8. The offer

Voice on phone: “We have an offer.”

Four words. Four magically wonderful words we’d been waiting seven months to hear from our real estate agent, and we were overcome with… we weren’t sure what. But we were overcome.

Joy, for starters. Seven months of paying two mortgages could be coming to an end. It’s what we’d been praying for, in our non-religious way, for a long time. Seven months, six days, and eight hours, to be exact.

Also relief. It was a lot of pressure not knowing when – or if – the house would ever sell.

And hope. Hope that we were finally going to launch our game plan of spending retirement resources on travel and entertainment, rather than taxes and maintenance on a century-old house.

But there was a flurry of other stuff as well.

Obviously, sadness. You don’t prepare to turn over the keys to your home of 20 years without a big dose of sadness. It’s like a sorta friendly divorce: you realize you both need to move on, but you’re filled with 20 years of memories.

And more rethinking. Are we sure this is the right decision? Should we have stayed in the house indefinitely, so that our son’s family – with at least five future grandchildren – would always come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas? Can we even have Thanksgiving and Christmas in a … condo? Does it violate one of their rules?

It didn’t help when we learned that the couple making the offer was downsizing. Downsizing!! Our house was a big, beautiful, architecturally significant palace! Downsizing? Really?

Maybe we’re rushing into this. Shouldn’t we just… ?

Nope. Stop right there. We’d had that discussion many, many times, and we both knew selling the house was the right decision. We just needed to take a deep breath, sit down with our agents, and find out how much these downsizers were willing to pay for our $10 million perfect house.

As we suspected, they weren’t willing to pay the $10 million our house was clearly worth. But after going back and forth a couple times, we agreed on a number. And we had a signed contract three hours after the phone call.

Many deep sighs. Seven months after putting our home on the market, and less than a month after moving into our condo, it was finally over. Now we could get on with the rest of our life. We could transition from offloading big chunks of our life to building the foundation of our new, retired life.

Late that night, after we signed the sales agreement, we opened a bottle of wine. We went out on the deck to toast whatever it was we’d gotten ourselves into. And out of. Sitting on our deck wasn’t the same as sitting on the screened-in porch we loved. And there weren’t many memories and echoes bouncing off the walls of the condo. Not yet.

But even as we took that first sip of wine – half celebrating, half grieving – we could feel the dust beginning to settle. We were on our way to our retirement life, just as we had planned. We were ready to put the style in lifestyle.

But we still had a lot to do. Thanksgiving was just a couple months away, and then Christmas, and we hadn’t even decided where the tree would go. My god, so much to do in the next few months.

Where would we find the time?

3 thoughts on “8. The offer

  1. It is amusing to think that even in retirement, your day doesn’t just fall into a whole lot of sitting around doing nothing because there is nothing to do. Other stuff replaces work, hobbies or things you find to do, and you realize that retirement is just shifting your time spent in one area to time spent in another.

  2. I love your blog, too, Larry. Your last ones about leaving your home brought tears to my eyes – granted, I’m a bit teary these days, but still. Transitions are hard, and loss is, well you know. But really, I’m feeling sorry for myself because I was never able to make it to Chicago to see you and Carole in your beautiful home. I hope there are things about your condo that you will learn to love as well. Love to you both, Jane

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