It's rare when something life changing happens, a day where you can actually point to the line of time and say, "This is where I've been, and it's completely different from where I'm going, starting today."
Or maybe it's just that we live our lives in day-in, day-out, with the odd crisis and Big Event punctuating a lot of waiting, hoping, coping.
Today, I had two Big Events.
I closed on my house this morning. I'm now a homeowner.
And I finally started my new job today, which I can now reveal as this: I'm an entertainment editor at my newspaper, editing our movies and TV coverage.
The house closing was meant to be very serious and staid, but I couldn't help trying to bring some levity into the proceedings. My realtor was dead serious, asking questions about repairs and warranties, and the condition of things we'd asked for in the offer. I kept looking at papers they were handing me to sign, asking questions like, "Yeah, but the bank won't really hold me to this, right?"
The closing was at 9 a.m. on the coldest morning we've had so far. We were greeted with coffee, Krispy Kreme donuts, and the sellers' realtor's good-luck-charm daughter, who was giggly in her playpen, which was brought to the title company's office.
The sellers turned out to be these totally uber-hip, well-dressed folks with really cool taste. Rather than telling me bad news after all the contracts were signed ("Oh, by the way -- the snakes in the attic. Did we mention the snakes in the attic? What about the evil leprechauns under the sink?") they just kept telling me things that made me want to move into my home, right now, TODAY.
The husband, who was this totally cool, laid back guy wearing a black leather vest (I know, it doesn't work visually, but he managed to pull it off) told me there's a regulation horseshoe pit in the back yard, complete with horseshoes in the sand and a metal pole for playing that I hadn't even noticed when I saw the house multiple times. He told me he's including a book on playing horseshoes in the documents they're leaving me at the house. The wife told me there are peach and pear trees on either sides of the back yard that yield tasty fruit in the summer. They gave me dirt on all the neighbors and assured me that there are lots of cops living in the area, so there's practically no crime around the neighborhood. They both noshed on the donuts and drank lots of coffee from stylish travel mugs and tried not to look stressed out. I, on the other hand, was just happy I made it to the closing on time, given my propensity for oversleeping. How embarrassing would that have been? "No, don't get me wrong -- I really want to buy this house. I just couldn't be bothered to wake up early enough to come here and pay for it."
The woman from the title company gave us roughly 32,392 pages to sign and/or initial. Sometimes multiple times on the same page. I even signed a legal document saying that I wouldn't get mad and sue if there were typos in the 32,391 other pages I signed.
were documents about insurance, documents about squatter's
rights (I silently seethed at that one), documents about easements and
foreclosure proceedings. There should have just been one document with
big letters that said:
man. Don't fuck this up.
And then, after I signed a bunch of papers, the title lady stood up, shook my hand, and said "Congratulations."
Then the couple stood up and congratulated me. My realtor and their realtor did the same. My realtor gave me a gift: A stamper with my name and new address on it.
I swear, it was like graduating from high school. Everybody wanted to shake my hand and give me a little gift or wish me well in the future. Only, I didn't feel like I actually did anything. I just chose a house, signed a bunch of paper, and promised to pay several hundred thousand dollars in principal and interest over the next 30 years. And the actual signing, while a pain, wasn't really that big a stretch. I mean, I write 2,000 words for free all the time and nobody comes around the table to tell me what a big man I am.
OK, I lie. Sometimes that happens.
After the little high of doing that in the morning, I went to work and got a second round of congratulations from co-workers on my new job, which was just announced yesterday afternoon. I had my first round of meetings with my new immediate co-worker types, and they all went amazingly well. I was dreading some of it, because you never know how people react to you when you're stepping into a new role (just ask the second Darrin from Bewitched), but it all turned out well. They're even letting me keep my bad-ass computer instead of giving me one of the older, assy ones.
I left work today feeling like so many things had just changed. New job. New house. I move in Saturday.
So much is changing, but for the first time in the last few months, I feel like all the things I've been waiting for are finally happening.
And the most surprising thing is that I'm here, now, and I feel ready for them.
Late update: A story I wrote for our weekly entertainment section ran today. It's here. It's a story about the war over game consoles like the X-Box and the Nintendo GameCube. Hope you like. Unfortunately they didn't run the cool illustrations that went with the story and the subheads are messed up, but you'll get the idea.
The short lighthouse man was even lonelier than the other lighthouse owners.