Well...not complete freedom, but freedom from a mortgage at least. As of last Friday, The Queen and I closed on the sale of Castle Erickson closing out 10 years of residency there (with an interlude in Houston thrown in there as well). We are now officially and blissfully homeless (temporarily and figuratively of course).
We've needed a change for sometime now. The Queen has had her hands full taking care of M&M and trying to recover from her ongoing health challenges. Working full time allowed me very little time to keep up with home improvements and maintenance much less attempt to clean out the shop and get any kind of use out of it. We had been working on tiling floors forever with very little progress. Other projects had been started and then put on the back burner after priorities changed.
Despite our intentions to the contrary, we were moving, cleaning, repairing and purging right up to the day of closing. Literally. I left the house with the last trailer load of stuff at about 11:00 PM Thursday night before closing, and did not finish unloading until 1:30 AM the day of closing. The Queen was cleaning until about 11:30 PM. She made it to the hotel where we planned to stay the night a little after midnight. I finally made it there and crawled into bed around 3:00 AM. The Queen's 7:30AM alarm to wake us up to get to closing sucked horribly.
Closing was not without its hiccups. The first came on Thursday when the title company called to say that the buyer's lender had screwed up on the rate lock and was looking to stick The Queen and I with an additional $608 in closing costs AND move the closing date back AND move the closing to another title company. I allowed as how that I was not in favor of any of those developments. I further explained that I had no intention of paying extra for their screw up nor could I move the closing date because of other commitments. After several phone calls, the buyer's agent and the buyer worked it out with the lender and closing proceeded according to schedule.
If only it had gone according to plan, all would have been golden. Well...nickel at least. The next snag was The Queen's driver's license. You have to bring your DL to closing to prove to the title company that you are who you say you are so that they can notarize the closing papers affirming that you really are who you say you are. Well, The Queen's DL had been left at the hotel because the reservation was under my name and not hers and the front desk held her DL for some reason that still escapes me.
We tried having the hotel fax a copy, but they only succeeded in sending a blank page. So, after signing a mercifully short stack of paper, we trudged back to the hotel, took a picture of The Queen's DL and emailed that to the title company. Apparently, a photo of your DL is perfectly acceptable as a form of ID to prove that you are who you say you are.
While we left behind a neighborhood full of nice people that we've gotten to know over the years, both The Queen and I feel no nostalgia for the old neighborhood. There are certainly no regrets in selling the house. For the first time since we have been married, we are truly free to take a step back and make a thoughtful, unpressured decision about what direction to take. Our initial plan is to look for a rental in late fall/early winter after my busy travel/work season is over. We will likely rent for at least a year perhaps more while we decide where/if we would want to buy/build. Our current thought is to save up cash and buy a piece of land not in town but not too far out in the sticks on the 100% down payment plan. From my little bit of research in the last few weeks, that is doable in 2-3 years depending on how aggressively we save money.
Once that is done, I want to design and build a house of our own suited to our needs and desires. Nothing too fancy. Nothing too big. 1500 square foot max (if I could get away with 1000, I'd probably do it...The Queen won't let me do a tiny house except maybe as a guest cottage). Open floor plan. Architecturally, The Queen and I lean towards "modern rustic" (I think that's the term). We'd be happy in anything from Craftsman Period style bungalos to a cabin though. No carpet. Wood floors and/or tile. Just enough room to host a few friends or family from time to time but not so much that we will have wasted space that we don't use 99% of the time and would just accumulate junk.
I'm still waiting for a chance to actually relax. The weekend was mostly spent running here, there and everywhere at warp speed taking care of one thing or another. I may actually get to go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. That'll be a shock.