An old friend reached out to me via text this morning and told me how excited she was that we would be moving back. I told her that I wasn’t sure whether it was going to even happen because we’d had no movement whatsoever with the sale of our home. “Lower the price?” she suggested. I responded by saying that we were considering it, but that there were more obstacles to get over or around than just the price. If our house were anywhere else, I think it would be under contract by now, but it’s not. It is where it is, directly across from the main hospital entrance, and there’s not much we can do about it. My old friend has never been out to visit so I didn’t think she quite understood what an imposing presence the hospital was, so I took a picture and sent it to her. Her reaction was, “Eeeeek!!” She then sent an image of a privacy fence and said that in order to cover up an ‘eyesore’, a friend of hers installed one and it worked out pretty well. “It’d have to be a mighty tall fence!” I replied.
When we bought our home seven years ago, the ‘view’ was very different. A row of mature fir trees obstructed the sight of the ‘eyesore’, but not anymore. About five years ago, the hospital administration decided to remove all of the fir trees and replace them with flowering pear trees. The pear trees are lovely but they’ll never adequately block our view of the hospital and because there really isn’t or wasn’t anything we can or could do about it, we’ve learned to live with it. And honestly, I don’t mind the hospital so much. I’ve gotten used to the sirens and car alarms and ‘hum’ of the flight-for-life helicopter just as I imagine people who live near trains or factories eventually acclimate over time to the less-than-pleasing sounds produced. When I think about what takes place in a hospital, it’s easy to go to the ‘dark side’ and put my focus on the lives lost, especially when I think about Covid. Each time someone dies in our county as a result of Covid, I know that in all likelihood, the death occurred mere steps from my front door. It’s not a comforting thought. On the other hand, joyful things happen there, too.
People die in hospitals but people also get second chances (from medical interventions). Babies are also born there, tiny bundles of joy that transform people’s lives. Even though the hospital was shielded by a line of tall fir trees when we purchased our home, I still knew it was there, and I was comforted by its presence. Knowing I had end-stage renal disease, I recognized that having it nearby would come in handy. Although most of the procedures I’ve had take place have occurred elsewhere, I am able to go there for my quarterly blood draws. It’s really nice only having to walk a short distance to access those services. When I was looking for a home, the hospital was not a ‘deal breaker’, but I think people like me are in the minority. Most people don’t want to watch (from their front door) scores of individuals making their way towards the main entrance in order to address any number of health issues. Of the ten sets of people who toured our home (via a showing or open house), only one set seems to be ‘ok’ with having the hospital as their next-door neighbor, as we are ‘still under consideration’.
As it turns out, the person or persons who requested a breakdown of our monthly utility payments, and to know whether we converted the wood burning fireplace to natural gas, and how many previous owners the house had, and when the roof was replaced, and what the water pressure is/was, is still interested. And yet 34 days in, they still haven’t pulled the trigger. I asked my realtor if maybe they were turned off by the responses I provided the other day, but she indicated they weren’t and that my responses were quite reasonable. In fact, they had even more questions for us. “Good grief, what could they possibly want to know now?” I wondered to myself. The first thing they wanted to know was ‘why we had increased the asking price on our home (after it was officially listed)’ and the second thing was ‘which company did we use for our internet provider’. Seriously? Who asks questions like that? If you were ever in the market for a home, did you ever think to ask the homeowner which internet service provider they used? Come on!
I am totally baffled! Still, I continue to ‘play this game’ of 20 questions because there appears to be nobody else interested in our ‘humble abode’ and I’m starting to get desperate. As far as I’m concerned, they can ‘ask away’ as long as they don’t get too personal and request a list of all of my sources of shame or how many intimate partners I’ve had. That’s where I draw the line! But if they want to know anything about the house, I am willing to oblige. I’m serious, I’m/we’re getting desperate! We’re to the point where we’re willing to actually lower the price (as much as it pains me). After watching ‘About a Boy’ (one of my favorite movies), I remembered how important it was to have connections with other people and more importantly, how people have always meant more to me than ‘things’ or ‘stuff’. “It’s a lovely home but it’s just a building,” I shared with my husband yesterday, “And I need people.” Oh my gosh, I yearn to have honest-to-goodness, flesh-and-blood people in my life!
That’s not to say I don’t have people in my life, but most of the time the communication with those I hold ‘near and dear’ is limited to texts or phone calls. As much as I enjoy those texts and phone calls, I need more. I need actual physical contact. Look, I recognize that ‘now is not the time’ for such frivolous things because of Covid lurking around every corner, but it’s honestly what I need. Even if a hug or a handshake isn’t possible, being able to have a conversation with someone in the same room (or outdoor space) still beats Zooming or Skyping or video calls through Messenger or Signal. To me, nothing can adequately replace the kinship I feel in the presence of another human being. I miss meeting friends for lunch and celebrating holidays with my children (and beloved family members) and working amongst my peers (except for the annoying ones). Since we moved into our home seven years ago, we have never celebrated a Christmas. I don’t even bother to decorate. I figure, what’s the point?
When Christmas comes around, rather than rejoicing, I fall into a severe depression. It’s just not the same spending Christmas or any other holiday with just my husband and our dog. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband and our dog, but I miss spending the holidays with our children. They’re not ‘little’ any longer, they’re all well into adulthood and living their lives, but I miss that closeness we once shared (when they could just hop in a car and arrive in under an hour for a get-together). If they want to meet up now, it takes a great deal of effort and usually involves planes, trains, and automobiles. Yes, I miss my kids and I miss my old friends. I like to refer to old friends as ‘Insta-friends’. There is no need to go through the whole ritual of trying to see whether someone is a ‘good fit’ by determining if their values and other important matters align with your own, you’ve already ‘been there, done that’. It’s so nice to be with people who you are already familiar with. There is an ease and a comfort that you cannot find when starting a relationship from scratch. It’s undeniable.
I miss so many of the people and opportunities I left behind (apart from the ‘ghosts’ and the annoying co-workers) as a result of moving here. As long as we stay here, as much as my husband insists that he’ll try harder to make friends and that things will be different, I don’t see it happening. I envision a lonely, solitary life for us if we don’t make this move, and that’s not how I want to spend my remaining years. We had hoped by raising the price on our home that we would have more money to cover all of the expenses involved, but that may not happen. It hasn’t sold at the increased price and we’ve decided that if we don’t get an offer by this weekend, we’re going to adjust it back down to the original asking price. If that doesn’t do the trick and make our house more marketable, I’m not sure what we’re going to do. In the meantime, I have begun to eliminate more ‘stuff’ so that when we do move, we won’t have to pay for 16 tons of household goods (the total amount from our previous move). Anyway, I’m at the point where I’m grasping for what to say next so I should call it a night. Enjoy what remains of July because August will literally be here before you know it!