Sunset Gardens Sunrise
Below are a few updates on my recent Wake Up Call post – relating to my mother’s decision to sell her house and move to an apartment. If you haven’t read Wake Up Call – just published 11 days ago – you should go there and read that first to get the back story.
On Friday, April 7th (after nearly a dozen showings of the house in less than a week and a few offers below her price) we knew that Mom’s house would likely sell very soon. Not wanting to put the cart before the horse, but also not wanting Mom to be out in the cold, we decided it was time to call the property manager for the apartments described in Wake Up Call and see what their exact availability was. They have three apartment complexes in Sandusky – the newest and nicest where Louise lives, but also the most expensive rent per identical units. The cheapest and oldest were at a different location. Mom was most interested in finding out availability at the third middle range option.
Mom had come up to meet me after work on Friday and we were traveling back to her house for the weekend to try to sort through some of the items that tend to collect in a house over the course of 45+ years. So while driving down the highway at 70 MPH, we called the property manager to see if that third location had any units available in the layout Mom liked best. We were told that none of the locations had any units available and that there was a waiting list at least 3 names deep with no indication of when a unit would become available. Needless to say, that was an unsettling blow to Mom’s plans (and also to the God-Incidence described in Wake Up Call). I could have slammed on the brakes at that moment and gone from 70 – 0 MPH in seconds and it still would have had less of an impact on Mom and I than that phone call.
There was also another issue I had just discovered a day before. The rental application required tenants to have a gross income of 3.5 times their rent – of which Mom fell well short. After much thought, reviewing alternatives – including other apartment locations, discussions about scrapping the whole plan and removing her house from the market, and some other difficult exchanges, she finally decided to still apply for the apartment to try to get onto the waiting list and keep the house up for sale. Once the house sold, we could put the furniture she intended to keep into storage until an acceptable unit became available. She also had a possible temporary living space available in a furnished vacant apartment above her cousin’s veterinary clinic less than a mile from the house. It was a disappointment – especially not knowing if she would be approved or how long it would take for a unit to become available, but at least it was an option. Upon calling my wife with the news, she said optimistically, maybe they tell everyone that line about having no vacancies just to separate the serious inquiries who submit acceptable applications from the random phone calls from prospective tenants who may or may not be legitimate.
So over a rough and emotional weekend with everything in limbo, we filled out the application and included a letter documenting Mom’s income, excellent credit history, and savings which she can use to supplement her rent payments should her income and expenses fall short. I just kept praying that weekend “Thy Will be done…” over and over – and threw in a little reminder and request that my most recent post to this blog not be defeated by this unexpected curve ball.
I woke up very early on Saturday morning (even before Mom, which is unusual). Looking out my old bedroom window, I could see that a spectacular sunrise was about to occur, so I grabbed my phone and went out to her back deck barefooted (it was only 25 degrees out at the time – yikes!) to take a panoramic photo of it. I knew it would likely be one of my last opportunities to catch it. I grew up on Garden Drive — the name of the street itself, but the subdivision also includes another street and as a whole is known as “Sunset Gardens”. This sunrise photo clearly shows that they got the name wrong.
I’ve since decided to make this the blog’s new header photo.
After Mom and I returned from a somewhat productive weekend cleaning at her house, my wife dropped off the completed apartment application this past Monday afternoon. They then called Mom on Tuesday to let her know she had been approved even without meeting the gross income requirement. (I like to think that my explanation letter helped, but it was more likely the repetitive mental prayer of “Thy Will be done”). When Mom asked how long the waiting list was, they told her they had something opening up in June – which was the exact floor plan she wanted and was on the property site she listed as her first choice! So it seems (as DOES happen from time to time) that my wife was was right in her optimistic assessment of the prior Friday telephone call. Now it just came down to selling the house, which had been officially on the market since April 3rd.
Because of all the interest in it, the realtor said it shouldn’t take long. Mom got a qualified offer meeting her price on April 12th from a young couple – first time home buyers – who were already pre-approved for a loan. Mom accepted the offer on the 13th with a closing to occur within 40 days. She would then have another 30 days to move out – which should neatly overlap the date that her new apartment is ready for occupancy. Could that timing be any more perfect? This has truly been a Holy Week to remember.
So I am happy to report, rather than a disappointing conclusion to the recent Wake Up Call post, instead we have a few more God-Incidences to round out the story!