Giving up on a dream
Over the past week or so, there really hasn’t been all that much change in anything in life, but the next two may be a much different story. I’ll chat about that more later and in another blog, but here I want to talk about being letdown, and giving up on a dream. This week, we went out to visit Traci’s Grandparents in Camarillo and the visit was as good as could be expected. Lucille, who is clearly closing in on her end with us on this earth was actually in very good spirits. She was smiling and responsive, and was actually asking for things with clarity to Traci who spent the majority of the time of our visit at her bedside. There was a moment when Lucille asked Traci if she could teach her to speak Spanish, and it came pretty much out of the blue considering that Traci doesn’t really speak more than a couple of words of the language. But it was good for a chuckle nonetheless.
The visit was somewhat marred for us as we finally came to the realization that the house that her Grandparents live in really wouldn’t be a reality for us. Traci’s Aunt Sue is staying with her parents while her mother is in her final days, and had told us that she has received an offer of $575,000 for their home. The home itself is a beautiful house that was built by Traci’s Grandparents themselves back when Traci was born 35 years ago. It has some structural problems with the foundation, and had a bout with termites that would require some fixing, but overall, it’s something that has been lived in for the past 35 years, and continues to be done so today.
Whether or not this is the offer that is actually accepted is really more of a formality than anything else. Traci and I are not in a position financially that we’d be capable of purchasing a house today. I mean, we’ve been waiting on a check for our Federal Tax return (which is now a few days late) just so that we can repair our vehicles and payback some of the money loaned to us to do so the last time. We just don’t have any money for a down payment really, and we don’t have the credit or the income to afford purchasing a home in Southern California anyway. But there was an inherent sadness by Traci as she realized that this home was going to go away from the family, and that it was more than likely going to be bulldozed by some developer in the hopes of rebuilding something more lavish and profitable.
The home itself sits atop a hill, overlooking an incredible valley. If it were to sell for the accepted $575k offer, it would be the steal of the century. The homes directly next door to it would appraise for more than $1.1 million, and most of the homes in the community would fetch well over $1 million. There is a vacant lot nearby that was listed and sold for over $600k by itself, so the offer price is an extremely low offer. It makes perfect sense why the realtor sent a painter door to door (or at least to one very specific door) to find out about the situation and whether or not Traci’s Grandparents are in fact ready to sell their property for well under value. Someone is trying to get a great bargain for a house out of a terrible situation for Traci’s Grandparents.
In the end, it’s something that her Grandfather, Bob, will end up entertaining, especially after Lucille passes. Watching his wife struggle through this last year of life in their home, and then eventually pass away in it simply means that the home that he’s known for all these years with her has now just become transformed into a memory of sorrow, and he wants away from it. He will likely sell the home so that he can pay for an assisted living community where he will likely finish out his days as well. That’s what the money will be needed for, and based on a valuation of over half a million dollars, I’d wager that he thinks that is a tremendous offer. It’s amazing what a 35 year valuation difference can bring.
For us, we’d be able to offer table scraps of the actual value, probably somewhere below $200k based on our current income and credit, and a valuation for a home that has some truly large repair costs that are associated with it, well it just doesn’t seem fair to Bob that we would put in an offer that would be so far below what the actual cost of the home should be, and cut into his living expenses. It also doesn’t make fiscal sense for us to invest so heavily into a home given our current financial makeup. It would just require such a heavy investment in fixing up. Home repair costs are expensive, and given that we’re at the lowest point financially today that we’ve ever been at any point of our lives, it makes it impossible to consider getting ourselves in over our head without the promise of more income in the future.
The hardest hard part is knowing that the new owners won’t care about the emotional bonds that have been developed inside that home. For Traci, it’s a home that she grew up with, and her Grandparents home has been one of refuge during her greatest times of struggle throughout her life. When she went through her illness with cancer, and when she went through her divorce, her Grandparents home was the one that she could go to and simply just slip away from it all. The home is as old as she is, and it’s got a very special place in her heart as it symbolizes her beginning on this earth as much as it has weathered the test of time that life has given, through all of her pain and agony, and struggle to exist, that house has made it through it with her. And it’s been a constant, non-changing place of happiness, joy, and peace. Very shortly, that will all come to an end, and there is nothing that we can do to prevent it.
Traci and I had discussed how incredibly amazing it would have been to reside in the house as well. Our current home isn’t exactly wheelchair friendly. We make it work well enough, but there are certain features that make the home inaccessible. For example, Traci’s wheelchair is too wide to fit into either of our kids bedrooms, or into either of the bathrooms that we have inside our home. She has a difficult time opening doors, getting into the kitchen, the refrigerator, the garage, or any other areas of our home outside of our bedroom and our living room. That’s the reason that she spends the majority of the time at home in our bed, it’s because it’s one of basically two areas in our house that she can actually get to.
Imagine for a moment that you couldn’t gain access to basic things in your own home. That you needed assistance to do absolutely anything in the place that you live. That you were degraded because you needed help with using the toilet, getting something to eat, or even taking a shower. Traci is FAR from physically incapable of performing these tasks, and we know this because when we are in accessible areas when we travel outside of our house, she hasn’t had any problem using the facilities in wheelchair accessible areas. But because our home simply is not large enough in its 1950’s-1960’s era construction, it just plain isn’t wheelchair accessible and it provides overwhelming limitations that we have simply had to endure. It shouldn’t have to be the way that we live, but the for better part of the 6 years that we’ve lived with Traci being in her chair, it’s been our reality. Everyone has pitched in to help her out, and we do so out of love and completely willing to help her live. But we can’t help but know how much better things would be if we didn’t have to because of the limitations of where we reside.
As we entertained the thought of potentially relocating into her Grandparents home, we also entertained a lifestyle that would include living in a home for the first time where Traci had the capability of accessing every square inch of a house. The house that has been so deeply rooted as a constant mainstay of happiness, joy, and peace, could finally present a place of home to her, and to us a family. It was easy to see the future of Christmas’, Thanksgivings, Birthdays, as grandchildren would come traipsing through the house at some point, reliving all the memories that Traci has with her Grandparents, and recreating that cycle of happiness, joy, and peace for our generations of family for years. It was easy to envision me, getting old with Traci, sitting on the patio and overlooking that Valley. Holding her hand. And counting myself lucky that we had the ability to grow old with one another, just as her Grandparents did. It would have been nice to keep THIS home, this special home, within the family. But it just doesn’t make fiscal sense. And it’s terribly sad.
But in reality, the home will be on the market soon I would imagine. Or perhaps it will turn over quickly to someone else who will have a completely different vision for that house without ever spending time on the market. People will likely lineup to purchase the place, all with a vision in which turning a profit will outweigh the dream of an accessible home, with maintained family traditions. It’s not what we would have hoped for, but it seems to be the only direction that makes sense in reality. Giving up on a dream is never easy. But it would appear that our dream was more of a fantasy as it would seem. Because this one, for us, never had a shot.