Monday, June 27, 2016

New Beginnings - Chapter 36


 
Chapter 36


I sat at my computer the next morning and looked though my emails ending up on the real estate listings in my inbox.
My eyes locked in on a new listing:

"Newly remodeled 1800 sq.ft. 2-bedroom rambler in quaint neighborhood in Old Metairie. Katrina didn’t take this house down and it is now available in a beautifully kept quiet street for young families or folks returning to the beauty of the Greater New Orleans area. Stores, schools, and public services close by. A 20 minute drive into downtown New Orleans.

The house has an open floor plan with new kitchen and appliances adjacent to living and dining room. Plenty of space for entertaining or for a young family. Two full bedrooms and two full bathrooms. The master bedroom has its own spacious master bathroom and walk in closet.

All tile and hardwood floor except for extra bedroom. The yard is maintained and exhibits one full grown Magnolia tree, a mature oak, and a few smaller cypress trees, small pond with Koi fish, large back porch for family gatherings and Crawfish boils. New roof and attached two car garage. Come and see this gem of a mature home. Ready for move in at any time. $ 115,000"

I sat there and stared at the listing for a moment and then with my lap top I walked over to Shane in the bedroom. He was just getting dressed.
“Babe, look at this listing!”
I sat next to him on the bed and showed him the listing and the photos. It looked beautiful.
He read over it and glanced at the images, “Looks pretty good.”
We read over everything again and also scanned the pictures and it did look like a beautiful home.
“I’m going to call to set up an appointment to check it out.”
Shane nodded, “You sure?”
“Yes, I am.”



Once I called the real estate company they scheduled us to view the house on a Wednesday in March.

We were on our way to the address. Shane was in his braces but we also had the Quickie in the trunk. He wanted to use it at the house so we could see how it would work and how accessible it would be for him.

I pulled into a quiet street lined with various trees and Magnolias ready to bloom, a few cars parked on the side of the road and the sidewalk and a grass border separating the street from the front yards of the beautiful houses along the street. This was an older established neighborhood but all the houses were well taken care of and had nice front yards and drive ways. Lots of trees and bushes were everywhere, many blooming for the spring. I saw a woman walking a dog as I was looking at the houses to find the right one. This area had either not been affected by the hurricane or had already been cleaned up for the most part.

The name of the street was Beverly Garden Drive and we slowly drove along, looking out the car window until we found the house from the listing. My first impression was positive. There was a “For Sale” sign in the front yard with the real estate agents picture and company logo.

It was a one story house with light blue paneling, large windows and very well taken care of from what my first impression was. I pulled into the driveway.
Shane remarked, “There are a few steps up onto the porch.”
I glanced by him at the front entrance and he was right, “Well, you’ll make it up the steps, right? And we can bring your wheelchair up with us.”
He was okay with that and we turned the car off. Just as we got out another car pulled up on the side of the street.

I was just at the trunk getting the wheelchair when a middle aged well groomed man got out of the other car and approached us with a friendly smile, “Anna Ashworth?”
I stopped in getting the Quickie out of the trunk and turned toward him, “Hi, yes, I’m Anna.”
He came toward me and I saw his quick glance at Shane, “Hi, I’m Terry Blanchard.”

Terry was the real estate agent under whom the house was listed.
We shook hands and introduced ourselves to each other.
Shane came around to the trunk and I introduced him, “Terry, this is my boyfriend Shane Lenalier.”
Terry realized quickly that he wouldn’t be shaking hands with Shane but greeted him with a warm smile, “Hi Shane, nice to meet you.”
I saw him quickly check out Shane’s legs and then he turned to me again.

I explained, “I’m just getting my boyfriend’s wheelchair out of the trunk so we can bring it into the house if that’s all right.”
Terry smiled with consideration, “Yeah, sure no problem. The house is very spacious with the open floor plan. Let me give you a hand with this.”
Terry actually took the frame of the Quickie from me and watched as I pulled out the two wheels.
“I just have to snap the wheels on.”
Terry remarked, “Oh okay, it’s not heavy at all.”

