I Have Big Plans For My Future Summer Cottage


Mark and I might have just bought a summer cottage, but we’re not sure.

We were tooling around Missouri when we spotted this adorable little house (operative word: little) in Independence, the town Bess and Harry Truman lived in when they were not in the White House. It’s 20 minutes from the grandkids and, boy, is it cute.

“Stop the car!” I shouted, but Mark was already stopping the car. He liked it, too.

I jump out to look at it. “It’s vacant!” I yelled excitedly.

Mark heaved a deep sigh and got out of the car. He knew that I wasn’t going to be happy until he called the Realtor for a tour. In the meantime, I was poised on point, ears pricked up, listening for irritating sounds that would burst my “perfect cottage” bubble. Only one yappy dog. That’s doable. I scampered around back to see the yard.

It looked wonderful — wide and deep with three tall old trees and what had once been an adorable garden. I could almost see Mark’s shirts drying on a little clothesline, absorbing that delightful fresh air smell. Then the Realtor showed up, and we got to go inside.

Oh. Well, the word “cottage” does imply “small.”

“How many square feet is this place?” I asked, noticing that the refrigerator has been removed to make the kitchen look larger.

“750 square feet,” she replied proudly.
In Wellington, there are homes where the living room alone is 750 square feet.

“Aren’t there any closets?” I asked.

“Sure!” she said, pulling open a door that revealed a closet that began two feet off the floor because, on the other side, the basement stairway’s head room was using the bottom part.

It didn’t matter. I’d only be there in the summertime anyway. How much closet room do three bathing suits really need?

“We’d like to make an offer,” I said, watching Mark tense up a bit. “$38,000. Cash.”

The Realtor was excited. Even though it was a low offer, cash makes her life so much easier. Mine, too. She submitted the offer, and we left, waiting for the wrinkle to appear. There’s always a wrinkle.

This time, it was that the house had already been put up for auction. Specifically, an online auction run by a company out of Texas. It was an auction that ended the following day, where the rules state that the auction company can bid against you to try to get you to bid higher.


The Realtor was miffed, but Mark and I decided to try it. We go to auctions. How different could it be?

Well, online auctions are no fun — that’s how it’s different. You can’t size up the competition. You have to increase your bid by $1,500 each time, and you just sit dully in front of your computer until the other bidders quit and you’re the high bidder at (drum roll, please) $38,000.

You’d think I’d be ecstatic, but we bid so low that the reserve wasn’t met. (The reserve is the lowest price that the seller will take.) So now the auction company has to ask the seller if they’ll take our measly bid. If we get the cottage that cheaply, I will be ecstatic. But we won’t know for a month.

In the meantime, Mark is drawing up a floor plan, and I’m measuring my furniture to see if any of it will even fit in there. Some would call that a positive attitude. I call that “amusing ourselves while we wait.”