It’s been a long time and I barely got started before I let too many things get in the way and found excuses not to post when I should have been. I apologize.
Of the many things that got in the way was when Mr. Man and I finally decided last March to take the big step of finally buying a lake home. We are ‘lake people’. It’s one of those things that either you are or you’re not. If you’re not, there is nothing inside of you that can justify why it’s so important. This Safeco Commercial sums it up beautifully.
Mr. Man and I have been a pair for three years now. I remember going to ‘the lake’ as a child although my parents did not do so with as much frequency and constancy as his parents did. Our stomping grounds are the Missouri Ozarks and there are several lakes to choose from; all man made and all created with varying purposes that may or may not have evolved from what was intended to what it has become.
Our lake of choice is tiny Pomme De Terre Lake and before all of you high school french takers say “Potato Lake! Really?” No. There was already a Pomme de Terre river before the lake was ever even dreamed of. Folks often forget that it was french explorers and traders that settled much of Missouri and therefore named much of what is here in the state. Local lore insists that the intended meaning of the rivers’ name was ‘Fruit of the Earth’ and that’s their story and they’re sticking to it. Of course, this meaning as well as the french pronunciations are mostly lost and “Aux Arcs” is now Ozarks just as the town of “Weaubleu” is pronounced wobble-oh.
The first time Mr. Man took me to Pomme for the weekend, I fell in love with three things; the lake, his boat and him, and those are not listed in any particular order, well, maybe a little. After a year of staying every three or four weeks with friends that had a cabin , we moved up and started renting a motorhome for what became every other weekends at the lake. In true Ozarks style, that motorhome was sitting in the yard at the house of the Uncle of a friend. Fifty bucks a weekend and everything worked; a/c, stove, fridge, etc. Everything but the engine of that motorhome. It served a purpose while we began the search for our own lake place.
We started looking. And looking. And looking. All through the fall and winter of the first year. Another season in the motorhome and we kept looking and looking. We’ve seen everything on that side of the lake that’s for sale. There is no rhyme or reason for the pricing because there are no comps. None. No two homes are the same. It is a microcosm of the entire housing market. Much like California, you can have a huge well-kept stick built house priced at $300K next to a single-wide shack from the 1940’s that really needs to be bulldozed but it sits on six nice lots for $40K (which is too much). Unlike California, no one is going to overpay for a lot that only has two 55 gallon drums for a septic system just because it sits next to a McMansion. It’s not going to happen. There’s too much still on the market, especially the secondary home market.
We could find nothing that satisfied. Granted, our scope of search was pretty narrow and we both had some ‘must haves’ on our lists. Finally, last November, we came upon a place and it spoke to us. It was in the right place on the lake, the neighborhood we wanted. Other than that, it met absolutely none of our criteria. It didn’t matter if we wanted the house. The house wanted us. We would put up a good fight, but in the end, it was the house that won. As houses often do.
The buying process consumed me, consumed us, the seller made the process a hot mess trying to hide the financial nightmare that he was in from the Realtor and the Title Company. In fact, I had made up my mind to walk away one night and when I called the Title Company the next day to tell her we were out, she greeted me with the good news that she had straightened out all the paperwork with the court (the Sellers had not disclosed, among other things, that they were in Chapter 7) and we would be able to close the next week.
And we did close. Finally. A little more than a month later than what was on the original contract. Each weekend when I get to the front door of that place, my whole being sighs, “home”. Each day that I spend in the little house I didn’t want, I love it more. The house wanted us, and it got us. It had been empty for three years and although it stands alone four days of seven, the other three are full of love and energy and laughter and relaxation and peace and calm and just plain fun and for now, that’s enough.