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Closing Escrow

Long Beach
Jan 27-Feb 3, 2013

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With escrow set to close in a few days, I loaded up the Eurovan with ladders, saws, tools, and a bunch of miscellaneous move-in items on Saturday morning and headed down I-5 alone, listening to audio history books.

On Sunday's walkthrough, I was a little surprised to find the garage and middle bedroom still full of boxes of the old owner's stuff. Anne Marie reassured me: Don't worry, they have until close of escrow to move that stuff out.

But it was all still there when I drove by to check on Monday. And after picking up the keys from Anne Marie on Tuesday, I drove over to find Bob, the owner, standing around in the yard trimming leaves on potted plants while the garage and bedroom sat stuffed with 40 years' worth of junk.

"I've met so many people during this whole thing," Bob told me as I shook his hand, "I'm not sure..."

Well, I'm the buyer.

He's an old hippie/Harley guy who loves his plants and is trying to use an electronic cigarette to cut his pack-a-day habit in half. He'll take the proceeds from the house sale and move to Florida, where he hopes to buy two houses and live off the rental income from one while he grows orchids in the Caribbean humidity.

I went back to the Portofino to try to do a few hours' work. And when I went back at 5 it looked pretty much the same. "Don't worry," Bob said. "Felipe and some guys are coming in a bit to help clear it all out." They did arrive and they cleared out some, but there was still quite a bit left behind when Jerry and Alex arrived at about 6:30. I was excited to show them around, and while I did, Bob, Felipe and the guys disappeared, never to be seen again.

Among the junk they left behind, I found a few low-grade treasures: new pool toys, clippers, a sign from a book shop his aunt had in Ports o' Call in the '70s, and a box full of Louis Lamour westerns. It will take a while to sort through it all.

Jerry and I spent Saturday digging into all the things that need to be fixed, making two trips to the nearby Lowe's as we planned our attack.