That First Lunch

November 04, 2017

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning at the beach on the first weekend in November. Daylight savings time starts tomorrow, so the sun isn’t up quite yet. I’ve got a cup of tea, Eric is still asleep, and the girls are playing.

In other words, it’s a great time to sit down and write. Just the kind of thing the beach is perfect for.

A lot has happened in the month since we officially bought this place. Before we get into what we’ve been doing, I wanted to focus on that first day, and the first feelings we had of owning this place.

Closing day was a complete whirlwind. We were already somewhat exhausted from the last month of stress - securing the mortgage, insurance, home inspections, and other details. Maureen had a girl’s trip planned to see her sisters the weekend of the 6th, so we had tried to move the closing date back a week. With about two weeks notice we learned that we’d incur a quarter point penalty fee to extend our rate 7 days. A quarter point was well over a thousand dollars so.. not worth it. Thankfully, the sellers were easy to work with and we had the closing date moved back to Friday the 6th.

It’s not often that Maureen and both her sisters could sync their schedules and get away from a combined seven kids together, so missing that opportunity wasn’t an option. It just made for a busy day.

Here was our schedule:

  • 7a: Leave Maryland
  • 10a: Final Inspection
  • 11a: Closing!
  • 12-2p: Two hours of “holy shit” with our new house
  • 2p: Leave Delaware
  • 5p: Get back to our kids and relieve the grandparents
  • 6a the next morning: Maureen leaves for New York

Yeah, hectic. There were definitely a few mixed feelings in there too. Feelings like we-committed-to-this-but-if-we-can-only-get-down-there-for-two-hours-today-is-this-worth-it? feelings. It wasn’t what we expected for our first time down to the new house. Our lives are busy and the concern that we’ll be too busy to get down here is real. But we’ll make it work.

The final inspection was mostly us shaking ourselves in disbelief that this was real. There wasn’t a lot of checking needed. The house had always been in impeccable condition, and there were only a couple of very minor things that had to be done. It hadn’t been lived in for a few months, so there were no concerns about wear and tear moving out either.

The closing was simple too. Sign your name a lot, and then you’re on your way. Thursday, the day before, had been the very painful day when I had to wire a huge amount of cash that represented the 20% down plus additional closing costs. So the actual closing itself was a little anticlimactic.

And then there was the two hours of holy shit. This was the part of the day we had really been dreaming about. I remember the giddy feeling I had the entire day of my wedding, and this felt a little bit like that. Like, did we really do this? Is this real? Is the sun really shining? Do I really live in Bethany Beach? Well, not full time of course, but we are officially residents!

Maureen and I had brought something special down for this occasion. A few weeks back, she had found a set of old adirondack chairs by the side of the road in our neighborhood. They were rickety, the sides were broken off, and the wood looked very old. But she threw them in the car so we could restore them and put them out on the dock. We added a bunch of supports, fixed the sides, and painted them bright blue. They turned out great.

Maureen and I stopped at our favorite local place in town - Beach Break - and got a pair of sandwiches. We drove back to the house, pulled those adirondack chairs out, plopped them down on the dock, and had a great lunch next to the canal. We met our first neighbor too, across the canal, and talked with her for a bit.

Having lunch there, in the chairs we had rebuilt, on the dock at our new house, was the highlight of the whole month. It felt incredibly special, and we thought a lot about the choices we were making, although we didn’t talk about them much. We didn’t need to. Looking back, I think the chairs represented more than we realized. They represented a changing perspective on life. On buying less and reusing more. On slowing down and taking our time. That’s why people really like the beach, whether they realize it or not. It makes you slow down. You think more about how to live your life.

That lunch was the first step in making this place ours, and living at the beach.

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