“I think I could live here.”
Gary often asks me, “If you couldn’t live in Santa Fe, where would you want to live?” And I couldn’t think of a single place…until I uttered those fateful words, sitting on the deck, coffee in hand, gazing at the beautiful, clear lake, envisioning my future in northern California.
We were just finishing up a 7000-mile car trip which I had dubbed our, “Lewis and Clark Expedition to See How the West was Won”. We began our sojourn in Santa Fe, headed east to Oklahoma City to see my 103-year-old, completely lucid (to the point of awe and irritation) mother. Then north to Mount Rushmore, west to the Little Bighorn Battlefield, further west to Glacier park where we glamped. (Glamped?) Google it. North to Vancouver, south to the Oregon coast, then further south to…ta DAH, Lake Tulloch, California.
My oldest son, Ted, had just bought a second home on the lake. Being avid lake aficionados, they had sampled just about every lake in California. Four years ago, they began renting a house for the summer on Lake Tulloch. This was it for them and they began looking for a house to buy. They found it and were thrilled. The only thing missing? The mother. (You might get a better idea of the entire scenario if you imagine the shower scene in Psycho, in particular the audio)
Of course, I jest. His wife was overjoyed to have her mother-in-law so conveniently close. Now, she wouldn’t have to just wonder from afar what she was doing wrong, she would have first-hand knowledge, 24/7.
We contacted Ted’s real estate agent and began looking at affordable (for us) houses. Unfortunately, what we could afford was not in line with what we wanted. And then our brilliant agent showed us a condo. Not just any condo, a condo right on the lake. With our own boat dock, no less! It was still more than we could afford but soon the justification began in earnest. And after great deliberation, we made an offer, a somewhat low ball offer, no, …it was actually an insult offer. A month later we made another offer, somewhat less insulting, and bingo, it was accepted.
So…now what? I will tell you what.
A loan. OMG.
Our agent connected us with a loan broker in the bay area. He in turn connected us with a loan company who in turn connected us with his processor, Amanda. (Who, by the way, is a lovely person and not only because she discovered my website and loves my stories. After perusing them, she made me promise to “play nice” in my rendition of this latest episode in the Life of Susie.)
The powers that be at the loan company wanted everything. I have never phoned, texted, faxed, scanned, emailed so much as I have in the last two weeks. And passwords!! Who knew documents had passwords? And they actually expected you to remember them?
A week after we had received our “approval” letter, we received another somewhat disheartening email, informing us that, alas, there was still one more itsy, bitsy, teeny weeny problem. Lord.
And what did this teeny weeny problem involve? Here is an example of some of the words used in this email. You be the judge.
“problem-unfortunately-really sorry-still needs-breakdown-but-guarantee”
Not exactly words that instill confidence. We recorked the champagne bottle. Back to the drawing board. I call my trusty financial advisor?, consultant? guru? Yea, guru. She informs me that she is not authorized to confirm our income and (wouldn’t you know it) her boss, the only one that is authorized is out of town.
So, the packing of boxes comes to an abrupt halt. Just as well cuz I lost the packing tape.
And then, lo and behold, the gods were with us. Aforementioned “boss” emailed us a letter on official stationery which confirmed all! Hallelujah! Now I just need to find that damn tape.
Final Item. A notary, and not just any notary, is to arrive with all the loan docs. I had been told she would arrive around 5:30pm and she would call to confirm. (This is really happening!) She calls and I say,
“So you’ll be arriving around 5:30?”
“Well, no, it will be more like around 6. I’m in Santa Fe and it will take me about 30 minutes to get to El Llano.”
“El Llano?? We’re not in El Llano! I have never even heard of El Llano! We’re in Santa Fe.”
“Excuse me, but the address that I was given was El Llano.”
Okay, hold the phone. This is sounding vaguely familiar. About 3 years ago, lovely, innocent Amanda asked us to send information about our second home in El Llano. (Okay, so it wasn’t three years ago, just seems that way.) Apparently, the loan company had gotten it into their heads that we had a second home in El Llano. How? I haven’t the foggiest. Amanda assured me she would make sure that the second home (I wish) fiasco was cleared up. Apparently, the big boys upstairs had not gotten the message.
After convincing clarification, the notary arrived…with a two-inch-thick sheaf of papers…that we had to sign. But only if we wanted the loan. (Are you kidding me?) Did they think I had memorized all those passwords just for sport?
Once the notary had massaged the cramp out of my hand, we were finally done. (I really do need to start using longhand again.)