Happily Ever After. . .

There was a time that an offer to buy a house was followed by separate deadlines to have the home inspected, appraised, and approved for mortgage. In our part of the world, this process has changed to one period of time and one deadline, known as Due Diligence – a negotiable period of time in which the buyer can simply change their mind and walk away from the deal, no penalty. There is only one word that best describes this process: horrible.

Our buyers sent an inspector, who crawled under, over and all around our house. They met their contractor, debated everything, and then went quiet.

Meanwhile, we loaded a truck with various essentials, and spent ten glorious days exploring our new city; trying new restaurants, finding the nearest grocery store, and the best shortcuts to everywhere. My morning runs took me down the trail nearest the house; first to the left, then the right, and one day straight into town. I ran every street in the surrounding neighborhoods to find the quietest, longest road; settling on Country Club Drive, where multi-million dollar homes lined the street overlooking a golf course.

My husband cooked wonderful meals in our new kitchen while I rummaged every box for silverware, plates and glasses. In the absence of a dining table, we ate our meals from TV trays and spent hours debating the perfect spot for this or that – for the time when all of our belongings would be under one roof.

On one such night, I set both trays with a place-mat and napkin, started to add the fork when the tray nearest me scooted across the floor six inches.

Having noticed the dogs being spooked several times in as many days, my suspicions are now confirmed. Afterall, if all 112 pounds of Mr. Boggs can be spooked out of thin air, there’s something there. I had a talk with our new housemate and told him, “I don’t mind if you stay here, but we all have to get along.” I think he understood.

Finally, our visit came to an end. My running gear was thrown in a bag, the drawstring tightened and tied around the little pouch of my favorite jewelry, and everything closed up in my purse. We loaded the dogs in the Jeep, and made our way back up the mountain to wait out due diligence. . . where we waited, and waited, and waited.

A deep peace came to me during a morning run when it became clear we could live happily ever after in the mountains should the buyers retreat, and someone else could enjoy our lovely, old home in our new, perfect city. Within two hours of this proclamation to my husband, the text came that the buyers were ending due diligence early and would move forward with the purchase. The packing phase of this move went into high gear.

Having been gone from our new city for nearly twelve days, my husband decided the mailbox should be emptied. . . and we should resolve for ourselves that a water pipe had surely not burst, leaving our new kitchen in a river of water. Off he went to check things out while I continued packing box, after miserable box.

With everything having checked out fine, and the mailbox cleared, my husband returned home with a surprise.

Walking down the driveway, something reflected in the sun atop the ivy close to the road, catching his eye. It was my favorite ring – the one he had bought for me in Africa years ago. As he told me this story, I reluctantly admitted that I had already noticed it wasn’t here, and had quietly panicked for several days.

Our last night there, I had decided to wear the ring to dinner, but changed my mind and dropped it back into its pouch. Concluding I had dropped it into the wrong pouch accidentally, and since it had never left the house, it must be safe inside the luggage still sitting on the bedroom floor.

Instead, it had survived night after night in the ivy close to the road, but how did it get there?

For just one more week, I will fall asleep to the sounds of the creek, and awake to the song of my favorite bird, after which time we will finally move into our lovely, old home — perhaps with a new housemate of sorts — where we hope to live happily ever after, and nary one more move in our lives . . . forever.

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