Before the Option Period Ends

Marble Falls is three hours and fifteen minutes from Houston.  The drive goes smoothly.  I brought Christmas CD’s, six of them, every one of which contains Let it Snow.  I arrive at the Bluebonnet Café exactly as Diana, my best friend from high school, pulls in.  I recently reconnected with Diana.  It’s an odd thing—I haven’t seen her in thirty years, have rarely thought about her, really; nor, I imagine, has she thought about me.  We’ve both been busy living our lives.  But as soon as I saw her again I realized that I’ve been missing her all this time. 

We exchange news over lunch (Diana’s treat—thanks Diana!), run a few errands, then make our way to the house in Capstone Ranch, which David and I are in the process of buying.  The option period runs out in a few days and I want to take a final walk-through before fully committing. 

Diana and I were both raised in Amarillo.  We went separate ways after she got married and moved to Lubbock.  Then I got married and moved to Cairo and it was basically good-bye to Amarillo forever, which was a farewell, believe me, that I never mourned.  What’s surprising is how Diana and I ended up leading such similar lives.  Both our husbands travel in their jobs.  Neither of us pursued careers.  We both had two sons.  Going against statistics, we’re both still married to our original spouses.  She and her family settled in San Antonio.  We settled in Houston.  And now both of us own property in the hill country, twenty minutes away from each other.  Hers is a weekend house, though, right on Lake LBJ, not a primary residence, as ours will be. 

The Marble Falls house sits on a little over an acre of land in a gated cul-de-sac.  In the future I’ll be able to push a button on my rearview mirror and the gate will open.  It’ll be like magic.  But for now, I must tap a number into the little box.  Capstone Ranch is still in development, so there’s every chance that in the next few years construction will invade our quiet corner.  But for right now, the area is brushy, untended, and natural.  Deer are all over the place.  I’ve been told I’ll come to abhor them.  Also, apparently there is an issue with wild hogs.  My soon-to-be neighbors have installed electric fencing to keep the hogs out.  One of the houses has some serious lawn damage due to hog foraging.  And my little dog, who’s been walked on a leash his whole life, will still not be allowed to roam free in his own yard, due to hog danger. 

Patty, the realtor, meets Diana and me at the door.  Upon entry, I’m immediately puzzled.  There’s a buffet in the dining room, bar stools at the kitchen bar, a zebra print rug spread across the floor, an oversized painting of a girl propped on the mantel.  The last time I was here, the house was empty.  Now it’s got all this stuff in it.  Why would someone move furniture into a place they’re moving out of?  I ask Patty, who gives a shrug, communicating that in her experience people often do things that make no sense. 

Patty has been great.  She possesses every quality a realtor should possess—she’s helpful, optimistic, energetic, tactful, patient, and savvy.  If you’re interested in buying in the area, just ask me for her number.  Thanks for your help, Patty. 

I measure some spaces, open cabinet doors, squint at light fixtures.  There are two living areas, formal and informal dining rooms, an expansive kitchen, and four bedrooms, one of which will be a study for David.  The two back bedrooms will double as workrooms and guest rooms—I have many projects, but I also anticipate friends and family members visiting.   

While driving Diana back to her car, I mention that though it’ll still be a while before David retires, I’m worried about what he will do when he no longer has a job to go to everyday.

“Unlike me,” I say, “he likes to have a purpose.  He needs to feel he’s accomplished something at the end of the day.”

“Not to worry,” she tells me.  “The church here builds ramps for the handicapped.”

Well, there you go.  David can build ramps  I bet he'll be great at it.  Way to be on top of things, Diana. 

 Isn't this a beautiful front door?  You can't tell by looking, but that's wrought iron, not wood.  

Isn't this a beautiful front door?  You can't tell by looking, but that's wrought iron, not wood.  

 One side of our front porch.  I assume they'll take the chairs.  I'm thinking a porch swing.   

One side of our front porch.  I assume they'll take the chairs.  I'm thinking a porch swing.   

 The formal living area.  

The formal living area.  

 The informal living area.  We'll mount our massive television above the mantel.  

The informal living area.  We'll mount our massive television above the mantel.  

 The back porch, lots of room for David to play with.  

The back porch, lots of room for David to play with.  

 Nothing more needs to be said.  

Nothing more needs to be said.  

 Diana and me.  This was taken in June in Trina's back yard.  

Diana and me.  This was taken in June in Trina's back yard.