For those of you who don’t know, last week we closed on our home in Oklahoma. What? You mean, everyone already knows about it? Could it be that I’ve already mentioned it a hundred or so times and just might have, in my exuberance as we signed the closing documents, shouted victory so loudly that you all heard me south, east, north, and west of the Red River?
Anyway, one of the great things about finally closing on the house was that we were able to make a trip back up to Duncan. It had been five months since we had moved, and we were looking forward to seeing friends, saying goodbye, and closing this chapter of our lives. Sure, we had closure when we moved to Pasadena, but there was still part of us tied to Oklahoma, knowing that it wasn’t really over until we no longer owned the house. I had already told the girls that their inheritance was a homestead in the Sooner State (because it looked like we were going to own it for the rest of our lives!), but I had hoped that we would, at some point, really be able to move on. We would praise God no matter what He did, but we counted it as His blessing and His gracious provision that He made that hope reality and allowed us to close on the house.
Because Ana is still in school and because we didn’t have ANY desire to put the girls through sixteen hours in the car, we made plans for Wes’s parents to come and stay in Pasadena with them while Wes and I went up to sign the papers. They came in on Tuesday night, freeing us up to leave SUPER early on Wednesday.
And by SUPER early, I mean we woke up at 3am so that we could be on the road by 4am. Because it was a week day, I correctly assumed that rush “hour” would be start at 5am and not let up until 9am, so I was aiming to be out of Houston before that insanity even began. We were in the car and pulling out of the driveway by 3:45am (woo!), and would you believe that there’s hardly anyone out and about at that hour? I told Wes at one point that I could run on I-45 without fear of being plowed over by someone’s SUV at that hour. Fastest drive out of Houston ever!
We made our way through the impossibly huge state of Texas, switching drivers every two hours to alleviate boredom, and by the time we arrived in Oklahoma early that afternoon, we were remarkably still awake and in good spirits. We hit the hot spots in Duncan early on — Wal Mart, our house, Wal Mart… and that was about it. (All in all, we made FOUR separate trips to Wal Mart in twenty-four hours. We can’t help ourselves, y’all. We love the Duncan Wal Mart!) Wes had surprised me earlier in the week by booking a cottage at Duncan’s one and only bed and breakfast, the Lindley House. I thought he was making a grand romantic gesture until he explained that with the minister’s discount (which we never knew about until we moved), it was the cheapest place in town. Believe it or not, this made the gesture even MORE romantic because if I love anything as much as I love Wes, it’s a good deal. We were able to get checked in to our cottage and veg out until dinnertime, when we met up with our good friends, Jack, Judy, Eric, and Lisa at one of our favorite restaurants, Napoli’s. Mmmm… Napoli’s…
It was so great to reminisce about some of the good times, like the day that Wes and I decided to run from Duncan to the north side of Marlow and back. We made it all the way up and back to the south side of Marlow before calling Lisa and asking her to pick us up at the Dollar General. (People, we were tired. And in great danger of being hit by eighteen wheelers.) This story was topped only by Lisa’s story about how she had, just that afternoon, gotten locked in the trunk of her Prius, from which the guy laying carpet across the street had to free her from. Oh, if only we had been driving by her house when this happened!
While we were eating, the wind picked up, and some ominous clouds began rolling in. Wes and I headed to Braum’s for a little dessert (one of the best parts of Oklahoma is Braum’s, you should be jealous if you don’t have one in your town!) and decided to make those desserts to-go when the trees outside began bending fairly violently. (Oh, and are you keeping track of how much we were eating? Let’s just say that the calorie counter balked at us when we came home and inputed how “well” we had eaten. Mine may have even temporarily malfunctioned at the scientific impossibility of so many calories consumed in such a short amount of time. Ahem.) As we sprinted to our car, I started singing “does the wind still blow in Oklahoma?,” and in answer, our little car was shaken pretty hard the entire drive back to the Lindley House. We flipped on the television and heard warnings for hail, damaging winds, and a tornado within those next few hours. I told Wes that it would be our luck to be ONE DAY away from closing, only to have a tornado rip through town and blow the house down. We prayed that our little house would be strong, strong, strong for one more day, and miraculously enough, the predicted storms never showed up. I don’t know if the house breathed a giant sigh of relief, but I know I did!
Our closing was scheduled for 2:30 the next afternoon, so we took a leisurely morning. We made our way over to the Chinese buffet restaurant for lunch, then went back to Wal Mart to kill the remaining hour until closing. While we were there, we got a call from our realtor. Y’all, it has NEVER been good news when our realtor calls. Totally not her fault, but we were still cringing every time her name popped up on our cell phones. Sure enough, the news was bad. The lender had processed the loan… $2500 short of what was needed. The buyer was flipping out, saying that he didn’t have an extra $2500, the loan company wasn’t budging, and it looked like it was going to fall apart less than an hour before closing. Our realtor said they were pushing the closing back another hour to allow the buyer to go to the next town to get a cashier’s check and rob a bank, I guess, in order to cover what was missing. Who knows! I didn’t ask many questions at this point as I was having a mild heart attack right there in the candy aisle of Wal Mart. Wes suggested that we go back to Braum’s because milkshakes would solve the problem. Of course. After killing ANOTHER hour there, we headed downtown so I could arrange to have our names taken off of our ultilies… provided that we actually closed on the house. We walked the downtown streets, browsing the stores, where Wes found an awesome piece of Duncan memorabilia for his office. (We also found a pavement stone that mentioned how one of the town founders was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and that he was subsequently run out of town for it. There’s some Duncan trivia you probably didn’t know!)
At 3:30, we arrived at the closing office. Our realtor and the buyer were nowhere in sight. Before we could panic too much abuot this, they both showed up, and we actually began breathing again for the first time since that fateful call in Wal Mart. When we signed a contract with our realtor back in December, she made it a six month deal, saying that, “Oh, SURELY we’ll have this sold by June!” I reminded her of this and congratulated us all on having made it by one day. Ha! An hour after we had all arrived, the papers were all signed. Wes handed over our last key, and I jumped on the table and danced a little jig. Okay, so maybe I didn’t do that. But I sure felt like it!
We jumped in the car, drove one more time by the house that no longer belonged to us, and stopped for gas. Oh, and we made another trip to Wal Mart. Because we couldn’t end our love affair with the Duncan Wal Mart on that earlier tense note!
Then, we headed out of town, stopping briefly to take a picture by the Oklahoma sign, then on into Texas, where we had a celebratory meal (as if we hadn’t been eating enough already, right?) before stopping at my parents’ house in Alvarado for the night. We were up early the next morning, hightailing it back to Houston in time to see Ana come home from school.
And that? Was our closing story. And this? Will be my last post about saying goodbye to Oklahoma. We sure are thankful that living there was part of God’s plan for our lives!