Linda rubbed a finger quickly back-and-forth across her nose. Collapsing into a faux-leather recliner she sniffed loudly, clearing the congestion caused by cedar pollen. She squinted weepy-eyed at her husband. “Reggie, I can’t take much more of this drippy nose. I’m ready to put Texas in the rear view mirror. Sign that contract.”
“I want to Linda, as much as you do.” Reggie tossed the magnifying glass he had been using onto the coffee table. “But a secluded Maine waterfront property that we can afford seems too good to be true.”
“You heard what Mr. Duncan said. He inherited it. He just wants to get his father’s estate settled. I think it is a God thing that you bumped into him at the men’s retreat.”
“I don’t know – but it could work for both of us. He finds a quick buyer and we get our dream acreage.”
“So, sign it. Let’s do it.” Linda snatched a Kleenex and honked loudly. “I’ll start packing.”
Reggie shook his head. “This paragraph in the contract bothers me: ‘In the event of a subsequent sale or transfer of ownership of the property in Exhibit A by the purchaser’s or their heirs, seller shall have first right to purchase the property. A residential building of at least 1,800 square feet meeting all local building and occupation codes must exist on the property on December 31, 2026 or ownership of the property reverts to seller.’
“I’m okay with that first part but why is that last part in there?”
“Did you ask him?”
“He said it was just a carrot to keep his kin happy. They live on adjoining land but couldn’t afford to buy the tract. It will help their property values when this acreage is improved.”
“You think otherwise?”
“I don’t know Duncan well enough to know what to think? I just know when things don’t pass the smell test you better leave them alone.”
Linda snorted into her tissue. “I can’t smell anything. Sign it. We can live in a tent or a trailer; I don’t care which, while we are building our house.”
“Let’s sleep on it, and pray about it. We will decide one way or another in the morning.”
“Is that nasal spray in the bathroom? I’m finding it and turning in.” Linda blew Reggie a kiss and threw it to him over her shoulder as she headed for their bedroom.
The next morning Reggie was sitting at the computer desk blowing across his Superman coffee mug to cool the steaming java.
“Well, look at what the cat drug in” he said, greeting Linda as she stumbled into the room in a rumpled pink fleece robe.
“Do I look that bad? I probably do, I tossed-and-turned all night. Are we going to Maine?”
“Nope. Well, at least we’re not buying Duncan’s property.”
“Reggie, I’m not in the mood for this. We’ll never find a deal this good.”
“When things are too good to be true, they usually aren’t. I think I know why that date is in there.”
“I studied that survey last night for hours. I finally realized there wasn’t any place to build that was over twenty feet above mean sea level.”
“That’s what we want isn’t it, up close and personal with a beautiful ocean view, tall eastern white pines, black capped chickadees – all that and more?”
“Most of the time twenty feet would be alright. Last night I researched tides on the computer and read about Proxigean Spring Tides.”
“Wait a minute Reggie, I need coffee.” In a minute Linda returned and folded up in her chair. “Okay, what are you trying to tell me?”
“Tide levels can be observed by seeing where shoreline vegetation begins. Normal tides wouldn’t affect anything we might build. A Proxigean Spring Tide occurs about every year-and-a-half. It’s a much higher tide. That would still not be a problem.”
“So why are you telling me this?”
“Because an Extreme Proxigean Spring Tide occurs every 31 years. One of those babies could wipe anything built on that lot into the sea.”
“When did the last one occur?”
“March 7, 1995.”
Linda blew on her cup and did the math in her head. “Bingo. Nice church-going man, that Mr. Duncan.”
“Sorry, babe. We may have dodged a bullet. We’ll keep looking.”
“Well, my hero man, I want to move where the cedars don’t grow.” Linda jerked a Kleenex from the pocket of her robe. “Sooner rather than later.”
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