearing the Life Alert button on your person during the day.”
“The button is on my nightstand.”
Waffles. Loads of them. Multiplying! It’s starting to look like an IHOP in here.
“OK, here’s the deal.  We found a place we love. You may like it, you may hate it, but we want to buy it. If you want to live with us, it has an enormous garage, which could be converted into a really nice guest house for you if you want to pay for the construction. You can help with the down payment if you want to be on the deed.”
We took Mom to see the place.  She likes the idea of building her own space. (If  she can build it for $[Insert precisely one-fourth the original obscene amount].00.) She hates the idea of a septic tank. She likes the city-water hookup. She made it clear that she does not want to live in a triangle house (good!)
We made an offer. The sellers accepted. An architect friend has started drawing plans for a lovely guest house that may or may not get built. Mom is still waffling, and that’s OK.
I dream panic-free dreams of horses and goats and chickens and happy people taking riding lessons.  I dream of peaceful evenings spent lounging in the hot tub or on the porch with my husband.  I dream of uncharted territory and leaps of faith.  I wake up (WTFAYD?)  laughing and terrified at the same time.
*What The F*** Are You Doing?!?

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