After weekending in northern Wisconsin several times over the past few years, we searched and researched online real estate ads, looking for our own modestly priced piece of the Up North pie.
Likely cabin candidates were followed by “drive by” expeditions and “walk through” trips, for a select few. In February, we found the one that said, “Buy me!” and we started the typical real estate dance between buyer and seller. The closing was last Friday morning, and immediately afterward we drove to the property and started moving into our weekend getaway in the woods.
After our first long weekend at the cabin, we can hardly wait to return, which is how it should be. Our experience was wonderful, including made-to-order weather perfection—clear skies and temps in the 70s each of the three days we were in residence, along with cool, quiet, and really dark nights that showcased a gazillion stars overhead.
The peaceful tranquility we experienced all weekend was markedly different than the preceding Wednesday and Thursday. For our down payment on the property, a distribution had been arranged from a retirement account. The request was made by phone to the financial services company that manages the account a week before the closing—a week ago last Friday—and we were assured the check would arrive by expedited delivery “one to two business days” after the distribution paperwork was received.
The necessary forms were e-mailed to us a few minutes after that phone conversation, and they were filled out, notarized and faxed back within an hour. Shortly thereafter, an acknowledgment text arrived. One to two business days meant the down payment money would be here the following Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest, in plenty of time for the Friday morning closing.
With everything else for the closing moving along smoothly, we started putting things together to haul up to the cabin for our first weekend at the place. I had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off from work. We packed up sheets, towels, food, dishes, cleaning supplies, clothes, bug spray and everything else we’d need at the cabin. Our Up North dream was about to become a reality.
The check didn’t arrive on Tuesday, so we expected it to be here on Wednesday. Late Wednesday morning, I heard a text chirp in just as I was headed to my lunch break at work. It was from the financial services company, announcing they would be shipping out the check by the end of the day. I re-read the text with mounting alarm. Wait, what? We were expecting it to be in our hands by the end of the day Wednesday, not just leaving their offices in Denver, Colorado by then. What if it didn’t get here in time for the closing on Friday?
I immediately called the company and expressed my disappointment, displeasure, frustration and, yes, my anger about the delay. They were not overly concerned, apparently not understanding that the whole real estate closing event—and the successful purchase of our dream vacation property—was very much at stake and could not, in fact, happen on Friday without that check. The only information I was able to extract was the tracking number for the expedited delivery.
By then, my break was over, but I managed to sneak into the restroom with my smart phone and look up the tracking information. The shipping company showed that the envelope had not left the shipper’s location. I checked several more times that afternoon and the envelope had not yet budged.
In fact, the envelope did not get picked up until 7 p.m. on Wednesday. I needed to get it to the bank by 5 p.m. on Thursday. I’m normally an optimist, but a little pessimistic voice began to whisper in my ear—maybe this wasn’t going to work. The tracking app really got a workout that evening. Just before I went to bed, I discovered the envelope was “in transit.”
At 2:30 the next morning, I woke up even more worried. Tiptoeing downstairs, I checked the tracking app and discovered, to my dismay, that the envelope had arrived in Memphis, Tennessee. I knew that the envelope wasn’t going to be flown in a straight line from Denver to our house in New Holstein, Wisconsin and parachuted down into the back yard—although I really would have preferred that option. But I didn’t expect it to go for a ride to Memphis, either.
About 5 a.m. Thursday, I found out the envelope was “in transit” again. Hopefully it was headed for Chicago, Milwaukee or Sheboygan—someplace that meant a delivery by Thursday evening was even remotely possible. I tried to put the whole thing out of my mind and went to work, as usual. Meanwhile, with only a couple hours of sleep, my brain was on overdrive, coming up with not-so-brilliant alternate funding ideas like quickly raising the amount of the down payment by taking cash advances on our credit cards, plus every penny in our checking and savings accounts. I was becoming a basket case, convinced that our Up North dream was evaporating like morning lake mist.
I made myself take deep breaths, and inwardly repeated the mantra that everything would turn out fine. The envelope was in the hands of the people who years ago advertised, “When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.” I didn’t totally believe it, but a little internal spark began to flicker. The tracking app revealed the envelope was on its way to Appleton. OK, Appleton was good—only an hour away. The scheduled delivery time was by 8 p.m. Thursday evening. That didn’t make the bank hours deadline, but our banker graciously offered to come in after hours, if necessary, to accept the payment. Things were looking up. At 10:30 a.m., the tracking app announced the envelope was on the delivery vehicle and had left Appleton. Yay! That gave the truck several hours to get to our house before the bank closed.
The envelope arrived around noon. They absolutely, positively got it here overnight. Sealing the deal was a piece of cake after that. And we now have our own place Up North.
Copyright © 2018 Ruth Wasmer
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