Once upon a time, husband and I sat down and said to each other,
By gum, husband is in a stable, comfortable job in a family friendly town with a low cost of living…why not make things interesting and move across the country to a place we’ve never been, go back to grad school to qualify for a less comfortable job, buy a fixer-upper house, and have another baby?
OK, that’s not entirely how the conversation went, but that’s the summary of how things happened.
We’d been praying about and planning on graduate school for several years. about 9 years, in fact; the whole of our marriage. And until this time, the divine answer was always “not yet.”
There are many reasons why, but the biggest I can think of is we had some friendships that needed to happen in our last hometown in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. To leave a place feeling tranformed by it, and feeling you’ve also transformed it, is a good feeling. We’re meant to learn and grow from each other, and that is precisely what happened in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest.
We moved to the wilds of urban Connecticut where the taxes and therefore rent are formidably high, and found ourselves searching for the unfindable: a house close to Fancypants University with a reasonable (!) rent or mortgage, and a neighborhood wherein we were unlikely to be shot.
We had a friend write to us about this house. He had tried to buy it in the past, and was unsuccessful (we found out why the hard way). He said he thought of us when he walked through the house (reasonable enough, as the dining room ceiling was falling off, the kitchen was full of grimy liquor bottles, and the basement was full of suspiciously stolen-looking tires, the attic had a septegenarian squatter living in it). Friend thought it might be a good house for us. It’s a fixer upper, but we’re handy, right?
So we found a realtor and embarked on a four month headache. In the end, we got the home, for a very good price. We bought it with a squatter in it, and between the friend’s genius diplomacy, our feeding the squatter homemade cookies, gently pointing out the fact that I was 38 weeks pregnant with our fifth child, and a little baldfaced shameless bribery, we were able to help him move on to other accommodations on amicable terms. Yes, he did promise three times to come back and burn down the house if the check bounced, but he was quite amicable about it.
He had a lady friend who got drunk on Everclear on our front porch the night we moved in.
We got the anonymous gift of lit fireworks thrown in through our open window the day we were moving in.
And we couldn’t be happier with the place. Our neighbors (all those we know so far) are pleasant, friendly, and have excellent senses of humor (whoever lit the fireworks notwithstanding).
Life, especially life on the border between a posh community and a starkly impoverished community, requires an excellent sense of humor. We have enjoyed the community, and, so far, have not been shot.
The house is slowly transforming, as time and money allow. Lucy the Maude was born 12 days after we moved in. It is good to be home.