One thing I came close to losing in this year of loss was my home.
I’ve lived in my adorable second-floor apartment on the beautiful Hudson River since October 2008. I call it my Haven on the Hudson.
On the afternoon of June 10, as I was facilitating a webinar for work and preparing to attend a Black Lives march in the village, my landlord informed me that they were selling the property and the other tenants and I had to be out by August 1.
Naturally, I was heartbroken. I have lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere, and I love it here. Who wouldn’t love a backyard that looks like this?
A Mad Scramble to find new housing ensued. I had a fallback position — an apartment in two friends’ farmhouse — but I really wanted to find another place on the water, any water.
Another friend began searching diligently on my behalf for suitable rentals, but informed me that everything she found was either next to railroad tracks or a swamp.
Me: I said I wanted waterfront! Swamp is good!
I started looking into buying. I have been a homeowner before, when I took a new job that was a grueling commute from the house I owned. I moved to an apartment closer to work and rented out the house for several years, but eventually had to give it up. The idea this time around was to buy a two- or three-family house that I could live in and have rental income to cover the mortgage and other expenses. I had my eye on a duplex on the Battenkill, but …
Although I’d been a non-homeowner long enough to qualify for first-time homebuyer programs, my credit score was a bit low to qualify. I was advised to pay down my credit card balances to raise my score, and I have been doing that.
THEN … 10 days into the Mad Scramble, I received a For My Eyes Only text from the landlord telling me I could stay. The sale fell through, but they did not want to tell the other tenants this. They wanted them gone, because Issues.
Naturally I said yes, but several weeks of awkwardness ensued. See, the occupants of one of the other apartments are longtime friends of mine. While I love them dearly, I can understand why Landlord would not. They are, shall we say, not the best housekeepers in the world. I hesitate to call them hoarders because that isn’t really their jam. They just have a lot of stuff and bring more into their home all the time. “Accumulators” is more accurate.
Because I’d been sworn to secrecy, I had to continue the ruse that I would be moving into my friends’ farmhouse. Not only with my downstairs neighbor friends, but with all my other friends and neighbors. Only my significant other knew the truth, and that’s only because I blurted out the contents of Landlord’s text in front of him before I got to the part about “Do not share this with ANYONE.”
This story has a happy ending. I told my (now former) neighbor friends the truth once they were settled in their new home, and we are still friends. And I’m still here! My landlords still want to sell, but those plans are on the back burner for now. If it comes up again, they plan to actively pursue finding a buyer who will let me stay. If that doesn’t happen, my credit score is improving, so I will be in a position to become a homeowner again in the (hopefully) distant future.
Meanwhile, in almost losing my Haven on the Hudson, I have gained a new appreciation for the privilege of living here. I plan to spend a lot more time in my beautiful backyard when the warm weather returns.
Who knows? I might even be able to have friends over again one of these days.