Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

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“Its a house, not a Vespa”

 There is this scene in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun that, in 2003 when the movie first came out, I did not fully understand.  In fact, I did not understand this particular scene until just this year.

Under the Tuscan Sun is about a writer/college professor who goes to Italy after a bad divorce from her cheating husband.  While on this tour in Italy, she decides to spontaneously buy a villa and we follow her touching journey introducing herself to this house and developing close bonds with the people of the village.

The scene I never fully understood?  Or, more to the point, didn’t get the joke behind it?

The main character, Francis, is sitting in this Italian mortgage place, signing paperwork for this villa.  The lady she’s working with hands her the keys and Francis gives her this stunned look.  “Just like that?” she asked.  They weren’t even waiting for the loan to go through.

The lady gives her a humorous smile and says “Its a house, not a Vespa.  What are you going to do, steal it?”

Are some of you smiling right now?  That means you are home owners.  I just recently joined that club.  March 29, 2012 was my closing on my first ever house.

During this very, very, VERY stressful process, I began to fully understand that joke.  It slapped me in the face every time my cellphone rang and there was something else that went wrong, some other paperwork they needed.  There may have been a blood sampling in there somewhere.  Definitely tears.

Every single time something went wrong, I kept hearing in that pretty Italian accent “Its a house, not a Vespa.  What are you going to do, steal it?”

It seems that not only did this movie get me through one of my first heartbreaks back in ’03 but it also got me through buying a house this year.  Every time I wanted to bang my head against the table and cry as something else went wrong, that line seemed to get me through it.  I’m honestly surprised I wasn’t screaming it at some of these people at some point.

In the end, I did get my house.  There’s a picture of it off to the side.  This was thanks in largely to my Realtor, Mary Beth Chickering.  You have NO idea how grateful I am to her.  She kept me calm during one of the most hectic times of my life.  Wedding Planning has NOTHING on buying a house.

Mary Beth is something like a second mom to me.  Her favorite story to tell people is how when I was 12, I got off the bus with her daughter one day and just never left.

Two days after closing, my husband and I were ready to actually sleep there.  In our home.  I still get a thrill saying that.  Our home.  My home.  Not an apartment.  Not my parents house, not my in-laws house.  Mine and to a lesser extent my husband’s house.;)lol

Upon moving in, I discovered the refrigerator the house came with didn’t work.  Okay, not a problem.  Found a liquidation sell.  A couple days later, our AC goes out.  Thank goodness the warranty Mary Beth bought us covered that!

Even laying in be, burning up from the lack of an air conditioner, I was smiling.  This was my house and burning up or not, I loved it.  I had a home and it was perfect no matter what.

The first time I pulled up in front of my house since the close was after a long day at work.  I remember parking and looking up at it and for the first time realizing:  I’m home.  I’m really home.  No more looking at every For Sale sign I passed and thinking “Why can’t that be mine?”  No more.  The search was over and I was home.

I won’t lie.  I went inside and ran all around, jumping up and down like a fool.  This was my house.  I’m pretty sure I was screaming that as I blared Avril Lavigne and danced around.

So when did you join the Home Owners Club?  What advice would you give to a first time home buyer who might be reading this?  What’s more, can you still remember the feeling when you walked into your home the first time knowing it was yours?

Mary Preston - April 23, 2012 - 4:03 am

I can remember the feeling. It’s amazing. I recently re-painted the outside of MY home, & walking up the street seeing the house, the joy has been re-newed.

Maxine - April 23, 2012 - 7:55 am

Your house is absolutely lovely. It looks so big! Yes, when we finally moved from the trailer to our house, I was on top of the world. It’s a feeling that is hard to describe, but not one you’ll forget.

maxine - April 23, 2012 - 8:00 am

Oh, and Bryonna, after seeing the movie, I really wanted a Vespa, but hubby talked me out of it. He said he got nervous just thinking about it.

Linsey Lanier - April 23, 2012 - 8:22 am

It’s been over ten years, but I still remember that feeling. Yes, it’s glorious. I’d never go back to apartment dwelling, even with all the work of home ownership. I think everyone goes through the AC breaking down experience. It’s miserable, but at least you got yours over with early, LOL. Congratulations, Bryonna. :)

Marilyn Baron - April 23, 2012 - 8:29 am

I joined the Homeowner’s Club too many years ago to admit. I remember when signing our lives away for what at the time seemed like a lot of money that it would be 30 years before we paid off the mortgage. It was scary. I was thinking how old I’d be when we paid it off. Would we even be alive by then? In retrospect, we shouldn’t have been worried. We’ve since bought two more houses and paid those off. So it’s scary at the beginning when you’re first starting out but when you get older it’s not as daunting. Remember, it’s only a house, not a Vespa. I loved that book and I love Italy and when I lived there while I was a college student I was run over by a Vespa, or actually the Vespa (or whatever model he was driving) driver said I ran over him and I was charged and my insurance company had to reimburse him.

