So, to that end, we contacted Habitat for Humanity about the possibility of donating the structure (as opposed to demolishing it, which just seemed … well, wasteful.) In fact, we had even gone so far as to make an application video for “Extreme Home Makeover” but frankly, the house wasn’t run-down enough, so I never worked up the nerve to mail it in. We figured we would just bite the bullet regarding cost, donate the old house, get it off the lot, and start fresh. Whimpering every time we opened our bank account, but fresh nonetheless.
All along we’d had three goals: our kids in the school district we wanted, a nice house, in a nice neighborhood. Sure, we were going to be in debt until we were ninety, and would probably have to feed our kids canned beans forever, but hey, two out of three wasn’t bad, right?
Then, we came back from Alaska, and something funny happened. Not funny as in ha-ha, but funny as in proof that God has his hand where we need it, when we most need it. (I know! Un-p.c. talking about money and religion, all in the same journal entry! Let me somehow work in my disdain for the Clintons, and it’ll be a bonus trifecta!)
A little history: I have a childhood friend, who I’ll call J. for the purposes of this journal entry, since I didn’t take the time to ask her permission to talk about her here. She and I went to school together our entire lives, and she and her husband did pretty much the exact same thing Blaine and I were planning to do …. They gave up a brand-new home they had built, outside the district, to move into the district so their kids could go to this school. She, however, had managed to find a home in one of the “older, but better maintained” sections of the district, and was a very good sport, lending a sympathetic ear to the e-mails I would send to her, whining about how much I hated it down on the end where we had purchased.
Well, in a nutshell, when I got back from Alaska there was an e-mail awaiting me from J., telling me of a house that had recently gone up for sale in the district, that she thought I might be interested in. An home that a couple had bought so their son could get in the school, then tore down to the studs, then re-built newer and bigger (hmmm, does any of this sound familiar?) The boy had since graduated; the owners were considering down-sizing, and looking to sell the house.
I immediately looked at the date of the e-mail ---- dang it! It was a week old, and since I didn’t have e-mail service on the trip, I was just then finding out about it. Me and my paranoid tendencies, I just knew that if the house was decent at all, it would already have been snatched up by someone just like us. I drove by to look at it that afternoon, and it looked very promising from the outside. Best of all, there was no “contract pending” notice on the For Sale sign. Blaine and I made an appointment to see it the next morning and decided unless there was something drastically wrong with it, like asbestos hanging from the ceiling, or black plague mold on the walls, or a dead body still hanging in the closet, we would most likely attempt to buy it. It was as big as we wanted (actually, bigger,) on a much nicer street, all the work had already been done, and best of all …. It wouldn’t cost us the equivalent of donating a house, just to get in it.
I lay awake in bed that night, my mind racing. Could this actually be the answer to my prayers? Could a house have become available, the very week we were home on vacation, which would suit our needs perfectly? IN OUR PRICE RANGE??? It really seemed too good to be true and I tried not to get my hopes up (Although, you know of course they were ….. totally were. Higher than Pamela Anderson’s fake boobs. )
The next morning we met the realtor there with my mom and kids …. I walked in the front door, stood in the entry way, looking through the living room and dining room into the kitchen …. And I knew. This was the house for us. I could feel it in my gut. It certainly helped that the current owners had tastes and decorating style almost identical to my own (we even have some of the same pictures on our walls) so we certainly felt comfortable there immediately. It had been (re)built only four years ago so everything was shiny and fresh and new … and I knew.
We made our offer on the spot.
The realtor told us the next day to be glad we acted as quickly as we did, as they had received another offer later the same day.
We found out two days later that they accepted our offer. I cried. I literally cried, I was so happy. And as any of my friends can tell you … I rarely cry. So that should tell you something about how much this situation had been stressing me out.
There’s a little bit of work we’ll need to do, not because anything is wrong with it (in fact, we had the inspectors there last week and they were hard-pressed to find anything wrong) but simply because they were a family of three, and we are a family of five, so our needs are a little bit different. Mainly cosmetic things, minor things. But overall, the house could not be more perfect for what we wanted.
I practically have bruises on my arm from where I keep pinching myself, it’s so perfect.
Best of all, Blaine loves the house and feels good about this, which is a huge relief to me since I had bullied him into the yellow house …. Which we can now keep as rental property and consider an investment.** So really, a win-win situation. Well, except for the poor people at Habitat for Humanity, who thought they were getting a house donated to them. Um, yeah. Sorry about that.
And I’ve sat back the past week, feeling as though I’ve lost a hundred pounds (which honestly, I could stand to do, considering how much food I ate while on vacation … is there any law against LIVING in sweat pants?) and daydreaming about moving in, and where the furniture will go, and how I can walk the kids to school because it is just around the corner, and they’ll be able to ride their bikes up and down the street because it’s not a through street like the other one ……
Yes, my children. It’s all for them. All the decisions, and sacrifices, and hard work that goes into making their lives as golden as possible. The opportunities we want them to have. Best of all, they’ll be in the school I’ve always wanted for them …. A school where the teachers and staff will be kind to them, and supportive, and welcoming.
Ahhhhh. Sweet relief.
Um, wait a minute. Excuse me, Ms. Realtor? What did you just say? The other couple who made an offer on the house? The same day as us? The couple who, basically, we snaked the house right out from under, but hey, all’s fair in love and real estate, and if you snooze you lose? What about that couple?
He’s the PRINCIPAL of my kids’ new elementary school?
**It's a legitimate question, about how someone with our income could afford three houses. Truth is, we've had renters in the yellow house since the first of the year, and the current owners of our new house will rent it back from us until we move there, at which point we will sell our Georgia house. Hopefully the dual-mortgage payments won't overlap for more than a few months. So, *technically*, three houses, but not really three mortgage payments. Hopefully that clears up any wrong notions about our nation's military servicemen and servicewomen being somehow overpaid.