Savage Enterprises Publishing
Mike Aragona - Freelance Writer / Editor

The Last Word

Eye of the Hurricane — (April 2003) I'm not even sure I know how to start this story, much less what kind of story it is. It's rife with drama, chills, spills, thrills, laughter, romance, and so much more!

Well, let's start off with what I know.

From as far back as Chantale and I began talking of marriage, we've talked of owning a house and building a home. At one point in time, we truly began to believe that we would purchase a home shortly before or immediately after we were married. This, of course, seemed to be nothing but a dream to us.

When Chantale got back from her trip through New Zealand/ Australia and began working at Scotia Bank, the ideas began springing up again. Eventually, we made an appointment with the Royal Bank to see about getting a pre-approved mortgage. We qualified and were given a rate of 5.19% for 4 years. I could have gotten something like 4.25% at Standard Life but we both decided it would be best/ easier if we went with the Royal Bank since I've been a client forever and that would give us an advantage of other benefits.

With that pre-approval, the search was on!

We contacted a Re-Max agent and immediately lined up some houses to go visit. Six Houses were visited on March 30th in about 3 hours. It was tiring, exhausting, but also somewhat fun. The last house we saw was a brand new construction that, although extremely beautiful, was just TOO big in our eyes, even though the cost was very reasonable.

The following weekend, we visited another 11 houses in about 4 hours. A lot more tiring, still fun, but the beginnings of worry were starting to creep in. Our agent kept insisting that we would need to see AT LEAST 25 houses before we could begin to realize what we wanted. We made an appointment for the following weekend and went home exhausted.

The next couple of days that followed, Chantale and I searched the Web to see what was out there. We collected some other places to visit and the agent sent us some others. We reviewed the specs, location, size, etc, and asked her to set up appointments for us. During our conversation on the Wednesday night, our agent mentioned that we were getting to the end of what's currently on the market and asked what we would do next. We simply stated that we'd just wait and see. Some of the houses we had seen on our visits were brought up as examples of what we're looking for. She mentioned the new house from our first visit and again we thought that it was too big. The Thursday night, Chantale and I agreed that we should go take a look at it again as we really did like it. It was still up for sale and we scheduled a visit on the Saturday.

When Saturday came, Chantale, the kids and I met up with her parents and our agent. We wanted her parents along to ask their honest opinion on the new house. We began our visits and saw about 4 of the scheduled homes. By then we were discouraged again and thus just skipped over to the new house. We walked in and immediately felt at ease. The house prior to that one, Chantale had gotten a massive headache in. Although everyone else had found the house nice (I thought it was quaint) she just felt ill. So, we moved along. Once we got to the new house, she immediately felt better. Another sign? :)

So, there we were, all smiles, going from room to room, floor to floor. The kids were having a blast! They were with us that first day, but when we got to that house, they were too tired and thus waited in the car. This was their first time in it and they were just jumping with excitement! Chantale's parents loved it and we, of course, were even more convinced. We left it and visited the sales office to ask the agent some questions. We left there more excited than ever. Our agent asked if we should continue our visits and we just both said NO! So, Chantale's parents left while the kids, Chantale, and I, headed to Tim Horton's with our agent to sign up some papers making an offer on the house.

While we waited for her, we got our drinks and chatted excitedly. She came in and told us she spoke with the agent and discussed what it would take and our chances of getting it. No offers were on the table yet. We wrote up our offer making some additional requests (a bigger patio, grass in the front and on the sides, etc) and an hour and a half later, it was done. We left for home crazy with anticipation.

Saturday night we were nuts. Sunday we were nuts. The offer could only be made Monday morning and we didn't know if anyone else was going to as well. Sunday afternoon we drove my mom there for a quick visit. Sunday night, our agent called to tell us there were NO other offers and that she was meeting the selling agent at 8am on Monday. We shrieked with glee! She had all the numbers to reach me and thus we expected something to start happening. Sunday night, we were even worse wrecks! :)

Monday comes and I try to stay by my desk as much as possible. Every time the phone rang, I jumped. 8am… 9am… 10am… no news yet. 11am and she calls. We work out a few minor details that the builder wanted in the contract and it all looks good. 3 calls in the space of 30 minutes and I'm a bloody wreck. Noon comes and with it the final phone call that tells us our offer was accepted! Shriek! Glee! Aaaah! And more! :) I rush out to meet Chantale for lunch calling everyone we could think of :) Calls are placed to my insurance agent, my financial advisor, our banker.

We are positively thrilled, excited, nervous, anxious… oh you can imagine :) After the euphoria wore off, we're told that due to the cost of the home, we apparently need 10% of the cost for the down payment instead of 5% as we were told by our banker. Hearts in our throats, we still vow to find out what's going on. We're still on a massive roller-coaster ride but with slight worries. I leave messages with our banker and just wait.

Tuesday morning, we manage to speak with the banker who tells us they did make an error and I asked how they would fix it. We come up with a solution we're all in agreement with and she gets to work. By 5pm, we're told that the CHMC approved our loan and the Bank approved our mortgage. The house is basically ours!!!

Wednesday and the days that followed included a flurry of phone calls for information: Hydro, Bell, Notre Dame de l'ile Perrot city, Canada Post, etc. etc. As much as there was a flurry of activity going on around me, I kept a completely cool head and dealt with everything I had to one item at a time. I was keeping over a dozen different calls and situations and issues running at once and always stayed on top of it. Sometimes, while relating what I was juggling to Chantale, I would see her eyes unfocus as she struggled not to get dizzy. I reveled in it. Picture, if you will, and I know that you can if you've ever seen a picture of Thor, me standing in the middle while a hurricane raged around me. A whirlwind of people, places, numbers, requests, etc, just spinning crazily around me while I stood grounded; rooted in the reality of the moment: Our First Home.

What an electrifying moment. You can imagine how we felt when we drove up to the house and saw the "SOLD" sign on the door. Elation. We'll be the first people moving into that street which means that for at least a little while, we'll be alone. Heck, we'll end up being the street's welcoming committee! And that, is just fine, with us :)

Our Home!

Here is the first and currently only picture we have of the house. This was from the Multiple Listing Services web site and basically shows the house in January or February. We'll be clicking some new digital pictures soon and I'll include them in a future issue :)

At present, we're not sure when we're supposed to be moving in but we have a tentative signing date with the Notary for May 1st. It may be sooner, it may be later, but one thing is certain: before May is over, we'll be sleeping and living under a new roof! :)

I never thought I would own a home at 35. Guess it works out that I'll be turning 36 as we move in :) But, seriously, my own home. This was nothing but a dream and after the events of a few years ago, more like a fantasy. I know this won't always be an easy reality, but it's definitely a dream worth fighting for. I can think of no better partner than the person who's given me so much hope and the courage to dream again: Chantale :) Together, we can shape our own realities :)

(The Last Word (c) Mike Aragona. All rights reserved. No reproduction or retransmission of this article is granted without written permission of Mike Aragona)

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