Kimberly Brock - April 23, 2012 - 9:04 am

When we bought our first home, a townhouse overlooking Puget Sound, I was a few weeks pregnant with our first child and so terribly sick. But we were out of our minds, over the moon about this house. It truly was so beautiful! And I just kept saying, “I can’t believe this is where we live. I can’t believe we can actually live here. Why on earth would anyone live anywhere else if they could live here?” And I would stand on the little balcony outside the double doors of the master bedroom and gaze out over the wide, gray water to the snow-capped Cascade mountains and just KNOW I was the luckiest woman alive. But mostly, I stood out there because we had to repaint the entire house. All three stories. Moldings included. Because the builder’s color was almost exactly Peto-Bismol pink. And I couldn’t stand inside without wanting to throw up! lol

Pamela Mason - April 23, 2012 - 1:46 pm

Congratulations! There’s no place like your own home, is there?

I think myHero is my hero because he knew I grew up without a house of our own, and he bought one for us before we’d been married a full year. It was a tiny, perfect little Cape Cod, with oak trees and stray cats and eccentric geriatric neighbors who enjoyed watching us newleyweds. We had no central HVAC! in Baton Rouge! but we managed.

Best wishes on many happy years in your new home Bryonna!

Carol Burnside - April 23, 2012 - 3:46 pm

Hubby and I have bought and sold EIGHT times over the last 32 years and that doesn’t include moves where we just rented for 18 months or so. Upsizing, downsizing, renovating…Yikes! That’s a lot of upheaval, but there’s nothing like knowing that the place you live in is all yours.

Congratulations on your new home, Bryonna. It’s lovely. :highfive:

Sally Kilpatrick - April 23, 2012 - 4:00 pm

Congratulations! We bought our first home 12 years ago. This means it’s time to think about maintenance: a new coat of paint, small repairs on the front porch, replace the builder’s grade carpet in the bedrooms, start looking into a new AC unit–the fun never ends! That said, I’m actually just now starting my decorating. It seemed we either didn’t have the money or I felt as though my house was just a temporary spot. I’m looking forward to making it more of a home and of maybe, just maybe, finally getting that office I’ve been wanting for 2 years.

My advice? Start putting some money back for repairs whenever you can–they’ll come when you least want them, as you’re already finding out. Oh, and start decorating early. It’s a little hard to get buy-in when you’ve been living with the beige walls for 12 years already! :-D

Sia Huff - April 23, 2012 - 4:03 pm

Home ownership really is a dream come true. Congrats on achieving your dream, Bryonna. I hope you have many happy years there.
Our last house was my true “home”. The farmhouse was built in 1900 and had the character of an older home. When we had to move, I wanted to pick up the house and bring it with us.

Susan Carlisle - April 23, 2012 - 5:36 pm

Oh, I remember my first home well. That would have been 1983. I thought we had signned our life away. There was no way we would ever be able to pay for it. We really didn’t have major problems with paper work until the second house. It was like we were to far in to say forget it and to far out not to want to say it.
I’m super proud you are a homeowner. It is part of the American dream.

Bryonna Nobles - April 23, 2012 - 11:07 pm

I just finished reading all your comments. I just got off work and sat down to them. I smiled at every one. I love all of your stories.

I actually had my first, official guest over today. I’m still underneath the umbrella of “I’m unpacking so excuse the mess” but all too soon it shall close on me. But my friend Kat came over and saw the place for the first time.

She says she has total tub envy (I have a garden tub in the master). Flaws and all, I love my house!

Thank you everyone for sharing your own stories. Everything from pep-to pink walls (Who thought that was a good idea??) to being run over from by a Vespa, I enjoyed them all.

And thanks for the great advice. :D

I own a home! I own a home! Sorry, just had to say that a few more times!

Darcy Crowder - April 24, 2012 - 9:53 pm

LOL. Bryonna, I love this! I remember how frustrating – and rewarding it was to buy our first home. We were so green that when we showed up with our stuff for our first “sleep over” the house was dark and we couldn’t figure out why the lights wouldn’t go on. LOL. We had to call our realtor to find out that we needed to flip the master switch in the fuse box!! Ah, well. It was ours!

Mary Beth Chickering - April 27, 2012 - 1:29 pm

Bry, this tickled me so, You are why I love working with first time home buyers. May I post part of your blog on my website?

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