"Escrow" is one of those words that people use as though everyone should know what it means so you can't ask because what kind of dumbass are you? But then to try and figure it out in context doesn't help at all, because people use the word "escrow" in so many ways.
Sometimes "escrow" seems to be synonymous with "bank account."
Realtor: ...and then the deposit will go into escrow.
But then in the same conversation your realtor will tell you that YOU are in escrow, and you'll be like, Huh? I haven't even left your office. But you won't say that out loud because you know that's an even dumber thing to think.
Still, it's weird. Your money goes into escrow, and then you are in escrow, except you most certainly are not in the same place as your money. Somehow "Escrow" has become a sci-fi planet, and you and your money are both on it but in parallel dimensions.
But if not actually parallel dimensions on a made-up planet, escrow is at least a magical place with special language properties. Your deposit goes INTO escrow, and somehow that makes YOU now be IN escrow.
And just when you want to take this situation up with the context police, you discover that hey! You know the word, "contract"? Which you've never had any trouble with before? Well now "contract" also has magical "escrow" properties! Because, see, you enter INTO contract (or "a" contract, just to keep things interesting) immediately after which you are IN contract. Poof! Sign a dotted line, the "to" comes right off of "in."
But we're not finished! Because the most hilarious thing about all this is that if you enter into (a) contract on a house, you're IN escrow! Right. For no reason that makes any sense to someone grappling with vocabulary-by-context, "contract" suddenly becomes synonymous with "escrow" even though they mean two totally different things.
And somewhere around the point where "escrow" and "contract" and "contingencies" turn into convoluted conversations about non-non-refundable increases in deposits and your husband is having heated debates over the tax implications of entering into a loan agreement WITH HIMSELF, I'm like, Hmm, I wonder what color we'll paint the baby's room.
The good news is that if we jump through about half a dozen more hoops, we'll cross the there-honestly-can't-be-any-more-contingencies-now threshold and we will close on the house a week from Tuesday.
So really, it's time to start packing.
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Speaking of packing...
I wasn't kidding when I said I have more than one box full of stuff labeled "blog fodder." I don't care if the stuff is months or years old, either. It's still funny. Or you know, my version of funny.
Today's gem is from a little over a year ago, when I left a note for my landlord saying I was moving out of my old place to move here with Pete.
My former landlord was the sweetest lady in the world. Her name is Fumi, and she came here from Japan a few decades ago. Still, her English was exceptionally choppy and made for challenging and sometimes uncomfortable hallway conversation. She ran a small personalized embroidery shop next door to our building that was closed seemingly all of the time. Sometimes she'd go on vacation to Japan for weeks on end.
Fumi would often wear Japanese-inspired clothes (kimonos, for example) and had frizzy, permed hair circa 1985. She would decorate our small entrance with gorgeous flower arrangements, which stuck out against the horrible tacky hotel-like prints and paintings of things like ships on a stormy sea.
At Christmas, she would put colored lights on the one potted pant near the stairs, along with tufts of cotton to suggest snow had fallen there. She'd also stick candy-cane and wreath decals on the doorway, the kind reminiscent of 2nd grade classrooms. She'd also buy little felt stockings and put all our names on them (there were only six apartments in the building) and fill each with a bottle of wine and leave it on our doorstep.
At Halloween, she'd put out bowls of candy and hang fake cobwebs. She'd also put a sound-maker under a hidden mat at the foot of the stairs, so that anytime you'd step on it, it would scream. Hilarious on so many levels!
The best part about Fumi, though, were the little notes she would leave the tenants. They were all handwritten, and then copied using a fax machine (remember when that was the most efficient way to make a photocopy at home?). All her letters were printed on fax paper. I imagine younger tenants having no idea where on earth the semi-opaque, rolled-up paper would have come from.
Notes from Fumi often had misspellings, especially where she spelled phonetically and was clearly mispronouncing the words in her head. She also always used very interesting and somewhat inexplicable punctuation.
I have a few of these saved, which I'll post here (my favorite is the "house rules" which read like haiku). The last one she sent is below.
Perfectly charming. I hope you enjoy!