Something I learned at the hospital stood me in good stead. If a problem can’t be solved in one way, I attack it from another angle. Don’t give up until all the options have been exhausted. And while all this is going on, pray, pray, pray! The end result is either success or failure but no one can say I didn’t try.
DD needed money for her entrance fee to get into her junior year in college and I needed property. We worked it out. I would supply her with what she needed in exchange for the house (such as it was) and the land—postage stamp sized but big enough. The papers were drawn up and everything was signed. She was no longer a property owner. I don’t think that bothered her at all.
Then there was the question of a house. No way could I have one built. That wasn’t in the budget or the time frame I’d sketched out. DS1 said he knew where there was a lot full of repossessed doublewides that I could probably afford. It wasn’t a comfortable idea to consider living in a place that had once been a home to someone else who had lost it. However, my mother always told me that beggars can’t be choosers so I agreed to go look.
Several years before, I’d gone looking with DS1 and his family and found what my mother was fond of calling a “manufactured home”. She lived in a doublewide but she hated the term. The one we looked at had three bedrooms, two baths, a fireplace across one corner of the living room and a built in entertainment center that separated the kitchen from the living room. A dining room and utility room plus three closets completed the floor plan. I fell in love. I couldn’t afford it, though. It was a Palm Harbor and ‘way above my measly means.
When we got to the used house lot, we started the rounds at one end and planned to work our way to the other. There were quite a few orphaned homes and they all looked sort of sad. They weren’t the pristine models we’d looked at, seemingly, so long ago. It was obvious that they had been lived in and some were in better shape than others.
One by one, we toured them. That one was too big for the small lot. This one was the wrong layout. I was beginning to get discouraged when we opened another front door and went inside yet another house. I took one look and gasped. There was the entertainment center separating the living room from the kitchen, a fireplace across the corner. Three bedrooms. Two baths. A dining room and a utility room. I counted the closets. There were three of them. AND it was a Palm Harbor. One flaw stood out and couldn’t be ignored. The wall between the living room and the bedroom was gone. The studs were there but no wall. Not one on the living room side. Not one on the bedroom side. I couldn’t believe it. I had found my long lost home only to have it be so blemished.
We went to talk to the manager and asked for particulars. Oh, yes. The wall could be replaced. No problem with that. It had been damaged when it was moved from the place where it had been originally set up to its interim resting place. He might not be able to make it good as new but it would be repaired. There was a dishwasher and range in the kitchen but no refrigerator. I asked about the appliance. He would make sure there was a refrigerator. I’d seen the fridges in the other houses and I didn’t care for them. What if I wanted to buy my own? He would knock $500 off the price. Well, I’d think about it.
On the way back to DS1’s place, I couldn’t calm my whirling thoughts. It was amazing that the very kind of house I’d wanted before was right there. It was no palace. Maybe it didn’t even qualify as a cabin but it was four walls and a roof and the very floor plan I had admired for so long.
DS2 was skeptical. He wanted to see this for himself. A few days later, we went out to see it. I wanted to have a second look, anyway, and make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. He wanted to check out some of the other places, too, so I took him to some of the ones that I hadn’t really cared for which were, in reality, any of the others.
We went into one after another and he inspected them. He was working as a carpenter and would know decent construction when he saw it. This one was too flimsy. That one had shoddy workmanship. Then we went into The One.
He was mildly distressed by the missing wall but he agreed that it wouldn’t be that big a deal to put it up. While it was no Taj Mahal, it was well built for what it was. We went to the office.
The manager welcomed us and we sat across the desk from him as DS2 gave him the third degree. He wanted to know the process from beginning to end and the manager was glad to comply. Anything to make a sale. I would need to take care of things on my end and he would make sure everything was squared away on his.
I was armed with the information I needed to apply for a loan. The bank where I had my checking account was the logical place to start. I met with the president and presented my case. She asked about property. Yes, I had a small piece of land. Then she wanted to know about the Manufactured Home. I told her what make and model it was and how much they wanted for it. She had a “blue book” for double wides and she looked it up. She was amazed at the value vs the price. Based on that, I could get the full amount plus a tidy sum. I was walking on air. She said she’d draw up the papers and let me know when to come in and sign. I went back to work.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into.