Market outlook

"Of course, these numbers would look a lot different if you'd sold it in 2005 or 2006," he said with the bright kind of regret that makes you know he had a good year that year. He was nice enough -- more than nice, really -- the real estate agent. The knife didn't even cut that deep.

But it's not that easy to hear that my single largest investment (which was really supposed to be simply HOME) is going to be worth so much less than I'd thought, hoped, and scribbled idly on the back of so many envelopes. 44 years and this is the one thing I did right: buying low. 13 years ago, wrapped up in my first life, trying to build dreams.

What we went through there! The tries to procreate. The birth of our child, the opening of his dream studio out there past the mud. What we ripped up and destroyed: the channel above was for our only really big home improvement, his studio, the muddy trench where they'd lay the electrical conduit. Then the cancer, the numb, the passion, the hope, the surgeries, the failures over and over again. The little things, the shingles, the thrush, our child's first words, the times alone home when he was in the hospital. 2006 was the year he died, but the entire year was downhill fast, and sliding, and murky.

Time went on, that bubble burst, and now, more than trenches, I think of the tranches of debt that made up the CDOs into which most of us lost money, and homes, and security. The financial foundation that fell out from under us, or was shown to be missing. I didn't care much about that economy, though it was golden and blooming while my honey fell apart and broke before my eyes. I didn't notice that bubble of real estate money, which was real for some, briefly, grew and grew and then leaked some air in a series of small burps. It hardly mattered among everything else; I was falling in love again. A few hours after Lehman fell, in fact, we went out shopping for a diamond.

Widows are bulletproof, did you know? Or at least full of contempt for the small things, and after what we've been through, everything's small.

But that trench is the earth bleeding, a wound that had to be dug to build something new, a something new that was never fulfilled and will soon be sold. For so much less. And with it, I'd like to let go of all those disappointments, all those losses, and everything that didn't work well. I'd like to heal, and patch them all, but I wish I had a bigger band aid.


Alicia said...

A bigger band-aid. Yeah. I could use a bigger band-aid.

annie said...

I'm sorry. I lost money on our house. Sold it right as the bubble was popping. Lucky to get out at all really b/c everyone was trying to sell. Guy next door got foreclosed on in fact just a month later and we'd listed about the same time.

I don't believe in houses as investments anymore. They are homes or nothing.

carolyn said...

So much is wrapped up in our homes. This picture makes me sad. It looks like such a sweet house.

We sold Jeff's family house in 2007. It broke my heart. His dad built it when Jeff was 3. We'd bought another house that we remodeled to run our business out of, and we couldn't afford 2 mortgages. We tried renting out the house for a few years but Jeff was not a good landlord - too mellow. We squeaked by, selling when we did, just in time. We were lucky. We only put it on the market then because the street was going to be dug up for a year in a major sewer overhaul and we couldn't ride it out. The money we made on it was going to be for our "retirement"<---hahaha, and Anna's college. Instead it paid for the 14 months of cancer, when nobody worked. Really he had not worked for several years before that, when clearly he already had cancer, we just didn't know it yet. I was just pissed at him all the time because I thought he was a slacker. Yep.

Sometimes when I am lying in bed I think about haunted houses, how they are haunted because somebody died in them. When I think that, I am lying right in the spot where Jeff died. But I do not find that creepy at all, and it wouldn't even occur to me to tell the next owner such a thing. Apropos of nothing...Sigh.

Widow in the Middle said...

One of the strangest aspects of widowhood for me has been the realization of how grief stricken I became after losing our home (well, selling it for nothing and barely making it out before foreclosure). You would think that after all I learned from my husband's death about things not really mattering that I wouldn't have grieved my house almost more than the death of my husband. But I really did. It was another loss on top of so many others. Couldn't believe how many people were really kind of nasty to me in not understanding the pain of my having to move from my home of 18 years. Got very depressed and it has taken me a year to adjust to apartment life but am living proof that in the end where we live with our loved ones is what makes a home and yes, things really really don't matter in the end - the people in that home are what do.

I'm with you though on your house stuff - it sucks and hurts big time.

Jill Schacter said...

A beautiful, wry, sad, bitter, piece of truth. It's amazing how you keep digging away anyway, despite such deep disappointments. One line really got me: the one about widows having contempt for small things. Sometimes I feel so much contempt for the ridiculous egotistical petty concerns of people I once felt close too that I think I should just write them off once and for all.

A great piece of writing. Thanks for that. I can practically taste the dirt you dug.

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Thanks, all. I wonder how many widowed people at 5 years are just beginning to feel the loss of the home, or the loss of those early dreams? Seems we all had losses around the same time, and I know a bunch of others who are selling now.

Course, could be that economy, too. (What economy?)

Thanks for your visits and thoughts!


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