Monday, July 1, 2013

What's next?

So where do we go from here?  We sold our house, and suddenly it was critical to figure out our next step.  We had narrowed down the neighborhood we liked, but there were very few houses coming available.  We had tried other areas, but nothing else felt right, so we decided to just wait.  This is likely to be the last house we buy before moving to "The Home," so we didn't want to settle. 

So let's talk about our homes thus far.  Our first was an apartment, and we weren't the only residents.  Edgar also lived with us.   He was there so much, we named him.  We don't know who or what he was, but he liked peanuts, and on one occasion we came home to find that all of our plants had been pulled up by the roots and were GONE.  Just dirt remained, all over the floor around the pots, but Edgar had, for whatever purpose, taken every plant.  We also were joined by lots of roaches----and I mean lots.  We were thrilled to leave there about 5 months.

Apartment #2 had different "features."  On day one, we discovered that a plumber had taken a shortcut with a pipe and just soldered over a leak, so that water ran down the pipe, through the floor, and into the kitchen light fixture.  Didn't take long for that glass globe to fill and crash to the floor.  Hello, maintenance?  Winters in that apartment were breezy----you could lay in bed at night and watch the curtains move from air leaks.  My father-in-law spent one night with us, and every time he walked past the thermostat, he bumped it up a little higher.  Not that it helped!

And then we bought/built our first house.  It was only a foundation when we saw it, but we fell in love with it.  A Cape Cod, two bedrooms and two baths, with an unfinished attic.  Oh, the memories we made there.  We brought both of our babies home to that house, and lived there 22 years.   Had some of the world's very best neighbors.  Part of the memory of that house wasn't pleasant, but bonded it to us nonetheless.  Six years after we bought it, and with a four-year-old, it was struck by lightning and destroyed by fire.  We stood and watched as the firefighters did everything they could to save what they could, and we spent the next 4 days sifting through the remains to salvage any pieces of our past that we could.  Friends stood by us, worked alongside us, and helped us through those horrible days.  As the months passed, we watched the house be rebuilt, with changes that made it different, yet better.  And we returned---home again.  Changed, the house and us, forever.

But we outgrew it.  It was oh-so-hard when we decided to leave there----for all of us.  But it was time.  Only moved 3 miles away, but it may as well have been across country.  We've tried to put our stamp on it, making it ours, but as I look back now, I'm not sure it has ever really been  "home."  Maybe because by the time we bought it one son was in college, and one left for college a few years later.  It just hasn't had the family memories that the first house did, or at least not for me.  And because of that it will be much easier to leave it.

We found a house.  Loved, loved, loved it,  but the timing wasn't right.  We hadn't sold ours, so we couldn't buy one.  We left that showing feeling frustrated, knowing we would have made an offer if only ours had sold.  But that house had a contract on it the very same night.  After that, everything paled in comparison.  Soon, we got an offer on ours, and found an apartment we could move to for a short-term.  We started making plans---what would go to the 1090 square foot apartment, what would go to storage.  Truth be told, we were kind of excited about the move to the apartment.  We could live simply, not bogged down with stuff, and responsibilities.  We could go to the pool, walk to the mall----we felt relaxed just thinking about it, after all the months of staging, and selling, and searching. 

But then, much to our surprise, that house we had seen and loved came back on the market.  On a Friday night.  We wrote an offer on Saturday, and by 8:00 AM Monday we had a deal.  Five and a half weeks to pack and move all of our past to our future.  More trips to Goodwill, checking with our kids to see what they wanted, sales on ebay, searches for boxes.  More boxes.  And more boxes.  Truly, we have a lot of stuff. 

It's exciting.  This time, it's just the two of us.  Our kids are married and settled, or on the verge of married and settled within a few months.  It's like we're starting over, in a way, but different than it was 33 years ago.   We are looking forward to having someone else cut the grass and clear the snow.  I'm especially looking forward to having a first floor bedroom, and not having to carry laundry up and down the stairs.  We're having fun thinking about where furniture will go, and what colors we might paint different rooms, and can we put a tile backsplash in the kitchen on our own.  We are looking forward to big family meals and Christmas Craft Sleepovers with Pa and Granna.  There are memories to be made, and we have a clean slate to create them in. 

It will be different, but it will be good.  We're older and wiser, we've been through a lot, we have lots of memories.  But we're ready for this next step.  I'm reminded of how Dr. David Burhans started our wedding ceremony, from the book of Ruth:

Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.  (Ruth 1:16)

God has cared for us through thick and thin, good and bad, and that won't change.  No need to worry about tomorrow, he's already got it in His hands. 

Matthew 6:25-34
 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Let's do this!  Let the adventure begin!

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