Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Gee, I Hate The Disappointment Test!

When you buy a house in New York state, you get an Abstract of Title. 

What's that? It's a written history of your house, as in, who, back in the 1800's bought the original huge plot of land, when they subdivided it, who then bought your little piece and then who eventually built your house upon it.

Then it lists all the married couples or singles who, over Time and decades, bought and lived in your house, how long they lived there and, at times, it gives occasional details of improvements/property divisions, anything requiring The City to do something.

Our other suburb house had an Abstract of Title and on cloudy days, I'd take it from the drawer and read the names and notes and look around my rooms, imagining the original owners who'd built our bungalow in 1937. We were only the third couple to own the house so my imagining was a tad limited, though I'd heard a huge victory garden had been grown just outside our windows over a couple summers so I'd look out there and imagine that.

But our farm's Abstract! That house was built in 1880 and a ton of people had farmed that land and then lived in the house once it was built, so that one was great fun to read, what with its lists of old-fashioned names and notes. I even shared some of that with you here.

Well. Three long years had passed and we'd still not received our Abstract of Title and the Deed for Hobbit Cottage. Our real estate lawyer (you must have one here) told us 2 years ago that we must be patient--the city had laid-off workers, things moved slowly now and blah, blah, blah. 

Then he retired.

So. Last week I contacted our oh-so-helpful realtor friend, Cher, when Tom discovered from the City that they'd sent all those papers to our lawyer 2 weeks after we bought our house(!) Tom called the lawyer and (skipping a ton of details), the package arrived in the mail yesterday.

But there is no Abstract of Title. 

Tom told me our lawyer said it had been lost over time, but the papers include Title Insurance and that's good enough nowadays --- except that it's not good enough for me! Oh. My. Goodness. I nearly had a conniption fit. A stroke. A cow. I'd waited so patiently for three years for the history of Hobbit Cottage, only to be told it's not coming. It's gone. And once on a roll, with tears in my eyes, even, I told Tom, "Well, fine. Let's move then! To a house which still has its Abstract." And I came here to the computer and perused real estate listings

Yes, I said that. I did that. (Oh dear. Hanging my shameful head.)

For all the 21 years that we've lived in New York we've been told to hold onto those papers! You must have them when you sell your house, otherwise it costs you $1,000 so the City can pay a little old man in a dusty basement to research your history all over again. (Well, that's what you picture when you're told this. The $1,000 is for real--I do know that.)

Some of you understand my disappointment. Others? Well, if it sounds absurd, try to imagine your waiting for 3 years for a visit from old friends or a vacation or promotion, etc., then being told it's not gonna happen. Ever. Maybe that will help you know how I felt.

The disappointment test! Gah, I hate that one. But it's a test I take over and over because I fail it over and over. God doesn't let us flunk out, you know. Instead, His goal is for us to calmly, trustingly change what can be changed and accept what cannot. Jesus doesn't crumble into a thousand tiny pieces when things go wrong and He wants us to be like Him. He's made ways for us to, in fact.

The trick is wanting Him more than we want anything else--because that is possible, indeed, and a great love for Him cushions all other blows.


"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he hath said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you."   ...Hebrews 13:5

Yes, I failed the contentment test also. Eegads...

And yes, I know my most helpful readers will suggest I do some online searching of my own or that I go down to that dusty City Basement of Records and poke around, etc. We'll see. Right now I'm still calming down and facing the fact that this meant too much to me. A heart adjustment seems to be needed more. Alas.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."  ...Psalm 139:23,24


Terra said...

Debra, that sounds very frustrating. I live in California and have never been given a list of previous home owners for our homes we have bought over the years. I think that would be lovely.
Your words and Scripture at the end of the post are wise!

Bonnie said...

Aww....I'm sorry, Debra. I know what you mean. My Dad was just reminding me that when he had their home insulated and sided about 40 years ago (when they inherited it from my Mom's parents) the siding people asked him if he wanted them to cut off some of the detail on the house and Dad said no, leave it and just cover over it. He likes to think about some day when he's long gone and someone will remove that siding to do some updating and be delighted to find the detail. He often wishes he had the gingerbread trim and the front door that were discarded when his in-laws bought the house in the 1950's. Not many people think much about conserving things anymore. Their house was built by a doctor in the 1880's and originally had a barn on the property. Lot's of good history there, all recorded. My parents love genealogy, too. Their little towns historical society used to refer people to my Mom and Dad. lol....

Debra said...

Terra--thank-you! And yes, Tom and I also bought and sold houses in California (and Nevada) and never had anything even remotely like an abstract given to us. They are one of my very favorite things about living in New York, hence another reason I was pretty upset. Sigh. But I'm feeling better about it today. :)

Bonnie--how fun to have people directed to your parents so they can learn the history of their area! That is very cool, indeed. Sounds like they appreciate the same sorts of things that I do!

Thanks, Ladies! ... Debra