I attached the wheels to the chair and Terry didn’t hesitate but carried the wheelchair up onto the porch where he set it down to unlock the box that secured the house door.
Shane was still making his way up the steps and as he had reached the top he let himself down in his wheelchair. I took his crutches from him.

The porch almost went along the whole length of the front of the house and had plenty of space for some rocking chairs or plant pots. I pictured it lovely already.
Terry held the door open for us and the first door test for the Quickie was upon us. Fortunately Shane made it into the house without any issues. He hopped over the threshold and I think Terry was also relieved that the wheelchair fit through the door.

As we were inside Terry asked carefully, “So Shane, will you also be living here?”
Shane nodded, “Yes, that’s why we brought the wheelchair to see how it fits.”
Terry nodded, “Of course. I hope very much this house will meet your expectations and be all right for the wheelchair.”
Shane explained, “I hope so too. I can get around with braces and crutches but I also have my wheelchair I use sometimes.”
Terry nodded and smiled a little nervously as I had already stepped into the vestibule of the house and looked around. I set the crutches on the wall next to the door.

Terry walked ahead of us further into the house. I saw French doors leading out onto the back porch.

I was very happy at seeing Shane wheel around on the hardwood floor. He maneuvered the chair easily throughout the open space of the living and dining area over to the French doors where he looked out into the yard.

Terry was continuously talking, “…newly remodeled kitchen and floors are brand new hardwood. The owners are selling because they moved to Pensacola into a retirement community. The house has a new roof, the front and back yard has been maintained by a landscaping company which of course you can cancel at any time. The owners wanted to keep the yard looking nice though since they moved in December. Everything is blooming outside now, there is a mature Magnolia in the back yard. I think you’ll love it.”

I walked over to where Shane had parked his chair and I touched his shoulders. Terry came around and unlocked the French doors and pulled them open. They were wide and with no issues Shane pushed his rims and wheeled over the threshold. We found ourselves on a large back porch. A few steps led down into the yard and while Shane stopped the Quickie right on top of the steps I jumped down and looked around. It was beautiful with the Magnolia, the Koi pond, a few smaller trees and an oak covered with Spanish moss. I heard the crickets in the trees and walked over to the pond looking at the fish. There were at least six.

Terry stood at the top of the stairs next to Shane and asked him, “Shane, would you like for me to get your crutches so you can get down the steps to join Anna in the yard?”
Shane was leaning forward in his Quickie with his arms resting on his thighs, his hands interlocked and watching me, answering Terry, “No, thanks. I’m good right here. I can see everything perfectly fine.

The yard was magnificent and I just loved it. A small pavilion grown over with ivy stood in the far corner of the yard. It could be a cozy place to put some comfortable furniture and read in the shade of the Oak tree. I walked over to it and I turned to Shane from there and waved. He waved back and watched me with a smile. The neighboring houses were not able to look into this yard because a high enough wooden privacy fence prevented it. The backyard was its own little hideaway.
I made my way back toward the porch steps, “The yard is beautiful. I love it.”

Shane met my eyes when I came up the steps and we smiled at each other. As Terry kept talking about the features of the house we made our way back into the house.

The kitchen was new and spacious with an island in the middle. A breakfast bar separated it from the dining and living area. We made our way into the hallway off the kitchen and passed a bathroom and then looked at the first bedroom.

It had carpet in it and Terry remarked, “You can always take the carpet out in the future should you need to. It is new carpet though.”
There was a large linen closet in the hallway. Terry explained that the washer and dryer hook up would be outside in a small laundry room off the garage.

The master bedroom was at the end of the hallway and again without any difficulties Shane was able to wheel through the door. He had to watch his fingers just a little but was mostly okay wheeling in. The master bedroom was very spacious and its windows looked out to the backyard. I checked out the walk in closet and Shane was able to wheel into it as well.

