“Wifey”—that’s what my husband calls me—“we can’t sign the offer. But don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.”
I was standing in the kitchen of my Dream House. After months of drought, it had finally rained. Three glorious inches fell in one day. There is something magical about rain. I love the gentle sound and the scent. Gravity, a force beyond my control, pushed those blessed droplets from heaven.
That morning, I was invigorated by the rain. I was 14 weeks into a backbreaking labor schedule for repair of the Dream House. Part of the calm washing over me in that rain shower was the knowledge that, in a softening real estate market, we finally had an offer on our other house. Everything seemed to be coming together.
That serenity dissipated the minute I stepped into the Dream House. A waft of dank air assaulted me. I saw the flood of water on the floor. Plumbing leak? No, it was gravity. I heard a quiet thud, turned, and instinctively looked up. Chunks of the ceiling were falling into the puddles on the kitchen floor.
I called my husband. He called me Wifey. I called him a dirty name.
I have some distance on the events, and I can laugh about it now. But I wasn’t laughing when my legs were dangling through the hole in the ceiling. The decking in the attic gave way. This wasn’t a new leak. The gravity of the situation, the seriousness, the magnitude, hit me head-on.
Sure, I could fix the roof leak. I would even be able to patch the 3-foot crater in the ceiling. I could wait another month for the moldy mess of insulation and crossbeams to dry out. I would have to rip out and replace the beautiful new closet organizing system that I had installed the week before. My husband was right; we couldn’t sign the offer on the other house. We would have to push back our move-in date again, for the fourth time.
When I am under stress, I hear a rushing noise. I heard it that day, the whoosh of water in my head. It sounds like waves crashing on a beach. As my eyes swelled shut from a mold allergy, I drifted away to memories of happy family beach vacations. The Dream House didn’t allow such frivolous expenditures of my time or money. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and rather than my beach-blanket-bingo fantasy, I looked like a creature from the black lagoon.
That sound, the whooshing noise? As it turns out, that was another $100,000 being sucked from my family’s coffers. The softening real estate market turned into something akin to oatmeal. It would be another 10 months until we had a new offer on the old house.