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Forget What I just Said

September 30 and October 3
written September 30 & later

Dear Friends and Families,

In the last diary, I wrote about the pending changes to our life, primarily driven by the apparent sale of our home here in Pommersfelden, Bavaria, Germany.  As of Monday morning, September 30th, I had to admit our expectations had changed.

What happened, how, and what does it mean now? 

The week before, we had come to agreement on sale of our house with a young couple who had been interested in the house since July.  Their offer was low, but we got nothing better.  One last condition was a house inspection, not usual in Germany but not unheard of.  We were so confident, that we went ahead and entered into a contract to purchase a house in Fresno, California, contingent on the sale here.

d130928_12_HofWall.jpgd130928_14_plaster.jpg On Friday, the buyer, his architect-inspector, and our agent Frank met at the house.  Frank debriefed me afterwards and it was grim.  It sounded to me like the architect said we had such a serious water-seepage problem that the house was not worth the low, already-agreed, price.  Actually, it sounded to me like the deal would be called off, but we really won't know until later. (As a post-script, I read in the paper that the buyer's employer, Siemens, is also laying off 5,000 employees in Germany.  This alone might kill the deal.)

After three months on the market, I expected we would have no viable offers.  And winter is closing in.  The house shows far, far better in sun and with a flowering garden.  We did have someone look at the house in Saturday's sun, but my sense was that these were "tire kickers", not real prospective buyers.  Again, we would see.  I'm kind of a glass-half-empty guy, but I would have been surprised if the glass is very full at all.

So, where did that leave us?  Probably, in Germany, until the next house-selling season in the Spring.  As soon as we get definitive word, we will cancel buying the California house and, probably, tell Frank to shift to "passive marketing" for our house here.  If someone responds to a web-advertisement, fine, but we can't give the house away and, besides, I am tired of the for-sale stress and need a break.  We will simply proceed with our life, including a December and January US visit to family and friends.  Marianne is much more sanguine about all this, sanguine and almost positive.  I trust she's right.

I had a sunny weekend to think about all this and tried to put it out of my mind.  It was a classic case of ignoring the elephant in the corner.  I cleaned the house for the Saturday showing.  I puttered a bit in the yard, although the weather is getting colder, so there is less and less to do.  I took pictures of the cars that are/were for sale.  (I even got a bid for shipping them to the US: maybe $7,000 or $8,000. Too much.)
My only excursion was the annual garden show at Schloss Weingartsgreuth.  We have gone to these shows yearly, but with our house almost sold, I'll admit my heart wasn't in it.  Nevertheless, I took pictures and you must look at them.  Ignore the elephant.
Schloss Weingartsgreuth
Every year: Food and music by The March Brothers
A pause in the Schloss chapel to pray for a house sale.
So, what will happen?

October 3 update.

The young couple did get back with us eventually, by regular post.  Quaint.  They had a litany of concerns, from the behavior of our real estate agent to the size of the natural gas tank.  Most of the concerns were outside our power to address.  It is an 18th Century sandstone house after all. 

Even before their letter, Marianne and I had made the decision to call everything off.  The uncertainty had worn us out.  We canceled the house purchase in Fresno.  We prepared to tell our real estate agent here to stop marketing until next Spring.  We told family.  We commiserated.  I felt like we would be stuck here in our "deluxe old prison" forever, and Marianne was convinced something better would develop, given time.

Now we will get on with our life.  Marianne flies back today/tomorrow (12 hour flight, 9 time zones).  We have brunch with the local bunch on Sunday. Well, they will all have brunch, but I will be dining on clear liquids.  My timing for a certain senior-citizen medical exam could have been better. 

Marianne and I will figure out how to spend at least the next several months.  We plan to fly to the States in December and we might work in some European travel before that.  Oh, I almost forgot, we already have a trip to Prague planned to pick up Ron and Nancy.  Now we will be more relaxed with that visit at least.  After that, the cooling weather calls for somewhere a bit warmer, Italy or Southern France or even Spain or Croatia.

As our friend Jean-Loup would say: "It could be worse."  (Maybe we should visit him in Saudi Arabia?  Definitely warmer.)


John and, in absentia, Marianne


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