Friday, January 1, 2016
On a Sunday in May of 2014, with an extremely RARE moment of Matt and I aloneness, we stumbled upon an open house. I was finishing residency in a couple months, we had 4 boys in a tiny Cape Cod that suited us for now, but would require lots of work to make it ideal for us in just a few short years. So we thought, why not start viewing the market now? Start seeing our options for our price range? Of course, we instantly fell in love. The house met nearly every qualification I had in my head (upstairs laundry, 2 car attached garage, open floor plan, master suite with walk in closet, 5 bedrooms, updated kitchen, maintained elements of the 100-year old home charm) PLUS the price was right. Unheard of in that area.
Without much further ado, we set out to see about obtaining a loan. Nightmare. Word to the wise, check your credit score at some point between college and graduating residency...turns out little outstanding debt (like $2 at the public library) start to add up, big time. Matt spent countless hours, and I drove all the way to and from Topeka, with all the children, to try and get things on the up and up...we still fell 2 points short of the goal credit score. The house was out of reach. There is simply no way we could list, show and sell our Prairie Village home while we both continued to work full time, and the house was full of children.
We moved on, and mostly forgot about the home as well as the idea of moving anytime soon. Until, in July, the owners reached out to us because they "felt we belonged in the home", with information on a bank that might offer a Doctor's loan. And, they did! Before we knew it, we were negotiating and buying a house. By the time it was all said and done, we had a contract in August, with a close date of September 29th. Sounds scrumptiously serendipitous, wonderful. Perfect.
Now, what I am failing to mention in this summary of how we came to live at 6022 Belleview Avenue, is ALL of the rest of life that is happening in conjunction with the home-buying saga. In June, I was frantically trying to finish all my requirements for residency graduation at the end of the month. I had not signed a contract yet for a job. So, I also was busy getting applications sent, interviewing and compiling info and creating a schedule for my temporary job. The week of graduation, I found the perfect job, and signed a contract to start September 1st. I worked random days through July and August. My oldest started Kindergarten, at a school just 3 blocks away from our OLD house, 11 minutes drive from the new one. Then, after working my new job for 1 week, I found out I was pregnant with our fifth child.
Before I knew it, I was 4 weeks into a new job, 8 weeks pregnant (aka: miserable and worthless), and packing up our home to move all of our stuff as quickly as possible into the new home, so we could prep, list and sell our old house before the dead of Winter (the housing market down time). I remember multiple days of shaking from exhaustion. Matt worked tirelessly at the old house to paint, tidy up and perform multiple little handyman tasks. He was at the PV house all weekends and evenings. I've never seen him so tired.
Meanwhile, I was at the new house, unpacking boxes, caring for 4 children, first trimester pregnant, trying to learn the ins and outs of a completely unfamiliar space. This was not home. Our old house was no longer home. We were in some kind of limbo land, where no space felt friendly, or inviting, or comfortable, or warm, or relaxing. Our entire life was unsettled and stressful. New job, new home, pressure to sell old home, no money, new pregnancy, new school schedule. On top of all this, the one piece that hadn't changed, my rock, our nanny would be going on maternity leave in October, so I had those arrangements to make. Thank goodness Matt had a nice, steady day job. I will never take for-granted, the wonderful feeling of security a home offers. Whether it's too big or too small, or dirty or clean, old or new, it's home.
Matt's parents helped immensely. My mother and siblings were around almost daily, helping me organize and unpack. Driving children too and from school. My head was never above water, but somehow, with the help of my entire community, I was able to bob up and down, with brief moments to gasp in some air. I was frustrated with so many things. Even things a minimal as waking up in the middle of the night, getting out of my mattress on the floor to go to the bathroom seemed to thrust horrific reminders in my face at just how foreign a place I was in, where was the damn light switch!? The new dishwasher was supposedly more high tech, but nearly impossible to load logically. Our giant oven and stove range wreaked of gas if you used the right side. Outlets are scarce and poorly placed. The stairs had a giant open space death trap on the first landing...that remains to this day, and I'm really not sure how or why no one has plunged off the side, but I'm not going to question it. The yard? It's oddly shaped. There's no fence. There is no great solution as to where to add a fence. For 15 months, we have been personally walking the dogs outside to go to the bathroom. I still miss opening a door and letting them run free, without a worry.
I missed walking through my front door, into our cute, well decorated and painted living room. I had grown to love the giant crack in our front door, and our non-working doorknob. I knew where not to step to avoid making creaking sounds on the hard woods. My bathroom was like an in home spa, the shower perfect. The little galley kitchen drove me crazy, everyday, but, it had helped store and prepare food for my family for so many years. Each room had a purpose, design and order. We could pick up and clean the house in less than 45 minutes if needed. For so many months, I remained somewhat bitter about our seemingly "hasty" decision to move. We simply did not need that in our lives at that time. We kind of still don't. And, there are still moments have to remind myself that we did it because opportunity knocked.
Though finally, this Christmas, it became evident, things had finally shifted somewhere along the way. I felt good about how my home looked for the Holidays. I was actually excited to invite people over for our 10th Annual Sweater Party. While giving a home tour, I was walking backwards, and right as the person started to warn me there was a drop in the floor, I automatically and subconsciously adjusted my step, because I knew the floor. As I continued the tour, I simply accepted that rooms were not fully purposed, picked up, unpacked, painted. I walked through the backdoor on Christmas day, into our awkward entryway, carrying all of our gifts from our 3 family events, and did not feel that overwhelming panic about where to put everything.