Sunday, July 22, 2007

Home Sweet Home, the Finale. At least for now, until I find a reason to complain and whine some more.

So there we were. Owners of a home that wasn’t itself in bad shape, but in a neighborhood we hated with the intensity of a thousand burning suns didn’t like, and which was probably too old for us to afford to modernize and enlarge the way we wanted. Not willing to sell, because as far as we could see, it was the only chance we had for getting the kids in the district. The best option we could envision would be to re-build from scratch and try to get what we wanted, since after spending that much money (again, with the non p.c. talking about money) we’d certainly be living in it until our dying day, pit bulls and section 8 neighbors included.

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?

Oh, crap.

**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.


Pam Doughty said...

*sniff* I just LOVE stories with a happy ending... (except for the principal thing... I see some major sucking up in your future). And as for sweat pants, I just call them "yoga pants" and yes, I live in them. Happily. :<)

Ness said...

Kristie, I just LOVE happy endings! But I am so lost! When are you moving to the new hourse?

Ness said...

I meant "house" instead of hourse..I really need to go to bed! Glad you had a great trip!

Anonymous said...

Well better for you to have the house than the principal. There's no (at least i don't think so) rule that says the pricnipal has to live in the school district. So God gave the house to the person who needed it the most; y'all!!
Claire in TX

Tracy'sspace said...

I agree with Claire, and am so happy that now I dont have to wait for you to finish HP7! Glad that things worked out for you.
South Africa

Tracy said...

Military service people being overpaid? Now that is funny.

I am very excited for you!! It was meant to be. And you beating out the Principal, he will get over it when he finds out what an awesome volunteer/parent he has in you!!

Anonymous said...


So happy for you that ya'll got the right house.

Thanks for clearing up that Military Pay thing, I was starting to think we were definately being duped somewhere along the way. :)

Mesha in NC (3 days until we PCS)

Natalie said...

Yay! And double YAY! that it all worked out. Don't you just feel sometimes like, "Dang it! Can't we catch a break!?" And now you have! We're so happy for you!

Remind me when you're moving again? Because we'll come visit. . .watch out!!!

PS: maybe the principal can rent your other house of the renters leave!

kim said...

YAY! I am so happy at this turn of events because, to be honest, I just did not see before how this one could turn out good! In all seriousness, it is so heartwarming to me to read the lengths you and Blaine go to in order to do the best for your kids. All children should be so fortunate!

Plus, I say go for the un-p.c. trifecta; I'd be right in there with ya--HAHAHA! I am so freakin' sick and tired of any and all things p.c. that I could just regurgitate. I would love to be a fly on the wall at Chez Clinton when both Bill and Hill are home. Yeah, I said it. HAHAHA!

lizinsumner said...

Nawwww, I just thought you guys must have some really rich, really generous family members - it never once occurred to me that the USAF was "over-paying" your husband (I know this for sure because I remember what MY USAF pay was!)!! Wow, that must really, really be some school for you to be willing to go through all of that for it....and it's a PUBLIC school??!! At any rate, congrats - but, I would have TOTALLY LOVED to have seen y'all on Extreme Home Make-Over - how cool would that have been????!!!!!! PS - HP book review??? Hmmmm???? Waiting for your take on it......

Rita B said...

I can't believe people would insinuate that you are somehow doing something wrong in buying 3 houses. It is your money and as far as I can see it is *earned* money, your kids don't appear to be lacking neccessities and it is yours to do whatever you want with. Overpayed? I think the military service people earn every damn dime they make. Military does not=welfare or handout.

Besides, your homes are in Oklahoma and Georgia. Being somewhat familiar with real estate pricing, I am willing to bet all 3 mortgages are less than what I pay for 1 stinking townhouse in Northern Va.

The one thing I didn't understand was aren't your kids getting bigger? If this is an elementary school, won't your 2 older children be leaving it soon? Here elementary school only goes to 5th grade, then middle to 8th and then highschool. So it seems the kids aren't in any school for very long. Maybe it is different there.

At any rate, moving somewhere you love that will make you happy and loving your kids school are wonderful things. I really, really want to move and feel s.t.u.c.k, so I am happy you were able to make your dream come true.

Tammy said...

i KNEW they paid officers a lot more than enlisted!!!!! (3 houses, JEEZ!)

Here's hoping the principal changes their minds or dont qualify! LOL

Anonymous said...

Crap.....with 2 degrees we still can't afford 2 houses.....guess we'll be signing up for the military soon! lol

Michelle said...

You are so sweet and funny that I hate to put down in black and white my questions, but is this an elementary school you're moving for? Is your oldest child still even in elementary school? I assume the rest of the district is excellent.
My questions are just rhetorical.

I guess I can't relate to the angst over an elementary school!!!

Jill said...

Well congrats on the new house. Things always work out in the end even though there seems to have to be stress involved. We were in Oklahoma this weekend and what a beautiful area we were in. We are for sure going back there soon. Again contrats on the new purchase. It's so exciting that the kids will be able to be so close to their cousins - that has always been a dream of ours.

Anonymous said...

No principal should live that close to his/her school. You did him/her a huge favor!!

Dixie in CA

Sarah said...

Congratulations on your new house! What a fantastic story!! Is the new house close to a Sonic??

Glad you had a great trip!

Sarah and Sophie~Bug

Anonymous said...

Hope that the new house in Ok. is near a Sonic!!!!! I even have Keith addicted to the ice now. Glad that everything worked out for you. When you do move you will be closer. We miss you guys.


Anonymous said...

I bet the Principal's children can go to the school even if they don't live in the district, so maybe he'll feel honored you were buying it just for "his" school.

So glad it is working out, and now you can count down to moving day!

Rene in NC

Kim said...

Hi Kristie...glad you finally have worked out your "house issues".

I am mainly writing to let you know that I read your blog even though I NEVER comment.

Looking forward to reading your thoughts about HP #7. Personally, I loved it, as I have all of them. We had a fight over who got it first at our house...Jim Mac, Betsy or me. Of course, I got it first. Hee Hee

When are you moving back home? I so understand you wanting to go back home but we will surely miss you over here in GA. I hope you will come back for "Sistah" get~ aways and the like. I do plan to stay in touch....

I still want to find out how your pics from Dot photo have the white border and mine don't!

Anonymous said...

Hey happy to hear about the house! Sometimes things have a way of working out huh?

On another note...are you ever going to dish about how you came to the decision to be a surrogate mother? I know of at least one nosey reader who can't wait to hear all about it!!

The Running Girl said...

The house sounds perfect for you! When are you planning the big move?

Anonymous said...

Me too, Kristie...we'd love to know how you came to decide to be a surrogate w/o you feeling like you're giving up too much privacy for those others involved. We'd love to hear the story!!!
Claire in TX

Anonymous said...

It's about time you got a break instead of a crap-sandwich. So glad things worked out for you. I don't comment much, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, reading your blog. Keep it up.

Wendy in Winder, GA

Ginny said...

YAY! So glad you guys found the perfect house for your family. And, yeah...about that military pay thing. LOL..Yes, we're SO overpaid, aren't we?

Mtn. Home AFB

Beverly said...

I saw this in the news today...just wondering!