My New House or Not!

With retirement in our not so distant future, it was time for my husband Bob and I to take the big step. The big D, downsize; sell our home, arena and acreage! We already knew we didn’t want to spend our ‘Golden years’ tied down. Whether the world was ready for us country bumpkins’ or not didn’t matter. We were trying on our city boots and throwing out our s___ boots. These country bumpkins’s were about ready to hit the road.

We had listed our place a few years back thinking we would go ahead and downsize early if it sold. I have to admit the house wasn’t what most women would call their dream home; we bought the place with plans to remodel the house as we had done several times in our married life. This time with the arena and Bob’s rodeos most weekends and two teenage sons we just never got around to the house. When couples came to view the place, you would hear “Oh, honey, we’ll remodel the house next year I promise,” and the wives would say, “You build me a new house then I’ll move”. Yes the house was that bad, but being a grown up tomboy, I spent most of my time outside so I didn’t mind besides there was always next year.

Well, having to keep the house ready to be inspected around the clock at any old strangers beck and call wasn’t my idea of what life was all about. So after a couple of years we took it off the market. My guys were satisfied and I could do a little to the house now and then and get by just fine. I always did like to tinker with power tools after all what could I hurt?

Every little woman makes her house a home they say and I tried my best by doing a little minor remodeling on it now and then. There was the time Bob came home and I had torn the wall out between the kitchen and living room. Wouldn’t have been bad but the only heat in the house was a wall heater in that wall. Sure made the kitchen seem bigger and besides it was summer so who needed heat? Oh yes, there was the time our son came home after I had redone our bathroom. He had the nerve to tell me next time I had a day at home with nothing to do, call a friend and go shopping; I was to dangerous to leave home alone. I liked those three toned terra cotta colored walls and stripped carpet in the 6’x 6’ bathroom.

After our sons graduated from high school we decided to put the place back on the market just in case someone wanted to pay us to take the easy way out, but we would still forge ahead with our remodeling plans. It was going to be that long before our contractor could start anyway. It was time to draw up a strategic plan; it was now or never if I was going to see this old house made into my dream home. I wasn’t worried that the place would sell, or was I? Should I take some precautions? Nah, hadn’t the women of the past proven that no woman in her right mind would live in this house. No single men had come looking so why would one come now? Nah, no need to cause undue anxiety, six months will be here before I’m ready; make the calls and get to work!

With a clear but uneasy conscience I call the realtor, and while the phone line was still humming I call the contractor. Look out I’m building up steam, something’s goin’ blow!

It’s 6 months later and no one has even called to inquire about buying the place! No problems! Finally the blueprints are in my excited little hands, the contractor is going to be here Tuesday and this is Friday. I have staked out the outline of my new house and walked it so many times they won’t need to dig footings my path is so deep. Of course dragging every neighbor I could find around my path, until they started hiding when they saw me coming, took it down a foot or so. Yep, I’m going to love my new remodeled old house!

It’s Friday, joined by family I’m sitting around the lily pool enjoying a relaxing evening before the remodeling mess starts in F-O-U-R days. Bob is out at the arena with his cowboy friends practicing. A shiny, clean, smooth running pickup pulls up to the house and out jumps a nice looking young cowboy; he trots up the walk. A voice brimming with excitement says, “Hi, is the place still for sale?”

The lily pool is deep enough to drown him: nope too many witnesses, he’s young and I’m old, he’s a he and I’m a she! Breathe, Annie breathe! The family waits for my answer. The cowboy waits for my answer!

When my brain finally starts to engage again it wants to scream “NO, you idiot, I’m remodeling my house in F-O-U-R DAYS.” But, all I can do is nod my head up and down, slowly, like a sick chicken.

“Mind if I look around,” this now middle aged, average looking cowboy asks? I actually manage to stutter, “N’no, Bob’s out there.” He walks off with a lift to his step.

Niagara Falls has nothing on me as the dam burst and the tears start gushing down my face. I want to melt out of my chair into a puddle of gray hair and wrinkles on my perfectly manicured lawn. Whether it’s my eyes full of tears or the steam out of my ears things are getting out of focus. I may be on the verge of losing my new remodeled old house, or not!

Within an hour ‘he’ saunters back down the sidewalk, past my beloved Aspen tree lined lily pools, along my beautifully landscaped flowerbeds. I see now he is an over the hill cowboy who has the audacity to make a full offer. Not $1,000 less; not $10,000 less, our full asking price. The least he could have done was insult me with a low offer. Given me the joy of kicking his sorry butt off of my land and away from MY soon to be newly remodeled old house. Says he’ll be back Monday morning with the full asking price in cash, if that’s all right.

I calmly turn to my family and whisper “Someone get a wheelchair he’s goin’ need it!” Now if he were a mind reader instead of a quickly aging cowboy he’d be hightailing it out of here. As I turn back to him I can feel my lips moving; but nothing comes out, again my head nods slowly up and down but this time the chicken’s on it’s death bed.

As he turns and walks away I notice his Wranglers are so baggy his dog could hitch a ride with room to spare; he’s so bowlegged his knees must have different zip codes! No respectable cowboy lets his truck get that filthy; as he pulls out it sounds like it’s only running on half as many whatever’s as it should be!

Serves him right taking away – My New House, or Not!

It is with a grateful heart that I dedicate this somewhat distorted story to that good-looking cowboy. Unknowingly he most likely saved my marriage that fateful day. They say remodeling a house is a sure way to get divorced and Bob and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary September 15, 2008. Thanks Cowboy!

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