Tuesday, January 21, 2014

House Hunting, 2014 Version

We are once again on the hunt for a place to call OURS. Since the previous residence was sold in 2010, we have been renting a house in a community I shall call InBetween. As in-- it is InBetween MDD's work and mine, with our church as the third dot of the triangle. 

InBetween Land is nice...but it means we spend a LOT of time in the car. Like, to go...ANYWHERE... is about 20 minutes or so. It was convenient when we had to find somewhere fast, as the house sale was a lot of hurry-up-and-wait and then, oh by the way, you have 30 days to now find somewhere else to be. 

The original plan was to rent somewhere for a year, while we figured out what else we wanted to do with ourselves. 

That was uh... yeah. Almost four years ago. 

The following year, 2011, we were going to start looking, but things with my job became a bit iffy. I was not feeling good about jumping into such a huge financial commitment without reasonable hope for a paycheck, so we delayed a year. 

Then we got engaged (YAY!) and so 2012 became the Year of the Wedding and trying to do anything else would have made smoke come out my ears. And our bank account. So...resigned the lease, and stayed put for another year. 

Also, MDD changed jobs and we had enough major life events floating around that the concept of also packing and moving and then UNpacking just uh...yeah. No. 

So in 2013, we had enough things settled down to seriously look for a place. We were torn, looking both in the town where my stepdaughter lives with her mother, and also in the town where our church is (about half an hour away). Many discussions and considerations and Saturdays spent touring places brought us to a few conclusions and a much stronger sense of reality. 

We had finally found a viable location last spring, and went through the arduous task of various inspections and lots of other things that all seemed to cost either $150 or $300... There is some kind of consensus around house stuff that must mandate it be one of those two prices. Kinda like how adding the word "wedding" to any item instantly makes it 150% more expensive?!?

Anyway...the viable option last spring turned less viable when we discovered the home both needed a new roof AND was insulated with asbestos. Along with about 35 other semi-major issues. 

We were willing to do one of those Big Two, but simply could not afford to do both. The sellers opted to stick their fingers in their ears and yell "LA LA LA LALA" and not do ANYTHING, so we wound up very tearfully walking away from that option. With time effectively run out, we re-signed the lease one more time. 

It pretty much sucked. But I also know we made the right decision. Tackling two major projects, plus the initial down payment and moving expenses, would have left us in a financial situation that would have been ulcer-inducing. Sometimes being a grownup really bites. 

But now, it's a new year... and we are NOT WANTING to re-sign this lease again!

Thus, we are off and running on House Search 2014. We've seen a few and are vigilantly watching the listing sites for options in our price range and desired school district for Monkey. 

I am also hoping to spot a flying unicorn, but that's for another day...

I have discovered that Monkey is becoming quite the pro at house viewings. We let her use the tape measure to measure stuff and have given her the official job of Finding the Furnace at whichever location we view. One time already, she managed to find it when even our realtor couldn't... it was accessible in this one house by removing a panel under the small staircase. 

Monkey was like, "There's a ROOM down there!" And we were telling her to get out of there, because it did not look like a good place for a five-year-old to wander. Lo and behold, she was right-- the darn furnace was UNDER THE STAIRCASE. 

Needless to say...NOT BUYING that place! WTH, people??

The other thing Monkey is very good at on our house hunting missions is measuring the bedrooms. To make sure she "picks" the one that is bigger. 

Even if it is half a foot, she is not going to miss out. 

Of course, it is still up to the hubs and I to decide which girl will get which bedroom. Monkey's argument, which I find to have some merit, is she's in the house seven days a week, while her sister is only there one or two days. In the house we almost bought last year, that time difference was reflected in their bedroom sizes (and was also intended to try to keep Monkey's ever-growing mess of STUFF somewhat confined to her own room). 

Our hope is to get this show on the road soon and get us somewhere we can set down roots, FINALLY. I lived like a nomad for so much of my adult life that I am absolutely DROOLING at the concept of moving somewhere permanently. 

My parents sold the house I grew up in (20 years there!) when I was going into my senior year of college. With all the regular college moving, plus being involved at the time with someone who worked in the media, I then moved nine times in the next thirteen years. Ugh. 

We've been living InBetween for nearly four years...and that's the longest I have stayed in one place since my childhood home. Not bad for a place that was supposed to be a quick get-us-through stop on the way.

But I am DONE with constantly singing "Temporary Home."

I am DONE having U-Haul on speed dial. 

I am DONE keeping all those boxes "for next time" because you have to-- those things are EXPENSIVE. 

I will be very happy being done buying packing tape and packing paper by the box. 

Gotta admit though, bubble wrap is still pretty awesome. 

With a little divine guidance, I hope to write the next chapter in our lives from a calm, serenely settled home where I can paint or hang pictures or plant stuff or WHATEVER...and know that it's still going to be OURS and I don't have to box it all up and leave again in a year or two. 

The clock is ticking. Our lease is up, again, at the end of spring, and Monkey will start kindergarten (a.k.a., "real school") this fall. 

I hate not knowing yet where that's going to be, and we are on a pretty concentrated mission right now to answer exactly that question...


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