27 October 2007

Auction Day

So, the day of the auction comes. It is a rainy Thursday evening in May. I work until 5 that day, mom and I grab some fast food on the way home.

All day I'm talking to my friends at work, telling them about the house.

I'm still not sure about it.

I wish I felt strongly one way or another. Should we buy, shouldn't we?

Mom has made financial arrangements to have the 10% down that we'll need if we buy tonight. On the way home, I'm really getting cold feet. I'm pretty sure we should just go for the experience, just to observe. Neither mom or I had ever bid on anything at an auction. Ever. In our whole lives. Not even a single piece of depression glass.

We meet my Nan and mom's friend Joyce there, around 6, and we are able to walk through the house before the bidding starts. At this point, I'm really certain we should not buy this house tonight.

A wicked spring storm is rolling in. Looks like we may get more than just a bit of rain this evening.

As I'm showing my Nan the nice features of the house, and we head up the stairs, I pause halfway up, and I turn. And I look down across the entry and living room. And it just strikes me. I want this house. I want to live here. I fell in love. Just like that.

Quickly show Nan the upstairs rooms, including the ugly bathroom, which mom and I had previously discussed that would have to go. Just count on extra money for that. The rest I could live with, for now.

Nan goes out to the front porch, where the owners, auctioneer, potential bidders, and curious neighbors have gathered. She makes herself at home on their porch swing, where she'll casually sit and rock back and forth during the whole auction.

I go in search of mom, my adrenaline pumping by now. I must have this house, and I have to tell mom just how much I had changed my mind in the past few minutes. I find her and Joyce in the basement, and we sit on the basement steps, while I frantically tell her in hushed tones. We agree that she'll be in control of the bidding. I'm just way too excited.

So out to the front porch for the bidding. Full out thunderstorm is raging. So amid the rumbles thunder and occasional flashes of lightning, the auctioneer begins.

I'm standing next to mom, tense. The auctioneer starts out kind of high, gets no takers, goes lower. And lower. And lower. Finally so low, he's down in my original price range. I don't want to appear too anxious, but I feel like poking mom. Why isn't she bidding? She looks cool and calm.

The auctioneer stops. Brief whispers with the owners. They excuse themselves, go inside the house. Consultation. Thunder rumbles, storm is moving off a bit now. The auctioneer and owners reappear.

The auctioneer says the owners must sell for a certain named amount, or the house will not be be sold tonight. Will anyone give him that low amount? Nobody makes a move. Long, tense silence. One couple whisper to each other. Everyone looks around to see who will make the first move. I'm rigid. I've left the bidding up to mom. In my mind, I'm screaming to her "we cannot let this house slip through our fingers, not at this price!" Finally, just when it looks like the auctioneer is about to give up, mom says sure, she'll give him the minimum. Anyone else? The other couple ups us by one thousand. The auctioneer looks back at mom. She offers another hundred. He pauses, surprised, says, okay, he wouldn't usually, but... I guess he figures he's not going to be able to get much more out of us. At one point, mom bids against herself, and the auctioneer tells her to be quiet. Back and forth a by hundreds with the other couple. A frenzy of auctioneer-speak, and SOLD.

And he is looking at us.

I forgot to breathe.

Oh. My. God.

I just bought a house.

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