Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Today is a momentous day for me and Göran. As of today, our home is officially paid off. Our mortgage is paid in full.
The picture was taken in August 1996 when we signed the closing papers. It will be couple of months before we get the nice little piece of paper saying that the property is officially ours. When I scheduled the "pay-off" earlier this week, I was informed that we were paying a $46 fee for the county to re-issue the deed in our names, and that we should be able pick up the new deed at the county registrar's office some time around the new year. Göran is already making plans for a "mortgage burning party" to be held sometime next spring. Y'all are invited!
At a moment like this, it's tempting to go into raptures about "the American Dream." But we live in a neighborhood where a fair number of folks lost their homes a few short years ago, while billionaires were scrambling to make off with their life savings. I have friends and family who were not as lucky as Göran and I were... Who -- in pursuit of "the American Dream" -- took a chance and bought a dream home, only to have things fall apart. An ugly divorce. A lost job. And in the midst of that, trying to sell a home that had lost value in a market gone bust, and losing thousands.
In some larger sense that transcends U.S. law, the land our house stands on isn't ours. We didn't build the house. At best, it and the property it sits on are borrowed. Eventually, we'll pass it on, die, give everything back to wherever it came from. At best, we can only be grateful we have a place to stay, for now.
Göran and I were in the right place at the right time. We bought our house from friends who had bought dirt cheap and obtained grants to renovate, and who -- out of a sense of compassion or equity or whatever -- decided to sell cheap to someone who might not be able to afford a home of their own otherwise. We knew we were blessed. I still consider us more lucky than deserving.
So, we celebrate this moment with a sense of gratitude and hope, and a desire to share the love and sanctuary we've found here with others. If any of you are ever in the neighborhood, drop me a line! Stop by! All are welcome here!