August 04, 2005

close of escrow

As of today our house magically transformed itself into a pile of money in the bank. And yet it's still a house. For now. And we still live here. For now.

Strange, that.

We'll pay this month's rent to the people who now own this house, using the very money they just gave us for this house. It makes me dizzy to contemplate, in an MC Escher sort of way.

What I also find amusing and amazing and altogether peculiar about this is that it's money for nothing. For having the good sense or rather, good luck to live somewhere for a while and then and this is the important part to leave that place. Without the exit, the profit remains monopoly money, numbers on a piece of paper, bloating in theory but in practice? Simply a house. Shingles, lathe and plaster, paint and wood and plumbing. A house on a chunk of land that's worth one amount one year and a highly improbable amount more a few years later.

I'm sure honest-to-god wealthy people would consider this mere lunch money, and they're probably used to conjuring dollars from the air like a cadre of professional magicians, but to me, a rank amateur, it still has that air of "Where did this come from?" and "Whoa."

Of course, at some point we hope to plow it back into framing and foundation, walls and ceiling and floor, back into something concrete and far more tangible than the automated bank voice I listened to today on the phone reciting a bunch of random-sounding numbers into my ear with the melodic yet calm tones of a lobotomized preschool teacher. I'll be sad to see it go. If we're lucky, we can hold onto some of it as non-real estate investment. I hope. We'll see. And if so, maybe in time it will seem more real. More natural. More like ours.

I told our realtor today I'm almost tempted take some of the cash out in small denominations, fill my bathtub with dollar bills, and plunge my hands into it. Green dusty water. Making it real. But even then it won't be, will it? Just a different kind of symbol, that's all.

Strange world. Strange life. A cushion that feels theoretical and yet isn't. A house that gives you a going away present when you say goodbye.

Ah well. Back to packing.

Posted by Tamar at August 4, 2005 06:43 PM | TrackBack

By the way, I described your prior dilemma (sell to developers?) to my dad this past weekend; he told me of folks he knew that literally sold the house, then had the building in quextion moved to a new lot across town. They lived in it for a while, then sold that. I know it's too late and too difficult an option, but it's interesting to know it's possible.

May your cushion smooth your way east -- soon!

Posted by: Chris at August 5, 2005 05:11 AM

I know what you mean. Our house is "worth" over 700,000 now, but it's meaningless money. Like stocks, which have always felt like monopoly money to me.

The good thing about this is that if the "balloon bursts," we don't care.

Posted by: skeeky at August 5, 2005 05:59 PM
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