Saturday, February 23, 2008

The key issues...

We closed on the house this morning, after a last-minute walk-through to search for imperfections in need of touch-ups. Our builder told us he’d never, in the seven years he’s been working for the home builders, known of any other buyers who were offered the kind of deal that we got. Apparently, the secret to getting a good deal on a house is to back out of the purchase for a while, and wait for some realtor to throw out a much lower number than the original sale price…

At the closing, we were given a set of house keys and garage keys, and then told that we’d have to go by the post office to pick up our mail keys. (We live in a neighborhood with community mailboxes… so instead of each house having its own mailbox, we have to retrieve our mail from a little mailbox kiosk at the end of the street…) So, as soon as we’d signed away all our rights and privileges and possibly any future hypothetical children we might have (I mean, really, does anyone READ all that paperwork??), we headed directly to the post office. We took our closing documents and ID (which we were told we’d need in order to get the keys) and walked up to a window to request our keys. The man behind the counter took all the information, disappeared into the mysterious part of the post office the general public is never privy to (commonly referred to as “the back”… as in, “let me check in the back”), and finally returned with a large book. He set the book down on the counter and pointed to the page that was open. “Your street isn’t in here,” he said. “We don’t own those mailboxes. You’ll have to get the key from your homeowner’s association.”

Okay, well, no big deal. It’s not like the post office was too far out of our way to anywhere. It seemed strange, though, that the homeowner’s association would have our mail keys. So Rick called our home builders first, to see if they knew anything about it. They said something to the effect of, “this happens ALL the time… the post office is wrong… they DO have the keys…” So Rick called the post office to ask someone to double check the assumed non-existence of our keys. Whoever he talked to asked for his cell phone number, so they could search and call back. When they did, they once again insisted that our street did not exist in their magical little post office book, and our homeowner’s association must have our mailbox keys. So the next call, of course, was to the homeowner’s association. And, predictably, they informed us that our mailbox keys WERE, most definitely, at the post office.

So Rick made one more call to the post office, where he demanded to speak to someone who might actually KNOW a thing or two about the inner workings of the post office. And AGAIN they adamantly claimed that our street did not exist on their list (even though there are already about thirty other houses on that street – ours was the LAST one to be built… and apparently it was built in some sort of postal system black hole…). Things were starting to get ridiculous – it was like a post office/homeowner’s association ping pong game, where each player claimed ignorance. Rick, at this point, was about two seconds away from freaking out and going postal on the postal workers… when, lo and behold, a light bulb illuminated somewhere inside that cavernous mail facility and shone brightly upon our missing mailbox keys. Someone FINALLY found them, ending the question of whether or not our street was real or a figment of our overactive imaginations. So we drove BACK down to the post office, and picked up the elusive keys. Our key problems were solved!

At least that’s what we THOUGHT – we had delayed stopping by the house all day, to allow the painters and cleaners time to finish all the touch-up work that needed to be completed. Our house keys are the sort that are supposed to trip certain tumblers in the lock as soon as they’re used, so the keys the builders have been using will no longer work – once we use those keys, the locks will only open with OUR keys. The builders and painters and other workers can no longer enter the house any time they wish. So we put off resetting the locks until later in the day, hoping all the touch-up work would be done. Around 6:30, we finally headed over to our new home with the intention of using our brand new keys for the first time. I took one from the bunch we were given, stuck it in the lock on the back door, and attempted to turn it. Nothing happened. It was stuck. I tried to twist it several times, but it wouldn’t budge. So then I tried the garage door. Couldn’t turn it. And finally the front door. Nope – completely useless. We were given the WRONG KEYS. We now own a home with doors that we CAN’T OPEN.

Fortunately, we have a garage door opener that works just fine… so until we get new keys (or new locks… or new keys AND new locks), we’ll have to leave the door to the house in the garage unlocked, and just go into the house through the garage. Eventually everything will be worked out… but gee, who knew that such little objects could cause so much aggravation? :)

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