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The Change Is Starting

September 20
written September 20 & later

Dear Friends and Families,

I wrote a week ago and wondered what the new week would bring.  Now I know.

First, the ordinary stuff.  I record these things in part so I don't forget to notice "the ordinary", particularly since I have come to value the non-remarkable.  Maybe a sign of aging?  (I hope not!)

On Wednesday the 11th, we had yet another showing of our house.  This was a repeat visit by the young couple who first visited, this time with parents, always a good sign.  They have actually given us an offer, one too low for us, but we have been hoping they could find more money, while we know we have lowered our expectations - again. 

At this point, we have two interested young couples, both with two visits, both including parents.  Even more so than in the US, young German couples almost always need help from parents, because required down payments are large and loan lengths are relatively short: 50% down on a ten-year loan is not unusual.  I really don't know how they do it.

Friday was the busiest day of the week with both an eye exam and a dinner invitation.  That is an indication of just how slow my bachelor life is.  The eye appointment was uneventful, thank goodness.  At "our" age, that's not a given.  The dinner was with friends Dale, Peter, Winnie, and Knut.  These are some of the friends we routinely enjoy visiting and whom we will most certainly miss once we leave.  I did hear both couple say they would/might visit, however.  We'll count on it.

Otherwise, the time is being marked by cool, rainy skies.  Garden work is ruled out by the conditions, a mixed blessing.  However, after hearing from son Brian, I will never complain about rain.  He and his family live in Longmont, Colorado and among his Facebook postings this week, was one about his neighbor getting a flood evacuation order, but it didn't extend to Brian's house, just a few feet away and a smidge higher.  I spent a fair amount of time watching news reports of the amazing floods in his area after almost a month's worth of rain in just a few hours.  Here is a video of how Lefthand Creek, the small trickle near his home, became a torrent.  Brian's home is barely visible, on the right edge of the screen, at 1:35 or so.  Too close.
Some other local shots - flooding creek and day after.
(As I write this, our own neighborhood is flooding too, but for us it is a regular event and our house remains well above the rising water table.  No drama. Here it is just the basis for the building ban behind us, a good thing.)

Enough "ordinary stuff".  On to the main course: our houses.

First, on Monday we got the discouraging word that our second potential buyer decided the commute was just too long for him.  Reportedly, they had driven it a few times and had to conclude it would be more time from his day than they wanted. I'm sympathetic and, in Germany, commutes are generally much less than what one tolerates in California, for example.

That left us with our original couple, the ones with less money than we had hoped.  Our agent went back to them for more money, but it was no certain thing.  At one stage Marianne and I both let in what-if-it-doesn't-sell thoughts.  Another year in Germany, until next year's selling season?  No chance for the house Marianne had found in Fresno?  I'm too old for this stress.

To make a long story short, they came up with a small price increase and our real estate agent agreed to a small cut in his fees. And we decided that the deal was good enough for us to simply close our eyes and say OK.  I hope they appreciate how much money we have invested in their house.  (One last picture spread, courtesy of REMAX Realtors.)

No sooner was the verbal agreement in Germany finished than Marianne arranged a written offer for "our" house in Fresno.  It is a nice "Cottage Arts and Crafts" home (thanks for the insight Cousin Bob),  built in 1934, old for California.  The idea here is for us to close on Pommersfelden and zip the money over to California, just-in-time financing. 

It has now hit us that our lives will quickly change, quickly and drastically.  We need to pack up, put everything in a 40-foot sea-shipment container, and then kill time for the 6 to 8 weeks that the container will be moving along.   When we reach the States, probably in December, we will have a flurry of move-in activity.  Then, early in 2014, we will be sitting in the living room talking about "The Change".  We will have forgotten any negative thoughts of the last 15 years in Europe and inflated all the positive.  That's just the way it works.

After that pause, we do hope to start traveling again, at least a little.  The only new guideline will be to include visits to friends and family.  Watch out, you could be next.


John and Marianne

ps: Some grandkids' pictures stolen off Facebook.  It will certainly be nice to be closer to these munchkins than Skype and Facebook!


John and, in absentia, Marianne


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