The master bathroom adjacent to the bedroom was modern and bright. Even though it had not been built accessible for wheelchairs I knew we could definitely make it work. There was a large Jacuzzi tub with a shower separate next to it. I already imagined a shower chair in it for Shane and just seeing the open space in the bathroom I knew it would make everything a lot easier for him than in the small bathroom at my apartment.

I was already in love with the house and as Terry explained some more details we walked toward the garage. It had two steps down into it and Shane stayed by the door.
I stepped down into the garage, “Do you want your crutches?”
He shook his head, “No, I can see it from here.”

We would have a ramp installed for the step into the garage and also into the yard. 
Terry walked around with me and showed me the laundry room, furnace and air conditioner. There was an additional small storage room attached to the garage.
Shane sat in the Quickie in the door frame and watched us walk around.

I could see in Shane’s face that he also liked the house. It was not fully accessible for wheelchairs but fortunately Shane could still walk with his braces and steps weren’t even an issue for him anymore. He had become a pro on the stairs to my apartment.

We stood around the island in the kitchen and Terry smiled, “So what do you guys think?”
I looked at Shane, “I love it.”
Shane smiled and nodded, “Yeah, it’s a nice place.”

I knew he was reluctant with his opinion because I was the one who would purchase the home and it would be in my name. I knew he still felt somewhat off about that but when it came down to it, it was my decision and since he was my boyfriend he would live with me either way.
I looked at him intensely and said softly, “I think it’ll be a great place for us baby.”
He kept his gaze on me for a moment and Terry said, “If you guys want to look around a bit more I’ll give you some time. I’ll be outside in the back yard.”
“Thanks Terry, I appreciate it.”

Terry walked outside and I watched him make his way to the pond.
I looked back at Shane, “What are you thinking?”
He took a deep breath, “Honestly, I don’t know what I’m thinking. It’ll be your house Anna and knowing that I’m not able to help you with it financially drives me nuts you know.”
I walked over to him and squatted down in front of him, “And you know what I’m going to say about that. Don’t think about it like that!”

I held myself up with my hands on his knees, “Shane, listen to me…I love this house and I can totally see you and me here in this place. I love the thought of living with you in a place where you can easily wheel around, a place that doesn’t have three flights of stairs, a yard where we can sit together instead of a tiny balcony where we can barely both fit on. The master bathroom is large enough you can wheel into it with the Quickie and even though not all of it is accessibly built I think we can make it work and with some modifications it’ll be the perfect place for you and I. I want to be with you in a place we can call our own. I don’t want you to think about that other stuff because it doesn’t matter to me. I want this for us and I don’t mind. I think this house is wonderful.”

We looked at each other and Shane nodded, “It’s a very nice place and I can’t think of anything better than to live here with you. I promise I’ll make everything up to you one day.”
“Shane, I love you and I want to be with you for a long time.”
Shane’s dark eyes were shiny and he touched my hands with his and swallowed, then said with a trembling voice, “Anna, you’re like an angel in my life. I just can’t grasp that all this is happening and all the things that have happened. I love you so much.”
I moved up to him and we kissed. When our lips unlocked I held myself up on his thighs and looked at him, “I want to buy this house. Are you in?”
He nodded slowly, “I’m in.”

When I told Terry that I wanted to buy the house he was very pleased, “Anna, you won’t regret this. It’s a beautiful home.”
He looked at Shane, “And with some modifications you could probably make it completely wheelchair accessible. I would be happy to assist you guys in finding any contractors you may need for any modifications.”
Shane nodded and smiled at Terry, trying to make him feel okay, “We’ll make it work.”

Terry assured us that he would get everything started and get all the appointments and paperwork ready. If the inspectors and the bank wouldn’t give us any problems, we would be living in the house by the end of April.
We looked around one more time but my mind was made up. I was going to buy this house.

2 comments:

  1. Ooh I love house hunting! This was a terrific chapter.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So sad its almost over.
    Tc

    ReplyDelete