Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Whitten Road Property

Two months and counting and still no offer on the house. Ed is having phone consults with Ritchie from Coastline Homes about every other day regarding the plans for the new house. Ed designed a modular home that will be perfect for our lifestyle and Coastline has taken his ideas and transformed them into architectural scale drawings. It's strange to see a house plan out of Ed's head take shape on paper.

We haven't built the new house yet, of course; we haven't even bought the property. We are "holding" the property - almost 3 acres of land in Hancock. That is where our hearts are, but our wallets can't get involved until we sell this house. This puts us in a kind of limbo. Limbo is not a pleasant place to stay for any length of time - trust me. The state of limbo is not conducive to patience. It instigates arguments. When one is in limbo, one is kept off balance just enough that moods alternate between fear and pessimism. Occasionally limbo will erupt into sheer panic. Gurunet defines limbo in this way:

Limbo in Roman Catholic theology is located on the border of Hell, which explains the name chosen for it.
How apropos, don't you think? Just on the border of hell!

Lately we have begun to call our 3 acres in Hancock "The Whitten Road Property." This may seem strange when you learn that it is not located on Whitten Road. It is not even near a Whitten Road. There's a story behind this, of course.

When we were living in Memphis, we joined a small Episcopal Church in the heart of the city. After we got involved in the functions of the church, we would always hear talk about The Whitten Road Property. It was discussed at coffee hour. It was on the agenda at meetings. It was mentioned in the announcements. We finally learned that this church, located well inside the city limits of Memphis, had several years prior bought some acreage on the outskirts of Memphis on Whitten Road with the intentions of one day moving the congregation out there. They never took specific steps to do that, but the intention was always clear that "in the future" they would build a new church on The Whitten Road Property. With all the talk, though, we got the feeling that it would never happen. It became almost like a joke to Ed and me. Decades - yes, decades later - they still have not moved. We occasionally wonder if maybe they ended up selling The Whitten Road Property. Or maybe that would have admitted defeat, and as long as they owned the land, they would keep hope alive.

Through the years, churches we have attended have blessed us with the opportunity to create countless inside family jokes. This week, it is the Trinity Syndrome that I am reliving.
Trinity United Methodist was another Memphis church. It was a beautiful old building with a graying congregation. The few children who were there stayed in a dingy little nursery in the basement. Finally it was decided that the nursery needed sprucing up. They decided to paint it. This was accomplished speedily with little effort. Uh-oh...the nursery looked great, they said, but did anyone notice how the adjoining hall looked ugly now that the nursery was freshly painted? Well, yes, they did. Something had to be done. So they painted the hall. Can you see where I am going with this story? After the hall, they painted the other basement rooms...and on and on and eventually the church underwent several thousands of dollars' worth of renovation encompassing the entire building including the sanctuary. You have to be careful when you start fixing up. It makes the rest of the area look really drab in comparison.

That's what I'm involved with this week, our 10th week in limbo. I started painting a few places in the house, and I can't seem to find a stopping place.

So I'm stuck in the Trinity Syndrome, thinking all the while about our Whitten Road Property. In the state of limbo, one must keep hope alive!

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