I've been twitching all week. I'll look at the date, and suddenly panic: ay ay ay ay, I forgot to pay the.... oh, wait. And then I remember.
It's been a habit over the last 14 years, dutifully plugging away every month, sometimes more as finances allowed. But with our latest tax return, one little long-term goal finally came to fruition.
Patience Corners is ours. All ours.
If I've never explained it before, Patience Corners is the name of our house — our little cottage down by the lake. It's common here to have the name of the house out front; Shamrock, Wawataysee, Hannah Harbour, Tailwind, Aspir-Inn, and many more. We just never got the sign made.
Yes, it's the name of a quilting pattern — Deborah named it — but in our minds it pointed to the four (now three...) towering maples at each corner of our property, and for the odd resignation that we were settling in here for a while. For someone who has moved, on average, once per year until that point, buying a house was like merrily wrapping ourselves in chains; like dropping the balled roots of a tree into the soil and filling in the hole. It seemed so reckless, a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
But here we are. The longest either of us have ever lived in one place. Stable enough that other people have moved to be closer to us. Long enough to stretch out into the loamy soil, and find that it's not bad to be rooted.
* * *
We told the real estate agent what our price range was. She laughed. And then she looked at us with amused pity, loaded us into her Cadillac, and took us all over Warsaw to look at houses that fit the bill.
Most of them were awful. Huge, gaping holes in the floors. Huge, gaping holes in the roof. Bedrooms that wouldn't even fit a bed. Dark, dreary places, filled with the stench of cigarette smoke and littered with old Penthouse magazines. We were pretty discouraged as we rolled up to a little white house down by the lake.
"I saved this one for last," our agent told us. We walked in. It was bright and airy, with big windows, fresh paint, and new carpet. There was plenty of room for us and our stuff. "We'll take it," we told her, and she whipped the paperwork out of her purse, already half filled out. We wrote the offer on the kitchen counter. Deborah wanted to wheel and deal, lowballing the offer. I fixed her with what I hoped was a steely gaze. "Which of those other places do you want to live in if we don't get this house?" We offered the full price with a sage nod from the realtor. "Now, if you don't mind, kids, I'm going to leave you here. I'm going to take this directly to the seller." We gave a happy shrug, and she was off. Good thing, too: while the sellers were signing to accept our offer, a competing offer was coming in on the fax machine.
We got this place by five minutes.
* * *
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. — Psalm 16:6