When I woke up the next morning, the only thing I could think of was that I had 72 boxes coming to the house that morning. While extensions were still being filed I took off to Ohio for a couple of days to see the lovely Bonnet. During this fun and relaxing time a call was received that said basically the boxes had landed and wanted a home. At that point it was still up in the air if there would be an address to deliver the boxes too, so I put of the mover until Tuesday. On Wednesday the word came the house was going to be signed over so a call to the movers and a delivery scheduled for Friday morning.
My boxes had landed in the U.S. after about two months of travel. The house hand finally been turned over nearly two months after the bid was accepted. It was such an oddness, but in the end a workable one. So Friday morning I woke up, still snuffling faintly from paint fumes in the only room that had been cleaned out, looked at the sun and the time and realized the boxes were coming in half an hour. While I contemplated this the phone rang and a friendly Korean man confirmed my address.
Bed was hopped out of, then, and more cobweb knocking. This time the knocking was on the large front porch where I hoped to store most of the boxes so they would not be in the way while the painting happened. While cleaning the Boy noted the neighbor's car parked in front of the house. I went over and knocked on the neighbor's door unsuccessfully. We continued to clean and hope. Then the rumbling, and looking out the window to see that a large semi had arrived. A bunch of guys jumped out and the Korean man, Mr. Cho, who was our mover. I greeted him in Korean out of habit but he spoke perfect English.
“So, yeah, why here?” He asks almost immediately. “It’s like forty minutes from the city.”
“Yes, but it is very close to the lake.”
“Can I see it? Here is my card. Tell all your friends in Korea about me. I move furniture. How did you hear about me?”
I explained how I got the mover in Korea and tried to get a word in edgewise but he just kept talking.
“So, I also do real estate. Let me see the place. Okay, so where do you want the stuff? My guys there are Mongolian they came out because they heard you guys spoke languages, they wanted to meet you.” He just kept talking. In the meantime a neighbor had appeared to move the car. I explained that I needed to go talk to the neighbor and allowed the mover to babble on to the Boy.
“I look a wreck. Sorry for the hassle.”
“Naw, it’s all right. You’re moving in. Happy to help out. Knew the old lady who lived there, she was a sweetheart.”
“This is kind of a move from South Korea, it happened a lot faster than I expected.”
“South Korea. That’s nice. Let me get out of your way.”
She moved the car and waved goodbye. The movers parked the van in front of the house, and threw open there door. And there were the 72 boxes last seen in Korea. I realized I instantly hated all my stuff and never wanted to see it again.
The movers began to lower ramps and handed me a sheet to check off as they began to unpack. And so it began. Box after box. While they unpacked I counted and realized that out of the 72 boxes I had 50 were book or book-related items. Perhaps there is a bit of pack rattishness but it is all related to books. The rest was clothing or fabrics, with a few furniture items and a boat. The boat would be good for being near the lake, inflatable otherwise it would not have been much moveable. All together it took about an hour to get all the boxes out of the truck and into the house. Most of it fit on the porch where it would live for at least a day or so as I continued to paint rooms and generally try to get the house ready to hold all the stuff.
It was seeing the stuff in the space. Even in boxes, that sort of clinched the fact that this is a home for a long time to come. That I’ve moved the things out of Korea. That going back means having no possessions. There is a niceness in that, while also a strangeness. I leave for Korea on Tuesday and yet all my things are here. The world will definitely be stranger in the upcoming year, that is to be sure.
Don’t get your hopes up about me moving back to the U.S. That’s all I can say.
It’s an old house, a very old house. On the walk through, though I noted that the floors were solid hardwood, that aside from cobwebs there was nothing really wrong with the place, and that it was smallish, but actually cozy with a tone of potential. So I kept all that in mind. The second place I walked through was definitely bigger, but the carpet was covering floors that were not hardwood, the walls were all paneled with big sheets of wood, there was sag in a floor over a ceiling, and it seems like it has mildew. It lacked the cobwebs.
I said to get the first house, the older one, but somehow to my mind the better one.
That is when the real-estate storm really picked up. It was a long hard process that had apparently been started in December. My input was basically on whether or not to continue to go for the older smaller house, or to try to get the larger house that might be easier to acquire. The older smaller ran into problems when the title agent ran the title to discover that there was a third owner listed. And that owner had died. And had eight children, all of whom now had a stack in an old house near lake Michigan in Chicago, but an hour from the city. The eight children were all over the country. The confusion being behind getting them all to sign over the rights to the property so it could be sold. The hold up being the time it was taking.
After walking through the house was I encouraged following an additional extension, which in the end is what happened.
Time passed during the week, more snow fell. Waiting occurred. Finally an agent called to say that it was still not resolved and he asked for just a few more days. At this point I consulted a friend of mine who was in real estate and explained the situation. From good friend I was armed with the words that I needed to help encourage the real-estate agent to get their ducks in a row or they were going to be out the attorney fees and all other monies because the bid would be allowed to expire. The agent listened. One last extension and then on a cloudy, going to snow Thursday night a meeting took place in the Chicago title office, papers were signed, and a house changed hands.
That night I traveled back to the house with the proud owner, and lovely boy, and together we entered, and looked around. In the back of the boy’s truck were twelve gallons of paint, brushes, gloves, drop clothes, and the other odds and ends that you would need to refinish a newly acquired old house. That night cobwebs started to come down while the heater poured in and cozied the place up. I took one room and decided to finish it first just so a sleeping place would be had. The ceilings were incredibly high but the telescoping handle on the paint roller was able to hand it. An hour and a half of painting later, and the room was lovely. Together with the Boy we pulled out the carpet, inserted an inflatable mattress, and promptly crashed out on the floor, entirely worn out by the process of starting to refinish what will eventually become home base central in America.