“That had to be,” Deb said hesitantly, “Just. So. Hard. I’m so sorry we weren’t here for you, sweetie,” she added, extending her right hand, tear rolling down her right cheek.
Joni squeezed her mother-in-law’s hand, released it and answered, “I know. And don’t be silly. We all have our lives to live. And now I still won’t be all alone, will I Hushpuppy?”
John tilted his minutely shaking head toward his wife and said, “No. Not anymore. Which still leaves us with the question of where are we going to live. Do you want to stay in this house?”
“I don’t know. Sort of? Until, what?” she asked, checking her watch, “Seven hours ago or so I was just worried sick about what we were going to do; where we’d have to go. Now it seems like the world is our oyster, we got a sharp knife and it’s ripe for shucking. It’s a nice change.”
“And there’s no way you can stay here? If you want to, I mean?” Dave asked.
“Oh, there’s probably a way,” Joni said, biting her lower right lip. “Maybe get a mortgage through a bank. Or just pay the guys over time. Maybe two fifty a month?”
“Probably three,” John replied. “That’d make it a hundred each.”
Joni sighed. “Yeah. I suppose I could swing that.”
“We,” John answered. “We could swing that. No more I or me. No more, ‘Where’s John?’”
“Do you think your family would even consider that?” Dave asked. “Payment over time rather than a lump sum?”
“I don’t know,” Joni said with a shrug. “Maybe. All we can do is ask. If we decide to go that way. I wonder what the house is even worth?”
“Between sixteen and one-hundred-thirty-five-thousand dollars,” John answered, matter of factly.
All eyes turned to him and he shrugged. “I Googled it. I found a dozen comparable home sales in the 60827 zip code and that was the range. The median price for a four bedroom two bath in this area is like seventy-five-thousand.”
“So that would take how long to pay off? What?” she said to herself, eyes closed and moving her fingers on an imaginary calculator. “Something like twenty years?”
“Huh?” John replied. “No. Like, right under fifteen years. Or did you include interest in that?”
“Interest? Crap! No. I forgot. I just rounded 75,000 to eighty, changed our thirty-six hundred a year to four thousand, dropped all those extra zeros and divided to get a reasonable estimate, that’s all. Eighty-thousand divided by four thousand’s the same as eighty divided by four which better be twenty; right?”
John stuck his tongue between his upper and lower left hand side molars and nodded. “Right. Well, that’s a good way to get into the ball park,” he answered sincerely. “But when I did it earlier I took 50 thou and divided by thirty-six hundred and it was a little over fourteen years. I didn’t think about interest, but way under twenty years.”
“Fifty thousand?” Dave asked. “Where did you get fifty thousand? Isn’t it more like fifty-six?”
John shook his head vigorously. “No. Fifty. If we use the nest egg we have for a sizable down payment. And we shouldn’t have to pay a real estate agent fee if we buy the house so that saves another five plus percent. The loan would only be for like forty-six thousand.”
Dave looked at Deb, tilted his head to the side, smiled at his wife and shook his head. She looked back at him and shrugged.
“What?” John demanded. “Did I make a math mistake?”
“Oh, no,” Deb said, smiling angelically. “It sounds like your math is reasonable. What do you think, Dave? How’s his math sound?”
“Math sounds good. His reasoning sucks, but his math’s good,” Dave responded, raising and lowering his eyebrows several times. “I guess he just likes paying for some things twice.”
Open mouthed, John looked a t one parent and then the other. Deb and Dave sat smiling at him. “Fine,” John said, “oh, great masters of math and logic. What did I do wrong?”
“Well,” Dave said with a smile. “I know you were just trying to get a simple estimate so short cuts are great. But you made one big mistake. For your calculations you figured that the house is worth seventy-five thousand, right?”
“Yes,” John confirmed.
“And then you brought seventy-five down to fifty thousand because somewhere along the line you robbed a bank and have twenty-five grand in your sock drawer?”
“Har, har, but again, yes,” John replied, leaning toward his folks, elbows on knees.
“So then, using your numbers, which we’ll definitely want to check with a real estate agent, you think you’ll need to pay off roughly Fifty-K?”
John’s eyes narrowed. “Yeah? Won’t I?”
Deb shook her head. “Nope.”
Dave looked at Deb threw his hands up in the air and asked, “But how ever can that be?”
“Because, darling children,” Deb declared, huge grin on her face, “you already own 25 percent of the seventy-five thousand! Right?”
John’s eyes got big. He looked at Joni and said, “That’s right, isn’t it?! Holy cow. So that means we’d start with a price of, what? Fifty-five thousand or so, less our twenty-five thousand down payment and only owe thirty gees. Thirty gees! Why, at thirty-six hundred a year that’ll take way less than ten years to pay off, even with interest! Right!” he added, looking to his parents.
“Well,” Deb answered, waving a calculator, “while you were figuring I grabbed this from my purse and according to my math once we’re done doing our Jethro Bodine goes-in-to routine we wind up with seven point eight, nine, nine years; so, yes. Definitely less than ten. And having a twenty-five-thousand-dollar deposit’s got to be a big deal as far as selling this to Joni’s family.
“I mean, they’d each get eight grand up front and then the remainder over nine years, max. Much more palatable than getting a hundred bucks a month for twenty years. If that’s what you two decide to do.” She concluded.
“If that’s what you two decide to do,” Dave iterated.
Joni and John looked at one another and nodded. “If that’s what we two decide to do,” Joni said.